Football Friends Online – When 90 Mins Is Not EnoughGreece lightning - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough Greece lightning - Football Friends Online - When 90 Mins Is Not Enough

Greece lightning

A country on its knees, austerity is taking its toll, 1 in 2 live in poverty; these are not usually phrases that you read in a blog about football. However, bear with me, as it may help to encapsulate the happiness, albeit brief, that the people of Greece felt on Saturday evening.

On the eve of a crucial election back home, Greece’s footballers took to the field against a strong Russian side that boasted the attacking talents of Alan Dzagoev and Andrey Arshavin in Warsaw, Poland.

They knew that anything less than a win would see them return to Athens, having fallen at the first hurdle. Thus fulfilling the outcome that many had predicted and having failed to deliver ‘some happiness for the Greek people’, a phrase coined by striker, Georgios Samaras, of Celtic in the build up to Euro 2012.

When skipper Giorgos Karagounis, who missed a penalty in the opening match against Poland, fired his country in front on the stroke of half time, many would of found it hard to believe that they would be able to keep out the Russians who now needed to score themselves.

In spirit akin to that of Euro 2004, when the won the tournament, they did just that and qualified from the group as runners up. Cue mass celebrations both on the pitch from the players, manager, Fernando Santos, and his staff, but also on the streets of Athens where horns were sounded, flags were waved and the national anthem was sung.

After the celebrating, the players were quick to hail the grit they showed, and the pride they felt at being able to please their hard up compatriots back home. 

Karagounis himself will miss the quarter final with, economic and footballing powerhouse, Germany after collecting a contentious booking in the match, but like many others he will be hoping that Greece can once again upset the odds and pull off the most magnificent of feats.

Below, you will find a video of the Piratiko’s Euro 2004 final win against Portugal.