Star striker likely to miss opener

Striker Demis Nikolaidis is doubtful for Greece’s opening Euro 2004 match against hosts Portugal on Saturday in the northern city of Oporto. But defenders Giourkas Seitaridis and Nikos Dabizas and midfielder Nikos Karagounis are back in training. Greek team officials said Nikolaidis might not resume training before tomorrow, which could force coach Otto Rehhagel to play Zisis Vrysas and Angelos Haristeas up front. Captain Theodoros Zagorakis said: «We can promise that we will give it everything we’ve got. We will exceed our limitations if we have to so that we don’t let [the fans] down.» Midfielder Vassilis Tsiartas added: «We came here to win three matches. We want to grab three points against Portugal, Spain and Russia.» Rehhagel, who guided Greece to their first European finals in 24 years, warned his rivals not to write off his underdogs. «We have nothing to lose,» he said. In the opposition camp, Portugal’s star midfielder Luis Figo missed a morning training session yesterday because of a light leg muscle strain, Lisbon’s private radio TSF reported. The 31-year-old Real Madrid player was confined to the gym at Portugal’s training camp at Alcochete, some 25 kilometers (15 miles) east of Lisbon, but was expected to join the squad later in the day, the station said, citing a team spokesman. Portugal, in Group A alongside Greece, Russia and Spain, were training for the first time since their 4-1 win over Lithuania in their final warmup game for the 16-nation tournament. On a lighter note, Figo’s teammate, Portuguese winger Simao Sabrosa, commenting from the squad’s isolated training camp, told A Bola sports newspaper yesterday that going without sex during Euro 2004 was no big deal and could mean a winning team. «You can take it, it’s really nothing extraordinary,» Sabrosa told the newspaper. «If we had to stay here a month – and that would be great because it would be a sign we were in the finals – nobody would be desperate. No, we wouldn’t really need any counseling,» the 24-year-old said. Sabrosa, married with two children, has been at the training camp since he was named in the Portuguese squad on May 18. (AFP, Reuters)