Otto Rehhagel hopes to get one winning performance out of his deposed champions
Rehhagel out to restore Greek pride
Greece coach Otto Rehhagel wants his players to deliver a performance "worthy of the team" and finish UEFA EURO 2008™ on a high against Spain in their final Group D match in Salzburg.
No holding back
With their reign as European champions over following defeats by Sweden and Russia, Greece are aiming to restore pride when they meet Luis Aragonés's section winners at the Stadion Salzburg Wals-Siezenheim. And Rehhagel is keen to see his team conclude their involvement in the competition on a positive note. "It's my intention, and I've told my team the same, to play at 100 per cent, not to hold back," said the 69-year-old German. "We must finish the tournament in a way that is worthy of our team. The new faces who will come into the lineup will have to show they deserve to play for the national team."
While Spain are already through to the quarter-finals after collecting six points from wins over Russia and Sweden, Greece lie fourth after failing to take a point or register a goal so far. Rehhagel, who confirmed he would be making changes to his team, admitted the Spanish had impressed him. "I think the Spain team is exceptional," he said. "They have proved their quality in the last two matches and we will have to be at our best tomorrow, even if their coach makes changes. It's important for us to play along the same lines as we did against Russia." With Fanis Gekas out after fracturing his cheekbone against Russia, Rehhagel confirmed that striker Dimitris Salpingidis would start up front, while full-backs Loukas Vintra and Nikos Spiropoulos could replace Giourkas Seitaridis and Vassilis Torosidis.
Spain have enjoyed themselves thus far, building on their opening 4-1 win over Russia with a last-gasp 2-1 victory against Sweden – performances which have made them one of the tournament favourites. Aragonés is expected to make up to ten changes to his lineup, with FC Barcelona midfielder Andrés Iniesta likely to be the only player to keep his place. "The changes are both to rest players and to give a chance to others to show why there are in the national squad," explained the coach. "We already have some problems with fatigue with [Carles] Puyol for example, so the most important thing is to rest players.
"As coach I must have the intelligence to think, 'We are already in the next stage and I should also give players a chance'," he added. Especially with world champions Italy awaiting them in the last eight in Vienna on Sunday. That said, the 69-year-old Aragonés maintained that his players would be fully motivated to continue their sparkling form. "I expect my players to give a great performance against Greece, to show why they are in the squad and to win."