Greece’s under-23s take on Turkey for place in final

The national under-23s team has been drawn against Turkey in two home-and-away playoffs next month for a place at next year’s Under-23 European Soccer Finals. Greece, which ended second in its qualifying group behind England, will meet Turkey, the winner in its group. Pairs of group winners and second-placed sides have been drawn to play for their finals berths, with the former given the advantage of playing their return legs at home. We can qualify. Turkey may have ended first in its group, but it, too, faced difficulties. No matter who the opponent was, it would be difficult, said the Greek team’s coach, Andreas Michalopoulos. I believe the hostilities of the past will be forgotten, and am certain that the only thing to separate us will be the 180 minutes of [total] playing time, he added. Ironically, numerous previous draws have prevented Greek-Turkish clashes in international soccer competition. But the two countries will now face each other, at under-23 level, at a time when Greek-Turkish political ties have shown signs of improvement. Reflecting this, the Greek and Turkish soccer federations recently submitted a joint bid to co-host the Euro 2008 finals. Details concerning the Greek-Turkish clash have not been finalized. Greek officials have yet to declare their city of choice for the first leg, to be played either on November 10 or 11. The northwestern city of Ioannina and Iraklion, Crete, are both being considered. Just several days later, either on November 13 or 14, the two sides will meet again for the decider, possibly in Izmir. Van Nistelrooy had been alone up front until Veron was substituted for Cole. His presence made an immediate impact. With Eleftheropoulous off his line, van Nistelrooy passed to Cole, who scored. United last won an away game 10 months ago, when it beat Austria’s Sturm Graz 2-0. The game was postponed from September 12 out of respect for those who died in the attacks on the United States the day before.

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