Sometimes in a tournament it’s not about the quality you have on the pitch, instead it’s about team spirit and building up a bit of momentum. Greece’s Euro 2004 triumph is a shining example of this. .
The Greeks went into Euro 2004 80/1 to win the tournament and they surprised us all by even getting out of the group, finishing runners up in Group A ahead of Spain and Russia. Along the way they beat the hosts Portugal in the opening game and a draw with Spanish in their next game was enough to secure their place in the quarter final obtaining 4 points on the way.
Their opponents in the konc-out stages were a French team that still contained Zinedine Zidane and Robert Pires. In the game Greece’s work rate and commitment frustrated the star studded Les Bleus side and an Angelos Charisteas goal on 65 minutes was enough to see Greeks through to the last four.
In the semi final the Ethniki met a Czech Republic side who dispatched Denmark with a comprehensive 3-0 win in their last eight clash. The a 0-0 stalemate in normal time meant that the game had to be decided with extra time and it was Traianos Dellas who scored the all important ‘silver goal’ in the 105th minute.
This victory set up a final against tournament hosts Portugal who had seen off England and Holland on their way to the decider. The Portugeuse, with a young Cristiano Ronaldo, seemed destined to win their first major trophy as they dominated the game, maintaining 58% possession and having 15 shots on goal compared to Greece’s four. But on 57 minutes Greece silenced the home crowd with a headed goal from Angelos Charisteas, the same man who downed France in the quarter final. Greece managed to hang on to the lead to claim one of the biggest footballing shocks of the new millennium.
The failing economy has since seen the the decline of Greek football both domestically and internationally. They had a disastrous qualifying campaign for the Euros in France, finishing bottom of their group and losing at home to Northern Ireland, Romania and the Faroe Islands.
Main image: Jarlhelm