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Slow start proves costly for Greece

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 13 Jun 2012

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Greece coach Fernando Santos has slammed his side’s lacklustre start that saw them concede two early goals against the Czech Republic.

Petr Jiracek and Vaclav Pilar were on target for the Czech’s within six minutes and despite Theofanis Gekas pulling one back for the Greeks, a mere point from their opening two games appears to have snuffed out hopes of qualification.

“In the first 10 minutes there was no Greek team on the pitch,” Santos said.

“We tried a lot in this game, but the thing is, we fought more with our heart than our mind.”

Santos admitted he could have selected a different side.

“After the match it’s easy to criticise the choices we made before it. I believed that we would be able to do more with the team that I picked,” he said.

“However, it appears – as we conceded two goals – that I could have done something better.”

Greece were hit with further bad news when goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias was forced off midway through the first half, but Santos refused to rule him out of their last group match against Russia.

“Chalkias had a muscle injury. We have to wait and see how serious it is,” he said.

Midfielder Giorgos Karagounis felt his side were handed a raw deal by the referee after Giorgos Fotakis’ header on the stroke of half-time was ruled out for offside.

“We scored three goals in two games,” Karagounis insisted.

“Then two of them were disallowed. In such tournaments, there are only three games in the group stage.

“So the mistakes cannot be corrected easily. That’s why referees should be way more careful.”

Greece must defeat Russia to have any chance of qualifying from Group A, with their next opponents top of the group with four points, Czech Republic on three, Poland on two and Greece bottom with one.

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