My big fat Greek Euro 2004 !!!

This morning, do we wake up to the birth of a brand new footballing power, or are we still in shock from the biggest upset in football history? Whatever you think, what the Greek National team did last night is historic, and for the next four years, they will be called European champions. Just like France used to be. Yup, the team of unknowns are now champs. It's unbelievable !! They choked the Portuguese players, and no matter how much flair the Portuguese showed, they couldn't break them down. And then, the sucker punch, an unmarked header from a corner in the second half, and the Greeks had scored. Having beaten Portugal twice in the tournament, they have proved to be a world class team, they may not have world class players, but they are a strong team, a formidable unit, and difficult to break down.

It's difficult to believe that prior to Euro 2004, the Greeks had never even won a game at a major tournament (I remember Nigeria beating them in the World Cup in 1994).

So what next for the superstars? : Let's look at them one by one :

Otto Rehhagel
The manager of the Greece side has built on his success at club level in Germany by his exploits at Euro 2004. The offers are likely to pour in and he could be lured away if he feels he has taken the team as far as he can. Already there are calls for him to take over the German National team from Rudi Voeller, after their disastrous outing at the tournament.

Antonis Nikopolidis
The 33-year-old keeper has moved from Panathinaikos to their Greek rivals Olympiakos this summer and is unlikely to have managers picking up the phone hoping to sign him. Steady if unspectacular in front of a defence which has given him little to do.

Yourkas Seitaridis
He has been one of the finds of the tournament. The cultured 23-year-old can play at right-back or right midfield and his performances will have helped show Porto fans why the club were right to snap him up from Panathinaikos.

Traianos Dellas
The central defensive rock on which Greece's success has been built, 28-year-old Dellas will be demanding more first team football after spending much of his time at AS Roma on the sidelines. That could prove difficult with the Italian club signing Philippe Mexes but there are likely to be plenty of interested suitors if he decides to move on.

Michalis Kapsis
He has starred in central defence this tournament and, with his current club AEK Athens in deep financial trouble, is set to leave to help clear massive debts. Soon to be 30, his age could count against a high-profile switch.

Takis Fyssas
The Benfica left-back has been a solid and experienced performer who kept the normally dangerous Karel Poborsky quiet in the semi-final. He is 31 and his desire for upheaval to one of Europe's top leagues as well as the possibility of a big money move may not be realistic.

Theo Zagorakis
The captain and heart of the Greece side. Soon to be 33 so his age may put potential interested parties off. A move to England with Leicester did not work out before a switch to AEK Athens in 2000. His club's huge debts has thrown his future into doubt.

Costas Katsouranis
The 25-year-old midfielder has certainly impressed both in a defensive capacity and in supporting the attack. Another AEK Athens player who could find himself having to be sold to help relieve the club debts. He seems bound for one of Europe's big three leagues.

Angelos Basinas
A playmaker in the side, he is 28 and may fancy his chances away from Panathinaikos where he has spent his whole career so far. A likely target for clubs just outside the top echelons in England, Italy or Spain.

Stelios Giannakopoulos
He struggled to establish himself as a first-team regular at Bolton last season but is now set to command more authority at the ambitious outfit and have more clout in demanding a place or a move.

Giorgos Karagounis
The 27-year-old got his big move in November 2003 when signed by Italian outfit Inter Milan. But he has rarely figured and could continue to be overshadowed at the San Siro by higher profile names. On the positive side, his tigerish performances could bring him to the fore as the club try to re-establish their Serie A status.

Angelos Charisteas
The target man has been the focal point of the Greece attack and scored the winner in the final against Portugal. Great in the air, the 24-year-old has barely figured for German side Werder Bremen. Now though, he may be seen in a different light at the club, or be on his way to a more appreciative employer.

Zisis Vryzas
Like so many of his Greece team-mates, Vryzas is set to become more of an important figure - if like his compatriots they can continue their Euro 2004 form - at his club side Fiorentina who are back in Serie A. He has proven he has the all-round ability to threaten in the air and shown a good touch on the ground.

No comments:

Post a Comment