Spyropoulos, Athanasiadis ruled out for Greece

Injuries suffered by left-back Nikos Spyropoulos and striker Stefanos Athanasiadis have ruled them out of the games with Israel and Latvia next month, as Greece began training on August 29 for the two crucial Euro 2012 qualifiers.

Coach Fernando Santos resorted to bringing in Giorgos Tzavellas of Eintracht Frankfurt and Giannis Zaradoukas of Olympiakos Volou, both of them as replacements for Spyropoulos, and PAOK’s Giorgos Georgiadis to replace Athanasiadis.

Greece had its first training session in Athens on Monday ahead of the games in Tel Aviv on September 2 and in Riga on September 6.

Experienced midfielder Costas Katsouranis warned about the match at Israel, which kicks off at 3.05 p.m. local time, saying that «it will be difficult in the afternoon heat in Israel. It is so humid! When you play there it is as if someone is pulling you back.»

Katsouranis was there in mid-August with Panathinaikos, when the Greens faced Maccabi Tel Aviv. On Monday he stressed the significance that the game with Israel has for Greece.

“We will do all we can to get the result we want, and that is victory, although a draw would not be so bad either. We will work all week long and it is important for us to stay fresh in order to have all the strength required for the game,» Katsouranis said.