Greece Lose Another to Injury Before Czech Republic Game

Nicholas LianosCorrespondent IJune 11, 2012

ATHENS, GREECE - NOVEMBER 11:  Georgios Fotakis of Greece in action during the international friendly match between Greece and Russia at the Karaiskakis Stadium on November 11, 2011 in Athens, Greece.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

With the suspension of Sokratis Papastathopoulos and the injury to Avraam Papadopoulos, Greece's roster has taken a heavy blow.  Now's Chris Butterworth reports that midfielder Georgios Fotakis will miss at least the Czech Republic game with a thigh injury he picked up in the team's training on Sunday.

Fotakis was expected to start in the midfield with Kostas Katsouranis dropping to central back. This is another blow to a Greek team that is in need of a win if they want to advance out of the group stage.

Coach Fernando Santos will have a major decision to make on who will start either in the midfield for Katsouranis or alongside Kyriakos Papadopoulos.  With the side needing to win, look for Greece to opt for offense.

My gut feeling is that Greece will go with a back line of Torosidis, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Kostas Katsouranis and Jose Holebas.  In the midfield, Giannis Maniatis will team up with captain Giorgos Karagounis, who will now take more of a defensive role.

Look for Giannis Fetfatzidis to make a start at left midfield. Upfront in Greece's 4-3-3 should be Dimitri Salpagidis, Theofanis Gekas and Georgios Samaras. 

Greece's bench has been thinned out with suspension and injuries.  Santos will have to chose from midfielders Sotiris Ninis, Kostas Fortounis, strikers Nikos Liberopoulos, Kostas Mitroglou and defenders Stelios Malezas and Georgios Tzavelas.  The Greek youngsters Ninis, Mitroglou and Fortounis have an excellent chance of making a name for themselves.

A win against the Czech Republic will give the Greeks four points and eliminate the Czechs from the tournament.  A loss will damage any chance of Greece advancing.  A tie might not be bad for both teams depending on the result between Poland and Russia.