Greece names interim boss despite not actually firing Ranieri

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An embarrassing 1-0 home defeat to the Faroe Islands was the last straw for Claudio Ranieri…kind of.

The Greece FA announced Ranieri was “suspended” after the match – Greece’s third in four Euro 2016 qualifiers, leaving them with just one point – but never actually fired him, and now they’ve named a temporary replacement.

The FA announced Greece U-21 head coach Kostas Tsanas will take over temporarily for Italian. “The Hellenic Football Federation announces that the role of interim coach for the friendly match with Serbia will be [completed by] Kostas Tsanas and [fitness coach] Nektarios Pantazis,” they announced in a statement.

The delay in actually cutting ties with Ranieri completely is reportedly due to an initial failure by the two parties to agree on a compensation package.

It is unclear if Tsanas will be in charge for only this match, or if he will take over on a more long-term basis. Much of that will likely be based on how in-depth the coaching search is for a replacement.

The 47-year-old Tsanas has never coached at the senior level of any club or country, but he was promoted to the national team U-21 position after taking the U-19 side to the finals of the 2012 U-19 Euros in Estonia, where they lost to Spain in the final match on penalties.

President of the Hellenic Football Federation (EPO) Giorgos Sarris called the loss to the Faroe Islands “embarrassing” – understatement of the year considering it was the tiny country’s first competitive win since 2011 – and, more striking, called the selection of Ranieri as manager “most unfortunate” and said he takes full responsibility for that selection.

The 63-year-old Italian added Greece to his laundry list of teams managed when he replaced Fernando Santos, who departed following a knockout stage berth in the World Cup. He was on a two-year contract.