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Soccer federation backs Rehhagel

Greece coach Otto Rehhagel has received the backing of the Greek Soccer Federation even though the European champions failed to qualify for next year’s World Cup finals in Germany. The federation’s president, Vassilis Gagatsis, said he thought Rehhagel would probably stay until the 2008 European Championship but that the German’s decision would not be known until November 20. «We all have faith in Rehhagel; he is the coach that can give more to this team and is the most reliable solution for us,» Gagatsis said in an interview published on the federation’s website. «Perhaps some people have a different opinion. At this moment, those who are making decisions at the federation believe that Otto is the one to lead the national team to the European Championship.» Rehhagel stunned the soccer world when he led an ill-favored Greek team to the Euro 2004 title in Portugal but the side missed out on the World Cup after finishing fourth in a strong group comprising Ukraine, Turkey and Denmark. That failure led to speculation that Rehhagel, who has a contract until the end of the year, might go. «He probably has not made his mind up yet,» said Gagatsis. «He would like to stay and that is the fans’ wish too. All the media, all the people, want Otto Rehhagel. I believe that this has made a difference to him. «In my opinion, he is going to stay, but that might change. I cannot confirm that he is staying with the same certainty I had after the European Championship.» (Reuters)