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Soccer-Sokratis shines as Greece draw with Swiss

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

By Graham Wood

ATHENS, Feb 6 (Reuters) - Sokratis Papastathopoulos produced a magnificent defensive display as Greece drew 0-0 at home to Switzerland in an international friendly on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Greece defender's tight marking, tigerish tackling and positional sense were the highlight of an otherwise low-key contest at the Georgios Karaiskakis stadium.

Switzerland looked most likely to break the deadlock in a match bereft of clear scoring opportunities, with Tranquillo Barnetta causing the hosts plenty of headaches.

The Swiss actually had the ball in the net on 34 minutes when former Arsenal defender Johan Djourou headed in a Barnetta corner but the effort was disallowed with Djourou seeming to hold down Vasilis Torosidis as he jumped to head the ball.

The hosts rarely troubled the visiting keeper and missed the pace and creativity of absent forward Giorgos Samaras but striker Kostas Mitroglou should have done better with an early header when he rose unmarked to meet a Vasilis Torosidis cross.

Ottmar Hitzfeld's side almost snatched a late winner but Greece keeper Orestis Karnezis acrobatically diverted a long-range effort from Ricardo Rodriguez over the bar.

With World Cup qualifying resuming next month, Fernando Santos' Greece lie second in Group G behind Bosnia-Herzegovina on goal difference with both teams on 10 points from four matches before they meet in Sarajevo on March 22. (Editing by Sonia Oxley)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130206/soccer-sokratis-shines-greece-draw-swiss