Greece is the word
Host Portugal shocked in Euro 2004 final as Greeks win 1-0
Posted: Sunday July 4, 2004 2:11PM; Updated: Sunday July 4, 2004 8:07PM
LISBON, Portugal (AP) -- 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. (Euro 2004)
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. (Greek odyssey)
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."
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.
Analysis: Pragmatic Greeks achieve the impossible
LISBON (Reuters) -- Pragmatism won over romanticism on Sunday when Greece pulled off the biggest shock in international soccer history by winning the European Championship, thanks to a 1-0 victory over Portugal.
Not one pundit had predicted that Otto Rehhagel's team would be able to see the reflection of the Olympic flame in the Henri Delaunay trophy after this tournament ended.
But that is exactly what can happen following Sunday's final. Greece will host the Olympic Games in August as European soccer champions, an extraordinary achievement.
Not content with mugging Portugal in the opening game of Euro 2004, Greece did so a second time at the Luz stadium.
The first time they just bloodied their host's nose on the doorstep. On Sunday they walked away with the silverware and it was Rehhagel's pragmatic approach to the game and to the tournament as a whole that brought Greece their success.
No team in a World Cup or previous European Championships have done what Greece have done here.
They have beaten the host nation twice, knocked out the holders (France), beaten the favourites (Czech Republic) and won the tournament with a foreign coach.
To add to that, they had never previously won a match in a finals. Denmark won the European title in 1992 after being invited to take part at the last minute when Yugoslavia were thrown out, but they were an established soccer power.
Perhaps only West Germany's win in the 1954 World Cup final, when they beat hot favourites Hungary 3-2, compares. That German victory, which followed an 8-3 drubbing by Hungary in a group game, took place exactly 50 years ago today.
There might be doubts about Greece's ability to organise the Olympic Games but they certainly know how to organise a defence.
Rehhagel has moulded a side that also knows how to mix it in midfield and strike when the chances come.
Their 1-0 wins over France in the quarter-final, the Czech Republic in the semis and now Portugal were all through headed goals from crosses or corners on the right.
Angelos Haristeas scored two of them -- against France and Portugal -- and it is hard to believe that he has recently endured such an unhappy time at Werder Bremen.
The basis of their success rested on their five pillars of the Acropolis in defence.
Goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis and the four men in front of him - Yourkas Seitaridis, Michalis Kapsis, Traianos Dellas and Takis Fyssas - threw up an almost impregnable barrier.
Whether this result is a good one for football or not remains to be seen. Using a sweeper and man-to-man marking on opposing attackers is an old-fashioned tactic that is largely defensive and is not pretty to watch.
Portugal, in Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Figo, Rui Costa and Deco, possessed all the flair players.
Relatively impotent in the first half, they created chances in the second period but failed to take any of them and when Greece went ahead after 57 minutes, there was an air of inevitability about the outcome.
Portugal will never have a better chance to win a major tournament after reaching their first final.
Coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was attempting to become the first man to win the World Cup and European Championship with different countries after leading his native Brazil to victory in Yokohama two years ago, and he was udone at the end by an even more wily operator than himself.
Scolari's one mistake was to leave the ineffective Pauleta up front in attack for too long. The in-form Nuno Gomes would surely have done better if he had come on at halftime.
As a spectacle the final was not a classic -- there were too many wasted balls, poor passes and fouls for that. But as an upset success it is an achievement that will not be matched for decades.
As the the T-shirts of thousands of Greek fans in the stadium read: "This is the year of Greece."
There is really no argument with that.
Portugal 0 Greece 1 - result
Euro 2004 final
Scorer: Angelos Haristeas 57
Halftime: 0-0; Attendance: 62,865
Portugal (4-5-1): 1-Ricardo; 13-Miguel (2-Paulo Ferreira 43), 16-Ricardo Carvalho, 4-Jorge Andrade, 14-Nuno Valente; 6-Costinha (10-Rui Costa 60), 18-Maniche, 20-Deco, 7-Luis Figo (captain), 17-Cristiano Ronaldo; 9-Pauleta (21-Nuno Gomes 74)
Greece (4-4-2): 1-Antonis Nikopolidis; 2-Yourkas Seitaridis, 19-Michalis Kapsis, 5-Traianos Dellas 14-Takis Fyssas; 8-Stelios Giannakopoulos (3-Stelios Venetidis 76), 7-Theodoros Zagorakis (captain), 6-Angelos Basinas, 21-Costas Katsouranis; 15-Zisis Vryzas (22-Dimitrios Papadopoulos 81), 9-Angelos Haristeas
Referee: Markus Merk (Germany)
Linesmen: Jan-Hendrik Salver (Germany), Christian Schraer (Germany)
LISBON (Reuters) -- Highlights of the Euro 2004 final between Portugal and Greece on Sunday.
12 - YELLOW CARD. Portugal midfielder Costinha is booked for bringing down Greece right back Yourkas Seitaridis.
14 - Portugal right back Miguel strikes a low drive from 25 metres that goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis tips around the post.
16 - Portugal keeper Ricardo saves at the feet of striker Angelos Haristeas after a knock on from Costas Katsouranis.
17 - Portugal forward Pauleta hits a low drive from 20 metres that Nikopolidis smothers at his near post.
24 - Portugal midfielder Maniche fires wide from 20 metres after Seitaridis heads clear following a Deco corner.
43 - SUBSTITUTION: Portugal bring on Paulo Ferreira for the injured Miguel at right back. Miguel suffered a rib injury after an earlier clash with midfielder Stelios Giannakopoulos.
45 + 2 - YELLOW CARD: Greece midfielder Angelos Basinas booked for deliberate handball near the halfway line.
HALFTIME: PORTUGAL 0 GREECE 0
57 - GOAL. PORTUGAL 0 GREECE 1. Haristeas heads Greece in front from their first corner of the match by Basinas.
59 - Portugal winger Cristiano Ronaldo strikes a fierce low drive from 20 metres that Nikopolidis beats away.
60 - SUBSTITUTION: Portugal bring on attacking midfielder Rui Costa for defensive midfielder Costinha.
63 - YELLOW CARD. Seitaridis booked for standing in front of the ball as Portugal prepare to take a free kick.
64 - Portugal captain Luis Figo hits a low drive from just inside the area but Nikopolidis saves comfortably.
67 - YELLOW CARD. Greece left back Takis Fyssas is booked for clattering into the back of Figo.
74 - SUBSTITUTION: Portugal striker Nuno Gomes replaces the ineffective Pauleta up front.
75 - Ronaldo puts the ball over the bar from eight metres under pressure from Nikopolidis after being sent clear of the defence by a pass over the top from Rui Costa.
76 - SUBSTITUTION: Greece bring on central defender Stelios Venetidis for midfielder Giannakopoulos.
81 - SUBSTITUTION: Greece striker Dimitrios Papadopoulos replaces Zisis Vryzas.
85 - YELLOW CARD: Papadopoulos booked for a foul on Rui Costa.
90 - Figo fires just wide of the far post after a smart turn inside the area.
90 + 4 YELLOW CARD: Portugal defender Nuno Valente booked for a foul on Theodoros Zagorakis.
FULLTIME: PORTUGAL 0 GREECE 1.