It was the triumph of perseverance, of sacrifice, of the figth, of faith, But above all, It was the biggest surprise that has given a great football competition. Neither Maracanazo, nor Centenariazo, nor those modest teams at lower levels than, suddenly, They get into a Cup final. This time, everything was bigger, most surprising.
And the protagonist, was none other than the Greek football team. And the stage, Portugal Euro 2004. One could say there was some luck, But it was not the case. He won the best. One might add that perhaps enjoyed the best batch of players, but it would miss reality, since two years later he not even qualified for the World Cup 2006.
The fact is that Greece warned before Euro. A Saturday 7 June 2003, Romareda in Zaragoza gave the first shock to the defeat by Spain 0-1 , breaking the first loss of the “day” at home in 12 years.
Connoisseurs it blamed on bad luck Spanish who failed to find the target before an ultra-defensive approach. But the truth, is that Greece, He passed directly as first in their group in qualifying for Portugal, while Spain went to play the play-offs.
Framed within an apparently tough group with Portugal, Spain and Russia, Greeks came to Euro as the Cinderella of Europe and the right opponent for any team. But nevertheless, nothing presaged what would happen.
Led by German coach Otto Rehhagel expert, They had the honor of opening Euro. And they would at the expense of ruining the party to the hostess and one of the favorites, Portugal. which he had the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Figo or Nuno Gomes their ranks. Was a 1-2 what, again, many experts blamed the Portuguese nerves before their competition debut. Again, They were wrong.
The second game of the Greeks faced them Spain, the eternal candidate. Morientes's goal seemed to put the Hellenes with feet on the ground, but Charisteas managed to tie in the second half and leave open the possibilities for classification. This time, the pressure was suffering Spain at big events, the remainder merits the Greeks.
Ashen's role was confirmed at the third meeting, where Russia won to Greece 2-1, and only one carambola, It was the one who put the Hellenes in the top eight, they had only managed to win a match and passed with only 4 points to the quarterfinals.
France should be the final step. Stopping place. Zidane, Henry and Trezeguet were too much for a team that had done enough to get here. An ultra-defensive approach and a solitary goal from Charisteas enough this time to eliminate the Gauls, that chronic blamed of being an aging team.
The semifinals and came across the Czech Republic. A disputed party, locked, which again resulted in a solitary goal in overtime. This time, a central (Dellas) He was the author of the goal that made Greece were playing for the first time the finals of a major championship. Seeing is believing must have thought many, which however they blamed the pass to the finals as more demerit than merit Czech heleno.
And finally, He came the last game, the decisive. Again, Portugal, eager for revenge. This time if, lusos would go to avenge the end and leave the title at home. On the way, the antifútbol would eliminate once and for all. But no, it could not be. Again, Greece, its archaic approach and Charisteas left Portugal with a span of noses.
Finishing the championship, experts surrendered to evidence. No, He had not been lucky (They had won twice away to Portugal) neither chance, or other bad shot. Just that group led by Rehhagel and composed Zagorakis (best player of the tournament), Nikopolidis, Dellas, Kastouranis o Karagounis entre otros, It was the best.
It was Greece 2004, It was the biggest surprise in the history of football.