|Greece is the word
Host Portugal shocked in Euro 2004 final as Greeks win 1-0
Greece won the European Championship in one of the biggest upsets in soccer history, beating host Portugal 1-0 in the final Sunday on Angelos
Charisteas' 57th-minute header off a corner.
The Greeks had never won a game at a major tournament before arriving at Euro 2004 but wound up twice beating the Portuguese, ousting defending champion France 1-0 in the quarterfinal and then beating hot favorite Czech Republic 1-0 in the semis.
Some 15,000 Greek fans in the Stadium of Light erupted when German referee Markus Merk blew the final whistle. Some of the Greek players collapsed on the turf while others hugged their German coach Otto Rehhagel as he ran onto the pitch.
"What happened here is that the Greek team wrote soccer history," Rehhagel said. "I hope this reverberates in Greece. I hope when we get into Athens on Monday, there will be incredible scenes."
04 July 2004
won the Championship
Ricardo; Miguel (Ferreira 43), Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge
Andrade, Nuno Valente; Figo (c), Costinha (Rui Costa
60), Maniche, Deco, Ronaldo; Pauleta (Nuno Gomes 74).
Seitaridis, Kapsis, Dellas, Fyssas; Giannakopoulos (Venetidis
76), Zagorakis (c), Basinas, Katsouranis; Vryzas (Papadopoulos
The unheralded Greeks, a soccer outsider given little chance of
advancing from a first-round group that included Spain, Portugal
and Russia, had been to only two major tournaments before this,
the 1994 World Cup and the 1980 European Championship, failing
to win a game. Sunday's victory came just over a month before
Athens hosts the Olympics, from Aug. 13-29.
The 50,000 Portuguese fans could only watch in despair as their
heroes collected runners-up medals after their country's first
appearance in a major final. Eusebio, their all-time greatest
star, stood on the podium to congratulate the winning team.
(Portugal settles for silver)
"We are European champions, something achieved after many
years," Charisteas said. "All Greeks should celebrate
this victory. We are the best team in Europe. This is a unique
moment and I believe we deserved it.
"We got this far after beating many great teams including
Portugal, which was very good today. It's the greatest moment of
my career. When I scored, I thought we could not lose the
While there were celebrations in Athens, there was heartbreak
all over Portugal.
The nation, a perfect host to the 16-team event, is still
looking for its first prize in a major tournament. Their only
consolation is that FC Porto won the European Champions League
five weeks ago.
In European soccer terms, the Greek surprise -- 100-1 shots
before the championship -- even eclipsed Denmark's triumph in
1992. The Danes, who didn't qualify, were allowed into the
championship when Yugoslavia was expelled by UN sanctions.
Denmark went on to win the title by beating Germany in the
Sunday's result meant that Portuguese coach Luiz Felipe Scolari,
who guided Brazil to its fifth World Cup triumph two years ago,
failed to become the first man to win the world and European
titles with two different teams.
"We couldn't take advantage of our chances," Scolari
said. "There were shots that could have gone in, which
would have changed the result. Unfortunately, they didn't go in.
"I want to congratulate my colleague Otto Rehhagel and the
Greek team and to say to the Portuguese people we are the
European runners-up, and we are going to win something in the
Rehhagel, who also achieved domestic trophies in Germany, became
the first foreigner to guide a team to the European title.
Charisteas' 57th-minute header looked familiar. It was his goal
that gave the underdog Greeks a sensational 1-0 victory that
ousted defending champion France in the quarterfinal. And it was
almost identical to Traianos Dellas' headed-winner against the
Czechs in the extra-time semifinal.
With no stars, Rehhagel took a team of physically powerful and
fast players and honed them into a hard-working team that relies
heavily on stopping their opponents from using their skills.
The only team to beat Greece were the Russians, who had already
been eliminated when they won 2-1 in their final group game.
After the Russians' second strike the Greeks, who beat Portugal
2-1 in the Euro 2004 opener, finished the tournament without
yielding a goal.
For the second time in the championship, the Portuguese couldn't
find a way through the tight defense. Real Madrid star Luis Figo
and teenage Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo were
frustrated time and again.
Maniche, whose 22-meter strike earned Portugal a semifinal
victory over the Netherlands, shaved the post with a similar
Pauleta, starting the game after some poor performances and
failing to hit the target, produced an ambitious shot in the
39th minute when he collected a long clearance and turned to
fire a 35-meter lob that flew too high.
The second half started with a similar pattern. Ronaldo had no
success against Giourkas Seitaridis on the left and Figo,
quickly challenged by both Panagiotis Fyssas and Angelos Basinas
whenever he got the ball on the other wing, decided to roam into
the center of the field to try and get some space to work his
The Greeks finally broke the deadlock in the 57th minute with a
similar set piece to the goal they scored in extra time against
Seitaridis went on a speedy run down the right and was stopped
by a fine block by Ronaldo who had chased back. The ball rolled
for a corner and Basinas floated it into the six-meter box for
Charisteas. He timed his run perfectly and head powerfully home
from five meters.
Scolari had do something special and sent on veteran Rui Costa
for Costinha with 30 minutes remaining and then Nuno Gomes for
Ronaldo almost got the equalizer with 16 minutes remaining. He
chased a long clearance from goalkeeper Ricardo Pereira and got
clear of the defense with just the keeper to beat. Taking the
ball at pace, however, he was unable to keep it under control
and, with Nikopolidis off his line, lobbed it over the bar.
Ronaldo got through again with 10 minutes to go but Traianos
Dellas got back to block the teenager's shot. Then defender
Ricardo Carvalho joined the attack to produce a low, left-footed
25-meter shot the 'keeper fumbled. But there was nobody lurking
to take advantage.
In the final minute, Figo almost forced extra time when he
weaved into space to fire a low, left-footed shot that was
deflected just past the post. -