SPORTS

Greece looking for vital win

The national soccer team is preparing for one of the most crucial games in its campaign to reach the finals of the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament in South Africa, as it hosts Israel in Crete tomorrow evening. After its 1-1 in Israel, Greece can do with no less than all three points from the game at the Pankrition Stadium, as Switzerland is threatening to open a gap with the 2004 European Champions by beating Moldova at home. «When you are desperate for a victory it is a little harder, but there is also the home factor. This time we will have the fans on our side and we have to make the most of it,» said midfielder Giorgos Karagounis, who put on the captain’s armband in the second half at Ramat Gan when skipper Angelos Basinas was substituted. Defensive midfielder Costas Katsouranis returns from suspension and is likely to start alongside Basinas. Manager Otto Rehhagel faces no injury or suspension problems and will field the best possible lineup to grab the vital win. «The way things are, this match will be tougher,» said Greece’s goal scorer in Israel, Fanis Gekas. «But the pressure will be mostly on them as we will be playing at home and are still top of the group,» he added. Some 13,000 tickets for the game had already been sold by yesterday and the stadium is certain to be full to its capacity of 26,000 when the match kicks off at 9.30 p.m. tomorrow. In the Israel camp, coach Dror Kashtan is once again sweating over the fitness of captain Yossi Benayoun. The Liverpool midfielder was stretchered off on Saturday, but is likely to play tomorrow.