SPORTS

Rehhagel returns for contract talks

With a little over two months remaining before Euro 2008’s kickoff, Greece coach Otto Rehhagel strongly suggested, during his team’s 2-1 win in a friendly international against Portugal on Wednesday night, that he will stick to tried and tested players come the moment of truth early in June. «This test helped us make some conclusions about the start of Euro 2008,» said Rehhagel, referring to Greece’s recent friendly games. «We are currently trying out our squad, which is not very big, and I hope that by the start of the tournament we will not have any injuries and, therefore, problems in getting the team together.» Rehhagel, who has been criticized in the past for not giving younger players a chance, defended his choice of squad. The 69-year-old, who has remained tight-lipped about his future plans following the Euro 2008 finals, where Greece will defend its European title, returned to Greece following Wednesday’s game, played in Dusseldorf, for talks tomorrow with Greek soccer federation chief Vassilis Gagatsis. Rehhagel disclosed the day of his meeting with Gagatsis yesterday during a promotional event featuring the Greek team’s sponsors. «There’s nothing to announce. I’m going to meet with Mr Gagatsis on Saturday when we will discuss the issue,» said Rehhagel. Following months of uncertainty regarding Rehhagel’s future after Euro 2008, the latest developments indicate that the German is likely to carry on and spearhead Greece’s efforts to reach the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Midfielder Giorgos Karagounis struck twice, curling in two 20-meter free kicks in the 33rd and 59th minutes, to lead Greece to its 2-1 win over Portugal. Greece’s opponent, without Deco, Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani and Jorge Andrade, pressured and were rewarded when striker Nuno Gomes tapped in after good work by substitute Hugo Almeida in the 75th minute to reduce the deficit.