Greece coach Michael Skibbe has paid tribute to the Socceroos’ impressive record of qualifying for three straight World Cups ahead of the two sides' friendly in June.
Speaking on video at the announcement of the clash against Australia in Sydney on June 4, Skibbe praised Ange Postecgolou’s side and said he is excited by the challenge of heading Down Under.
“It is far, far away from Europe to go to Australia but on the other hand they have a really good team,” Skibbe said.
“They play very good, nearly every time they are going to the World Cups and doing well.
"We are looking forward to see them again maybe in Russia in 2018.
“They have a lot of players playing in Europe so I think this will be very tough for us.”
- This Greece game is the last time Australia play before the final round of AFC qualifying begins in September.
- Greece failed to qualify for Euro 2016 in June.
- This fixture's history goes back to 1969 when the Greeks played three games in Australia, with a win a loss and a draw
Greece made the last 16 at the last World Cup – only losing on penalties to Costa Rica – but have struggled since that elimination in Brazil.
They missed out on qualification for the upcoming European Championships in France.
So the clash with Australia at ANZ Stadium will mark a crucial test for the national team as Europe’s qualifiers for Russia 2018 start in September.
“For us it is very important because we aren’t playing in the European Championships so we have to look at our performance,” Skibbe said.
“Therefore it is very important to have these matches in Australia and I hope we will travel with my best team, my best players, no one will be injured and we will have a good time there.”
Greek skipper Sokratis Papastathopoulos – a former team-mate of Socceroo gloveman Mitch Langerak at Borussia Dortmund - said his side was thrilled to play in front of the large Greek community in Sydney and he was looking forward to the chance of catching up with the shot-stopper.
Socceroos v Greece
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Saturday 4 June 2016
8pm kick off