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Greece prepares for grinding game against defensive Sweden

Greece prepares for grinding game against defensive Sweden

Greece isn't expecting any fancy play when it faces Sweden on Tuesday at the European Championship.
Coach Otto Rehhagel signaled his team would rely on a sturdy defense in its Group D opener, with the two sides expected to play a physical game. Rehhagel contrasted his plans to Poland's 2-0 loss to Germany on Sunday.
"We won't play like Poland and leave 30-meter (yard) gaps at the back, thanking the opponents' striker as he passes to score," Rehhagel said. "If it's modern football to play the offside trap, then it's also modern football to lose 2-0."
Rehhagel said playmaker Giorgos Karagounis, who is recovering from a knee injury, was fit to play but added that reserve goalkeeper Costas Chalkias had hurt his hand in training.
"There's no fitness problem, and I'm very happy about that," said the German coach, who stunned the football world four years ago when Greece beat Portugal in the final to win the Euro 2004 title.
It was unclear whether Rehhagel would stick to his 4-3-3 playing formation preferred during European qualifiers, or return to the more conservative lineup that brought him success at the European Championship four years ago.
He said Greece _ and all other teams _ would need a bit of luck to advance beyond the group stage.
"We'll try and employ our advantages in the match. But football's an open game these days _ we know them well, and they know us ... Of course I'm not going to tell you what my plans for the game are," Rehhagel said. "But it's the unforeseen factors that so often turn a game. A meter either way can make all the difference.
"Players are not laptops, they make mistakes."
Greece players have said their aim is to reach the quarterfinals, qualifying from the group that also includes Spain and Russia. But Rehhagel said he was simply satisfied to reach Euro 2008.
"We missed qualifying for the 2006 World Cup, so our aim was just to get here," the 69-year-old coach said. "Of course we are outsiders."


Updated : 2021-04-18 02:40 GMT+08:00