SPORTS

One more dull Greece display

Greece put on another disappointing display on March 29 in a friendly match against Poland in Piraeus, but the scoreless draw between the two teams extended the national squad’s unbeaten record with Fernando Santos on the bench.

Fielding a changed lineup to that which took to the pitch three days earlier on Malta, Greece only managed to produce short spells of good soccer, particularly in the last quarter of the first half, against a composed side that probably deserved to score more than the Greeks at the Karaiskaki Stadium.

Once again Greece had a rather dull performance, just like during its 1-0 win on Malta, showing that although the team is competent in defense, its creative aspect leaves much to be desired.

In his ninth game without defeat on the Greece bench, Santos fielded eight players who did not start the match at Valletta. He opted for goalkeeper Costas Chalkias, who deprived the Poles of a certain goal two minutes into the second half.

In defense Santos fielded Avraam Papadopoulos, probably Greece’s best player on the night, and an efficient Vangelis Moras in the center, flanked by a rather nervous Panayiotis Lagos and Loukas Vintra, who missed Greece’s best second-half chance during injury time.

Skipper Giorgos Karagounis and Pantelis Kafes manned the midfield behind Panayiotis Kone, who played a good 67 minutes as a playmaker before being substituted.

Giorgos Samaras, Yiannis Fetfatzidis and Costas Mitroglou should have done better in attack, with Mitroglou wasting a glorious chance to score a minute before halftime from a Kone through ball.

Substitutes Sotiris Ninis, Nikos Liberopoulos, Costas Katsouranis, Vassilis Torosidis and Dimitris Salpigidis did not really help Greece improve in the latter part of the second half.

Santos voiced his disappointment with certain players? lack of teamwork: «Some of the players should have more of a team feeling and not put their egos on top,» he said in the press conference after the friendly.

Asked whether he was referring to Fetfatzidis, Santos said: «I’m referring to him as well as others. Some players used dribbling as their first choice excessively. Dribbling is OK, but as everything in life it should not be excessive.

“Maybe some of the younger players are nervous, they want to show their coach more. We should have confidence in their abilities as they form part of the national team, too, and they are the future.”

Former Olympiakos defender Michal Zewlakow played his 101st and last game with Poland and received a warm applause from the fans at the Karaiskaki Stadium. He also received a commemorative golden shoe from Olympiakos president Vangelis Marinakis.

Greece’s next game is against Malta at home in June, for the Euro 2012 qualifiers.