GREEK CHIEF PRAISES BRUCKNER
Greece coach Otto Rehhagel has revealed he is a big fan of Czech Republic counterpart Karel Bruckner as his side prepares to tackle the new tournament favourites in tonight's semi-final at the Estadio do Dragao.
Rehhagel and Bruckner have both enhanced their credentials during Euro 2004 but while Bruckner has been relatively unknown outside the Czech Republic and his native Slovakia, Rehhagel has long been one of the high achievers of European football, winning Bundesliga titles with Werder Bremen and Kaiserslautern.
Rehhagel said: "I think he (Bruckner) is a great coach - but the same goes for all the 16 coaches who have brought teams here.
"I especially like Mr (Portugal coach Luiz Felipe) Scolari who welcomed us at the draw and offered to give us any help we needed."
But Rehhagel is not letting his admiration for Bruckner deflect him from his aim of leading Greece to a place in the Euro 2004 final on Sunday.
"The important thing is that we are all fit tomorrow to be able to kick out the Czech Republic," said Rehhagel, who has been offered Greek citizenship in recognition of his achievements with a team that had never previously won a match in a major international tournament.
Whatever happens now the Greeks have had a fantastic tournament and have put the nation on the footballing map at long last.
Their last appearance on the big stage - the 1994 World Cup - was a disaster and before this year they had never won a match in a final phase of a major tournament.
Rehhagel said: "I am very glad we have been able to do this. The most important thing is that we are in the semi-finals and that is very important for Greek football and also very important for young people in Greece."