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Euro 2012: spotlight on Greece

  • 06 June 2012 14:43
  • Posted by Mark Booth

Surely they won't be able to stage a repeat of their 2004 heroics but Greece aren't to be taken lightly...

Memories of Greece’s staggering triumph in Euro 2004 are still fresh for inhabitants of a country that needs its football team to give it another lift this summer.

Greece’s 2-0 win over Croatia in qualifying will give the team plenty of confidence going into the summer but they’ll need to hit the ground running in their first match against co-hosts Poland.

The City connection: Georgios Samaras

Georgios Samaras was signed by Stuart Pearce from Heerenveen in 2005 but, despite a promising first few weeks, the forward struggled to adapt to the physicality of the Premier League in his two-year spell.

There were flickers of inspiration to justify his £6m price tag, including an eye-catching brace in the 2-0 win over West Ham in September 2007. His second goal was particularly good - a stunning 25-yard volley.

It was the highlight of a mixed City career and he now plays for Celtic where he won the league title last season.

Georgios Samaras ex city striker

The Boss: Fernando Santos

Santos raised some eyebrows with his selection for this, his first major tournament as Greece coach.

Including 36-year old striker Nikos Liberopoulos ahead of the 23-year old PAOK forward Stefanos Athanasiadis was the biggest shock but the former AEK Athens supremo has opted for youth in other areas of his squad.

Greece coach Fernando Santos

One to watch: Sotoris Ninis

Anyone who has been dubbed “the Greek Messi” will already know a thing or two about handling pressure but 22-year old Sotiris Ninis has produced plenty in the Greece shirt to convince supporters he’s ready to carry his nation’s hopes.

Ninis became his country’s youngest-ever scorer in 2008, five-minutes after coming off the bench against Cyprus.

Sotiris Ninis greece and panathanaikos

Key man: Kostas Katsouranis

Greece’s experienced Panathanaikos midfielder Kostas Katsouranis is a surviving member of the 2004 title-winning team and he’s keeping both feet on the ground ahead of the tournament:

"Our goal is to advance from the group stage and we will do everything to make sure this happens. We want this because Greek fans love and support this team," said the 32-year old.

Odds via Paddy Power: 80/1

Full squad: 

Goalkeepers: Costas Chalkias (PAOK), Michalis Sifakis (Aris), Alexandros Tzorvas (Palermo)

Defenders: Vassilis Torosidis (Olympiakos), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Werder Bremen), Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiakos), Jose Holebas (Olympiakos), Stelios Malezas (PAOK), Giorgos Tzavelas (Monaco), Yiannis Maniatis (Olympiakos), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Schalke). 

Midfielders: Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos), Costas Katsouranis (Panathinaikos), Giorgos Fotakis (PAOK), Costas Fortounis (Kaiserslautern), Yiannis Fetfatzidis (Olympiakos), Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos), Grigoris Makos (AEK Athens). 

Forwards: Georgios Samaras (Celtic), Dimitris Salpigidis (PAOK), Costas Mitroglou (Atromitos), Nikos Lymberopoulos (AEK Athens), Fanis Gekas (Samsunspor).

Next up: in the final installment of our Euro 2012 previews, we look at Mario Balotelli and weigh up his nation's chances. 

Come along and enjoy Euro 2012 at City Square, the only outdoor venue in Manchester showing the England matches.

We are kicking off with England’s opening match against France on June 11, with City Square open from 2:30pm. There will be free giveaways from the CityStore and EA, parking is free and The Summerbee Bar, Blue Moon Café and Star Bar will all be open.

Tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £3 for kids and are available now from the box office - advance purchase only.

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