Greece Squad Named For Slovakia Friendly
After being overlooked for Greece’s Euro 2008 squad earlier this summer, Genoa centre-back Sokratis Papastathopoulos has been called up by Otto Rehhagel for the country’s upcoming friendly match against Slovakia, to be played in Bratislava on the 20th of August.
The 20 year-old recently completed his estimated €4 million move to the Serie A outfit from Greek giants AEK Athens, and has officially been named as one of the ‘foreign’ players to be part of the Greece squad, along with former AEK team-mate Traianos Dellas – now with Cypriot champions Anorthosis Famagusta.
There is no place in the squad for out-of-contract midfielder Stelios Giannakopoulos however, the Euro 2004 winner was released from English Premier League club Bolton Wanderers at the end of last season.
There was room for Nikos Lyberopoulos, one of the trio of Greece internationals recently released by AEK Athens. The 33 year-old recently signed for Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt and is now playing alongside fellow countryman Yiannis Amanatidis, who has also been selected by Rehhagel.
Greece currently occupy 18th place on FIFA’s official world rankings list, and have been drawn into World Cup Qualifying Group 2, alongside Israel, Luxembourg, Moldova, Latvia and Euro 2008 co-hosts Switzerland. They face Luxembourg away from home in their first qualifying match on the 6th of September.
Slovakia lie in 64th place and have been drawn in Group 3 alongside the Czech Republic, Poland, Northern Ireland, Slovenia and San Marino. They begin their qualification campaign at home against Northern Ireland, also on the 6th of September.
Foreign players called up: Yiannis Amanatidis (Eintracht Frankfurt), Giourkas Seitaridis (Atletico Madrid), Kostas Katsouranis (Benfica), Giorgos Samaras (Celtic), Angelos Charisteas (FC Nuremberg) Theofanis Gekas (Bayer Leverkusen), Nikos Lyberopoulos (Eintracht Frankfurt), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Genoa), Traianos Dellas (Anorthosis Famagusta)
*Rehhagel is yet to announce the contingent of local-based players for the Slovakia friendly.