Panathinaikos FC teenager Sotiris Ninis has been called up to the Greece squad for the first time ahead of Monday's friendly against Cyprus in Patras.
With several established players missing due to club commitments, Greece coach Otto Rehhagel has taken the opportunity to include the highly-rated 18-year-old midfielder in a youthful 17-man squad as he closes in on his final selection for UEFA EURO 2008™. Ninis, who impressed as Greece reached the final of last year's UEFA European Under-19 Championship, expressed his delight at the news, saying: "It's a dream come true and an extra motivation to work even harder and improve myself. I'm very happy."
The European champions will be without a quartet of Olympiacos CFP players at the Pampeloponnisiako Stadium, with Antonios Nikopolidis, Vassilios Torosidis, Paraskevas Antzas and Christos Patsatzoglou all involved in the Greek Cup final against Aris Thessaloniki FC on Saturday.
Other candidates such as Georgios Samaras (Celtic FC), Angelos Basinas (RCD Mallorca), Georgios Seitaridis (Club Atlético de Madrid), Theofanis Gekas (Bayer 04 Leverkusen), Ioannis Amanatidis, Sotirios Kyrgiakos (both Eintracht Frankfurt) and Angelos Charisteas (1. FC Nürnberg) are also busy with their clubs and therefore absent from the list.
Goalkeepers: Konstantinos Chalkias (Aris Thessaloniki FC), Alexandros Tzorvas (OFI Crete FC).
Defenders: Nikolaos Spyropoulos (Panathinaikos FC), Loukas Vintra (Panathinaikos FC), Traianos Dellas (AEK Athens FC), Ioannis Goumas (Panathinaikos FC), Christos Melissis (PAOK FC), Socratis Papastathopoulos (AEK Athens FC).
Midfielders: Georgios Karagounis (Panathinaikos FC), Stylianos Giannakopoulos (Bolton Wanderers FC), Alexandros Tziolis (Panathinaikos FC), Konstantinos Katsouranis (SL Benfica), Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos FC), Grigorios Makos (Panionios GSS).
Forwards: Dimitrios Salpingidis (Panathinaikos FC), Nikolaos Lyberopoulos (AEK Athens FC), Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (PAOK FC).
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