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Thursday 22 May 2014

Around the World: Greece and the Barclays Premier League

Ahead of the FIFA World Cup a look at the Greek influence on the BPL

A look at some of the Greek imports to have graced the Barclays Premier League

Ahead of the FIFA 2014 World Cup, which starts on 12 June, premierleague.com looks at the 31 nations outside of England who are competing in Brazil and their influence on the Barclays Premier League.

Greece won the UEFA European Championship in 2004 but have fared less successfully in FIFA World Cup tournaments, reaching the 1994 and 2010 finals but failing to qualify from the group stages on either occasion. They will hope to make it third time lucky as they take on Colombia, Ivory Coast and Japan in Group C.

Two current Barclays Premier League players have been included in the 23-man World Cup squad named by Fernando Santos, with Fulham team-mates Giorgos Karagounis and Kostas Mitroglou bound for Brazil. Mitroglou may get the opportunity to start up front alongside Celtic and former Manchester City centre-forward Giorgios Samaras.

Giorgos Donis was the first Greek to appear in the Barclays Premier League, for Blackburn Rovers against Tottenham Hotspur on 17 August 1996, and he was the first to score in the competition, just a month later.

A further 20 players have since appeared in the Barclays Premier League, placing Greece joint-14th in the ranking of nations to have produced BPL players. Two of the above surpassed 100 Barclays Premier League appearances, with Bolton Wanderers and Hull City midfielder Stelios Giannakopoulos reaching 139 and Nikolaos Dabizas leading the way with 148 outings for Newcastle United and Leicester City.

Greeks have scored 50 Barclays Premier League goals in total (46th in the rankings) with Giannakopoulos producing 40% of that haul, with 20 to his name, twice the number scored by Dabizas.

Greeks in Barclays Premier League
Total players in BPL history 21
Total BPL appearances 604
Total BPL goals 50
Total BPL managers 0
Total BPL matches managed 0

First Greek to play in the Barclays Premier League
Giorgos Donis
- Blackburn Rovers (v Tottenham Hotspur, 17 August, 1996)

Top 10 BPL appearances by Greeks
Nikolaos Dabizas 148
Stelios Giannakopoulos
139
Georgios Samaras
55
Theo Zagorakis
50
Giorgos Karagounis 39
Sotirios Kyrgiakos
33
Apostolos Vellios
22
Giorgos Donis
21
Vassilis Lakis 18
Giannis Skopelitis 18

First Greek to score in the Barclays Premier League
Giorgos Donis -
Blackburn Rovers (v Everton 21 September 1996)

Top Greek goalscorers in BPL
Stelios Giannakopoulos 20
Nikolaos Dabizas 10
Georgios Samaras 8
Theo Zagorakis 3
Sotirios Kyrgiakos 3
Apostolos Vellios 3
Giorgos Donis 2
Giorgos Karagounis 1

Greece 2014 World Cup squad

Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis (Granada), Panagiotis Glykos (PAOK), Stefanos Kapino (Panathinaikos).

Defenders: Kostas Manolas, Giannis Maniatis, Jose Holebas (all Olympiacos), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Giorgios Tzavellas (PAOK), Loukas Vyntra (Levante), Vasilis Torosidis (Roma), Vangelis Moras (Verona).

Midfielders: Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor), Andreas Samaris (Olympiacos), Kostas Katsouranis (PAOK), Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham), Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Torino), Ioannis Fetfatzidis (Genoa), Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Panagiotis Kone (both Bologna).

Forwards: Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK), Giorgios Samaras (Celtic), Kostas Mitroglou (Fulham), Theofanis Gekas (Konyaspor).

  • Blackburn's Giorgos Donis (right) was the first Greek to play and score in the BPL

  • With 148 Nikolaos Dabizas made the most BPL appearances by a Greek player

  • Bolton's Stelios Giannakopolis was responsible for 40% of all BPL goals scored by Greeks

  • Giorgios Samaras, who scored eight BPL goals for Man City, is in Greece's World Cup squad

  • Fulham's January signing Kostas Mitroglou has also made Greece's 23-man party

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Key Points

  • Ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup we look at the influence of players from 31 participating nations outside England on the BPL
  • Ninth in series looks at players from Greece in the Barclays Premier League
  • Nikolaos Dabizas is the Greek with the most appearances in the BPL, while former Bolton Wanderers and Hull City midfielder Stelios Giannakopoulos is the top goalscorer