Greece take on co-hosts Poland, Czech Republic and Russia in Group A of the European Championships. Here, Sportsmail profiles all 23 members of their squad.
Outsiders: Greece face a tough job to qualify from the group stage
1980 (first round), 2004 (winners), 2008 (first round).
Michalis Sifakis (Aris Salonica) Born: 09.09.84. Squad No: 13.
Revered for his agility, and reflex saves, established as first choice under Fernando Santos during qualifying campaign. Voted best keeper in 2010 and 2011 by Greek players’ union, and picked up Fair Play award from same organisation in 2009 for his professionalism after refusing to react when confronted by a drunken Iraklis fan during opening match of the 2009-10 season.
Alexandros Tzorvas (Palermo) Born: 12.08.82. Squad No: 12.
Greece’s first choice at 2010 World Cup, but since out of favour after losing his club starting berth. Moved to Italy, in August 2011, but a promising start was followed by injury and some inconsistent performances. His finest moments came in Greece’s 2009 home-and-away World Cup play-off victory over Ukraine when Tzorvas kept two clean sheets.
Kostas Chalkias (PAOK) Born: 30.05.74. Squad No: 1.
The 6ft 6in veteran's international career has spanned 11 years. Made five appearances for Portsmouth in the 2005-06 season.
Yiannis Maniatis (Olympiakos) Born: 12.10.86. Squad No: 2.
Signed by Olympiakos from Panionios as a right-back in January 2011, has since established himself as a competent, defensive midfielder with impressive stamina, tackling skills and solid distribution. Won first call-up to Santos’s first match in charge against Serbia in August 2010 and has been an integral part of squad ever since.
Jose Holebas (Olympiakos) Born: 27.06.84. Squad No: 20.
Enjoyed a rapid rise to prominence after joining Olympiakos in the summer of 2010. German-born, he has a Greek father and Uruguayan mother. Obtained Greek passport after months of bureaucratic issues and made debut in friendly against Russia last November. Has powerful shot and loves to go forward.
Vasilis Torosidis (Olympiakos) Born: 10.06.85. Squad No: 15.
A talented right-back renowned for technique and endurance as well as immense work-rate. A regular since his debut in March 2007. Can also play on the right of midfield and has ability to go forward and score vital goals. Has been monitored by top sides around Europe.
Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiakos) Born: 03.05.84. Squad No: 8.
Greece’s current Player of the Year and arguably most important and influential defender. Joined Olympiakos in a deal from home town club Aris Salonica in 2008.
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Werder Bremen) Born: 09.06.88. Squad No: 19.
Revered by AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi as 'the man who stopped Messi' after keeping the Barcelona star quiet in Greece’s 2-0 defeat by Argentina in the 2010 World Cup group stage. Had spells in Italy with Milan and Genoa before moving to Werder Bremen. Pace and strength have made him a regular under Santos.
Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Schalke) Born: 23.02.92. Squad No: 5.
Noted for pace, technique and maturity. Established himself as one of Europe’s most promising talents with two impressive seasons at Schalke. Holds record as youngest player in Greek League at 15 years 283 days on Olympiakos debut in 2007. Scored on debut in Euro 2012 qualifier against Malta.
The coach: Fernando Santos
EURO 2012 SQUADS
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REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Stelios Malezas (PAOK) Born: 11.03.85. Squad No: 4.
A one-club man, Malezas has been a regular at centre-back for PAOK since 2008. A strong physical presence at 6ft 4in.
Giorgos Tzavelas (Monaco) Born: 26.11.87. Squad No 3.
A marauding left-back, Tzavelas suffered relegation with Monaco this season having only joined them in January from Frankfurt. Beat Germany No 1 Manuel Neuer from 73 metres in his first season in the Bundesliga.
Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos) Born: 03.04.90. Squad No: 18.
Despite serious knee injury suffered in Euro 2012 qualifier against Israel last September, he remains important as one of few creative talents in squad. Began season in blistering form, scored a spectacular solo goal against the Israelis before injury. A player of vision, he has dribbling skills, an impressive change of pace and powerful shot.
Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos) Born: 06.03.77. Squad No: 10.
The 2010 World Cup was expected to mark the animated schemer’s international swansong, but his passion and determination have kept him in the squad even if used mostly as a substitute. Has influence in dressing room and key set-piece skills. Greece’s second most capped player with 115 appearances.
Kostas Katsouranis (Panathinaikos) Born: 21.06.79. Squad No: 21.
A seasoned professional, was one of Greece’s Euro 2004-winning squad. Ability to close down opponents and drive forward have made him an established part of the current team.
Giannis Fetfatzidis (Olympiakos) Born: 21.12.90. Squad No: 23.
Young winger who has blown hot and cold in his breakthrough 2011-12. Form dipped in second half of season. Possesses an array of dribbling skills combined with pace and an eye for goal - earning him nickname of 'Greek Messi' among fans.
Giorgos Fotakis (PAOK Salonica) Born: 29.10.81. Squad No: 16.
Attacking midfielder who has blossomed late in his career. Moved to Scottish Premier League club Kilmarnock in January 2006, but did not gain a place. Returned to Greece in 2006, with Larissa, before moving to PAOK in 2009, A tidy midfielder with an eye for goal.
Happy memories: Greece lift the trophy in 2004
Grigoris Makos (AEK Athens) Born: 18.01.87. Squad No: 6.
Hard-working defensive midfielder who has faded since early career at Panionios where he was captain at 19 and made more than 100 appearances. A Greek Cup winner with AEK in the 2010-11 season, he has struggled with inconsistency and injury.
Kostas Fortounis (Kaiserslautern) Born: 16.10.92. Squad No: 22.
Exciting young winger who has impressed in his first season in the Bundesliga with Kaiserslautern.
Theofanis Gekas (Samsunspor) Born: 23.05.80. Squad No: 17.
Retired after the 2010 World Cup due to what he described as 'special circumstances inside the team', but recently returned to the international squad for the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign, admitting he made a mistake. Top scorer in the 2010 World Cup qualifiers European section with 10 goals, but has struggled to find his scoring touch since. Had a spell with Portsmouth in 2009.
Giorgos Samaras (Celtic) Born: 21.02.85. Squad No: 7.
Although predominantly a striker, he is usually deployed as a left-sided forward for Greece where he can utilise his direct running and dribbling skills. Enjoyed success at club level with Celtic after move from Manchester City in 2008. Often criticised for drifting in and out of matches, he can score vital goals.
Dimitris Salpigidis (PAOK Salonica) Born: 18.08.81. Squad No: 14.
Diminutive striker often used on right flank, renowned for pace and work-rate. Began career coming through youth ranks at PAOK and after spells with Kavala and Panathinaikos he returned to PAOK in 2010. Scored the winner in away leg of 2010 World Cup qualification play-offs against Ukraine. Also scored Greece’s first World Cup goal in 2-1 win over Nigeria in 2010.
Kostas Mitroglou (Olympiakos): Born 12.03.88. Squad No: 11.
Struggled to hold a first-team place at Olympiakos under Spanish manager Ernesto Valverde after breaking into first team in 2007, but enjoyed success on loan at Panionios and Atromitos. His eight goals in 11 games saved Panionios from relegation in 2010-11. A revelation at Atromitos, in 2011-12, spearheading the little-known club’s bid to claim a place in Europe.
Nikos Liberopoulos (AEK Athens): Born 04.08.75. Squad No 9.
Journeyman forward who made his international debut way back in 1996. Returned from a year-long international retirement when called upon by coach Santos for the qualification campaign.
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