Greek star Andreas Samaris not only has a close connection with Caltex Socceroo coach Ange Postecoglou but also with one of the strikers set to play against him on Saturday night for Australia.
Samaris was coached by Postecoglou nine years ago, but is also mates with Socceroo striker Apostolos Giannou who was born in Greece but grew up in Australia.
Giannou, ironically, was persuaded to pledge his allegiance to Australia by Postecoglou.
This happened last year after Giannou had appeared at youth level for Greece alongside Samaris and once as a substitute for their national team.
Giannou has since made his full debut for Australia and is likely to start tomorrow night.
It will make for an intriguing meeting when the two pals walk out on Saturday night at ANZ Stadium.
“I’ve played with him in the national U-19 team [of Greece]. I really like him as a player.
“He’s strong, he’s tall he’s fast. I believe he was one of the best strikers in the Greek league and [now] for China,” Samaris said at the official pre-match press conference.
Samaris, though, had no ill feeling towards his friend who'll proudly wear the Green and Gold rather than blue and white of the Greeks.
“He’s also a good friend of mine. I talk with him sometimes on the phone.
“I believe he’s worth it being here in the national team of Australia.
"And I hope he achieves some things with you national team like going to the World Cup in Russia.”
The friendly at ANZ Stadium is part of two games against Greece and are the last hitouts before final phase World Cup qualifiers start in September for both nations.
Greece coach Michael Skibbe said it was the way of the current world to have players who weren’t born in the country called up to national teams.
“This is quite normal for me as a German. In our national team we have players who weren’t originally from Germany and they play for our national team.
“It is how the world is working in this moment.”
Aussies Abroad: Mixed fortunes overnight for Ryan and Degenek
There were two Caltex Socceroos in action on Wednesday morning (AEST), with significant results playing out for Mat Ryan and Milos Degenek. Ryan’s Brighton & Hove Albion suffered an agonising late loss to Tottenham Hotspur in London, with an 88th-minute Christian Eriksen goal
Aussies Abroad: Two-year Danish Superliga record falls as Mabil's Midtjylland lose to Brondby
Awer Mabil’s hopes of clinching the Danish Superliga title with FC Midtjylland suffered a blow after a 2-1 loss to Brondby earlier this morning. Marc Dal Hende opened the scoring early for Midtjylland, but a swift equaliser from Simon Hedlund and a deflected winner from Jens M
Former Caltex Socceroos striker announces retirement
Former Caltex Socceroos forward and Adelaide United legend Bruce Djite has announced his retirement from football. Djite, 32, was most recently playing for Indonesian club PSM Makassar before returning to Australia last year. “I’ve had a few opportunities come up that inter
Aussies Abroad: Milligan and Rogic locked in Scotland, big wins for Amini and Giannou
Tom Rogic and Mark Milligan locked horns as the Scottish Premier League's runaway leaders, Celtic, were held by Hibernian in a stalemate at Easter Road. The Caltex Socceroo pair shared the pitch for around ten minutes as steely midfielder Milligan bustled for 70 minutes, while