ATHENS, Greece (AP) — Injured striker Dimitris Salpigidis will miss Greece's first two qualifying matches for the 2014 World Cup, an absence coach Fernando Santos described as a "blow" to the national team.
Santos named his 23-man squad Friday to play at Latvia on Sept. 7 and against Lithuania at home four days later, leaving out the 31-year-old Salpigidis, who fractured a toe on his right foot during a weekend league game for PAOK Thessaloniki.
Salpigidis scored two of Greece's five goals at the European Championship.
"Missing Salpigidis is a big blow to the team," Santos said. "The (first two) games are all about concentration and being serious on the pitch. We have to the level of concentration that will ended up achieving at the European Championship."
Santos took Greece to the Euro 2012 quarterfinals, where it was eliminated by Germany.
Salpigidis' teammate at PAOK, goalkeeper Panagiotis Glykos, received his first call up to the national team. The 26-year-old Glykos said he was determined to prove that Santos, his former coach at PAOK, had made the right decision to include him.
"This is a really big day in my career," Glykos said. "It was always a dream to play for Greece, and now it's happening."