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Greece head for last-chance saloon

Striker Dimitris Salpingidis is aware that defeat is not an option when Greece play Russia on Saturday, saying: "If we lose, we are out – that says it all."

Dimitris Salpingidis undestands the magnitude of the task ahead
Dimitris Salpingidis undestands the magnitude of the task ahead ©Getty Images

Stark situation
Still smarting from a 2-0 loss to Sweden in the European champions' opening game, Greece know that their weekend test in Salzburg is decisive – defeat for either side will likely end their UEFA EURO 2008™ adventure. "Our aim is to get four or six points from these next two matches," said striker Salpingidis. "Our game against Russia is extremely important – if we lose, we are out – that says it all."

Birthday gloom
Tuesday's defeat by Sweden was an unhappy 23rd birthday present for defender Vassilis Torosidis on his finals debut, and he remains unhappy at the criticism the team received afterwards. "It's not fair to be criticised so harshly," he said. "This side has achieved things that will never be forgotten. Against Sweden we didn't perform well, but we must stick together and find the strength to get through our next two very difficult games. We can only promise to give our best. The key thing is not to let our heads drop."

'Not the war'
Another defender, Sotiris Kyrgiakos, added: "We didn't mean to play defensively against Sweden, but that's how it turned out. The Swedes had done their homework and didn't give us any space." However, the centre-back is unbowed. "We lost a battle, not the war," he said. "We don't need to answer to anyone. We have to win on Saturday and then qualify for the quarter-finals. We know the drill. As you remember, after our [4-1 home] defeat by Turkey [in qualifying], we pulled ourselves together and never lost another game."