Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Greece Is the Word after Euro Sensation

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Greece Is the Word after Euro Sensation

Article excerpt

Stelios Giannakopoulos insisted a combination of brotherly love and the leadership of Greece's German coach Otto Rehhagel helped the shock Euro 2004 semi-finalists dethrone European champions France at Lisbon's Estadio Jose Alvalade.

A second-half goal from Angelos Charisteas was sufficient for the Greeks to add the scalp of the French to that of the Portuguese, whom they beat in the tournament's opening match in Porto.

Giannakopoulos, who plays for Bolton, was elated after the match and said: "We have a great spirit and we really love each other ( and you could see that during the game.

"This is the biggest moment for Greek football and the Greek people and they say there were eight million people in the streets celebrating back home.

"France are a great team and very technical and we acknowledge that, but we managed to find answers to that and play to our own strengths."

Giannakopoulos also paid tribute to Rehhagel ( the coach who has transformed the footballing fortunes of a nation which had never previously progressed to the knockout stages of a major tournament and had not even qualified for one since the 1994 World Cup.

"He has made us into a very solid team," continued the Bolton player, who failed to make the starting line-up because of injury.

"He has brought a German mentality to our football and that has been very important.

"He has made us happy and now we have made everyone happy ( every last Greek person all over the world is joyful because of what we achieved."

Giannakopoulos' jubilation was shared by Georgios Karagounis ( the midfielder whose goal after six minutes gave the supposed minnows a flying start in the tournament opener with Portugal at the Estadio do Dragao on June 12.

Karagounis said: "We have proved we are a good team and we said our tournament was not yet over just because we had reached the quarter-finals. …

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