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Santos named new Greece coach

Sports Desk |
Update: 2010-06-30 23:40:37

ATHENS: Portugal`s Fernando Santos was named coach of the Greek national team Thursday, replacing Germany`s Otto Rehhagel who held the post nine years and guided Greece to victory at Euro 2004.

The executive board of the Greek Football Federation (EPO) on Thursday unanimously voted to appoint Santos to the post for the next two years, taking the team through to the Euro 2012 qualification round.

An announcement by EPO said that Santos will be giving a press conference on Friday.

Santos, 55, will be getting a reported 500,000 euros a year for coaching the squad, about half of what the Greeks were giving Rehhagel.

Santos is not new to Greek football, having coached three of the country`s biggest clubs -- AEK Athens (twice), Panathinaikos and most recently PAOK Salonika -- since arriving in Greece in 2001.

He capped an excellent 2009/10 season by leading PAOK into the Champions League qualifiers for the first time.

Santos was named Coach of the Decade earlier this year by the Greek Super League and in 2000 was ranked ninth best manager in the world by world football governing body FIFA.

He has also coached Benfica, where Greek midfielders Costas Katsouranis and Giorgos Karagounis both played for him, Sporting and Porto whom he led to the Portuguese championship in 1994.

A remarkable era ended for Greek football at the announcement that 72-year-old Rehhagel would not continue with the team.

The German coach had taken over the job in August 2001 and, despite a 5-1 trouncing at the hands of Finland in Helsinki in his first match, he bounced back to lead the team to a shock Euro 2004 title.

He also guided the team to Euro 2008 and this summer`s World Cup. But the team`s failure to reach the last 16 in South Africa led Rehhagel not to renew his contract.

Also talk that the Greek federation would ask for a pay cut from Rehhagel did not go in well with the German mentor.

Nevertheless, Rehhagel`s nine year reign was the longest run by any coach in Greek football, and with a record of 53 wins, 23 draws and 30 losses.

BDSTP: 2010hrs, July 1, 2010

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