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Jun 12, 2022 at 7.45pm UK
Greece
2 - 0
Kosovo
Giakoumakis (71'), Mantalos (90+9')
Giakoumakis (80'), Mantalos (81'), Vlachodimos (90+8')
FT(HT: 0-0)

Kryeziu (35')

Preview: Greece vs. Kosovo - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Greece vs. Kosovo - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's Nations League clash between Greece and Kosovo, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Aiming to extend their perfect record in the UEFA Nations League this summer, Greece welcome closest group rivals Kosovo to Volos on Sunday.

The teams reconvene at Panthessaliko Stadio after the hosts won 1-0 in the Kosovar capital last week, and the pair are clear at the top of the early League C Group 2 table following victories in midweek.


Match preview

Having lost only one of their last seven home games in the Nations League following Thursday's success against regional rivals Cyprus, there is no doubt that Greece are determined to reach Europe's second tier, after narrowly missing out on promotion last time around.

This month, an opening victory against Northern Ireland was followed by a 1-0 win over Kosovo last Sunday, with captain Anastasios Bakasetas producing the decisive goal on both occasions.

Then, on Thursday night, the Trabzonspor midfielder also scored the opener against Cyprus in a 3-0 win that continues a promising start for well-travelled coach Gus Poyet, who was appointed after Greece's failure to qualify for Qatar 2022.

The former Bordeaux manager has now won four of his first five fixtures, including three successively in the Nations League - a competition in which the Galanolefki have kept clean sheets in each of their last seven games.

Also unbeaten in each of their last nine matches at League C level, they currently sit top of Group 2, and with another win this weekend, would pull six points clear of Sunday night's opponents.

While Kosovo's attempts at reaching Qatar 2022 were fairly dismal - finishing rock-bottom of their group, with just one win from eight games - taking a point against Greece both home and away showed that the little Balkan nation can compete at the same level as their more established rivals.

On both occasions - in September and November of last year - the Dardanet had the minority of possession and soaked up plenty of pressure from their Greek counterparts, but held out for 1-1 draws.

Also part of Greece's group in the 2020-21 Nations League, they took another point away from Athens but lost at home, as they finished a distant third in the final standings.

In their third campaign, though, Alain Giresse's current side have made a brighter start: beating Cyprus 2-0 on the opening matchday before bouncing back from their loss last weekend with a 3-2 victory over Northern Ireland on Thursday.

Kosovo were merited winners at Stadiumi Fadil Vokrri, and took the lead through Vedat Muriqi's early penalty before Zymer Bytyqi volleyed in a Milot Rashica cross soon after to double their lead.

Though their visitors twice pulled goals back later on in the game, Giresse's men hung on for all three points following another Muriqi strike after the break; leaving them second in League C Group 2 heading into the weekend.

Greece Nations League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W

Greece form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W
  • W
  • W

Kosovo Nations League form:
  • W
  • L
  • W

Kosovo form (all competitions):
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • L
  • W


Team News

Just days after a dominant display against Cyprus, Greece coach Gus Poyet is likely to make some changes to his starting XI - particularly now facing a fourth fixture in the space of 10 days.

As right-back George Baldock fared well on his full debut in the reverse fixture, he could retain his place in the hosts' back four, but Lazaros Rota is pushing for a recall.

Dimitrios Kourbelis is a strong contender to feature in central midfield, while Celtic's Giorgos Giakoumakis could return up front, as he vies with current incumbent Vangelis Pavlidis for the centre-forward role.

Meanwhile, Kosovo will line up with Lazio misfit Vedat Muriqi leading the line, following a brace against Northern Ireland which takes him onto 20 goals from 41 international games.

He is set to be supported in attack by wingers Milot Rashica and Zymer Bytyqi, but Japan-based Benjamin Kololli is another option out wide for coach Alain Giresse.

Two regular starters will be missing on Sunday, though, as both Torino's Mergim Vojvoda and Edon Zhegrova of Lille have sustained injuries over the past few days.

Greece possible starting lineup:
Vlachodimos; Baldock, Mavropanos, Chatzidiakos, Tsimikas; Bouchalakis, Kourbelis; Limnios, Bakasetas, Douvikas; Giakoumakis

Kosovo possible starting lineup:
Ujkani; Kastrati, Rrahmani, Kryeziu, Rrudhani; Berisha, Zeneli, Dresovic; Rashica, Muriqi, Kolloli


We say: Greece 3-1 Kosovo

Meetings between these two nations - fairly frequent over the past couple of years - have tended to be tightly contested, with Greece dictating play but their Kosovar counterparts often grinding out a draw.

While the visitors have lost only one of their last six fixtures, that was against the Greeks last week, and the visitors can now complete the double in short succession, as they continue to flourish under new management.


For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.


Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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