SPORTS

Greek players must put defeat behind them, Rehhagel says

Greece manager Otto Rehhagel called on his players yesterday to forget about the match with South Korea and look ahead to the next games. In his speech to the Greek squad a day after its defeat in Port Elizabeth, the German gaffer tried to lift the players’ spirit. «We have to look ahead. We should leave the game with South Korea behind. We must correct ourselves and perform significantly better against Nigeria [on Thursday], going for victory,» said Rehhagel. There was better news from Vangelis Moras, who had full training with the rest of the squad yesterday and will be available for selection for Thursday’s game at Bloemfontein. There is plenty more work to be done to improve the Greece camp’s negative atmosphere, illustrated by captain Giorgos Karagounis’s statement right after Saturday’s game. The 33-year-old midfielder voiced his discontent with Rehhagel for the fact that the coach replaced him at half-time, saying: «Any player who is substituted has the right to feel sorrow. As soon as the World Cup ends, I will speak about Rehhagel and his choices.» In his post-match press conference, Rehhagel said he substituted Karagounis because «he was not who he was supposed to be» in the first 45 minutes. Some foreign media branded Greece the worst team ever in the World Cup finals, after four losses and no goals scored, but goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas said yesterday the criticism leveled on the national team is exaggerated: «Soccer is a sport where errors are regularly committed. We have to look at the whole effort to see in general what has not gone right.»