ATHENS – With only one win and one goal in three games in European qualifying so far, new Greek soccer coach Claudio Ranieri is still getting support from the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO).
Ranieri is under pressure after the bad start for a team that played well in the World Cup this summer but has the backing so far of EPO President Giorgos Sarris despite the horrendous start to the Euro 2016 qualifiers that sees Greece, which won the championship in 2004, of not even qualifying this time.
Ranieri who has been in charge for three matches since succeeding the Fernando Santos of Portugal and came under fire after Greece was embarrassed in its group at home, losing 2-0 to lightly regarded Northern Ireland, leaving Greece with only one point from a tie.
“In my personal opinion, he must stay,” Sarris told radio station NovaSpor FM. Sarris and other EPO officials held a meeting with Ranieri following the loss to Northern Ireland, which played with more poise and desire.
“It’s my understanding (from the meeting) that some of the players he had put his trust in, because of their experience and personalities, didn’t produce the expected level of performance that they are capable of. He felt very disappointed and let down by this and is thinking very differently now,” Sarris added.
There are seven matches remaining in qualifying and a good performance in their next game at home to the Faroe Islands on November 14 may ease some of the pressure on Ranieri.