Santos bemoans another slow start

13 June 2012 12:47

Greece coach Fernando Santos said that another poor start had cost his side dearly as two goals in the first six minutes saw the Greeks lose 2-1 to Czech Republic in their Euro 2012 Group A clash here Tuesday.

The 57-year-old Portuguese, who replaced veteran German Otto Rehhagel after the 2010 World Cup finals first round exit, added that he had not given up on securing a last eight spot - though they will have to beat group leaders Russia to do so.

The Greeks, who beat the Czechs in the Euro 2004 semi-finals on their way to lifting the trophy, have just a point while the second-placed Czechs have three points.

Co-hosts Poland are on two points having fought out a 1-1 draw with Russia, who are on four points.

Santos, whose 45% pay rise raised eyebrows in a country where the majority of people are struggling to pay for basic goods because of the financial hardships brought about by the euro crisis, said that he had feared the Czechs would bolt out of the blocks.

"We knew it could happen. In their first match (a 4-1 loss to Russia), the Czechs were very attack-minded from the moment they went on to the pitch," said Santos, whose side also made a slow start against the Poles.

"But regardless of us being forewarned we were not able to respond."

Santos, a former league and Cup winning coach with Porto, praised his side - who were patched up with a second choice centreback partnership because of suspension and injury - for the second-half performance.

"There would have been another match without those two goals in the first six minutes.

"We conceded four goals in 10 matches in qualifying, and we have conceded three in two matches here! These few minutes cost us dearly.

"Afterwards, we were eventually able to get a foothold on the match, and we played with a lot of heart, we did everything in our power we could to equalise, but it just didn't come.

"Now it is vital we look to the final match, hope still remains."

Source: AFP

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
Last updated : 14:57