Greece squad returns to Karaiskaki

The national team will be returning to the Karaiskaki Stadium in Neo Faliro for its first three qualifying games for the European Championship in 2012. The Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) decided yesterday that Greece would host Georgia on September 3, then Latvia on October 8 and Israel on October 12 at the Olympiakos side’s home ground in the district of Neo Faliro. Originally the federation had considered returning to Iraklio and the Pankritio Stadium, but eventually the decision favored the Piraeus venue. Greece’s national side had stopped using the Karaiskaki Stadium after serious crowd trouble during the match with Turkey in March 2007. New coach Fernando Santos will sit on the Greek bench for the first time on August 11 for a friendly match against Serbia in Belgrade. EPO also announced another two friendlies for the new season, as Greece will face Austria on November 17 and Poland on March 29, 2011. Papastathopoulos to Milan? Greece central defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos is about to take a step up in his career, as AC Milan is reportedly courting him. The Genoa central defender is a target of the Italian giant, whose vice president and executive director, Adriano Galliani, stated yesterday to Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport that Papastathopoulos is on his way to the San Siro Stadium, Milan’s home ground. «Papastathopoulos is coming to Milan. His transfer is not complete but we are on the way there,» said President Silvio Berlusconi’s right-hand man, although there has also been some interest in the Greek international from fellow Campionato sides Inter and Lazio. Reports suggest that Papastathopoulos would soon be heading to Milan to sign a five-year contract that will earn him a reported 1.5 million euros a year. He is set to be officially presented by the «Rossoneri» next week.

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