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Rehhagel Said Goodbye to the Greek Nationals

24 June 2010 / 09:06:04  GRReporter
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The decision of Otto Rehhagel to withdraw from the coach bench of the national team marks an end of an era in the Greek football. It is now clear that the withdrawal of his colleague minutes after the end of the game with the team of Argentina was the harbinger of changes taking place ... Although the German coach stated that after the championship he will discuss the options for prolongation of his contract, he decided it was time to give the bench to someone else. So far, the favorite to replace the German glory is Ronaldo Fernando Santos. The final decision about who will lead the Greek nationals forward in history after the “age of Otto” must be taken to July 10 as the classification matches for Euro 2012 start in September. The national team is informed on the decision of the German coach. So instead of returning with them in Greece, he will stay on holiday with his wife Beate and their son in South Africa.

Rehhagel took over Greece’s national team in the summer of 2001. When during the first match the Greeks lost from the Finland team with 5:1 almost no one could believe that the German coach would rise the team up. Few could predicted what would happen a little later ... The fact is that Otto or “King Otto” as the Greeks called him even became a national hero. He led the country to the finals of three championships (Euro 2004, Euro 2008 and World Cup 2010). He ranked it in the top ten world rating of FIFA. Exactly that was the reason he to become “the most long-lived” coach in the history of the white-and-blues. From a total of 106 matches Rehhagel has 53 wins, 23 draws and 30 losses. He will remain in the history of the Greek football as the man who built the team spirit. He successfully managed to hand out his philosophy of group play to the players. “The team is a mechanism in which each player has his role” – Rehhagel often stressed.
The voyage of the Greek nationals across the stadiums of South Africa is over. Though they did not qualified for the next phase, the first win and the first two goals at a world championship now are fact. The heroes from the last game reasonably called “Last Tango” are the goalkeeper of Panathinaikos Tzorvas and Sokratis Papastatopoulos. Rehhagel greeted them both for the great and whole-hearted play. Tzorvas presented himself brilliantly succeeding to remove four hard balls and Papastatopoulos by performing the assigned task not to allow the superstar Messi to get unleashed on the field and subsequently score. The national team returns to Greece proud and the bar raised even higher. From now on the country is entitled to have more expectations from its team and generally be more optimistic with regard to the Greek football.

What do people think of the withdrawal of the German coach from the national team? “It’s the end of an era” – says Aris, bartender at Dasein on Exarchate Square in Athens. “It’s too bad. This is a great person. Not only in Greece but also in European football. I respect him very much. What we have achieved is because of him. The players gave 100% of themselves with him. The Greek football was nothing before he took our team. He made a miracle and without we having great players. I do not think the team will be the same with a new coach. I’m sad. He will forever be in my heart” – says Aris sorrowfully.

Petros, a client of the club, is certain that Rehhagel’s withdrawal is a good sign for the Greek football: “It’s very good news. Personally, I find it to be very positive. He did not change the players when he had to. He did not put any new players. Can you play only with old players? I am convinced that things will be better now.”

According to his friend Vassilis the leave of the German coach is a sad fact. “The team will be changed to worse. I agree that Rehhagel was obsessed with some older players, but Greece hasn’t got many players ...” When asked whether Rehhagel’s football is not outdated Vassilis replied: “It’s not outdated. And Mourinho plays the same way. Defensive football. In Greece we have good players in basketball but not in football. In football we have only good defence. How then Rehhagel can play?

Tags: SportSoccer Rehhagel OttoLeaveNational teamGreece
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