When it was muted that all Celts should be reported on during the World Cup, there was only ever going to be one player I would follow. Obviously though, prior to the tournament it has come out that for 1 reasons, or another, the Greek Ghod has played for the hoops for the last time.
In due course, probably once it is confirmed where he will be playing his football next year, I will write my full thoughts on his time at the club. Until then, I keep the hope that Ronny and Johnny (it might catch on…) decide he’s worth signing up.
Very early on I decided that rather than give match by match analysis of his performance, much like his time at Celtic, it is better to judge him overall.
So what did we see of Georgios then during Greece’s 4 games at Brazil 2014? Well, for me, pretty much everything that we’ve known him to be in recent years. In the first 2 matches he was deployed wide left for Greece, in their defensive type 4-5-1. Much like when he played there for Celtic, he was the out ball for the defence and keeper. Very often the ball was knocked long looking for him to pull it down or flick it on. In the early games against Colombia and Japan, he flirted in and out of the match, always looking to get involved with little great effects.
However, it was Match day 3 when Sammy left his mark on the tournament. Deployed as the lone frontman, there was even more responsibility on him to run the channels, occupy the centre backs and hold the ball up. Towards the end of the first half it was the unlucky/clumsy Sammy we’ve all seen so many times. As a shot comes crashing off the bar, he’s coming into the box only to slip over and the danger gets cleared. But with the clock ticking down and Greece heading out, memories of Moscow are brought back. Just like that night when Sammy rose in stoppage time to score the goal which gave Celtic the first ever away win in the Champions League, he wins a penalty with 90 seconds or so to go. Greece have never gotten to the knockout stage of a World Cup before. They are now 12 yards away from it.
For every Celtic fan watching him place the ball, we all thought back to Ibrox and 2 different penalty kicks. Mainly all thinking of 2011 and his miss, however the outcome was more along the lines of “Sammy Sunday” and Greece were through!!
We have probably all seen the footage of young Jay Beattie watching the penalty and celebrating the goal and I have to say it was similar in my living room. I was absolutely delighted for the big man.
Last night in the last 16 match against Costa Rica, again Sammy performed well in the lone striker role. Unfortunately they could not get past the 10 men after 120 minutes and off to penalties it went. As it unfolded, it’s clear that he was down to take the 5th however unfortunately never got the chance as Greece lost out 5-3.
Overall I think Sammy would have rated at 7/10 however given the historic goal and the coolness shown to take that penalty, he scores another point…..8/10