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  Results & Reviews: Match 31


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."

Final 04 July 2004 1945 CET

Luz, Lisbon Attendance 62,865


Haristeas 57

Greece won the Championship 
Portugal (4-5-1) Ricardo; Miguel (Ferreira 43), Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Andrade, Nuno Valente; Figo (c), Costinha (Rui Costa 60), Maniche, Deco, Ronaldo; Pauleta (Nuno Gomes 74).
Greece (4-4-2) Nikopolidis; Seitaridis, Kapsis, Dellas, Fyssas; Giannakopoulos (Venetidis 76), Zagorakis (c), Basinas, Katsouranis; Vryzas (Papadopoulos 81), Haristeas.
Referee Markus Merk (GER)

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 cup."

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 final.

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 future."

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 shot.

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 moves.

The Greeks finally broke the deadlock in the 57th minute with a similar set piece to the goal they scored in extra time against the Czechs.

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 Pauleta.

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.
- AP



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  Match Stats

0 Goals 1
0 Halftime 0
10 Corners 1
4 Offsides 3
1+ Fouls 21
2 Yellow cards 4
0 Red cards 0
24 Free kicks 22
10 Shots on target 1
10 Shots off target 4
0 Woodwork 0
0 Saves 5
0 GL Clearances 0
58% Possession 42%



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