Maniatis backs Greece to cause a stir

Versatile midfielder Giannis Maniatis has backed Greece to spring a surprise or two at the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

The experienced Olympiacos man is preparing to feature in his first World Cup after helping Greece through a play-off against Romania in November last year. 

Despite not being among the favourites for the competition, Greece have a reasonable chance of progressing through a fairly evenly-matched group that includes Colombia, Ivory Coast and Japan. 

Maniatis believes his team-mates have what it takes to upset the odds in Brazil, hailing the quality of a squad that includes the likes of Kostas Mitroglou, Giorgos Karagounis and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.

"I have great confidence in our team. I think in recent years we have gone very well and I think all the other teams class us a very good team," he said.

"I think our national team has the ability to give our best if we play all our games focused."

Maniatis played in both legs of the 4-2 aggregate victory that sent them to the finals and he remains eager to create more moments of history for the UEFA Euro 2004 champions.

"The celebrations in Romania went through my soul, because it was (my) first time in a World Cup," he added.

"It was an unforgettable moment and I will remember them for the rest of my life. It is a great thing to go to the World Cup, especially in Brazil."