Greece keeps Katsouranis for World Cup qualifiers


ATHENS, Greece (AP) -Greece coach Fernando Santos kept vice captain Costas Katsouranis in his squad for a World Cup qualifier next week against Bosnia despite being without a club after being kicked out of Panathinaikos.

The 33-year-old defensive midfielder, who was a member of Greece's winning squad at the 2004 European Championship, was cut from Panathinaikos on Wednesday following a reported dispute with the Athens club's coach.

But Santos said Friday that he considered the player to be "100 percent ready" for Greece's match against Bosnia next Friday.

Greece and Bosnia lead Group G with both teams winning twice from two games.

"His (club) situation at the moment doesn't concern me at all," Santos said, naming his squad for the Bosnia game in Athens and an Oct. 16 match in Slovakia. "I know the man and the professional footballer. I am very confident that he will be 100 percent ready.

"I have total confidence in my players ... they have all the qualities we need to fight and win these two matches."

Santos said he would be forced to eventually drop Katsouranis if he fails to sign for a new club.

Captain Giorgos Karagounis returned to the squad following his recent move from Panathinaikos to Fulham.

The Portuguese coach also continued his transition to younger players, calling up 21-year-old Feyenoord reserve goalkeeper Costas Lambrou.

Greece beat Latvia 2-1 and Lithuania 2-0 in its opening qualifiers last month, while Bosnia routed Liechtenstein 8-1 and Latvia 4-1.



Goalkeepers: Orestis Karnezis (Panathinaikos), Panagiotis Glykos (PAOK Thessaloniki), Costas Lambrou (Feyenoord)

Defenders: Vassilis Torosidis (Olympiakos), Loukas Vyntra (Panathinaikos), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Werder Bremen), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Schalke), Stelios Malezas (Fortuna), Dimitris Siovas (Olympiakos), Nikos Spyropoulos (Panathinaikos), Jose Holebas (Olympiakos)

Midfielders: Alexandros Tziolis (APOEL), Costas Katsouranis (No Team), Giorgos Karagounis (Fulham), Yiannis Maniatis (Olympiakos), Elini Dimoutsos (Atromitos), Sotiris Ninis (Parma), Costas Fortounis (Kaiserslautern)

Forwards: Georgios Samaras (Celtic), Fanis Gekas (Levante), Costas Mitroglou (Olympiakos), Stephanos Athanasiadis (PAOK Thessaloniki), Dimitris Salpigidis (PAOK Thessaloniki)

Copyright 2016 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

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