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Euro 2012 Report Card: Greece reach the quarter-finals against all odds

Euro 2012 Report Card: Greece reach the quarter-finals against all odds

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Greece were tagged as one of the weakest sides but their typical dogged nature helped them progress through to the quarter-finals. Goal.com analyses...

SPECIAL
By Brendon Netto



GREECE



Expectation :

Expectations weren't high for the Greece national side leading up to Euro 2012. Even though they were drawn in arguably the easiest group of the tournament, the odds on them progressing were pretty slim. The Greek fans may well have travelled to Poland and Ukraine in the hope of avoiding a mauling and bowing out of the competition with dignity.


Result :

The Greeks stunned Europe once again by beating the highly-rated Russians in the final group game 1-0 to advance to the quarter-finals at their opponents' expense. Despite their inferior goal difference, they still beat Russia to the second qualifying spot via their head-to-head advantage. The quarter-final against Germany proved to be a bridge too far for the Greeks but they still battled hard and scored twice against the technically superb Germans during the 4-2 defeat. Their trademark determination and fighting instincts ensured that they left the tournament with their heads held high.



The Coach :

Fernando Santos knew his team's limitations and set them up accordingly. He was never under any illusions that Greece could pass their way through teams and score goals. The one aspect of their game that he had full confidence in was their work ethic and he certainly made the most of it. He packed his midfield with tireless workers and set his team up to block all incoming assaults. His strategy worked for the most part with his side managing to sneak a few decisive goals in at the other end to get the results they needed. It wasn't pretty but by grinding out a couple of good results, Santos was able to lead the Greeks to a quarter-finals place.

Where it went wrong :

Fernando Santos knew his team's limitations and set them up accordingly. He was never under any illusions that Greece could pass their way through teams and score goals. The one aspect of their game that he had full confidence in was their work ethic and he certainly made the most of it. He set them up to defend stubbornly and that's just what they did. They defended with resilience and managd to hit teams on the counter to snatch a few goals and get the results they needed.


Top Player of the Tournament
Kyriakos Papadopoulos


The youngster was key to Greece's resilience

Papadopoulos displayed all the attributes essential to a modern centre-back during his performances at Euro 2012. Bravery, strength and a handy bit of pace are the three aspects of his game that standout. Being a central defender in a weak Greek side, the 20 year old had plenty to do for the majority of the time he spent on the field. His fine displays have even got the Schalke man in the shop window this summer. He was strong in defence throughout the tournament and his outing against Russia was particularly impressive. He constantly proved to be the immovable barrier that the Russians could not get around and he helped his side hold on for a decisive 1-0 victory.



Flop Player of the Tournament
Georgios Samaras


Yet to live upto expectations

"He's a good player but he needs to stop thinking he's Ronaldinho." - Those were the words of former Manchester City manager, Sven-Goran Eriksson while Samaras was under his tutelage. Georgios Samaras is a gifted player but he only showed rare flashes of brilliance during Greece's European adventure. Failing to live upto expectations is pretty much the story of the forward's career so far. The sight of Samaras losing possession and failing to make the most of promising situations has become all too familiar for the Greek faithful. Yes, he did manage to bundle in a goal against the Germans but on the whole, the high-profile Celtic man failed to deliver the goods.



"When we left Greece, we all said really give it everything... We would have anyway, but the hardship made us fight more "

- Greece captain, Giorgos Karagounis
(After progressing through the group stages)



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