• John van’t Schip (L) and Michael Valkanis (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
The former A-League tag team of John van’t Schip and Michael Valkanis will be unveiled on Tuesday as the potential saviours of Greece’s flagging EURO 2020 qualification campaign.
By
Dave Lewis

19 Aug 2019 - 2:47 PM  UPDATED 19 Aug 2019 - 2:47 PM

The pair, who collaborated at Melbourne City and then PEC Zwolle in the Netherlands, have been tasked by the Greece Football Association with turning things around following last month’s sacking of Angelos Anastasiadis after just nine months in the job.

They will take charge immediately, with former Adelaide United legend Valkanis - who is of Greek lineage - filling the assistant’s role with Dutchman van’t Schip at the helm.

The pair have an onerous task ahead in one of European football’s most volatile and fractious environments, with Greece lagging badly in Group J and in need of a lift.

They have just four points from four games and sit fourth in the group, eight points behind leaders Italy, five behind Finland and two adrift of Armenia.

The glory days of winning Euro 2004 are long behind them, but van’t Schip and Valkanis will need to hit the ground running against the Finns in their first match in charge on September 5.

The role reunites the duo who were split in December when van’t Schip was replaced as head coach of PEC by Jaap Stam.

Valkanis, however, was retained in an academy role in which he “coached the coaches”.

The one time Melbourne City assistant and head coach is no stranger to the tribulations and expectations of life in Greece’s football furnace as he and van’t Schip seek to deliver a slice of heaven for Hellas.

Valkanis, 44, spent six years there as a player during spells with Iraklis, Larissa and Agios Nikolaos Kritis, and will view this latest assignment as something of a homecoming.

Van’t Schip, 55, led Melbourne Heart in their inaugural A-League season before taking over the reigns of Mexican giants Chivas Guadalajara in 2012.

He returned to Australia in 2013 as technical director for the newly renamed Melbourne City before going on to coach the club for another three seasons.

Former Netherlands midfield star turned Ajax assistant Aron Winter will also be part of van’t Schip’s coaching team.