Greece's Rehhagel sticks with favourites
AEK Athens midfielder Grigoris Makos and Panionios defender Giorgos Tzavelas were dropped without surprise for Greece's final World Cup squad on Tuesday.
Coach Otto Rehhagel had faced several injury problems, with the biggest scare coming from key defender Vassilis Torosidis. But Torosidis recovered from a left ankle injury and rejoined training last week at Greece's camp at Bad Ragaz, Switzerland.
Torosidis will team up with Liverpool defender Sotiris Kyrgiakos, while Giourkas Seitaridis of Panathinaikos also kept his place at the back despite having an injury-plagued season.
Speaking before the selection was announced, Seitaridis said Greece was good enough to make it out of World Cup Group B with Argentina. South Korea and Nigeria.
"Apart from Argentina, the group is wide open," he said. "If we start with a win (against South Korea) then it'll all go well … it'll be a tough game for us and for them."
Rehhagel, who often fields defensive lineups, guided Greece to stunning victory at the 2004 European Championship. But the Greeks suffered three straight defeats four years later at the tournament hosted by Austria and Switzerland.
Sotiris Ninis, the 19-year-old midfielder, is one of several younger players that could provide the Greeks with some speed against pacey opponents like Nigeria and the Koreans.
Newly signed Eintracht Frankfurt forward Fanis Gekas, nursing a right knee injury, will miss Wednesday's friendly against Paraguay near Bad Ragaz, leaving striking duties to Georgios Samaras, who scored 17 times for Celtic this season. Defender Vangelis Moras is also out for Wednesday's game with a calf strain.
Goalkeepers: Alexandros Tzorvas (Panathinaikos), Michalis Sifakis (Aris), Costas Chalkias (PAOK).
Defenders: Stelios Malezas (PAOK), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Genoa), Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiakos), Vangelis Moras (Bologna), Sotiris Kyrgiakos (Liverpool), Loukas Vyntra (Panathinaikos), Giourkas Seitaridis (Panathinaikos), Vassilis Torosidis (Olympiakos), Nikos Spiropoulos (Panathinaikos),
Midfielders: Costas Katsouranis (Panathinaikos), Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos), Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos), Christos Patsatzoglou (Omonia), Thanassis Prittas (Aris), Alexandros Tziolis (Siena).
Strikers: Dimitris Salpingidis (Panathinaikos), Georgios Samaras (Celtic), Angelos Charisteas (Nuremberg), Pantelis Kapetanos (Steaua Bucharest), Fanis Gekas (Eintracht Frankfurt).