Squad profiles: Greece

Squad profiles: Greece
By Reuters

05/06/2012 at 23:49Updated 06/06/2012 at 00:49

We profile the players who will represent Greece at Euro 2012.


Michalis Sifakis (Aris Salonica), Born: 09.09.84 Caps: 12. Revered for his agility and reflex saves, he established himself as first choice under Fernando Santos during the qualifying campaign. Voted best keeper in 2010 and 2011 by the Greek players' union and won their Fair Play award in 2009 for his professionalism after refusing to react when confronted by a drunken Iraklis fan during the 2009-10 season opener.

Alexandros Tzorvas (Palermo) Born: 12.08.82 Caps: 16. First choice at the 2010 World Cup but out of favour since after losing his first team place with Palermo. Moved to Italy in August 2011 but a promising start was followed by injury and inconsistent performances. His finest moments came in Greece's 2009 home-and-away World Cup playoff win over Ukraine with two clean sheets.

Kostas Chalkias (PAOK Salonica) Born: 30.05.1974 Caps: 30. Oldest in the squad at 38 and a veteran of three international tournaments, including the triumphant Euro 2004 campaign, but has yet to play at a major finals. The PAOK keeper, who did not take part in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, was a surprise inclusion. Started his sporting career as a basketball player before converting to football in his late teens. Spent a brief spell with Portsmouth in the 2004/05 season but had few chances to play and relaunched his career in Greece.


Jose Holebas (Olympiakos Piraeus) Born: 27.06.84 Caps: 4 Goals: 0. Enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence after joining Olympiakos in 2010. German-born, he has a Greek father and Uruguayan mother. Obtained Greek passport after months of bureaucratic issues and made his debut in a friendly with Russia last November. Loves to go forward and has a powerful shot.

Vasilis Torosidis (Olympiakos Piraeus) Born: 10.06.85 Caps: 44 Goals: 6. A talented right back renowned for technique and endurance as well as immense work-rate. A regular since his debut in March 2007. Can also play on the right of midfield and has the ability to get forward and score vital goals. Has been monitored by top sides around Europe.

Giorgos Tzavellas (AS Monaco) Born: 26.11.1987 Caps: 5. Won his first cap in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb in September 2010 after an impressive rise with Panionios earned a move to Eintracht Frankfurt. An accomplished left back who is dangerous from set-pieces, he was unable to save Eintracht from relegation in the 2010/11 season. Stayed with them for half a season in the second division before switching to Ligue 2 outfit AS Monaco in January.

Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiakos Piraeus) Born: 03.05.84. Caps: 33. Greece's Player of the Year and arguably their most important and influential defender though prone to giving away free kicks with his tough tackling. Joined Olympiakos Piraeus in a 2.5 million euro deal from home town club Aris Salonica in 2008.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Werder Bremen) Born: 09.06.88 Caps: 28 Goals: 0. Known as "the man who stopped Messi" after keeping the Barcelona forward quiet in Greece's 2-0 defeat by Argentina in the 2010 World Cup group stage. Had spells in Italy before Werder Bremen signed him from Genoa in April. Pace and strength have made him a regular under Santos.

Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Schalke 04) Born: 23.02.92 Caps: 8 Goals: 3. Noted for pace, technique and maturity. Established himself as one of Europe's most promising talents with two impressive seasons at Schalke. Holds the record as the youngest player in the Greek League at 15 years 283 days when he made his Olympiakos Piraeus debut in 2007. Scored on his international debut in a Euro 2012 qualifier against Malta.

Stelios Malezas (PAOK Salonica) Born: 11.03.1985 Caps: 2. An imposing central defender, Malezas played no part in the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. Made his debut on Nov. 15 2011 in a friendly against Romania which Greece lost 3-1. Called up to the 2010 World Cup squad despite being uncapped but did not play. After missing much of the 2010/11 season with injury, he started all PAOK's Europa League group games and helped them win a section that included Tottenham Hotspur and Rubin Kazan.


Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos) Born: 03.04.90 Caps: 19 Goals: 2. Despite a serious knee injury suffered in the Euro 2012 qualifier against Israel last September, he remains important as one of the few creative talents in squad. Began the season in blistering form, scoring a spectacular solo goal against the Israelis before injury. A player of vision, he has dribbling skills, an impressive change of pace and a powerful shot.

Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos) Born: 06.03.77 Caps: 117 Goals: 8. The 2010 World Cup was expected to mark the animated schemer's international swansong but passion and determination have kept him in the squad even if he is used mostly as a substitute. Has influence in the dressing room and set-piece skills. Greece's second most capped player with 117 appearances.

Kostas Katsouranis (Panathinaikos) Born: 21.06.79 Caps 91 Goals: 9. A seasoned professional, was part of the triumphant Euro 2004 squad. Ability to close down opponents and drive forward have made him an established part of the team.

Giannis Fetfatzidis (Olympiakos Piraeus) Born: 21.12.90 Caps: 13 Goals: 3. Young winger who has blown hot and cold in a breakthrough 2011/12 though his form dipped in the second half of season. Has an array of dribbling skills combined with pace and an eye for goal - earning him the nickname of the 'Greek Messi' among fans.

Giorgos Fotakis (PAOK Salonica) Born: 29.10.81 Caps: 10 Goals: 2. Attacking midfielder who has blossomed late in his career. Moved to Scottish Premier League club Kilmarnock in January 2006, but did not secure a first team place. Returned to Greece in 2006 with Larissa, before moving to PAOK in 2009. A tidy midfielder with an eye for goal.

Grigoris Makos (AEK Athens) Born: 18.01.87. Caps 11: Goals: 0. Hard-working defensive midfielder who has faded since his early career at Panionios where he was captain at 19 and made more than 100 appearances. A Greek Cup winner with AEK in the 2010-11 season, he has struggled with inconsistency and injury.

Kostas Fortounis (Kaiserslautern) Born: 16.10.1992 Caps: 3 Goals: 0. The youngest squad member at 19, his call up was a surprise. A talented attacking midfielder who can play wide, he has all the attributes to succeed at the highest level. Caught the eye in Greece's under-17 team and signed by Super League outfit Asteras Tripolis in 2010. Played at the 2011 European under-19 championship in Romania, scoring the only goal against the hosts and earning a four-year deal at Kaiserslautern who suffered relegation from the Bundesliga last season.

Giannis Maniatis (Olympiakos Piraeus) Born: 12.10.86 Caps: 9 Goals: 0. Signed by Olympiakos from Panionios as a right back in January 2011 but has since become a competent, defensive midfielder with impressive stamina, tackling skills and solid distribution. Won first call-up for Santos's first match in charge against Serbia in August 2010 and has been an integral part of the squad ever since.


Theofanis Gekas (Samsunspor) Born: 23.05.80 Caps: 58 Goals: 21. Retired after the 2010 World Cup due to what he described as "special circumstances inside the team" but recently returned for the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, saying he made a mistake. Top scorer in the 2010 World Cup European qualifiers with 10 goals but has struggled to find his scoring touch since.

Giorgos Samaras (Celtic) Born: 21.02.85 Caps: 54 Goals: 7. Although predominantly a striker, he is usually deployed as a left-sided forward for Greece where he can utilise his direct running and dribbling skills. Has enjoyed success at Celtic after moving from Manchester City in 2008. Often criticised for drifting in and out of matches but can score vital goals.

Dimitris Salpigidis (PAOK Salonica) Born: 18.08.81 Caps: 56 Goals: 7. Diminutive striker often used on the right flank, renowned for his pace and work-rate. Came through the youth ranks at PAOK where he returned in 2010 after spells with Kavala and Panathinaikos. Scored the winner in the away leg of the 2010 World Cup qualifying play-offs against Ukraine and got Greece's first World Cup goal in a 2-1 win over Nigeria that year.

Nikos Liberopoulos (AEK Athens) Born: 04.08.1975 Caps: 75 Goals: 13. Veteran striker now in his 17th year of international service, the AEK Athens man was a surprise addition to the Euro 2012 squad. At 36 years old, he is enjoying an Indian summer to a distinguished career which has seen him crowned Greece's Player of the Year three times. He returned to AEK in 2010 after a two-year spell in the Bundesliga with Eintracht Frankfurt and finally won the first major trophy of his career when the Athens club captured the Greek Cup, beating Atromitos 3-0 in the final.

Kostas Mitroglou (Olympiakos Piraeus): 12.03.88 Caps: 11 Goals: 0. Struggled to hold down a place at Olympiakos Piraeus under Spanish manager Ernesto Valverde after breaking into the first team in 2007 but enjoyed success on loan at Panionios and Atromitos. His eight goals in 11 games saved Panionios from relegation in 2010-11. A revelation at Atromitos in 2011-12, spearheading the little known club's bid for a place in Europe.