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Santos reinvents Greece in his own image

Greece coach Fernando Santos tells UEFA.com about emerging from the shadow of Otto Rehhagel, putting his own stamp on the UEFA EURO 2004 winners and why you play only as well as you train.

The job of succeeding ‘King Otto’ at the Greece helm was always daunting. The German tactician had orchestrated the country’s footballing zenith, leading them to two FIFA World Cups and that stunning UEFA European Championship triumph in Portugal.

Yet the 57-year-old Santos is his own man, and says that despite being in the job less than two years Greece now bear his signature. Striker Fanis Gekas agrees, praising his national coach for making the transition as smooth as possible.

All those hours on the practice pitch – Santos says his philosophy is underpinned by the idea that “we will play badly if we train badly” – are already paying dividends. Greece were unbeaten in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2012, owing much of their success to narrow wins. Those were a familiar feature of their UEFA EURO 2004 conquest, but as Poland, the Czech Republic and Russia will discover this summer, this is a different team – Santos’s team.

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