Saturday, November 15, 2014 8:33 am
Greece’s embarrassing defeat on Friday by the tiny Faroe Islands looks likely to cost coach Claudio Ranieri his job as the Greek football federation said it would hold an emergency meeting today.
“Following today’s devastating national team result, I take full responsibility for the unfortunate choice of the coach”, federation president Giorgos Sarris said immediately after the 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifier result on Friday, the third straight home loss for the Greeks in Group F.
Sarris said the federation’s governing board will meet Saturday “to launch all the necessary changes needed to avoid reliving the embarrassing night for the national team”.
The Faroe Islands, ranked 187th in the world and with a population of under 50,000, won 1-0 thanks to a goal from Joan Edmundsson.
Greece, under the 63-year-old Italian coach, is in last place in its group with just one point in the first four matches, leaving the former European champions with virtually no chance of qualifying.
It seems highly likely that Tuesday’s friendly with Serbia on the island of Crete will go ahead without Ranieri at the helm.
However, letting the former Chelsea and Monaco coach go will not be cheap.
His compensation deal should see him get a 1.6 million euro payout as his two-year contract – worth 800,000 euros annually – may have to be paid in full.
After the match Ranieri took full responsibility for the loss, but said he will not resign, to the dislike of the federation.
“It’s very hard to find what caused us to play so badly.
“Apparently the opponents were better than us. I am responsible for this result, as for the previous negative results. It is too early to evaluate the date. We cannot talk about anything else, and yes, I will continue,” Ranieri said at the post-match press conference surprising reporters who had expected his resignation.
Ranieri said that “everything can be corrected through hard work. This is the key. Nobody believed that we would be here (last place). We made the mistake of believing that it was an easy group but things in football are not like that”.
“All losses are bad. You must leave them behind and look forward. I will continue working,” Ranieri added.
He said he was “only interested now in changing the situation. We are in last place because this is the position we deserve. And that’s why the coach is responsible. This defeat was a surprise for me and my players. It was very painful. A very bad result”.
– ‘Everyone is to blame’ –
Ranieri came to Greece in July taking over from Portugal’s Fernando Santos who had just taken the team for the first time in their history to the last 16 of the World Cup finals and to the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.
Prior to that German coach Otto Rehhagel guided Greece to a surprising Euro 2004 title.
Ranieri was sacked by Monaco in May and had very little time to gain knowledge of the Greek players and it showed with the immediate loss to Romania in the opening Euro 2016 qualifier.
In the short time he was with the Greek team he had called up a record 38 different players in an attempt to bring success on the pitch. Injuries to key players were also a headache for the new coach.
Ranieri was often criticised by the Greek press for his player selections and tactics.
The federation appointed former Greece captain Giorgos Karagounis to act as liaison between Ranieri and the players in order to help bridge the communication gap.
“On such nights, everyone is to blame. But now is not the time to discuss it. I still believe that the team has more talent than others, but this is not enough. It is a very bad night for all of us,” Karagounis said of the defeat after the match.
Ranieri led Monaco to second place in Ligue 1 in 2013 and also had spells with Chelsea and Serie A clubs Inter Milan, Napoli and Roma.