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Santos satisfied with gutsy Greece

SoccerNews in European Championships 23 Jun 2012

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Greece coach Fernando Santos expressed pride in his players despite their 4-2 loss to Germany in the quarter-finals of Euro 2012.

Surprise winners of the competition in 2004, Greece were not expected to progress from the group stage at this year’s tournament.

But they registered an unlikely 1-0 win over Russia in their final match of Group A to book a place in the last eight.

And Portuguese coach Santos was pleased with the team’s efforts, although a chance missed by Dimitris Salpingidis did leave him wondering what might have been.

“If (we) could have scored once, we could have changed the game completely. We could have got something more from it,” he said.

“We entered the pitch with great determination in the second half and scored an equaliser, but we quickly conceded a second goal that cut off our wings.

“But in any case, I have to congratulate my players for their efforts.

“The mental (strength) and the passion we displayed in our games is what we want to remember from this tournament.

“But we will have to correct some mistakes that we certainly made throughout the tournament.”

Greece were without veteran captain Giorgos Karagounis, who was suspended after picking up two yellow cards during the group stage.

According to Santos, his team suffered in the absence of their key midfielder, who would have become the most capped international in Greek history if he had played.

And they were also surprised by Germany’s line-up for the match, with opposition coach Joachim Loew making three unexpected changes to his team.

“The absence of Karagounis was very important as he is a player who can keep the ball and move it around,” Santos said.

“We missed this element today, especially in the first half, when we should have had more calmness in our game, but we didn’t and we struggled for breath chasing the ball around.

“The truth is that we were expecting a different line-up from the German side, although there were rumours in the press that Mr Loew would try to freshen up his starting 11.

“The main change was (Miroslav) Klose’s introduction instead of (Mario) Gomez.”

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