In preparation for their upcoming Nations League games, the Cyprus national team take on Greece in an international friendly on Wednesday afternoon.
The match in Athens, which kicks-off at 16.45 local time and will be broadcast live by CyBC, will give the two managers the opportunity to experiment with their game plans and player selections.
All of the Cypriot national team has been tested for Covid-19 in the run-up to the game with zero positive cases being detected. There has been some uncertainty as to the availability of defender Konstantinos Laifis, who had returned a positive test, his club Standard Liege announced.
However, he has since tested negative and even played for his club on Sunday, something which is allowed under the Belgian coronavirus health protocols. It is not yet known if Laifis will be involved with the national team since his original positive test meant that coach Johan Walem did not call him up for the friendly against Greece, nor for the Nations League games against Luxembourg and Montenegro.
The Cyprus Football Association’s press officer Constantinos Shiamboullis spoke to Cypriot outlet Digital TV on the upcoming games.
“Pieros Sotiriou is injured and that’s why he has been left out of the squad”, Shiamboullis said.
“We are trying to see if Laifis can be included in the squad but there is nothing to report at the moment”, he added.
“The goal is to win both of our next two competitive games. We are hoping that we can avoid the last place in the group and the resulting play-off game for relegation to Category D”, he concluded.
In a statement released earlier this month, Greece national team manager John van ‘t Schip spoke of a long-term plan aiming to bring the squad to its optimum state for the World Cup in Qatar 2022.
“Our Qatar plan, meaning the creation of a competitive team which can play attractive football and operate at a high level, is already in progress. We want to see the improvement of the squad and the potential of new players. All players called up to the national team are useful and must be in good shape”, van ‘t Schip said.
“The game against Cyprus will be a general rehearsal before the games against Moldavia and Slovenia which we aim to win. We are focused on our team and our own work. We are pleased that the players continue to absorb the basic elements of our footballing philosophy and are adapting to the new demands.
“However, I want to stress that it’s now time to take a step forward and consequently take the results that this entails”, the Greece manager concluded.