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dark_horse

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As confirmed by the Ukrainian Football Federation, the 2nd leg will be played in either Kharkiv (Metalist Arena 43,000) or Donestk (Donbass Arena 50,000) due to the renovation of Olympic Stadium in Kiev.

Average November temperature in Ukraine is between 3 C and -2 C.

Metalist Stadium

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Donbass Stadium (contractor was a Turkish company. Could be bad luck for Greece :unsure: )

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The squad of Ukraine

Goalkeepers

Oleksandr Shovkovskiy 02.01.1975 Dynamo Kyiv

Andriy Pyatov 28.06.1984 Shakhtar Donetsk

Stanyslav Bohush 25.10.1983 Dynamo Kyiv

Defenders

Oleksandr Kucher 22.10.1982 Shakhtar Donetsk

Vyacheslav Shevchuk 13.05.1979 Shakhtar Donetsk

Taras Mykhalyk 28.10.1983 Dynamo Kyiv

Vitaliy Mandzyuk 24.01.1986 Dynamo Kyiv

Hryhory Yarmash 04.01.1985 Vorskla Poltava

Vasyl Kobin 24.05.1985 Shakhtar Donetsk

Yaroslav Rakytskiy 03.08.1989 Shakhtar Donetsk

Yevhen Khacheridi 28.07.1987 Dynamo Kyiv

Mykola Ischenko 09.03.1983 Shakhtar Donetsk

Midfielders

Anatoliy Tymoschuk 30.03.1979 Bayern Munich

Oleh Husyev 25.04.1983 Dynamo Kyiv

Serhiy Nazarenko 16.02.1980 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

Ruslan Rotan 29.10.1981 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

Oleksiy Hai 06.11.1982 Shakhtar Donetsk

Oleksandr Aliyev 03.02.1985 Dynamo Kyiv

Andriy Yarmolenko 23.10.1989 Dynamo Kyiv

Forwards

Andriy Shevchenko (Captain) 29.09.1976 Dynamo Kyiv

Andriy Voronin 21.07.1979 Liverpool

Artem Milevskiy 12.01.1985 Dynamo Kyiv

Yevhen Seleznyov 20.07.1985 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

Volodymyr Homenyuk 19.07.1985 Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk

Edited by plato-ny
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i a reading all the sports media and getting disgusted....this greek team is doomed....all the freakin players are admitng out loud that did not want to draw ukraine...i mean for gods sake, for once can u guys be confident/ and even alittle freakin arrogant....!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! mentally they are already defeated....i mean whaddayyya think is gon ahappen when you get to south africa you bucnch of daisys? u gonna play luxemberg and latvia? u get even more difficult [email protected]#^$%)(*&!!&$#

this si llllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll osers mentality.........................period.....its not respect, its fear....

i would love just one player to come out and say "we are idiots for even being in this position...we shoudl ahve qualified already but we got lazy and sloppy....we are to blame....100% and we are pissed off about it and have our pride to play for...does not matter who we draw, because they are just a temporary obstacle... we worry about our game and our ability to control our destiny...if we paly our game nobody can beat us" show some freakin anger and pride and will....!!!!!! but nnnnnnnnnnnnnooooooooooo we get the the "oooooohhhhhhh let me fix my skirt, ooooohh weeee dont wannnnnnaaaaa play uuuuuukriane...oooooohhh, its tooo cold maybe i should wear some ppppppantyhose under my freakin skirt to keep me nice and snugggggllllyyyyy"

ah re malakes, ksipniste !!!!!! DEN DREPESTE LIGAKI....pathetic.....

i apologize for the ranting, but i get so pissed when i see stuf like this...

SHOW US SOMETHING YOU BUNCH OF ... i better stop....

Edited by mangas21
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Actually, I think the modest approach is the best way to go. All four of the unseeded groups were hoping to play us because they perceive our ethniki to be an easy ticket for qualification. This may work in our favor; consciously or unconsciously the Ukraine players may become overly confident, and in this sport this can sometimes be a recipe for disaster--even (especially perhaps) with big teams.

Ukraine will be a tough opponent, but we can beat them. While I agree with some things mangas has to say, I don't think it's player psychology or team idenity that is the problem. Having an inflexible system is too predictable and no good in the long run. The problem is Otto's coaching and tactical choices.

I'm sometimes overly critical of Otto myself, and many times fail to take into consideration factors such as player fitness/form/experience, etc. Soccer is a tough and physically demanding sport, and the players need to be in good form to play well for 90 minutes. Some of his coaching decisions may be taking these considerations into account. However, his tactical choices are often bizarre. For example, having no left foot on the team for over four years is downright absurd. Starting Charisteas consistently over Gekas (who has proven himself time and again, even though he is not a starting player at Leverkusen) is an insult. I don't think we've played anything other than a 4-3-3 or 5-3-2 in the last 8 years; and our hardly any of our players are in their natural positions!

As for the Switzerland loss away, we conceded two goals after the 80th minute. All we needed was a draw to keep the top spot in the group. What does Otto do? With 10 men, he subs in two strikers with one unused sub!! He should have immediately put in three more defenders and packed the midfield and played for the 0-0.

Even when we are comfortably winning in a match, Otto does bizarre things like putting in Pliatsikas or Ninis at the 90th minute!! Remember the Euro qualification? Otto finally played Gekas (who was the top scorer in the bundesliga at the time) Samaras, Torosidis, Salpingidis, only after our disasterous loss to Turkey.

If we get some new blood in the team and play smarter we most certainly win, but now that all our players will have recovered from injury, I;n expecting the following lineup from Otto (he's too predictable):

======Chalkias======

Seitaridis---Avraamm---Kyriakos--Spiropoulos

--Torosidis------Katsouranis-----Karagounis

Charisteas---------Gekas----------Salpingidis

Home Ukraine 1 - Greece 1

Away Ukraine 2 - Greece 0

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Hey mangas,

You know you are right, but here is a question for you. When was the last time a greek player spoke truthfully? Charisteas was it and it came out after the most recent Euro. Also Filipakos and Pliatsakas. All the rest speak to sell papers and jerseys. KMelachrinosalis used to sepak his mind all the time. Tsiartas used to as well. The rest of them are idiots

ALL GREEK PLAYERS speak to make the fans happy. It is bullshit. No real opinions.

I agree with you. Someone should say they SCREWED UP.

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To all

Unfortunately Greece have only themselves to blame to be even in the play offs. They were in the position to win the Group and then let it slip...badly. However all i not lost...

Firstly thinking of some major European teams who will not even be there like Czech Rep, Romania and our hated rivals Turkey... So that is one positive.

As for draw with Ukraine...To be honest and make no mistake they will be toughest team we could have drawn but this could work in our favour. Greece is the team that Ukraine think will be easiest and they could underestimate us. Like Greece they do not score many goals and do not concede much either but they do struggle in these playoffs situations.

The first leg is crucial and the key will be for Greece to win but not to concede an away goal. Greece need to be patient and take the chances offered. If someone said Greece would win the first leg 2-0 I would be happy and take it.

This is really do or die and the team should be motivated and lift for these 2 games and play for themselves, the glory of Greece and possibly for the coach as this will be his last march in charge if they fail...I think enough motivation itself.

I think and believe Greece can qualify but the fans need to rock the stadium like never before to give these players extra strength and heart. I think they should watch the 2 games against Turkey where they lost 1-4 when the team put too much pressure on themselves and then then 1-0 win in Constantinople where they played and believed in themselves and seemed more relaxed.

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The game is 50-50 as Otto and Fyssas have both stated...

I agree, regardless of how Greece has played and what has been said...the team that shows up and plays will qualify....

The EPO has announced a 4mil euro bonus to the team to qualify...now that will be music to their ears....not that I am suggesting they will simply play for the cash...it simply adds some more incentive to the games at hand..

Greece can do it, and the game should stay in athens, even though todays sports papers in Greece are suggesting the players want the game in Crete....

I disagree.....this will be the hottest game in Greece for quiet some time...

Go ellathara..!!!!!

:box:

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as, good points but one 10000% disagreement and one quick commnet...

first avraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaam has no business within 5 miles of a soccer ball....maybe a beach ball, but not a soccer ball.....haristea out samaras in....haristea is only good as a late inning defensive replacement...

you right about otto and his bizzare moves....but if we dont eat a 90th minute goal from a bunch of goathearders we are in and this conversation is on teh swiss thread....so even IN SPITE of ottos head scratchingmoves our qualification is still possible...

as far as inflexible system i agree 100%...but dont underestimate team identity...its just not "beleiving in yourself, etc etc"...ratehr, its more about understanding what you do best so you can execute it on the field..split second differences matter at this level, as do of-the-ball tactics / offside trap etc etc...if the team does not know what they are (o4 defensive - counter style / offensive push the bal style etc) then things dont flow....combine that with a revolving door of personel moves and what you end up with is erratic, inconsistent play....so i do agree with your points, but look around you and u will see that all teams in any sport that accomplish something great have an "ilk" or stamp that they all know...the 04 had it...every player had a specific ste of duties - clear defined understood and every otehr player knew it also so on the pitch they know whatt o expect form each other....makes the game flow better, smoother and they can take chances

about psycology....well...i dont advocate going around saying dumb things like isreal did (where are they now) but i H A T E hearing little girlie things like "we dont want to play thm or we want to play them".....why? you not good enough? then go home...quiet confidence is the way i describe it....they shoud WANT the best team to play, they should WNAT to challenge themselves and bring a result against the best team...with that attitude, you focus on YOUR abilites...

tiger woods wins the masters and what does he do? he immediately goes to teh driving range AFTER getting his trophy to practice !!!!!!!! this is a winning mentaltiy (obsessive i would say) when the opponent knows you fear them, the game is over...at this level the differences are very slight....you CANT GO AROUND thinking you cant win every game you play...if you do you dont deverbve to be in the game to begin with....

accountability - the players have to come out and say we are to blame, we sould have qualified, we are pissed and whatever team we draw does not matter....maybe i am being unrealistic about todays athletes, but i dont think so.....it starts with PRIDE....

go out do your best....if u lose you stiill can hold your head up high....thats all you can ask....

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true mangas21 , If Greece wants it they'll have to just MAN UP and do it.....

David Tua, "Manned" up and knocked out Shane Cameron in about 3 minutes....seriously that guy is dangerous, its frightening how hard he can punch....BUt after the fight he said "i manned up, i had to win so i did....now im going to burger king!!!"

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We are screwed. If Otto replaces Avraam and if Kyrgiakos is fit for the game we have a chance. But the logistics of it are very negative. We are not the fittest team, we are not going to get any fresher after we lose the first leg in Athens. Then we have to travel to the Ukraine and play under freezing conditions. Whatever the case, I would liked to have seen us in a world cup, but it would be embaressing.

The sad thing is that little details make the difference. Had we beaten Moldova we could have made it. Had Avraam not given our other teams 3 goals we would have made it. Had that horrible ref not red carded Vyntra we would have made it. Otto always said we win or lose by small details.

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I'm getting tired of people picking on avraam.

He is not the reason we have not yet qualified for the World Cup and if we do not qualify, he WILL NOT be the reason for that either.

If you cannot see all the deficiencies that this team has, please pay closer attention.

I think Avraam is a valuable player. Is he a starter on the national team? Probably not

Does he belong on the squad of 18? Yes he does.

Are there better players for that position? Yes there are.

Have other players played like s%$#!? Yes

Has Otto made tactical mistakes? Yes

Has the goaltending been awful at times? Yes

The list can go on.

If Greece does not make the World Cup, it is not Avraam's fault. If we are good enough to make it, the other player's would make up for his mistakes or errors.

Now it is time for me to go watch a good old hockey game

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I'm getting tired of people picking on avraam.

He is not the reason we have not yet qualified for the World Cup and if we do not qualify, he WILL NOT be the reason for that either.

There are other problems in the team, but Avraam has contributed majorly to the downfall of the team. He was at fault for the 2 goals we conceded at home to Switzerland, he was poor against Moldova which cost us a goal, and had Israel somehow managed to beat the Swiss on the last game we'd have had to have won by 2 to qualify. Hence that own goal may have cost us direct qualification if the circumstances were different. He's a major liability and is not good enough for international football.
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I'm getting tired of people picking on avraam.

He is not the reason we have not yet qualified for the World Cup and if we do not qualify, he WILL NOT be the reason for that either.

There are other problems in the team, but Avraam has contributed majorly to the downfall of the team. He was at fault for the 2 goals we conceded at home to Switzerland, he was poor against Moldova which cost us a goal, and had Israel somehow managed to beat the Swiss on the last game we'd have had to have won by 2 to qualify. Hence that own goal may have cost us direct qualification if the circumstances were different. He's a major liability and is not good enough for international football.
I'm sure you can find other "mistakes" that lead to goals by other players.

What I'm saying is that I don't blame Avraam for us not qualifying. You cannot make him the scapegoat when other players, more experienced players, have played like $h!t; or when strikers miss easy opportunities; or when Rehagel drops a bomb; or when the goalies look lost; or when your leader "Katsouranis" does nothing.

Avraam made mistakes. YES. However he is not the reason we have not qualified.

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There are other problems in the team, but Avraam has contributed majorly to the downfall of the team. He was at fault for the 2 goals we conceded at home to Switzerland, he was poor against Moldova which cost us a goal, and had Israel somehow managed to beat the Swiss on the last game we'd have had to have won by 2 to qualify. Hence that own goal may have cost us direct qualification if the circumstances were different. He's a major liability and is not good enough for international football.

I'm sure you can find other "mistakes" that lead to goals by other players.

What I'm saying is that I don't blame Avraam for us not qualifying. You cannot make him the scapegoat when other players, more experienced players, have played like $h!t; or when strikers miss easy opportunities; or when Rehagel drops a bomb; or when the goalies look lost; or when your leader "Katsouranis" does nothing.

Avraam made mistakes. YES. However he is not the reason we have not qualified.

Yes, you're right Otto did make huge mistakes. One of the biggest is consistently trusting Avraam! Out of interest, if he played for anyone but Olympiakos would you be supporting him now?

Katsouranis' performances have been below par by his standards in some games, Haristeas isn't great, and while we don't have strength in depth in depth in the goalkeeping department we didn't really lose points because of it. Avraam Papadopoulos was directly responsible for costing us 5 points. (3 at home against Switzerland and 2 away in Moldova). I'm not saying we should hate him. He is a player for the Greek NT and tries hard so deserves respect, but as a player he simply isn't good enough.

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Out of interest, if he played for anyone but Olympiakos would you be supporting him now?

Yes. I would support him. It might be old school mentality, but the guy tries hard and his teammates respect him (I THINK).

I just don't like the fact that you can blame him for not qualifying for the World Cup. There are many instances that could have, should have, would have, but didn't materialize.

I think he deserves to play for the Ethniki, but as I mentioned earlier there are better options.

I still think the reason Greece hasn't qualified yet is because of arrogance, mentality, lack of professionalism by some. Avraam's mistakes are not the reason.

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good discussion....

thryl can u give example of - arrogance, mentality, lack of professionalism ? i'd be curious to hear....

if there we nobody else to blame, we would be through already....and avraaaaam's ineptitude would never be illuminated like it is now....but becuase there are blunders by others hisstand out espeically since they are at critical moments....u tellin me papastathopulos shouldnt be in there ahead of avraaaaaaaam.....

this is why we still hear...we are not good enough of a team to cover up and carry the mistakes that avraaam and other have made....our margin for errors is razr thin.....raaaaaaaazor thin. well let me re-phrase...we have not played like a good enough team to cover many mistakes.....

its what we have been for a while....so, thats what we are....i believe we have the potential to play better...not saying we can beat brazil 10 out of 10, but i say we are playing at about 65/70 % capacity of what we are capable of....and i think the reasons are many: otto and his head scratching moves, (too many to list but they are all here) taking smaller teams for granted, lack of consistent effort, lack of chemistry, lack of sense of purpose, too many personel changes, a few call ups not right, a few players not called.....etc......

its NEVER one thing...its always a cummulative effect of many little things that add up to cause a big obstacle...

we need to turn it up a notch...period....if we do we are through....

Edited by mangas21
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if there we nobody else to blame, we would be through already....and avraaaaam's ineptitude would never be illuminated like it is now....but becuase there are blunders by others hisstand out espeically since they are at critical moments....u tellin me papastathopulos shouldnt be in there ahead of avraaaaaaaam.....

this is why we still hear...we are not good enough of a team to cover up and carry the mistakes that avraaam and other have made....our margin for errors is razr thin.....raaaaaaaazor thin. well let me re-phrase...we have not played like a good enough team to cover many mistakes.....

mangas21,

you hit my points.

IMO papastathopoulos is in there at all times. kyrgiakos and papastathopoulos might be the best central tandem.

i do think avraam has a place on the ethniki but not as a core player.

avraam has made mistakes, but it is not his fault we are where we are. it is a team effort and there have been 10 matches played.

as far as some of my other points:(sorry, I'm goign to bed and too tired to write whole answers. hope this gives you a glimpse of what i'm thinking)

arrogance

taking "lesser" teams lightly....many times

otto selecting the squads....many times

the way most players speak to the media...many times

mentality

playing scared

playing for the tie against teams u should play for the win

not having the killer instinct to put teams away when leading in the final minutes (up until recently, Hellas had been great protecting leads)

otto's tactics (he has bad points, that being said, he has brought unity to the Ethniki)

professionalism

training, nutrition

match readiness

many Greek players do not do the "work" to be elite like players from other nations do

for professionalism, i'm not saying they've been poor sports, but to me at times the Ethniki seems like a "club"....not sure if this makes sense

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good post thryl, i agree with lots of your comments...but one particulalry stands out and that is playing scared....i too will refrain from the A+ answer, but i will say to me, this is such an important statement...

i think greek players have an inferiority complex and sometimes "ah, they played good but lost" is sufficient explanation...dont play to win, rather they play "not to lose"....its in the mentaltiy bro, it all starts from there....but, they have noone but themselves to blame

if they produced better CONSISTENT RESULTS then other teams would FEAR THEM....but tis the other way, with the whole country crossing their fingers hoping not to draw this team or that team or wahtever......bunch of pussi*s.....you think ukraine has a prefernece? you think portugal cares who they play? there is abig difference between a "preference" and "hoping to avoid".....

i am sorry but this is a losers mentality..you think the irish care who the ey get? MAN up like someone else commented....MANup take responsibility that you played like trash and are LUCKY to still be in the hunt....and then do something about it.....

its such an interesting jus=xstaposition....greeks in general are full of pride, to a fualt, so you would think they would cranck it up - for noother reason than self repect and pride...

i hate to say "when i was a little kid" story but this one applies....my parents always told me do your best....and if you dont accomplsih what you are aiming then you can never look back with regret....then they told me the secret which was "your best is good enough so you cant fail".... this stuck with me, and althiough i am sooryy to say my best has not been good enough lots of times, its carried me to higher places than i could have imagined......so, exscuse the mellow drama folks, but i just wish one freakin player would come out and Manup, get PISSED that other nations want to play them, (how much of a dis is that?) be accountable and carry the team on his back with some leadership, spirit and will.....

gn...thanks for induging me.

Edited by mangas21
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Simple Logic and justification:

Avraam made the blunder in the second goal of the Swiss in Athens.

This gave 3 points to the Swiss.

If he did not do that the game would be 1-1 and we would have an extra point wheras the Swiss would have -2. This means we would have ended first in the group and qualified automatically.

Therefore it is Avraam's fault that we did not do so. Euro2004 is right. Everything else that is written is unjustified.

Edited by geok
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all temas make mistakes..some are expected (or else the final scores would be 25-0) and some are not expected....u cant go back and analyze every pass that should have been made that was not or every run that should have been made or every tackle that was missd, etc.etc...thats soccer...but u must deal with what you have...this team is not through becuase of avraaaams unexpected, GLARING, piss poor rection time and defensive mind fart.....not once but three different occassions.....there is always blame to go around...the point is what more do you need to see ? haristeas same thing....finally otto saw the light and went with samara gekas up front....much better combo.....no?

now to be honest is looking at all his blunders i dont know if the defensive scheme required that other defender "help out" like in football - or is it a zone or man to man and he got no help from the other side.....i dont know that....but the mistakes or SO SO glaring that u have to wonder maybe someone else blew an assignment? icant answer that..

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