Greece grab first win to eliminate Scotland

Greece 1-0 Scotland
A neatly taken goal from Vangelis Pavlidis was enough to sink a spirited Scotland side in the teams’ Group C clash in Sozopol.

Greece's Theodoros Mingos challenges Scotland forward Calvin Miller
Greece's Theodoros Mingos challenges Scotland forward Calvin Miller ©LAP.bg

Greece move onto four points in Group C thanks to victory in Sozopol
Defeat for Scotland, combined with France's win against Russia, ends their last-eight hopes
Vangelis Pavlidis scores winner after also registering in 2-2 draw with Russia
Scotland midfielder Liam Burt shown straight red card in added time
Next matches: France v Greece, Russia v Scotland (Wednesday)

Held by Russia in their opening Group C fixture, Greece took a major step towards the quarter-finals of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship with a 1-0 win against now-eliminated Scotland.

From the off, however, it was the Scots who played the more eye-catching football, building from the back and combining well in a fluid 4-3-3. Key to that was cultured centre-back Tom McIntyre, and it was the No4 who took the first shot across Greece's bows, goalkeeper Marios Siampanis diverting his header onto the crossbar after just six minutes.

Vassilis Georgopoulos's charges enjoyed their own opportunity to open the scoring seconds later, Ioannis Tsingas lashing over with only Robby McCrorie to beat, and their direct counterattacking approach would eventually bear fruit. Though the next chance fell to Scotland, Liam Burt stinging the palms of Siampanis after neat interplay with Mark Hill and Regan Hendry, Greece should have struck first on 37 minutes – Kostas Kirtzialidis coming off second best when sent one on one with McCrorie.

Scot Gemmill's players did not heed the warning. Within two minutes Kirtzialidis had cut them open with a remarkably similar move, and this time the stocky No11's clever pass was slotted home by VfL Bochum 1848's Vangelis Pavlidis for his second of the competition.

It would prove decisive, as an increasingly scrappy second half played into Greece's hands. With Scotland struggling to regain their pre-goal flow, their opponents had chances through Kostas Chatzidimpas (twice), Tsingas and particularly Dimitris Limnios, whose 58th-minute effort crashed back off the bar when it seemed easier to score. Their frustration growing as their hopes of progression grew slimmer, Scotland added to their woes when midfielder Burt saw red deep into added time.

Reaction
Vassilis Georgopoulos, Greece coach
We feel that we deserved to win today. We were very tight at the back and very focused on the game. We scored a good goal and missed several chances in the second half to add to our lead, including a shot across the crossbar. Before our goal, however, Scotland had started very well and were making us nervous about what could happen. The most important thing in today's game was not conceding a goal; we played to win and we did that.

Scot Gemmill, Scotland coach
It's about reminding ourselves how hard we've worked to get here and making sure the players go home better for this experience. Once the disappointment eases, I think that will become clear. I think today's was a much improved performance, much more competitive. We'd asked the players to react in that way and they did, so I can have no complaints. It was a very even game, but once Greece got their goal we knew it was going to be very difficult.