2008 Greece Euro Soccer Preview
by Doc's Sports - 05/27/2008
By now it should be no secret of Greece's triumph during Euro 2004. They shocked the world and the entire field when they captured the title as European's best.
Prior to 2004, Greece had only competed in the European Championship in 1980. Also, just one World Cup appearance is to their name, qualifying for the 1994 tournament in the United States. Both resulted in first round losses.
All that is hearsay, because The Pirate Ship is riding high into Austria and Switzerland. Greece had been ranked 11th, the highest ever for this football country. But even further success during qualifying for Euro 2008 has now found them inside the top 10 with a ranking of No. 8.
Greece earned the nickname The Pirate Ship during their Euro 2004 ride to fame. During the opening ceremony of the event, which took place right before the match of Portugal vs. Greece, the hosts used the replica of a 16th century ship referring to the Portuguese expeditions of that time. The Greek radio sports journalist Georgios Helakis had mentioned, "Since the Portuguese team appear in such ship, it's time for us to become pirates and steal the victory". This nickname was repeated at every win, and especially after the final match when they again faced the hosts. After Greece won the trophy, the Pirate Ship is now the nickname of the Greek team
Golden Player Watch - Otto Rehhagel, Manager
We're going to go ahead and make note of Greece's head man, the leader who directed his squad to an unimaginable finish in Euro 2004 and has them back with arguably a stronger team.
Rehhagel is one of the most successful German coaches ever, having led multiple German club teams throughout his five decades of coaching. He is the only person to have participated in over 1,000 Bundesliga matches as both a player and coach.
Taking over as manager of Greece in 2001, they were 100-1 outsiders as they arrived in Portugal for the tournament. En route to the title, they knocked off France, Czech Republic and Portugal twice, once in group play and again they bested the hosts in the final. This shockwave is what gives every team hope during Euro 2008, and now no one is to be taken lightly.
Reason Why They Will Advance to Elimination Round
It's going to be awfully tough to find the quarterfinals again for the Greeks, but if anyone can do it, they are the group. Paired with Spain, Russia and Sweden, however, not one match is a guaranteed three points.
Greece did impress during the qualifying stage, earning the highest point total of any other team, making it known they are ready to defend their title. Greece was further impressed by the work of head man Rehhagel and they extended his contract until 2010.
Group Play Schedule
Greece vs. Sweden - June 10
Greece vs. Russia - June 14
Greece vs. Spain - June 18