Euro 2012

Greece stun Russia

2012-06-17 09:04
Euro 2012 (File)
Warsaw, Poland - Greece gave their troubled country a lift it desperately needed by stunning Russia 1-0 against the odds to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-finals on Saturday and send their opponents out of the tournament.

Facing a tense election back home and mired in a deep financial crisis, Greece secured victory with a Giorgos Karagounis goal deep into first-half stoppage-time to put his side through as Group A runners-up.

The Czech Republic, thrashed 4-1 by Russia in their opening game, beat Poland 1-0 to reach the last eight as group winners on six points.

Greece and Russia, who could not repeat their impressive opening win which had commentators purring, were next with four, with Fernando Santos's side progressing thanks to the head-to-head rule.

Greek players and coaching staff celebrated wildly on the pitch in front of their small section of fans who had been heavily outnumbered by the large Russian contingent that descended on the Polish capital.

Greece stunned the football world by winning Euro 2004 as huge outsiders and could be on a roll again after the much maligned traits of being a well-organised, if limited side, proved a hurdle the more talented Russians, let down by wayward shooting, could not cross.

Santos, the Portuguese coach charged with following 'King Otto' Rehhagel, the German who led Greece to triumph eight years ago, said his side had been inspired "by the history of Greece".

"What we have achieved is very important," Santos, sitting with a Greece scarf draped around his neck, told a news conference.

"Greece has huge pride for its history. Everyone has to respect Greece."

Russia, who had raised hopes of emulating their run to the semifinals four years ago, appeared to have their destiny in their own hands as they topped the group coming into the game.

But despite the best promptings of Andrei Arshavin, their woeful finishing let them down and fate conspired against them elsewhere, with the Czech Republic's victory over the Poles ensuring it was the final match in charge of Russia for Dutch coach Dick Advocaat.

Advocaat, heading back home to take charge of PSV Eindhoven, said his side were not sharp enough to score.

"Even though we lost today we played brilliantly in the first half," he said.

"Then they got a goal and that created a different story. "We didn't have the sharpness to score that goal."

Russia had 25 shots to Greece's five and 62 percent of possession. But that counted for nothing as Greece, facing a win or bust game after taking just one point from two matches, took their chance when it mattered as the Russians fell asleep at the back.

After withstanding long spells of pressure, Greece struck in the closing seconds of the opening half.

Midfielder and captain Karagounis, winning his 120th cap to equal Theodor Zagorakis's record for his country, took advantage of poor marking at a throw-in to race into the box and fire hard past Vyacheslav Malafeyev.

Victory and his goal were bittersweet for Karagounis who will be suspended for the quarterfinal after a second-half yellow card shown for diving, when the Greeks were convinced they should have been awarded a penalty.

"The moment is pure magic for all of us," Karagounis said. "This night is very important, it is something important for Greece for all Greeks. We said we would give it all, despite all the difficulties.

"We scored at exactly the moment we needed to. Now it is time to celebrate."

The Greek party now heads to Gdansk and a quarterfinal showdown with the winners of Group B which Germany lead heading into the last round of matches.

Read more on:    euro 2012  |  soccer
NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
1 comment
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
  • Blitz
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @00:00
  • SS1
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @01:00
  • SS2
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @02:00
  • SS3
    Mon, 24 Nov 2014 @03:00
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Hottie of the day: Nicole Meyer!

Nicole is the cover girl for the 2014 edition of SA Swimsuit! Check out some smoking hot pics of here here.

 
 

Men24.com

11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!
Thirty and still single? There’s hope!
Vote

How much interest do you have in the Euro2012 championships?

 
 
/Sport
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.