Greeks upset the odds again

Monday
21:13:19
July
05 2004

Greeks upset the odds again

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For a tournament in which the big names have so often failed to deliver what they promised, it was fitting that UEFA EURO 2004â„¢ was ultimately won by rank outsiders. Greece's incredible achievement was a triumph for teamwork and camaraderie, and after another never-say-die performance in the final no one can begrudge them their finest hour.

Sizeable support
Their fans at the Estádio de Luz came to their team's support when they most needed them, midway through the first half when Portugal were threatening to take the game away from them, before Angelos Charisteas' header early in the second half crowned a stunningly successful Greek campaign. While not a single Greek supporter vacated the stadium before Theo Zagorakis had lifted the Henri Delaunay trophy, many Portuguese players and spectators also lingered to pay their respects which was good to see.

Dominant Dellas
In the end it never quite happened for the hosts: Luís Figo, so influential in the semi-final, seemed jaded after those efforts and hard though the likes of Deco and Cristiano Ronaldo tried, they did not have the weapons they needed to break down a Greek defence in which Traianos Dellas was once again an imposing figure.

Famous first
At 65, Otto Rehhagel became the oldest man to coach a side to victory in these championships, and the first to do so as a foreigner. Whether Rehhagel will be able to resist the overtures of his native Germany remains to be seen, but what is sure is that he will be revered in Greece for as long as he chooses to remain.

'Football history'
"It was an unusual achievement for Greek football and especially for European football," Rehhagel said. "The team played great football. We took advantage of our chances. The opponent was technically better than us but we took advantage of our chances. We should have made it 2-0. The Greeks made football history today. It's a sensation."

Defensive victory
Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said: "We ask forgiveness from all the Portuguese because we weren't able to achieve the goal that we all wanted. It's hard to lose this way...to play a game this way, without goals. They won defensively. They won because they knew how to play in that way.

Source by Flashsport


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