NEWS

Greece ready to face Turks

The Greek national soccer team arrived in Istanbul yesterday ahead of its crucial World Cup qualifier against Turkey tonight, as fears about possible crowd trouble were played down by both sides. «We know about the atmosphere the Turks create at home but I hope there will no problems,» said Greek midfielder Giorgos Karagounis. Turkish coach Ersun Yanal said the game would be played in an atmosphere of «friendship.» There will be no Greek fans at the Inonu Stadium after both sides turned down allocations of away tickets for the games between the two teams. The Greek side was to visit the Ecumenical Patriarchate in Istanbul yesterday but canceled at the last minute. No reason was given. Greece is in second place in its qualifying group, two points ahead of Turkey but three behind leaders Ukraine. A defeat for either side would seriously dent their chances of reaching next year’s World Cup in Germany. «We will go into the game looking for a win but a draw will not be a bad result,» said Karagounis.