Karagounis Leads Greece to Quarterfinals

Here is my story about Greece’s win over Russia and what lies ahead against Germany. The article will be posted on The Greek Star website.

If there is something that soccer fans should know, it is to never count out Greece at the Euros.

Greece pulled off one of the biggest surprises in soccer history when they won Euro 2004. Now the Greeks performed a similar unlikely feat by finishing second place in Group A at Euro 2012.

The achievement is a shock because Greece started the day in last place in the group and had to beat a high-flying Russia side, who only needed a draw guarantee a top two finish and a spot in the quarterfinals.

Greece played very average in their first two games at Euro 2012. They got of to a miserable start in the tournament’s opening game against host Poland, but rebounded strongly in the second half to salvage an important tie.

The next match started even worse for Greece. Czech Republic scored two goals in the first six minutes and Greece was only able to get one goal back.

No one gave Greece a chance going into the Russia match. In fact most soccer fans outside Russia or Greece were focused on the Poland versus Czech Republic match. Both games were being played at the same time.

Shortly after the first half ended scoreless in the Poland/Czech Republic match, Greece scored the eventual winning goal through captain Giorgos Karagounis. The veteran midfielder capitalized on a mistake by the Russian defense and blasted a low-driven shot into the corner of the goal.

Greece weathered the Russian storm and held on to a 1-0 win. This result was very similar to how Greece won matches at Euro 2004. They made the most out of their few scoring chances and played disciplined defense against a more attack-minded opponent.

In the meantime, Czech Republic outmatched Poland with a 1-0 victory to win Group A.

Now Greece plays in the quarterfinals against Germany on Friday in Gdansk, Poland. An early storyline to think about is defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos playing against familiar players. The 20 year-old has been one of the young stars at Euro 2012 and plays his club soccer for Schalke 04 in the German Bundesliga. A majority of Germany’s starting lineup plays in the Bundesliga so Papadopoulos has the scouting report against Germany’s key players.

Germany overmatches Greece on paper, but in soccer anything can happen. Greece knows what it takes to win a major tournament and only three more victories are required to regain glory.

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