|Road to Euro 2012: Preview of the Greek Team|
UPDATE: GREECE TIED WITH POLAND 1-1
After a very intense and controversial game Greece and Poland tied in the opening game of Euro Cup 2012. Greece was handed 3 yellow cards and a very unfair red.
Greece: Road to Euro Cup 2012 brought to you by: Hellas Fan Club Toronto www.HFCToronto.com
After Greece qualified for Euro 2012 the next step was the group draw and discovering which countries they would be up against in their group. Over the last few tournaments, Greece has qualified with draws and luck of an easy group. This time around was no different, as Greece was lucky to come out of the group draws with the easiest group in Euro 2012. They drew Poland (ranked 65th in the world as of May 2012 by FIFA), Czech Republic (ranked 26th) and Russia (ranked 11th). Poland, of course, is the host country and host countries have always seemed to perform better than they should.
So let’s preview the Greek squad for Euro 2012 and what we can expect from them coming into the tournament.
Euro Cup Appearances: 3 (1980, 2004, 2008)
Best finish at the Euro Cup: 1st Place in 2004
Current FIFA ranking: 14th
Coach: Fernando Santos
Captain: Giorgos Karagounis
Here's a great Adidas commercial featuring the Greek National Team and Sakis Rouvas!
Greece comes into this Euro tournament as the underdog (yet again). Group A is a coin-toss for some with many not even taking Greece to advance from their group (the top 2 teams advance to the quarter-finals). Does Greece have what it takes to advance from the group stage? We think so.
Fernando Santos, the coach of the Greek squad, has decided to keep the squad young, compared with his predecessor Otto Rehagel who liked to keep his line full of veterans.
Greece’s Goalkeepers: Kostas Chalkias, Alexandros Tzorvas and Michalis Sifakis.
Tzorvas was the goalkeeper in the World Cup 2010 however, Chalkias is considered to be the odds-on favourite goalie for Greece this Euro.
Greece’s Defence: Vassillis Torosidis, Avraam Papadopoulos, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Stelios Malezas, Jose Holebas, Giorgos Tzavellas and Sokratis Papastathopoulos.
Torosidis looks to be the backbone of the defense group with Papastathopoulos also expected to get lots of playing time. The X-Factor here is Kyriakos Papadopoulos who had an outstanding last two seasons with FC Schalke of the German League. He is a great young player who could break out in this tournament.
Sakis Rouvas unveils the new Greece jersey with the Greek National Soccer Team
Greece’s Midfield: Grigoris Makos, Giannis Maniatis, Kostas Katsouranis, Giorgos Karagounis, Giorgos Fotakis and Kostas Fortounis.
Karagounis, the captain of the team, will be the veteran leader who will also be one of the more emotional players on the pitch. Expect to see Karagounis taking a lot of the free-kicks and corner kicks for Greece. Katsouranis will also be depended on for his veteran leadership qualities after having played in a couple major tournaments for Greece.
Greece’s Forwards: Giorgos Samaras, Dimitris Salpingidis, Fanis Gekas, Nikos Liberopoulos, Kostas Mitroglou, Sotiris Ninis and Yiannis Fetfatzidis.
The veteran leaders up front are Samaras and Salpingidis. Both performed well for Greece in qualifying and are experienced players however, Samaras' lack of finish and Salpingidis' aging body might be cause for concern. If Greece is really hoping to go far Ninis will be integral to the success of the Greek team up front. Ninis is a crafty forward who likes to get into the dangerous spaces to score big goals. Fetfatzidis, another young and upcoming player, will bring energy and creativity with the ball and can keep the Ethniki deadly as a second half substitution. The real X-Factor here is Mitroglou. Also a young player at 24 years of age, this could be Mitroglou’s breakout tournament if he plays his cards right. He has an excellent shot and could find the back of the net if given some playing time.
Here’s what the Greek players are saying about this year’s tournament:
By Theodore Nanos and HFC Toronto: www.HFCToronto.com