Six Greeks in line for prize

Six Greek players have been named in an initial list of 50 for the European Footballer of the Year award, sports daily L’Equipe reported on its website yesterday. The players Traianos Dellas, Angelos Charisteas, Michalis Kapsis, Antonis Nikopolidis, Yourkas Seitaridis and Theodoros Zagorakis are in line for the prestigious continental award after Greece made history with their Euro 2004 triumph in Portugal in June. Greece, who had never previously won a match at a major tournament, beat hosts Portugal 1-0 in the final to be crowned European champions. Three of the six Greek nominees, Dellas, Kapsis, and Seitaridis, all of whom play club-level soccer in major European leagues, were part of Greece’s seemingly impenetrable defense line in Portugal. Six French players, including Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane and the Arsenal duo Thierry Henry and Patrick Vieira, are also in the running for the award, along with seven Brazilians. The winner of the Golden Ball as the European Footballer of the Year is decided by a poll of European soccer journalists from 52 countries published by France Football magazine. The 2004 winner will be announced next month. Czech midfielder Pavel Nedved of Juventus won last year’s Golden Ball. (Reuters, Kathimerini)