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Monday, July 05, 2004
The One With The Greek Fairy Tale 

Once upon a time, there was a football team from Greece.. entering Euro tournament for the second time in their nation history.. They never win a single point from a major competition.. now they passed thru final round after top their group with Spain as runners-up.. they went into Euro 2004 with 80/1 odds... only small countries Switzeland n Latvia went after them (if i'm not mistaken)..

However, despite the underdog label.. they produced a heartbreak to the host nation during the opening match of Euro 2004.. won 2-1.. then held back Spain 1-1, before lost 2-1 to Russia.. they proceeded as a group A runner-up with a goal difference..

They had to face Cup holder France in the KO stage.. but then again with tight defensive and a good finishing, they won 1-0.. some said it was a miracle.. some said it just a one of.. heck.. they again defeated mighty Czechs 1-0 in semi-final..
Last night was the Final of Euro 2004.. Host nation Portugal once again met Greece, the only team that beat them in this competition. Portugal led by Brazillian Scolari wanted to repeat the history.. The last host nation went into final was France, in 1984 where they also emerged as champion. In 1988, Holland lost their first match against Soviet but they met again in the final and Holland won 2-0.. As for Greece led by German Rehhagel, Danes fairy tale when they came into tournament with a last-minutes call up replacing Yugoslavia and went all the way becoming Euro 1992 Champs need to be repeated..

Portugal fielded their best starting 11, with a-lone-striker-who-doesnt-score-any-goal Pauleta still playing.. Rui Costa could play in his last international jersey before call it a day.. Figo again wore the captain armband, leading Portugese army in the Final again after their 1991 Youth Cup champion..

Greece played without their inspiration captain Karagounis due to suspension replaced by Giannakopoulos.. Zagorakis as the Greek captain..

First half.. it was a tight game.. both teams tried not to conceed an early goal.. only couple of chances made.. the best when Portugese full-back Miguel sent a low drive forcing keeper Nikopolidis to dive for a block.. Miguel then had to be replaced by the ball-gave-away defender Paolo Ferreira due to injury.. Second half was more interesting with both teams exchanging attacks.. Greece were tough at the back.. they won a corner kick from the right side.. Basinas took the corner met by the head of French destroyer Charistaes, powefully sent in past Ricardo.. The host trembled.. A quick long ball into Greece box, Ronaldo escaped the offside trap, but he put it wide.. it was a one way traffic since then.. Once a while, Greece sent a counter.. Scolari brought in Rui Costa and Nuno Gomes in their attack.. Figo, Pauleta even defender Carvalho tried their luck but it was either wide or saved by Nikopolidis.. (the only one ended into the back of Greece's net was a fan.. )

With about five minutes to full time, a fan with Barcelona flag crushed in.. threw the flag to Figo and ran into Greece back of the net.. security officers had to pull him away.. that resulted to a 5-minutes added in the injury time.. still it wasnt enough to prevent Portugal to become the first host nation lost in a Euro Cup final.. Greece won the thropy, their captain Zagorakis grabbed the Man of the Match title..

1-0 they won against the Portugese.. many shock unbelieved.. many said it will never happen again.. but to them.. they have done it.. it is a fairy tale turns to reality.. it ends happily ever after
Final result:

Portugal 0
Greece 1 - (Charistaes 57')
(MoM : Zagorakis)

A Greece fan couldnt believe his eyes

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