Cyprus National Football Team History
Cyprus played their first-ever international match in 1949, and it finished in a 3-1 loss to Israel. Their first post-independence match was in 1960, which was also against Israel. This time, the match finished in a 1-1 draw. Cyprus had to wait until 1963 for their first win, when they defeated Greece, 3-1.
Early results were not exactly great for Cyprus. In their first 45 World Cup Qualifiers, Cyprus won just one match. Had online Cyprus soccer betting been around then, they probably would have been a popular team to fade. Still, they pulled off a 1-1 draw against defending World champions Italy in 1983, which is one of their best-ever results.
Unbelievably, it took Cyprus 43 years to record their first away win. Their 2-0 victory over the Faroe Islands in 1992 was the match that broke an unfortunate streak. Since then, Cyprus have managed better performances in qualifying but haven’t made a major tournament. A handful of Cyprus’s best results have come in the 21st century.
In 2006, they upset the Republic of Ireland 5-2 in Euro qualifiers. One month later, Cyprus held Germany to a draw. In 2010, they played in a thrilling 4-4 road draw at Portugal. In both Euro 2008 and 2016 qualifiers, they managed to win four games, a joint-best. However, their recent performances in the UEFA Nations League have left a lot to be desired. In all three Cyprus Nations League appearances, they’ve won just one of their six group matches. After finishing last in their Nations League C group in 2022, they’ll face Gibraltar in a 2024 relegation playout.
- Michalis Konstantinou – Goals: 32
- Ioannis Okkas – Goals: 27
- Harry Kane – Goals: 49
- Pieros Sotiriou, Constantinos Charalambidis – Goals: 12 (tie)
- Efstathios Aloneftis –Goals: 10
Cyprus Soccer Leagues & Clubs:
The top Cyprus soccer league is the Cypriot First Division, also called the Cyta Championship. The league is currently contested by 14 clubs, and it follows a promotion/relegation structure. After a double round-robin, teams are separated into promotion and relegation groups, and points carry over. The top six teams play each other twice and the first place team is crowned champion. Meanwhile, the bottom eight teams also face each other twice, and the bottom three teams are relegated.
The second division soccer league in Cyprus is simply called the Cypriot Second Division. There are 16 teams in the league, which follows a double round-robin format with no championship/relegation round. So, the top three teams at the end of the season are promoted to the Cypriot First Division. The bottom three teams in the standings drop down to the Cypriot Third Division.
|ALS Omonia 29M|
|AO Ayia Napa|
|ENY Digenis Ypsona|
Cyprus Cups & Tournaments
Only Cyprus’s soccer teams from the First and Second divisions can participate in the Cypriot Cup. The Cypriot Cup is the most prominent cup competition in Cyprus and has been played since 1934. The first round of the competition is a single-leg fixture, along with the final. All other rounds are played as two-leg home and away ties. APOEL Nicosia are the most successful team in the history of the competition, with 21 titles.
Cyprus Soccer Betting Information
Cyprus soccer betting is following an interesting trend. In the Cypriot First Division, the average number of goals per match has been decreasing steadily for the last five seasons. The league has become more defensive, especially as recent expansion has meant two additional teams in the league. For reference, three goals per match were scored in the 2017-18 season. A third of the way through 2022-23, there were only 2.21 goals per game. Even the 2021-22 champion, Apollon Limassol, only averaged 1.56 goals per game.
So, bettors on the Cypriot First Division can expect a lot of defensive battles. They can also expect the bottom four or five teams to fail to score more often than not. With so few goals compared to other leagues, the scoreline is typically a bit more predictable. That means betting on the exact score, which is typically a crapshoot in other leagues, may not be a terrible idea. In 2021-22, 17 percent of matches ended in a 1-1 draw, which was by far the most common scoreline. Compare that to the 2021-22 English Premier League, where 1-1 was also the most common scoreline but it only happened 11 percent of the time.
In the 2010s, APOEL Nicosia dominated the league, with eight of a possible ten titles. However, there have been three distinct champions in the last three full seasons. Historically, the most successful clubs have been APOEL, Omonia, and Anorthosis. Between them, they’ve been crowned champions in 62 of a total of 82 league seasons. Another thing to note is that the away win percentage in the league is typically quite low. Road teams only won 29 percent of their matches in 2021-22.
Throughout their history, Cyprus have struggled to compete with Europe’s top teams. Cyprus have never come close to qualifying for a major tournament, and that looks unlikely to change over the next few years. That doesn’t mean that they can’t occasionally be a good pick for betting. As of October 2022, they’ve failed to score in 18 of their last 27 internationals. So, totals and spread betting can certainly be options.
Betting tips don’t typically recommend picking Cyprus to win on the road, though. They’re still looking for their first road win of the 2020s. The next major opportunity to bet on Cyprus will be in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers, which begin in 2023. In a group with Spain, Scotland, Norway, and Georgia, Cyprus certainly have their work cut out for them. The top two teams in each group qualify and Cyprus are expected to finish in fourth or last place.
The Cypriot First Division is often an afterthought when it comes to European soccer betting. That may honestly be a mistake as there are stronger trends in the league compared to most others. Despite the performance of the national team, the domestic league has some solid teams who hold their own in European competitions. APOEL Nicosia even advanced to the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 2011-12. In 2022-23, Omonia, AEK Larnaca, and Apollon Limassol are all participating in UEFA competitions.
Meanwhile, the Cyprus national team isn’t even ranked in the top 100 teams in the world. However, they’ve managed to improve their performances somewhat over the last few decades. Qualifying campaigns regularly finished with no wins or one win in past decades, but that has certainly changed. They’ve often gotten good results at home and even defeated Greece in September 2022.