Rehhagel set to stay despite Greece’s failure in Euro 2008

The demise of the European soccer champions was more arduous than anyone in Greece had feared, as coach Otto Rehhagel’s team was not only eliminated in the first round of Euro 2008, but it is also the only team not to have scored any goals yet at the European Championships. Sitting at the bottom of Group D, Greece has no points from two games, staging one of the worst performances of any cup holders in the history of the competition. Expectations were never high, but Greek fans who traveled to Austria, as well as those watching back home, appear let down by the team they adored four years ago in Portugal. Russia’s 1-0 win over Greece on Saturday came after the 2-0 loss to Sweden last Tuesday, which means Greece is out of the competition and tomorrow it will face Spain with only prestige at stake. It was confirmed yesterday that Rehhagel is not to be replaced because of the Euro 2008 failure. Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) President Vassilis Gagatsis stressed yesterday: «We are continuing together up to 2010. It is very easy to change your coach, but it is the support and the constant trust that have kept this team together. In our country, we often tend to forget about everything. Rehhagel is the architect of the biggest success in Greek sports.» On Sunday, Antonis Nikopolidis and Paraskevas Antzas announced their retirement from the international game. «Time flies for everyone and I feel the time is right for me now to step down,» said the 37-year-old Nikopolidis. The Olympiakos keeper, however, insisted that the announcement had nothing to do with his mistake on Saturday which allowed Konstatin Zyryanov to score the only goal in Russia’s 1-0 victory. «I decided long ago that I would retire after this tournament,» he said. Teammate Antzas, 32, gave no reason for his decision.