Following a devastating start to its Euro qualification campaign, Greece has found a new man to lead them from the darkness.
70-year-old Uruguayan Sergio Markarian is the new man in charge, replacing Claudio Ranieri who was fired after collecting just one point in four matches from Group F play, with the last straw an embarrassing 1-0 loss to lowly Faroe Islands at home.
Markarian now faces a tall task, with six matches to make up the six-point differential between Greece and a playoff spot. They are eight points back of automatic qualification for the tournament next year.
The Uruguayan has certainly made his way around the coaching ranks, finding himself at the helm of his 16th side in his 32nd year of managing. He got his first-team start in Paraguay back in 1983, eventually moving to head that country’s national team for a year in 1992. He has led Greek clubs three times, starting with Ionikos – currently a third-tier club – in 1998 and rising to steer Greek Superleague giants Panathinaikos in 2002. He remained in charge of the Athenian club for two years before moving to Iraklis Thessaloniki in 2004.
Most recently, Markarian took charge of the Peruvian national team for a four-year cycle, unable to qualify for the 2014 World Cup after finishing 10 points shy of Uruguay in the final CONMEBOL table, with just Bolivia and Paraguay below them.
Markarian’s will have plenty of time to get his team ready for his first match, coming on March 29 with a trip to Hungary that presents a major opportunity to gain ground early.