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Super Moderator⭐
Staff member
Aug 13, 2008

Manager: Otto Rehhagel
Captain: Giorgos Karagounis
FIFA Ranking: 12
Group B

Background: This is only Greece's second World Cup, although a European Championships win and two other appearances often mask that. Before the appointment of Otto Rehhagel in 2001, Greece had only qualified for the European Championships once in 1980, and the World Cup once in 1994, in which they conceded ten goals in three games as they failed to qualify from the group. Since 2001, the appointment of Rehhagel and a complete change in style, they have won the European Championships in 2004, got to the second round in 2008 and qualified for the 2010 World Cup, after missing out in 2006.

Qualification: Greece made World Cup qualification a lot harder than it needed to be; having been drawn in an easy group, home and away defeats to Switzerland meant that the Swiss topped the group, leaving a two legged play-off against Ukraine the only method of qualifying for the Greeks. After a 0-0 draw in Athens, qualification looked even harder for the Greeks, who then had Dimitris Salpingidis to thank as his goal gave them a 0-1 win away in Donetsk, giving them qualification to this summer's World Cup in South Africa.

The Team
Strengths: Strangely, Greece's greatest strength results in the most criticism. A strong backline involving two big centre-backs and a holding midfielder results in a small amount of goals conceded. This "catenaccio" style of play also means that their biggest attacking threat is from set pieces, where Liverpool's Sotirios Kyrgiakos is a key threat.
Weaknesses: A lack of creativity could cost the Greeks in South Africa. Sotiris Ninis may solve that problem but without the creativity down the wing their biggest hope is to try and earn a set piece. A lack of midfielders may also cost the side as their last squad, for a friendly against Senegal, included only four midfielders but nine defenders and six strikers.
The Manager: Otto Rehhagel is likely to retire after this summers World Cup. The German acts as a real father figure to the Greek squad who all look up to him. He is known for taking a struggling side and winning trophies with underdog sides such as Greece in Euro 2004. One of the most popular managers ever to coach the Greek side, Rehhagel has secured qualification for three out of four major international tournaments under his tenure as Greece manager, since he took over in 2001.

Star Men: Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos)
The natural leader and stand out playmaker of the side, a strong central midfielder, Karagounis plays the holding midfield role of ball winner and then playmaker. His passing ability is one of Greece's biggest strengths and his tough, stubborn attitude makes him the kind of captain many managers desire. Having captained his side to the Greek double this year, the 33 year old will be determined in his last chance of repeating the glory of Euro 2004.
Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos)
Arguably the most talented player the Greeks have got, however, Otto Rehhagel doesn't trust him due to his temperamental attitude. Given only a few caps by the German manager, Ninis will undoubtedly be more heavily involved this summer and will use his skill to shine, most probably tempting a few of Europe's big names into a bid for the winger.

manor15's Prediction
Second Round. The Greeks have the quality and strength in depth that Nigeria and South Korea don't have. Their strong defence should also be able to cope with the skillful Koreans and the height of the Nigerians but their lack of creativity may see them fail to progress as far as the quarter-finals. The side will be up for it with the motivation of giving legendary coach Rehhagel his last hurrah but are unlikely to beat off tougher competition.