Greece (Group D)
|Costas Chalkias||Goalkeeper||Aris Salonika|
|Alexandros Tzorvas||Goalkeeper||OFI Crete|
|Giourkas Seitaridis||Defender||Atletico Madrid (Spain)|
|Traianos Dellas||Defender||AEK Athens|
|Sotiris Kyrgiakos||Defender||Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)|
|Angelos Basinas||Midfielder||Real Mallorca (Spain)|
|Stelios Giannakopoulos||Midfielder||Bolton (England)|
|Costas Katsouranis||Midfielder||Benfica (Portugal)|
|Giorgios Samaras||Forward||Celtic (Scotland)|
|Angelos Charisteas||Forward||Nuremberg (Germany)|
|Fanis Gekas||Forward||Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)|
|Yiannis Amanatidis||Forward||Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)|
|Nikos Liberopoulos||Forward||AEK Athens|
|Head Coach:||Otto Rehhagel|
Style of play: Don't expect coach Otto Rehhagel to abandon the defensive, counter-attacking style that he used to guide Greece to glory at Euro 2004. Greece played with a bit more attacking spirit in the qualifiers, but Rehhagel is expected use his trademark defensive 4-3-3 formation, with the emphasis on putting as many people behind the ball to defend when they are not in possession. Greece tries to wear teams down and waits for them to make a mistake, and whey they do they quickly launch a counter-attack, especially down the wings. Left midfielder Giorgos Karagounis acts as the creative fulcrum, supported by a defensive midfielder (Angelos Basinas) and Costas Katsouranis on the right. Forward Theofanis Gekas will lead the line up front, relying on service from the midfielders, and will be supported by Angelos Charisteas and Yiannis Amanatidis, who play just behind him. Also look for Greece to try to earn free kicks around the penalty box so they can make use of their expertise in set-piece situations.
Probable starting formation (4-3-3): (GK) Nikopolidis - (D) Torosidis, Dellas, Kyrgiakos, Seitaridis - (M) Karagounis, Basinas, Katsouranis - (F) Amanatidis, Gekas, Charisteas
Defence – Much like the 2004 side, this year's team was built on the foundation of a solid defence. The Greeks conceded only 10 goals in the qualifiers (four of them came in one game against Turkey), so opposing teams can expect to have a tough time scoring on them. Greece plays an intelligent, defensive game, taking few chances.
Coaching – In Otto Rehhagel, Greece has one of the most astute and crafty coaches in international soccer. He took over the Greek national team shortly after it failed to qualify for the 2002 World Cup and led them to glory at Euro 2004. Noted for challenging and getting the most out of his players, and instilling a sense of discipline.
Confidence – Greece comes into this year's tournament riding high after a very successful qualifying campaign (they finished with 31 points – more than any other team in qualifying) and won 10 of 12 games and only lost once. What's more, the Greeks are filled with self-belief after their stunning victory at Euro 2004 when they upset some of the best teams in the world (France, Portugal and Czech Republic) to win the title.
Lack of midfield creativity – Greece has a dearth of battling midfielders, but is dangerously short of influential playmakers. Georgios Karagounis can fill the role of creator, but after him, Greece's playmaking options in midfield options are pretty slim.
One-dimensional – Greece's one-dimensional style of play – soaking up the opponent's pressure and waiting for them to make a mistake before hitting back on the counter-attack – is terribly predictable. Greece will be in a world of trouble if opposing teams ever take a lead on them, as it will force the Greeks into abandoning their conservative approach and take more chances, leaving them vulnerable at the back.
Not enough new faces – Aside from former captain Theodoros Zagorakis (retired), Greece features more then a dozen players who played on the Euro 2004 team. While having a solid nuclease of experienced players is important, so is introducing new blood and Rehhagel has been hesitant to give young players a chance – even though Greece's under-19 team reached the final of last year's European championship.
Players to watch
Theofanis Gekas – Greece's top scorer in the qualifiers with five goals, Gekas is a traditional goalmouth predator, using insightful runs and physical style to get the better of defenders. Although he's right-footed, he can score with either foot and is also adept at scoring with his head. He's one of the German league's top scorers the past two seasons with Bayer Leverkusen.
Giorgos Karagounis – One of Greece's most gifted players, and a team leader thanks to his rugged style of play in midfield, deft touch on the ball and powerful shot. Karagounis is a midfield workhorse, running himself silly all over the field, and was a key player for Greece four years ago in Portugal.
Sotirios Kyrgiakos – The heart and soul of the Greek defence. The central defender makes up for his lack of speed with his power and strength, aerial ability, ruthless tackling skills and fearlessness. He's also a scoring threat from set pieces, possessing a powerful shot that makes goalkeepers cringe in fear.
Key injuries/sqaud omissions: Greece coach Otto Rehhagel cut central defender Socratis Papastathopoulos from his provisional squad. Rehhagel also overlooked two talented youngsters: 18-year-old midfielder Sotiris Ninis and 19-year-old defender Socratis Papastathopoulos. Captain Angelos Basinas is carrying an ankle injury.
Road to Euro 2008
1st round matches:
June 10 vs. Sweden (Salzburg)
June 14 vs. Russia (Salzburg)
June 18 vs. Spain (Innsbruck)
Euro 2008 qualification route
Finished first in qualifying Group 3 (31 points) ahead of second-place Turkey (24 points).
Record in qualifying: 10 wins, 1 draw, 1 loss
Goals for: 25
Goals against: 10
Top goal-scorer in qualifying: Theofanis Gekas (5)
09.02.2006: Greece 1 - Moldova 0
10.07.2006: Greece 1 - Norway 0
10.11.2006: Greece 4 - Bosnia-Herzegovina 0
03.24.2007: Greece 1 - Turkey 4
03.28.2007: Greece 1 - Malta 0
06.02.2007: Greece 2 - Hungary 0
06.06.2007: Greece 2 - Moldova 1
09.12.2007: Greece 2 - Norway 2
10.13.2007: Greece 3 - Bosnia-Herzegovina 2
10.17.2007: Greece 1 - Turkey 0
11.17.2007: Greece 5 - Malta 0
11.21.2007: Greece 2 - Hungary 1
Number of Previous Euro Appearances: 2
All-time record: 9 GP - 4 W, 2 T, 3 L
Goals for: 8
Goals against: 8
Most goals: Angelos Charisteas (3)
Most appearances: Eight players tied at 6
Biggest win: 2-1 vs. Portugal in 2004
Biggest loss: 1-3 vs. Czechoslovakia in 1980
1960 - did not qualify
1964 - did not compete in tournament
1964 to 1976 - did not qualify
1980 - first round
1984 to 2000 - did not qualify
2004 - CHAMPIONS
Legends from the past
Anthimos Kapsis: Panathinaikos legend who led the Athens side to the 1971 European Cup final, a 2-0 loss to Ajax.
Mimis Domazos: Greek midfielder who was the backbone of the national team during the 1960s and 1970s.