Monday December 22, 2014 Search
Weather | Athens
17o C
10o C
News
Business
Comment
Life
Sports
Community
Survival Guide
Greek Edition
Santos seeks World Cup farewell gift for Greeks

Greece will create a little bit of history in Brazil in June and reach the World Cup knockout stages for the first time coach Fernando Santos has confidently predicted.

The 59-year-old is stepping down after the finals but he is so confident his solid but no frills side will get through Group C - against Colombia, Ivory Coast and Japan - that he says his contract will have to be extended as the knockout phase takes place after his present one finishes on June 30.

Santos, who guided Greece to the 2012 European Championships quarterfinals, is supremely confident in his players.

"They will give their all in the World Cup so that our parting will be the best possible. That's my intention as well, he told UEFA.com in March.

"My only aim is to see Greece qualify for the World Cup knockout phase and I will do everything in my power to achieve that and make Greek fans happy."

However, immediately after he made the prediction Greece lost 2-0 to fellow World Cup qualifiers South Korea in a friendly.

It was a rare reverse for Greece under Santos, whose overall record reads better than Otto Rehhagel, the veteran German who coached it to the 2004 European Championship title, where it beat host Portugal - with the talents of Luis Figo and a teenage Cristiano Ronaldo - in the final.

Aside from guiding Greece to a national record 17 straight games without a loss, beginning with his first game in charge in August 2010 and ended by Romania in November 2011, he has seen his team win 24 and lose just five times in 42 matches.

However, while those statistics are impressive Santos faces problems as his goalshy strike force was the reason Greece failed to top its qualifying group, finishing level on points with Bosnia but with a far inferior goal difference.

The Greeks scored just 12 times in their 10 games, the Bosnians 30. Encouragingly for Santos, the defense, superbly marshalled by German-born Jose Holebas, conceded only four goals.

His options up front are not plentiful with the veteran Giorgos Samaras, who has found the net just eight times in 71 matches, and 26-year-old Costas Mitroglou's 12 million pound move to Fulham from Olympiakos in January turned into an unmitigated disaster as he was rarely used and the club was relegated from the Premier League which has left him short of confidence.

Creativity too is a major headache for Santos, although that has never been the Greeks' strength, and it says a lot that their playmaker remains midfielder Giorgos Karagounis, the record caps holder with 132 and a member of the Euro 2004 winning squad, although he missed the final because he was suspended.

While he has only accrued 10 goals in his international career, his goals are usually important ones, scoring their first goal in the Euro 2004 finals and the goal that beat Russia in the Euro 2012 group game. He was subsequently booked meaning he would miss the quarterfinal and the 37-year-old's emotional reaction to that was one of the iconic images of the finals.

Karagounis admits that with Colombia likely to be without leading striker Radamel Falcao Greek fans will be expecting the team to progress, and as he told Sky Sports he and his team-mates have rarely failed their supporters over the past decade.

"Yes, the expectations were increased and, considering that, we have been able to play at that for the past decade."

[AFP]

ekathimerini.com , Tuesday May 13, 2014 (20:26)  
Special day for Abidal, lucky one for PAOK
Explosive Barca unfazed by Panathinaikos, bomb scare
Abidal cuts short playing career at Olympiakos
PAOK loss at Giannina brings Olympiakos to within a point
Greek PM offers compromise solution with elections by end-2015
Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on Sunday presented a compromise solution to end a political stalemate that looks likely to send Greece to early general elections in about a month's time. Spe...
Environment Ministry to reconsider controversial bill
The government over the weekend appeared to backpedal on proposed amendments widely seen as compromising legislation protecting Greek forests as well as Plaka, Athenss old quarter. The bill...
Inside News
Political saga is harming liquidity
Greece is likely to hold snap elections in early February, extending the period of political uncertainty for another month-and-a-half, if not more. This will have economic consequences, perh...
Bad timing for tenders as oil rates decline
The first major opening of the domestic hydrocarbon market happens to have coincided with the unexpected and rapid decline in global oil prices. This has raised concerns in the Energy Minist...
Inside Business
INTERVIEW
Crisis of confidence will come back again and again, says Thomas Piketty
Hes treated like a rock star wherever he goes to lecture. His book Capital in the 21st Century, a study on income and wealth inequality from the 18th century to the present, recently tran...
COMMENTARY
Who lost Greece
If Greece collapses much will be said about where the fault lies. Sure, we all know the failings of Greek politicians. That said, much of the blame lies with outsiders who pushed Greece beyo...
Inside Comment
SPONSORED LINK: FinanzNachrichten.de
SPONSORED LINK: BestPrice.gr
RECENT NEWS
1. Special day for Abidal, lucky one for PAOK
2. Political saga is harming liquidity
3. Bad timing for tenders as oil rates decline
4. Tax exemptions deprive state budget of over 3.5 bln euros
5. Teiresias to track letters of guarantee
6. Agenda
more news
Today
This Week
1. Greek PM offers compromise solution with elections by end-2015
2. Who lost Greece
3. Crisis of confidence will come back again and again, says Thomas Piketty
4. Snubbing the moderates
5. Agenda
6. Bad timing for tenders as oil rates decline
Today
This Week
1. Samaras summons bond vigilantes with euro exit talk
2. A friendly yet firm message from Pierre Moscovici
3. Europe's drama in Greece needs final act to avoid tragedy
4. High stakes
5. On the edge but not gutless
6. Girl, aged 11, gives birth on Crete
Find us ...
... on
Twitter
... on Facebook
About us  |  Subscriptions  |  Advertising  |  Contact us  |  Athens Plus  |  RSS  |   
Copyright 2014, H KAΘHMEPINH All Rights Reserved.