SPORTS

Lagos makes Greece squad for Malta

Panayiotis Lagos is making a return to the Greece squad for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Malta in Valletta on March 26 and the friendly against Poland three days later.

Coach Fernando Santos called up the winger on March 18 on the strength of his performance in the league and cup, along with another 18 players, a relatively small number, which indicates the Portuguese manager wishes to work with a smaller squad.

Lagos, 25, has already been capped eight times and his selection this time was also due to the fact that left-back Nikos Spyropoulos has been sidelined by injury.

First-choice goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis is also missing due to injury, along with midfielder Alexandros Tziolis.

The squad consists of the following players: goalkeepers Alexandros Tzorvas (Panathinaikos) and Costas Chalkias (PAOK); defenders Avraam Papadopoulos, Vassilis Torosidis (both Olympiakos), Loukas Vintra (Panathinaikos), Giorgos Tzavellas (Eintracht Frankfurt), Vangelis Moras (Bologna) and Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Milan); midfielders Costas Katsouranis, Giorgos Karagounis, Sotiris Ninis (all Panathinaikos), Yiannis Fetfatzidis (Olympiakos), Panayiotis Lagos, Pantelis Kafes (both AEK) and Panayiotis Kone (Brescia); and forwards Giorgos Samaras (Celtic), Costas Mitroglou (Panionios), Nikos Liberopoulos (AEK) and Dimitris Salpigidis (PAOK).

Asked whether he is worried about the incidents of violence in the domestic game, including clashes between national team players, Santos used a Portuguese proverb that always makes headlines in the Greek press: «Whoever is afraid should get a dog!”

“We are too busy with whatever is on the fringes of soccer, and not with soccer itself. I am not afraid, these things do not touch me. I am 100 percent certain about the players’ responsible character and whatever issue there might be in the atmosphere it will not affect the team,» said a confident Santos, who remains unbeaten on the Greece bench.