Greece have named a provisional 25-man squad for Euro 2012 and manager Fernando Santos has certainly gone for experience ahead of the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
One of the stand-out names on the list is that of 36-year-old striker Nikos Liberopoulos. The veteran has had a fantastic season with AEK Athens to earn a call-up despite only featuring twice in Greece’s qualification campaign.
Looking at the defensive side the inclusion of only one recognised right back in Vassilis Torossidis will be the main talking point but manager Santos has said the versatility of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Giannis Maniatis will cover that potential full-back problem.
The mix of youth and experience will provide Greece with the wise heads needed to do well in the tournament as well as young, pacey exuberance in the final third.
Celtic striker Giorgos Samaras is expected to lead the line for the Greeks and ammunition will be provided by Olympiakos wingers Yiannis Fetfatzidis and Sotiris Ninis.
“I’m counting on (Ninis) up front. He’s an attack-minded player and has skills that others lack,” Santos explained. “We can play him on the left and right, he’s good one-on-one with opponents, and he’s versatile.”
The most notable absentees are Panathinaikos defenders Nikos Spyropoulos and Loukas Vyntra, who have been integral parts of the Greek side in recent years.
The mix of youth and experience will provide Greece with the wise heads needed to do well in the tournament as well as young, pacey exuberance in the final third. Santos will trim two names from the squad following a training camp in Austria and the manager is not looking forward to the decision saying, “Obviously that will be difficult. But I am paid to make difficult decisions”.
Goalkeepers: Michalis Sifakis (Aris Thessaloniki FC), Kostas Chalkias (PAOK FC), Alexandros Tzorvas (US Città di Palermo).
Defenders: Vassilis Torossidis (Olympiacos FC), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (FC Schalke 04), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (SV Werder Bremen), Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiacos FC), José Holebas (Olympiacos FC), Giorgos Tzavellas (AS Monaco FC), Stelios Malezas (PAOK FC).
Midfielders: Kostas Katsouranis (Panathinaikos FC), Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos FC), Giannis Maniatis (Olympiacos FC), Giorgos Fotakis (PAOK FC), Grigoris Makos (AEK Athens FC), Giannis Fetfatzidis (Olympiacos FC), Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos FC), Alexandros Tziolis (AS Monaco FC), Kostas Fortounis (1. FC Kaiserslautern), Panagiotis Kone (Bologna FC).
Forwards: Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK FC), Giorgos Samaras (Celtic FC), Fanis Gekas (Samsunspor), Nikos Liberopoulos (AEK Athens FC), Kostas Mitroglou (Atromitos FC).
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