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Santos plays up role of utility men in Greece's 23-player World Cup squad

By George Georgakopoulos

Greece coach Fernando Santos announced on Monday the 23-man squad to travel to Brazil next month for the World Cup, including a couple of rather unexpected choices in midfielder Panayiotis Tachtsidis and goalkeeper Panayiotis Glykos, while leaving out forward Stefanos Athanasiadis and defender Avraam Papadopoulos. He also stressed the significance of utility players such as Loukas Vyntra and Costas Katsouranis.

The other five players to be left out from the 30-man provisional squad, besides Athanasiadis and Avraam Papadopoulos, were Alexandros Tzorvas, Nikos Karabelas, Costas Fortounis, Dimitris Papadopoulos and Nikos Karelis.

Santos will be deprived of Schalke’s central defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos due to injury.

Here is the full Greece squad for the 2014 World Cup:

Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis (Granada), Panayiotis Glykos (PAOK) and Stefanos Kapino (Panathinaikos)

Defenders: Costas Manolas, Jose Holebas (both Olympiakos), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Vangelis Moras (Verona), Giorgos Tzavellas (PAOK), Loukas Vyntra (Levante) and Vassilis Torosidis (Roma).

Midfielders: Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor), Andreas Samaris, Yiannis Maniatis (both Olympiakos), Costas Katsouranis (PAOK), Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham), Panayiotis Tachtsidis (Torino), Yiannis Fetfatzidis (Genoa), Lazaros Christodoulopoulos and Panayiotis Kone (both Bologna)

Strikers: Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK), Giorgos Samaras (Celtic), Costas Mitroglou (Fulham) and Fanis Gekas (Konyaspor).

Greece will face Colombia, Japan and the Ivory Coast, starting on June 14 against the South Americans.

“Vyntra and Katsouranis can also respond to the challenges of playing as central defenders,” said Santos in explaining why he has only chosen three central defenders. “This enhances the cohesion between the team’s lines, instead of just calling up some more defenders.” He also exalted the contribution of Samaris and Tachtsidis as utility men in the midfield.

The Portuguese manager further explained that should something happen to any of his 23 men he still has until June 2 to replace as many players as he likes, as that is the final deadline for the official squad.

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