SPORTS

Greece has work cut out after Belgium draw

Greece drew 1-1 in a friendly match against Belgium at Iraklio on Wednesday and showed it still has plenty of work to do to gear up for the Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine in June.

Coach Fernando Santos said after the game in rainy Crete that there were many things in Greece?s game he did not like, and he was probably referring both to the poor defending at times and the insufficient creativity in the midfield.

The Greeks needed to gain a numerical advantage in the 62nd minute, with the straight red card to Nicolas Lombaerts, in order to start playing a more creative game, aided also by the introduction of some more prolific midfielders.

In one of its few good moves in the game, the Greek team opened the score in the ninth minute as Dimitris Salpigidis paired up with Fanis Gekas to make the most of a Belgian error in defense. Gekas slid the ball inside the area to the PAOK striker and he beat the Belgium keeper in style.

The Greek lead lasted for just 23 minutes. Nacer Chadli headed in the equalizer in the 32nd minute as the Greek defense did nothing to stem the danger from a corner kick from the left.

Three minutes later Greece was spared a second goal as Thomas Vermaelen broke free with only debutant keeper Orestis Karnezis to beat, but the Arsenal star failed to make the target.

In the second half the Belgians were more threatening up to the moment they were left with 10 men, with Greece taking over after the 70th minute. However the second goal never came for the hosts, who completed one of their worst games under Santos.

The Portuguese manager started the game with Orestis Karnezis, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Avraam Papadopoulos, Vassilis Torosidis, Jose Holebas, Giorgos Fotakis, Yiannis Maniatis, Costas Katsouranis, Dimitris Salpigidis, Fanis Gekas and Giorgos Samaras.

In the second half he also introduced Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Lazaros Christodoulopoulos, Giorgos Karagounis, Costas Fortounis, Stefanos Athanasiadis and Yiannis Fetfatzidis.