Football, Greece & the Euro

So two big items this weekend:   The Greek match against Russia where Russia was heavily favored to wipe them out of the Euro 2012 and the now, infamous Greek elections - v2.

Greece somehow channeled the Greece of 2004 and won 1-0

This was the setup from the Guardian

Good evening. It has been said on more than one occasion this week that the moment of truth for Greece is fast approaching. This viewpoint has generally been carried in the so-called "serious pages" and relates to what is believed to be the more important matter of the re-run of the Greek general election. But the fact of the matter is that twice in the next 24 hours the Greeks will put their necks on the line with a place in the Euros at stake.

Escaping the pincer jaws of austerity may be slightly harder than grinding out a 1-0 win over a Russia side who, for the most part, have impressed in this tournament, but there is no outcome in Sunday's election that will lift the spirits of the people quite like victory in Warsaw.

The signs don't look good for Greece. A quick pilfering of the work of the good folks at Opta reveals that they have had the fewest shots on goal of any team in Euro 2012 so far (three) and they have only won one of their 11 group stage games the European Championships – that was the opening match of their triumphant 2004 campaign against Portugal. In fact this is the third successive European Championships that Greece have played Russia and they have lost the previous two. But win they must – it's as simple as that.

And the outcome, again from the Guardian

Full Time: Greece 1-0 Russia. Greece go through to the last eight. Russia are out. That is astonishing. Truly astonishing.

They played like the 2004 team - the most improbable winner of any major football tournament ever...

This Greek side achieved perhaps the most astonishing thing in the history of international football. There have been one-off shocks, games that went against the favourites because of a particular set of circumstances. USA 1-0 England in 1950. Senegal 1-0 France in 2002. But those things can happen; shocks in football happen because it’s such a low-scoring game, and dominance doesn’t always equal goals.

But never before has a team so unfancied gone onto win a major international tournament. Available at odds of up to 250/1 and having never won a tournament game in their history, Greece’s march to wining Euro 2004 was unquestionably the tactical achievement of the decade. 

And, for ultimate irony, their likely opponent in the quarterfinals will be Germany.

This will definitely lighten the mood in Greece for tonight -- I wonder if it will actually impact election results


Posted on June 16, 2012 and filed under Greece.