Thursday, March 22, 2007

Greek Futbol Chief: "Security Won't Be A Problem"

Ahead of Saturday's match, Greek Football Federation (EPO) chief Vassilios Gagatsis said he expected a tough match between Turkiye and Greece. “Two very good teams will be on the pitch on Saturday and naturally I hope Greece will be the winner,” daily Radikal quoted him saying.

History ensures a lively atmosphere whenever these two countries meet, but the fixture schedule has also thrown up an intriguing coincidence with the match falling on the weekend of a Greek public holiday celebrating the country's independence from the Ottoman Empire.

However Gagatsis said they were not concerned. “Futbol has no relation with national days or political and nationalist fanaticism. The national holiday is important for us, but the match is a completely different issue. There is no doubt about the Turkish squad's security; Greek police will take the necessary security precautions.”

Speaking to Greek daily Elephterotphia, Turkish national squad coach Fatih Terim expressed his hope for both teams qualifying from the group. He added the decision not to allow away team supporters to the games was sad, but necessary.

Greece defender Giourkas Seitaridis believes the game will have a significant bearing on whether the holders will be defending their UEFA European Championship crown in Austria and Switzerland next year.

"It will be an extremely difficult game as we're both good teams," said Club Atletico Madrid right-back Seitaridis. "I hope we can succeed in winning - if we do then I feel 99 percent sure that we'll qualify for the finals."

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