A Vassilis Lampropoulos own goal condemned Greece to its third loss in six Nations League games, as Estonia won 1-0 at the Olympic Stadium of Athens on Sunday weathering the strong but fruitless pressure of the Euro 2004 winers.
The Greeks ran into the staunch defending by the Estonians whose physical ability made up for their technical inferiority to the Greeks.
New Greece coach Angelos Anastasiadis fielded an experimental side with nine changes from the starting lineup three days earlier against Finland. The home team showed enough energy on a rainy night, but was clearly missing cohesion. It was therefore left to the individual devices of its players that narrowly failed to produce any goals.
As if missing chance after chance throughout the first half was not enough for Greece, Lampropoulos tried to mark Rauno Sappinen in the box, after a Sergei Zenjov cross from the left, and sent the ball into his own net to give the Estonians an unlikely lead two minutes before half-time.
In its most glorious chance in the game Greece hit the upright post on the 62nd minute from a direct free kick by substitute Costas Fortounis.
The Greek frustration grew as the ball would not go in from chances such as the bicycle kick by Nikos Karelis and the long-range shots by Tasos Bakasetas, while the Estonian time-wasting constantly increased. The Greeks finished the game with 28 final efforts against the Estonians’ five.
Greece has finished the group on nine points from six games, at the third spot, as Estonia got relegated to Division D.
The Greeks will now have to wait for the draw of the Euro 2020 qualifiers that kick off in March 2019.