sabato 9 giugno 2012

The Dissertation of Fernando Santos

Greece started Euro 2012 with one goal, one red card, one penalty kick failed and one point. Fernando Santos had big decisions to make: two was bad, another was excusable, the others was right. Santos' pick of Kostas Chalkias over Michalis Sifakis and Alexandros Tzorvas was riskless, because all Greece’s three goalkeepers are average at the best. The second choice was on defense, where Santos pick Sokratis Papastathopoulos and Avraam Papadopoulos as centre-backs instead of Kyriakos Papadopoulos. This choice was wrong as Kyriakos Papadopoulos showed to be excellent at the back, also playing alongside midfielder Kostas Katsouranis, dropped back after Sokratis Papastathopoulos’ red card. Another bad decision was to start with Jose Holebas at left-back. Holebas was outplayed and didn't received help by Karagounis. But when the game was 11 v 10, Santos made two good calls. The first one was the decision to move back Katsouranis: Greece's coach already utilized one sub in Kyriakos Papadopoulos and, with the hosts leading 1-0 thanks to a goal by Robert Lewandowski, insert a second defender would have been meaningless. Then, the Portuguese coach calling on Dimitris Salpingidis to replace Sotiris Ninis changed the game. Start with Ninis over Salpingidis as right forward was excusable: Ninis is highly regarded in Greek football circle. But the coach was good changing his mind and going with Salpinigidis in the second half. And Santos' choice to came out for the second half in a  4-4-1 shape, with two wide forwards, affected Poland: Greece nullified the man less. Removing central forward Theo Gekas to insert teenage attacking midfielder Kostas Fortounis on the left, moving Georgios Samaras as centre-forward, had an impact too. You can question Santos’ initial strategy but his reaction after the goal and the red card was great. He ruined hosts' gameplan. So, give credit to Santos for this point.

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