SPORTS

Greeks look to gatecrash hosts party again

Greece are confident they can repeat their effort of Euro 2004 and beat the hosts in their opening match when they take on co-hosts Poland in Friday’s Euro 2012 opener, said defender Giorgos Tzavellas.

The 24-year-old — who returned to German side Eintracht Frankfurt after French Ligue 2 outfit Monaco decided not to exercise their option to buy him outright after a loan spell — said he and his team-mates had nothing to fear from Poland, who are not as difficult an opponent by reputation than Portugal were in 2004.

“At this moment the only thing on our mind is the first match with Poland,» said Tzavellas. «The significance is the support from the veteran players.

“I believe with such a good atmosphere in the team we will achieve a lot. We don’t have anything to fear against Poland. The Poles will have the stress of the first match as they will be the home team.

“I believe we can repeat our effort of 2004 when we spoiled the opener for the home team. We respect every opponent in our group. We don’t fear anyone. They (Poland) will have the stress and we hope to be the ones to spoil their celebration.”

Tzavellas, who didn’t go so far as to say that like 2004 the Greeks would go on to win the title by beating the Portuguese in the final, said the team’s strengths were based round solid defense.

“Our strength is our defense, but the defense starts from the offense. All 11 of us play defense, from there we look on improving our attack.”

Tzavellas, who made his debut for Greece in 2010 after their first round exit at the World Cup, and his fellow defenders were boosted also by the news that Olympiakos defender Vasilis Torosidis trained with them having shrugged off an injury. [AFP]