Greece, France face friendly

In its latest challenge, this time on a friendly basis, Greece takes on France, the runner-up at last summer’s World Cup, tonight at the Stade de France, in Paris. The game, which starts at 10 p.m., will be televised live by Skai television. Last time the two sides met, Greece stunned both France and the entire sporting world by beating its star-studded opponent 1-0 in the quarterfinals at Euro 2004 before going on to take the title. Despite being a friendly, tonight’s game in Paris should be no dull affair. The French soccer federation will commemorate its national squad for its World and European titles in 1998 and 2000 respectively. French superstar Zinedine Zidane, who retired following last summer’s World Cup final, will also be honored for his outstanding 108-game career with the national team. For Greece, tonight’s game, against one of the world’s leading teams, should prove a useful test of the squad’s current standing. Following its failure to qualify for last summer’s World Cup finals as the reigning European champion, Greece has made a bright start to its campaign for a berth at Euro 2008 with three wins from as many games in Group C, all over the past couple of months. «I believe this will be a quality game. We’re up against one of the world’s best teams – a World Cup finalist. We’re going to have to play particularly well to manage here,» said Greece coach Otto Rehhagel. «We’ve selected all available players in order to bolster the team’s spirit and be as best prepared for [the next round of] official competition in March.» Greece, which could be without stylish defender Yiourkas Seitaridis tonight because of injury, takes on Turkey in Athens on March 24 in its next Euro 2008 qualifier. They share top spot with nine points from three games in Group C, three points ahead of Norway. The winner and runner-up of the seven-team group qualify for the finals. As for France’s Euro 2008 campaign, it shares Group B’s top spot with Scotland. Both have accumulated nine points from four games. World Champion Italy lies third, two points behind.

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