Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

Alex On June - 3 - 2010

World Cup 2010 Focus: Greece

Guest Writer/James Dielhenn 
After a shock win on home soil at Euro 2004, Greece flattered to deceive, and didn’t even qualify for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. Otto Rehhagel led Greece to that huge win, but his job as manager was under pressure until he oversaw victory against Ukraine in a play-off to qualify for this summer’s World Cup.

“The players have been rewarded for their incredible passion and competitive spirit. We said that before achieving success you need to have the Gods on your side,” Rehhagel said about his team’s qualification.

Rehhagel has opted to include many of the heroes of 2004. Liverpool’s Sotirios Krygiakos is the team’s best defender, but will be deputised by Evangelos Moras of Bologna, and Sokratis Papastathopolous of Genoa. Former Inter midfielder Giorgios Karagounis was instrumental in 2004 and still has the same role for Greece, alongside Alexandros Tziolis of Siena in the middle of the park. Celtic’s Giorgios Samaras will play up-front alongside Theofanis Gekas, who surprised many when he fired Greece to qualification as the top-scorer in all of Europe.

Greece have only previously played at one World Cup – America in 1994. At this tournament, they exited miserably with three losses in the group stages without scoring a goal. This time round Rehhagel has the job of bettering that, but faces the daunting prospect of Argentina, as well as Nigeria and South Korea in their group. With Argentina clear favorites, Greece will be battling for second spot. They overachieved in 2004 though, and Rehhagel will be hoping to return to those days.

Greece’s provisional FIFA World Cup squad:

Michalis Sifakis (Aris Salonika), Alexandros Tzorvas (Panathinaikos), Kostas Chalkias; Giourkas Seitaridis (Panathinaikos), Loukas Vyntra (Panathinaikos), Evangelos Moras (Bologna), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Genoa), Sotiris Kyrgiakos (Liverpool), Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiakos), Vasilis Torosidis (Olympiakos), Nikos Spyropoulos (Panathinaikos), Stelios Malezas (PAOK), Giorgos Tzavellas (Panionios); Kostas Katsouranis (Panathinaikos), Alexandros Tziolis (Siena), Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos), Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos), Christos Patsatzoglou (Omonia), Grigoris Makos (AEK Athens), Sakis Prittas (Aris Salonika); Angelos Charisteas (Nuremberg), Dimitris Salpiggidis (Panathinaikos), Pantelis Kapetanos (Steaua Bucharest), Theofanis Gekas (Hertha Berlin), Georgios Samaras (Celtic)

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