SPORTS

Rehhagel calls for more fans at games

National soccer team coach Otto Rehhagel has called on Greek supporters to get behind their team ahead of next week’s friendly match with Sweden, after less than 1,000 spectators watched their last game. «We need the support of the fans. I don’t want to see what we saw in the last two friendly matches against Estonia and Cyprus, where attendance was minimal,» the German coach said on Monday. Less than 1,000 turned out for Greece’s last home game when they lost a friendly scramble against Cyprus. Rehhagel billed the February 13 match against World Cup finalists Sweden as the beginning of Greece’s preparations for Euro 2004. «This match is the opening of our preparations for European Championship qualifiers next September,» he said. Rehhagel’s team followed their impressive 2-2 draw against England in their final World Cup qualifier with a 4-1 drubbing of Estonia, but the November loss to Cyprus came as a major disappointment. The former Werder Bremen and Kaiserslautern manager has made few changes from his last squad, recalling under-21 internationals Sotiris Kyryiakos and Yourkas Seitaridis from Panathinaikos, and Christos Patsatzoglou from Olympiakos. PAOK’s impressive league form, which has seen them climb to third in the table, was recognized with four call-ups, while Hertha Berlin’s Costas Constantinidis is out with an injury.