World Cup campaign begins away

Greece will begin its qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup finals with two away games next September, against Luxembourg and Latvia, before playing its first home game against Moldova a month later, following a draw held yesterday in Zagreb, Croatia. The national soccer team, which has qualified for the World Cup finals just once before, will be eager to rake in maximum points from these early – and theoretically easy – games to set the pace for a solid campaign from there on. Now preparing to defend its European title at the Euro 2008 finals this summer following an impressive qualifying campaign that produced a 10-1-1 record, the Greek team is hoping that coach Otto Rehhagel will still be at the helm in its bid to reach the World Cup finals. Rehhagel’s contract expires at the end of Euro 2008, to be held in Austria and Switzerland in June, and he has yet to announce his plans. The Greek soccer federation’s chief Vassilis Gagatsis has made quite clear his interest in extending Rehhagel’s contract. The national team’s schedule for the 2010 World Cup qualifiers is as follows: September 6, 2008 – Luxembourg-Greece September 10, 2008 – Latvia-Greece October 11, 2008 – Greece-Moldova October 15, 2008 – Greece-Switzerland March 28, 2009 – Israel-Greece April 1, 2009 – Greece-Israel September 5, 2009 – Switzerland-Greece September 9, 2009 – Moldova-Greec October 10, 2009 – Greece-Latvia October 14, 2009 – Greece-Luxembourg. Greece will take part in a six-nation friendly tournament in Cyprus, beginning this weekend. It plays the Czech Republic on February 5 and Finland the following day.