Hangers-on kept at bay

Greece must defeat Armenia on Saturday if it is to advance to the finals of Euro 2004. The team’s veteran German coach, Otto Rehhagel, understands that the team must focus on the task at hand, with no distractions. He has managed to isolate the team from the usual crowd of officials and hangers-on that usually accompanies national teams abroad. The crowd of «other people,» including journalists, had to travel on a different flight and stay at a different hotel from the Greek squad. Rehhagel insisted, to the chagrin of many, that the only people accompanying the 20 players would be himself, his interpreter, the team doctor, two physiotherapists, two assistants, a cook and two representatives of the Greek Soccer Federation (EPO). «This is a great chance for Greek soccer, and we must not waste it,» said Paraskevas Antzas at the team’s departure from Athens yesterday. Antzas, along with Stelios Yiannakopoulos, is injured and listed as day-to-day. The doctor will inform Rehhagel over whether the two can play today or tomorrow, at the latest. Greece is leading its group, from which only the winner will advance directly to the finals in Portugal, with 12 points from six matches. Spain follows with 11 points, Ukraine with 9, Armenia with 4 and Northern Ireland with 2. The second-place team will play against a second-place team from another group. Greece started slowly, losing 2-0 to Spain at home and 2-0 away to Ukraine. It bounced back, however, beating Armenia 2-0 at home, Northern Ireland 2-0 away, Spain 1-0 away and Ukraine 1-0 at home. The final match is against Northern Ireland, at home, on October 11. Saturday’s match will be shown live by Alpha Channel (7 p.m.). The Greek squad members are: Goalkeepers: Fanis Kateryiannakis (Olympiakos), Antonis Nikopolidis (Panathinaikos). Defenders: Stelios Venetidis (Olympiakos), Paraskevas Antzas (Olympiakos), Takis Fyssas (Panathinaikos), Sotiris Kyrgiakos (Panathinaikos), Yourkas Seitaridis (Panathinaikos), Michalis Kapsis (AEK), Nikos Dabizas (Newcastle United, England), Traianos Dellas (AS Roma, Italy). Midfielders: Costas Katsouranis (AEK), Thodoris Zagorakis (AEK), Giorgos Georgiadis (Olympiakos), Pantelis Kafes (Olympiakos), Stelios Yiannakopoulos (Bolton, England), Giorgos Karagounis (Inter Milan, Italy), Angelos Basinas (Panathinaikos). Forwards: Angelos Charisteas (Werder Bremen, Germany), Zisis Vryzas (Perugia, Italy), Demis Nikolaidis (Atletico Madrid, Spain).

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