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Defence still key for Greece

November 15, 2013 08:08:08 UK

Greece head coach Fernando Santos says his side will focus on their traditional defensive strength in their World Cup play-off against Romania.

The Greeks shocked the continent by emerging victorious at Euro 2004 and, despite trying to become a more attacking side since that success, Portuguese Santos admits that change has been difficult to implement.

It has its advantages, because we concede very few goals.

Fernando Santos

And with just four goals conceded in their qualifying group for the World Cup, Santos accepts that a tight defence will be key to seeing off Romania and booking a place in Brazil next summer.

He told FIFA.com: "The team made history at Euro 2004 by concentrating on the defensive side of the game. An identity like that is not easy to change.

"We've tried to play a different way, by pressing more and being a little more aggressive, but really we only managed to change at certain times.

"Then we slipped back into our comfort zone, our defensive strength.

"It has its advantages, because we concede very few goals, but obviously it makes things more difficult when we try and attack."

Greece, who will be without defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos due to a knee injury, are 2.10 to win the first leg in Piraeus on Friday evening and are 2.10 to keep a clean sheet, while they can be backed at 1.66 to qualify for the World Cup finals for just the third time in their history.

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