SPORTS

Santos tests defense and midfield

Greece coach Fernando Santos is preparing his team for the friendly with Canada at Larissa on February 9, but the federation is also preparing to honor former national manager Otto Rehhagel before the game’s kickoff.

Santos will be deprived of Olympiakos defender Avraam Papadopoulos who is injured, while Panathinaikos midfielder Costas Katsouranis is doubtful due to pains on his big toe.

The Portuguese will be focusing more on his defense and midfield, according to reports, although Greece’s next two games will be against Malta.

As for Greece’s opponent, Canada, Santos stated that »this is a fast team with two or three good players. This will be a good test for us.»

Yet the afternoon (kick off is at 5 p.m.) will be special for Santos’s predecessor on the Greece bench.

Rehhagel, who during his nine years at the helm led Greece to two European Championships, one World Cup, the first victory in a World Cup a few months ago and above all the triumph at Euro 2004, will receive a special award from the hands of Hellenic Football Federation president Sofoklis Pilavios in front of a full house at the AEL FC Arena.

Pilavios will deliver a small replica of the Parthenon to Rehhagel (the favorite landmark of the German coach), as well as a huge framed picture showing him celebrate the biggest moment in his career, lifting the European Championship trophy in Portugal.

The Greece players who were members of the Euro-2004-winning team and are still in the squad will also play a part in the ceremony.