SPORTS

Greece’s Euro 2004 team triumph in Portugal continues to make waves

Several months after its sensational triumph at Euro 2004 in Portugal, the national soccer team and its coach, Otto Rehhagel, are continuing to receive credit for the accomplishment. Five members of the Greek team were included in a list of candidates for «Team of the Year» by UEFA, soccer’s governing body in Europe, while Rehhagel is a candidate for the coaching prize. The team of the year and its coach will be determined by voting on UEFA’s official website (www.uefa.com). Results will be announced next month. A total of 60 players and coaches were nominated for the 12 positions. The five Greek candidates are goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis, three defenders, Traianos Dellas, Takis Fyssas, Yiourkas Seitaridis, and midfielder Theodoris Zagorakis. The nominees were selected by the site’s staff writers who cover soccer in all 52 UEFA-member associations on a daily basis. All players playing club-level soccer in Europe in 2004 were possible nominees. While the staff made the nominations, it is the fans who will decide on the composition of the «Team of the Year 2004.» Other nominees include: Paolo Maldini, Alessandro Nesta, John Terry, Steven Gerrard, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires, Pavel Nedved, Luis Figo, Christiano Ronaldo, Kaka, Deco, Frank Lampard, Adriano, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Fernando Morienetes, Milan Baros, Ruud Van Nistelrooij, Henrick Larsson, Andriy Shevchenko, Wayne Rooney, and Thierry Henry, and goalkeepers Gianluigi Buffon, Vitor Baia, Petr Cech and Iker Casillas. Last season,over 1.5 million votes were cast for the competition. The French duo Henry and Zinedine Zidane made it onto the team for the third year in succession. Other players who were on the 2003 team included Roberto Carlos, David Beckham, Van Nistelrooij, and Nesta. Jose Mourinho, who led Porto to the Champions League trophy before abruptly departing for Chelsea, was named the team of the year’s coach. The UEFA poll was initiated in 2001. In another end-of-year distinction for Greece earlier this week, Greek skipper Zagorakis ranked fifth in the Golden Ball Award, a prize for Europe’s best soccer player, conducted by journalists at France Football magazine. Three other Greeks, Dellas, Angelos Charisteas and Nikopolidis, received votes. AC Milan striker Shevchenko won the Golden Ball Award, edging out teammate Ronaldinho and Barcelona midfielder Deco. Arsenal and France striker Henry was fourth.