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World Cup Fantasy Preview: Greece

A notoriously defensive team, the Greeks were victorious ten years ago in the Euro 2004 tournament due to their lack of goals conceded. One of the lowest scoring teams in qualifying, will Greece have enough to advance beyond the group stages?

This is probably the most aggressive display we'll see from Greece.
This is probably the most aggressive display we'll see from Greece.
Jamie McDonald

With 8 clean sheets and only 4 goals conceded during their World Cup qualification campaign, there will be a lot of focus on the defenders from the Greek squad, but there's a decent amount of attacking talent on hand as well. Let's take a look at Fernando Santos' 23-man squad:

Goalkeepers

Orestis Karnezis (Granada), Panagiotis Glykos (PAOK), Stefanos Kapino (Panathinaikos)

Defenders

Kostas Manolas, Giannis Maniatis, Jose Holebas (all Olympiakos), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Borussia Dortmund), Giorgios Tzavellas (PAOK), Loukas Vyntra (Levante), Vasilis Torosidis (Roma), Vangelis Moras (Verona)

Midfielders

Alexandros Tziolis (Kayserispor), Andreas Samaris (Olympiakos), Kostas Katsouranis (PAOK), Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham), Panagiotis Tachtsidis (Torino), Ioannis Fetfatzidis (Genoa), Lazaros Christodoulopoulos (Bologna), Panagiotis Kone (Bologna)

Forwards

Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK), Giorgios Samaras (Celtic), Konstantinos Mitroglou (Fulham), Theofanis Gekas (Konyaspor)

Fantasy Players To Watch

Vasilis Torosidis - Finding a defender who can also contribute on the attacking side of the ball should be a win-win situation on the Greek squad, and Torosidis is just that. With 3 assists for the low-scoring side during qualifying, he's likely to rack up the points on both sides of the ball.

Sokratis Papastathopoulos - With one of the best (and longest) names in the game, Sokratis is a guaranteed starter at center back and will be a good bet for clean sheet returns and blocked shots. Tall, but also very fast for his size, the Borussia Dortmund defender will be ever-present in the heart of the Greek defense.

Kostas Katsouranis - The veteran central midfielder has been a stalwart for Greece and will be called upon to be the driving force as a box-to-box playmaker. Capable of both attacking and defensive contributions, the 34 year-old has good ball recovery skills and contributed 3 assists in qualifying, joint-top with Torosidis.

Kostantinos Mitroglou - The striker suffered through a torrid time at Fulham in the second half of the season, plagued by injury and the inconsistencies at the Premier League club, but his time at Olympiakos gives credence to the interest shown in him. Top scorer during qualifying with 5 goals, if he is match fit he will be the main man to lead the line and isn't afraid to take shot after shot to get his team on the scoresheet.

Georgios Samaras - A different type of player than many of his compatriots, the Celtic striker will bring flair and technique to the left flank for Greece. Perhaps not as likely to score for country than his club, Samaras is nonetheless a talented player who can contribute with goals and assists.