Greece win Euro 2004

Greece won the Euro 2004 Championship on this day, Sunday 4th July 2004, in one of the greatest shocks in the history of European football.  Unfancied Greece, to the surprise of most people, beat the hosts Portugal 1-0 in the final held in Lisbon.  A team expected to fail in the group stages, Greece defeated three top-seeded teams on the way to lifting the cup, Portugal with Cristiano Ronaldo and Luis Figo, France with Zinedine Zidane and Thierry Henry and the highly fancied Czech Republic team in the semi-final.  Greece then beat the tournament favourites again in the final, as they did in their opening group A game.  And at the head of it all, as the arch-strategist plotting their downfall, was Hellas team coach 'King' Otto Rehhagel, a German guaranteed his place among the gods of Greek sport forever.  

Greece were crowned European champions, a title that they were given a 150-1 chance of winning before the tournament started.  Celebrations took place all over Greece, the Greek diaspora celebrated through the night in Australia, Canada, America and the United Kingdom.  Fireworks lit up the night sky over Athens almost as soon as the final whistle sounded, as flag-draped Athenians poured onto the streets of the capital, even tranquil Ermioni erupted.  All ages and sections of society joined in the carnival mood, with pensioners thronging alongside enthusiastic teenagers, Orthodox priests and policemen, honking motorcycle and car horns, chanting "Greece, Greece, raise the cup, raise the cup".  Angelos Charisteas, the striker who scored the winning goal in the final, reportedly had his home village renamed after him.  Greek fans described it as a 'magical summer' that many will never ever forget.

A new documentary movie has been recently produced, titled 'King Otto', chronicling this greatest of all football victories for Greece.  At the time, team coach Otto Rehhagel said, "Football managed to unite the country, something politics wasn't able to do".