After Loss, Greece Dumps Soccer Coach

first_imgATHENS — Greece’s new national team soccer coach Claudio Ranieri was let go after a humiliating 1-0 loss on Nov. 14 to the lowly Faroe Islands in a European qualifying matchHellenic Football Federation (EPO) President Giorgos Sarris and Ranieri reportedly met and agreed that the Italian will depart from the national team after a Nov. 18 friendly game against Serbia, with a settlement regarding his compensation, Kathimerini said.That came not long after Sarris had declared his intention to see Ranieri go, after he had coached Greece to three defeats and one draw in four Euro 2016 qualifiers this fall, including three losses at home without scoring a goal, infuriating fans.“Following today’s [i.e. Friday’s] devastating result for the national team, I take full responsibility for the unfortunate choice of the manager,” stated Sarris the day before.He added that the EPO governing board would meet “to launch all necessary changes to avoid going through another embarrassing night for the national team”.Ranieri has a two-year, 1.6-million-euro contract with EPO, but Sarris reportedly told the former Chelsea, Juventus and Monaco manager that he has to go and the Italian reportedly agreed, slashing his compensation demands.On Nov. 16 he will fly to Crete with the rest of the squad for the friendly at Hania and then leave Greece for good.Reports in the Greek media and in German magazine Kicker rage over EPO having reached a preliminary agreement with another Italian coach, Giovanni Trappatoni, who last coached the Republic of Ireland up to 2013.The Faroe Islands loss was the last straw in Ranieri’s short tenure. After the four minutes of injury time were up, several Faroe Island players were in tears as the whole squad and coaching staff celebrated what was only their country’s third victory in European qualifying in 19 years. Its last triumph was a 2-0 win over Estonia in 2011.The visiting team was even applauded by Greek fans at Karaiskaki Stadium. A remote nation of 50,000 inhabitants, the Faroes is ranked 187th among 208 nations in FIFA, while Greece is ranked 18th.“The coach is responsible for every result and I am responsible for this one,” Ranieri said before being dumped. “We are bottom of the group and that’s where we deserve to be.”Joan Edmundsson scored the only goal in the 61st minute, firing in a ball that fell favorably in front of Greece goalkeeper Orestis Karnezis. The visitors had earlier missed three clear opportunities to score.“We knew we could do something, but thought beating Greece away from home was a bit unlikely. They had possession but we had the chances,” Edmundsson said. “I don’t know if we deserved to win, but we think we did.”Greece, the European champion in 2004, was on the defensive at home, coming alive too late, as Panagiotis Kone missed two late chances, hitting the bar in the 89th minute.“It’s just too soon to understand what happened. I congratulate the Faroe Islands. Good for them. They fought the way Greece used to, when we played like champions,” Kone said.In Bucharest, Romania looked rejuvenated under coach Anghel Iordanescu, who has returned for a third spell in charge of the national team, while Northern Ireland saw its run of three victories come to an end.Paul Papp scored twice in six minutes in the second half, finally beating goalkeeper Roy Carroll who had been key to his country’s previous wins.“We defended well enough … But I don’t think we were as good on the ball as we were in our previous three games,” Northern Ireland defender Aaron Hughes said.There was a late winner at Budapest’s Groupama Arena, where Hungary’s Zoltan Gera scored in the 84th minute to beat Finland 1-0 and claim third place in the group — two points behind Northern Ireland.TweetPinShare0 Shareslast_img

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