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  Results & Reviews: Match 01


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Greece shocks Euro 2004 host Portugal with 2-1 victory

Greece created the biggest opening-game upset in European Championship history on Saturday by beating host Portugal 2-1.

Inter Milan's Georgios Karagounis fired the Greeks ahead with a low, 25-meter shot in the seventh minute to stun the home fans at the Dragao Stadium, home of Champions League winner FC Porto.

Angelis Basinas added the second from the penalty spot six minutes into the second half after Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo had brought down Giourka Seitaridis.

A Portuguese goal finally came in the third minute of injury time when Ronaldo climbed to head home a corner by Luis Figo but it was too late.

Although the Portuguese, who didn't have to qualify as hosts, can repair some of the damage by beating Russia on Wednesday, they still have Spain to face in their final Group A game and may be going out in the first round.
« Summary »

Group A 12 June 2004 1700 CET

Dragão, Oporto Attendance 48,761


Ronaldo 90

Karagounis 7
Basinas 51 pen
Portugal (4-4-2) Ricardo; Ferreira, Jorge Andrade, Couto (c), Rui Jorge; Costinha (Nuno Gomes 66), Maniche, Figo, Rui Costa (Deco 46); Pauleta, Simao (Ronaldo 46).
Greece (4-4-2) Nikopolidis; Fyssas, Dellas, Kapsis, Seitaridis; Karagounis (Katsouranis 46), Basinas, Zagorakis (c), Giannakopoulos (Nikolaidis 68); Haristeas (Lakis 74), Vryzas.
Referee Pierluigi Collina (ITA)

It was the first time that the host had lost the opening game since the group format was introduced in 1984 and Greece's first victory in a major championship.

"Greece has great defense and attack as well. We started too nervous, we got more shots on goal in the second half but we couldn't turn it round," said Portugal coach Luis Felipe Scolari.

"We've got to win both games now. It's all or nothing against Russia. We'll need all Portuguese support behind us."

Inter Milan striker Karagounis was allowed a free long range shot at goal for the first strike of the championship.

The goal was a shocker for the 45,000 Portuguese fans and also for Scolari, who led Brazil to the last of its record five World Cup triumphs two years ago.

"We came to play a game in what is a celebration of soccer -- something unknown for us -- and without the experiences that our opponents have," said Karagounis. "But they were the ones who were under pressure and we took advantage of it as much as possible. We each gave the best we could and this great victory came. This is a great day for us, Greek soccer and the Greek people.

In Athens, celebrations were muted shortly after Greece's win with a few car horns blaring and sounds of cheering heard in neighborhoods.

"Today we can celebrate but from tomorrow we have to concentrate again because with three points to don't get anywhere," Karagounis said.

The 12th European Championship almost had a goal in the opening minute. After Luis Figo conceded a foul on the right, Angelos Charisteas had a shooting chance but miskicked in front of goal.

But the Greeks didn't have to wait much longer.

The Portuguese defense backed off Karagounis as he ran through the midfield and he was allowed to fire a low 25-meter shot that flicked off the fingertips of diving 'keeper Ricardo Pereira inside the left hand post.

After two more near misses by the Greeks, Portugal went close in the 16th minute when Francisco Costinha's 25-meter shot beat 'keeper Antonios Nikopolidis but flew past the post.

Charisteas, who plays for German champion Werder Bremen, went close for Greece again when he climbed to meet a corner but headed high. At the other end, Rui Costa met a right wing cross from Paulo Ferreira but his header went tamely wide of the target.

With Luis Figo making some weaving runs, Portugal began to do more useful work with the ball. And the home side had another half chance in the 31st minute when Sabrosa Simao got clear of his marker Traianos Dellas but the 'keeper was quickly off his line to smother the ball at his feet.

Scolari sent on FC Porto's Deco and Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo for the second half to try and turn the game around. But the United teenager handed Greece its second goal six minutes into the second half when he hauled down Georgios Seitaridis in his own area. Basinas sent the 'keeper the wrong way.

Figo went on another long run before lobbing a shot too high in the 72nd and fired a 25-meter free kick over the top after he had been fouled. Deco then got free but fired a left footed shot past the angle of the post and bar.

Many of the Portuguese fans were already on their way out of the ground by the time Ronaldo headed home Luis Figo's corner.

"In top flight competition, the team that makes the fewest mistakes wins," Figo said. "We made two and conceded two goals. The result isn't a fair reflection of how we played."
- AP



 « Group Standings »

Group A

P W D L F A Pt
Greece 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Portugal 1 0 0 1 1 2 0
Spain 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Russia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0


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 « Match Stats »

1 Goals 2
0 Halftime 1
10 Corners 3
1 Offsides 3
19 Fouls 26
2 Yellow cards 2
0 Red cards 0
29 Free kicks 20
9 Shots on target 4
10 Shots off target 3
0 Woodwork 0
3 Saves 3
0 GL Clearances 0
61% Possession 39%



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