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  Results & Reviews: Match 30


Greece triumphant
Dellas header in extra time sends Greece to Euro final

They opened the tournament by beating Euro 2004 hosts Portugal 2-1.

Then the Greeks shocked defending champion France 1-0 to reach the semifinals,

On Thursday, they were even more unbelievable, upsetting tournament favorite the Czech Republic 1-0 on a stunning close-in header by Traianos Dellas. The only goal came off a corner from Vasilios Tsiartas just seconds from the end of the first 15 minutes of extra time.

That meant the Czechs virtually had no time to hit back.

This from a country that had never won a game in a major soccer tournament in its two previous appearances -- scoring only one goal in the '94 World Cup and the 1980 European championship.
« Summary »

Semi-Final 01 July 2004 1945 CET

Dragão, Oporto Attendance       


Dellas 105

Greece won via Silver Goal 
Greece (5-4-1) Nikopolidis; Seitaridis, Dellas, Basinas (Giannakopoulos 72), Zagorakis, Fyssas; Vryzas (Tsiartis 91), Kapsis, Karagounis, Katsouranis; Charisteas.
Czech Republic (4-4-2) Cech; Grygera, Ujfalusi, Bolf, Jankulovski; Poborsky, Galasek, Rosicky, Nedved (Smicer 40); Baros, Koller.
Referee Pierluigi Collina (ITA)

"I think something unprecedented happened," Dellas said. "It is a historic victory which we deserved. At the time of the corner kick, I saw the watch which was showing 14:36 and I said to myself: 'I wish I could score now."'

In the most unpredictable European Championship in history, the final will be Sunday in Lisbon's Stadium of Light in a rematch between Portugal and Greece. Portugal advanced Wednesday defeating the Dutch 2-1.

It marks the first time in 40 years that a Euro final will be staged between two first-time finalists.

"The fairytale goes on," said Otto Rehhagel, the German coach who has transformed the once bickering Greeks.

Hanging from the top deck of Dragao stadium was a sign saluting the German they call "King Otto: "Hail Otto. Otto Uber Alles."

"The players again converted everything I asked for and got this wonderful result," Rehhagel said. "Now they will drink a glass of wine and then we will prepare the final."

As wildly cheering blue-and-white clad Greek fans went crazy after the shocking goal, dejected Czech players sat stunned across the pitch in lifeless silence.

Asked about the winning goal, Dellas said: "We believed in it from the beginning and we achieved it. Back home in Greece this night also belongs to them."

Dellas also discounted the win three weeks ago against Portugal.

"The first match is over it doesn't mean anything," he said. "A lot has changed in the middle and we will face a completely different Portugal team -- stronger.

"They will find a Greek team even better than in the opening match."

"We have only two days to rest and we have to do everything to be ready. It is too fast," said Stylianos Giannakopoulos. "It is a dream. It is like we are sleeping and we won't wake up."

Dellas scored off a corner delivered from Tsiartas. The "silver goal" came just seconds before the first 15 minutes of extra time was to end. Had the period ended scoreless, it would have gone to another 15 minutes. After that, it would have been penalties.

The Czechs were without captain Pavel Nedved from late in the first half after he picked up a right knee injury in the 33rd when he failed to connect on a cross in the box and collided with Costas Katsouranis.

He went off on a stretcher, limped back on in the 36th and hobbled around until he was replaced in the 40th by Vladimir Smicer.

The Czechs came out trying to score early and upset the defensive-minded Greeks. They came close. After just over two minutes, Tomas Rosicky's shot from 20 meters bounced off the crossbar.

Marek Jankulovski kept up the pressure, striking a hard drive from 15 meters in the sixth minute, which went directly at `keeper Antonios Nikopolidis. Towering 2.03 meter (6-foot-9) Jan Koller sailed a high arching header in the 19th that Nikopolidis grabbed as it dropped just short of the crossbar.

But they failed to crack the Greek defense.

The 33rd minute may have turned the match when Nedved picked up his injury. When he tried to shoot, his leg struck the hip of Costas Katsouranis.

With 30 minutes to go, the Greeks seemed content to counterattack and wait for extra time -- or a penalty shootout.

Toward the end, the Czechs tried to open up with Koller, Karel Poborsky and Baros having good chances.

In the first 15 minute of extra time, the Greeks came out looking for a goal. In the 96th, Charisteas shot point-blank at Cech but the play was off side. In the 103rd, Dellas got on the end of a long free kick, and flicked it on goal from eight meters with Cech making a point-blank save.
- AP



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1 Goals 0
0 Halftime 0
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