The official website for European football

Santos delight after Greece step up in Israel

Published: Saturday 3 September 2011, 11.20CET
Coach Fernando Santos was a happy man after his Greece side heeded his half-time words to beat an Israel side who paid for their lack of experience according to Luis Fernandez.
by James Martin
from Bloomfield Stadium
Santos delight after Greece step up in Israel
Sotiris Ninis (No18) is congratulated on his winning goal ©Getty Images

Match statistics

IsraelGreece

Goals scored0
1
Possession (%)0
100
Total attempts12
 
11
Attempts on target2
 
3
Attempts off target9
 
6
Attempts blocked0
 
0
Attempts against woodwork0
 
0
Corners7
 
3
Offsides4
 
0
Yellow cards5
 
5
Red Cards0
 
0
Fouls committed14
 
12
Fouls suffered11
 
13

Standings

Last updated: 13/02/2013 10:53 CET

Legend:

P: Played   
Pts: Points   
 
Published: Saturday 3 September 2011, 11.20CET

Santos delight after Greece step up in Israel

Coach Fernando Santos was a happy man after his Greece side heeded his half-time words to beat an Israel side who paid for their lack of experience according to Luis Fernandez.

Greece coach Fernando Santos said that his side's improved second-half display earned them victory in Israel on Friday, their fifth in seven Group F outings.

This victory is really good for us but means nothing if we don't achieve our ultimate goal
Greece coach Fernando Santos

Santos told his players during the interval to keep hold of the ball better after a first-half display lacking in attacking endeavour. They did just that and came away with a 1-0 win thanks to Sotiris Ninis' goal on the hour.

Santos explained afterwards: "[I told them] they can do better and must try to do more in midfield. We were very good in defence but we didn't get behind their back line. In the second half we put more energy into our attack. Of course, scoring early in the half gave us more energy."

Greece's success kept them out in front at the top of their UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying section, with 17 points from seven matches. Santos praised the spirit of his side and the resilience they showed in the final ten minutes as they defended a series of Israeli set pieces. "That period was hard for us but we deserved it," he added. "This victory is really good for us but means nothing if we don't achieve our ultimate goal [of qualification]."

While leaders Greece visit Latvia on Tuesday, third-placed Israel – four points off the summit – travel to Croatia for a match where defeat would almost certainly end their hopes of a play-off berth. Coach Luis Fernandez will be without suspended midfielders Almog Cohen and Bebras Natcho for that match but he promised his team would "keep going to the end. We have two more games and we will do our best".

Fernandez added: "We weren't surprised by Greece's performance as they are very organised. They didn't have many chances, but are very good in defence and have experienced players like [Giorgios] Samaras and [Giorgios] Karagounis. Greece are a very good team, maybe not better than us, but more experienced. We had to try and attack, but we couldn't score today. We were good in defence, but it wasn't enough."

Israel captain Yossi Benayoun summed up the dismay in the home camp when he declared: "The defeat is disappointing and my performance was disappointing." Although unable to say whether this might be his last international campaign, the 31-year-old did offer an appraisal of where Israel went wrong: "We didn't play well today and failed to move the ball around as we should have. Greece did and they slowed the game down which made it very difficult for us."

Last updated: 03/09/11 18.48CET

http://www.uefa.com/uefaeuro/news/newsid=1671864.html#greek+response+pleases+santos

  • © 1998-2013 UEFA. All rights reserved.
  • The UEFA word, the UEFA logo and all marks related to UEFA competitions, are protected by trade marks and/or copyright of UEFA. No use for commercial purposes may be made of such trade marks. Use of UEFA.com signifies your agreement to the Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.