A day forever ingrained in Greek’s minds. As the full time whistle was called, the weight was lifted off the shoulders of the Greek players in the stadium. That energy was transferred to Greeks across the world, who celebrated Greece as European champions for the first time in history.
Greece entered the tournament as complete underdogs, with not a single football pundit tipping the country for victory.
Drawn in what could have been considered the “group of death”, with Portugal and Spain being heavy tournament favourites, every match was a must-win. From this, Greece decided to show Europe they were a title contender, beating out Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal in round one.
With fortune on their side, Greece managed to progress to the the knockout stage of the competition, beating out Spain who shared the same goal difference, yet with two less goals scored against their opponents.
The Greek players weren’t able to sit and celebrate, facing off against France who featured the likes of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires. What would prove not to be his final goal of the tournament, Greek forward Angelos Charisteas scored in the 65th minute of the match.
From that point, France grew frustrated with Greece’s solid defensive plays and proceeded to lose the match 1-0, taking Greece to the semi-finals.
As if the Greek gods were smiling upon them, Greece were then to face Czech Republic. Yet, victory was not as easy as it may of been foreseen, with the Czech nation also dreaming of an underdog tail. A tough defensive battle between both nations, the match continued into extra time.
Just as the half time whistle was to be blown, centre back Traianos Dellas is delivered a ball from the corner spot to his head, striking home a late victory for the Greeks.
As prophetic as a match can be, Greece were to face their first round opponents Portugal in the Euro 2004 Final. Held in Portugal, the odds were against them. 60,000 Portugal fans flooded the stadium. Greece were forced to draw all their attention on to the field to claim a victory against the home nation.
World talents Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo attempted to break the Greek defensive line multiple times. While a couple of close calls, no goals ended in the back of the net. Instead, what the Portuguese players didn’t expect was none other than Angelos Charisteas.
As if Greece had christened every corner flag before the match, Charisteas heads the ball in the net in the 57th minute to secure a victory for the Greek national team.
The victory would forever be considered one of the greatest underdog tales in football history, with the Greek team leaving a legacy for the next generation of footballers.