Greece head coach Fernando Santos has named his final 23-man squad for the FIFA World Cup, opting for experience and utility players who can feature in more than one position.
"This call-up is all about the team, not about me," said the Portuguese coach, who will step down at the end of the tournament in Brazil. "It is about what is best for Greece and the plans I have in my mind. I judge these the most suitable players for the job at hand and they make for a balanced side."
Included in a list is Kostas Mitroglou, whose fitness in recent months had been an issue. "I watched his last match at Fulham thoroughly, especially the last half-hour," said Santos. "He is fit for international duty so I included him."
Of the 23-year-old Panagiotis Tachtsidis, who has four senior caps, the coach replied: "He is a powerful player and left-footed, a feature we generally lack in midfield." Giorgos Karagounis and Kostas Katsouranis, members of Greece's victorious UEFA EURO 2004 squad, are also included.
When asked if there is a specific player he was sad to see out of his final list, Santos replied: "I am sad for every player I left out, especially those who helped us reach this stage. That's the case for Kostas Fortounis or Sotiris Ninis, and I am also downbeat for the absence of Dimitris Siovas, whose injury prevents him from joining us."
Greece will hold their first official training session on Thursday, after the players go through medical tests. They then begin their final warm-up schedule in Lisbon against Portugal on 31 May, a match that also marks the tenth anniversary of Greece's UEFA EURO 2004 final win in the same city against the same opponents. Santos' squad will then participate in the 'Road to Brazil' international tournament in the United States, taking on Nigeria in Chester, Pennsylvania, on 3 June before heading to New Jersey to play Bolivia.
In World Cup Group C, Greece will take on Colombia in Belo Horizonte on 14 June, Japan in Natal five days later, then Ivory Coast in Fortaleza on 24 June.
Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis (Granada CF), Panagiotis Glykos (PAOK FC), Stefanos Kapino (Panathinaikos FC).
Defenders: Vassilis Torossidis (AS Roma), Loukas Vyntra (Levante UD), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Kostas Manolas (Olympiacos FC), Vangelis Moras (Hellas Verona FC), José Holebas (Olympiacos FC), Giorgos Tzavellas (PAOK FC).
Midfielders: Giannis Maniatis (Olympiacos FC), Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor), Andreas Samaris (Olympiacos FC), Kostas Katsouranis (PAOK FC), Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham FC), Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Bologna FC), Panagiotis Kone (Bologna FC), Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Torino FC), Giannis Fetfatzidis (Genoa CFC).
Forwards: Giorgos Samaras (Celtic FC), Kostas Mitroglou (Fulham FC), Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK FC), Fanis Gekas (Konyaspor).
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