Greece may not have qualified for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, but 10 players who play in the Greek league participated in the elite of world football with their respective national teams.
The footballer who stood out the most is Amr Warda, the Egyptian dribble artist who was expected to make a killer duo with this year’s Liverpool phenomenon Mohamed Salah. However, despite expectations, Egypt made a mediocre appearance in the Russian football fields and the PAOK player — on loan to Atromitos — did not shine as many had expected.
The Iran national team captain Ehsan Hajsafi had a good showing at the World Cup and along with the rest of the Iranians made it difficult for Spain to make it to the 16th round. The Olympiacos player is likely to change colors before the transfer season ends.
Karim Ansarifard was the second Iranian player of Olympiacos who competed in the Russia World Cup. The draw against Portugal (1-1) with his own penalty kick at the end of the game, was the highlight of his appearance. He is also likely to be transferred.
Shojaei Masoud was the third of the “Iranian colony” of football players in Greece. The AEK Athens midfielder honored his national colors. It is uncertain whether next season will find him wearing the yellow and black.
Serbia’s striker Aleksandar Prijovic was a substitute in the tournament so far, but in the few minutes he played, he showed that he is a force to be reckoned with. The PAOK player is a great asset to the Thessaloniki team, and offers to be transferred have been rejected by the club owner.
Olympiacos fans truly miss Luka Milivojevic, the Serbian midfielder who graced Greek football fields for three years. Now an integral part of Britain’s Crystal Palace, he is the backbone of Serbia’s center field.
Sweden’s striker Marcus Berg made many Panathinaikos fans literally cry when he left last summer — lured by a contract offered to him by Al Ain to play for them in the United Arab Emirates. However, The Berg who appeared in Russia’s football grounds was not the “killer” his fans in Greece remember him as.
Another Swede who played for Panathinaikos in the first half of the 2017-2018 season was Oscar Hiljemark. The talented midfielder left in the middle of the season as the Athens club faced serious financial problems. Nevertheless, he is on Sweden’s national team defending the country’s colors.
Jimmy Durmaz was another Swede who showed his talent in Greek football fields. Unlike his compatriots Hiljemark and Berg, Durmaz played for Panathinaikos’ arch-rivals Olympiacos. The talented midfielder has had a good showing in 2018 FIFA World Cup so far.
Manuel Da Costa who has played for Olympiacos for two seasons is of both Portuguese and Moroccan nationality, and plays for Morocco’s national team. The center back had a good performance on Russia’s football grounds.