Expert analysis of the events in Poland and Ukraine
Back of the Net
The Back of the Net team explain some of the curious tactics witnessed during Greece's 2-1 defeat to the Czech Republic
Despite a defeat that leaves them on the brink of elimination from Euro 2012, Greece’s players and coaching staff have restated their unwavering belief that Georgios Samaras is capable of scoring at all times from all positions and that the defeat is part of his greater plan.
After an entertaining opening game against Poland, there had been suggestions that Greece were slowly moving away from their traditionally fundamental Samarasian outlook, but those claims soon looked rash as they quickly moved into the 10-0-Samaras formation that has become synonymous with Greek football.
Much to the Greeks’ astonishment, their profligate Deity was unable to protect them, as the Czech Republic netted twice in six minutes, taking advantage of a gap in the Greek defence caused by Vasilis Torosidis being dragged out of position to anoint the sores on Samaras’ feet, then pouncing as Giannis Maniatis was preoccupied penning an emotive psalm.
While other sides may have relented and resorted to playing passes between defence and midfield, trying to engage their wingers or delivering crosses into the box, Greece remained true to their beliefs and continued to offer up an endless flow of hoofed balls towards a largely immobile Samaras, who appeared angry when these attempts required him to move fractionally to his left or right.
And although many will feel Samaras failed to make the most of the 6500 balls thudded artlessly in his general direction, the Greeks insist that the Celtic man’s apparent lack of any influence on the game is in fact the greatest proof of his influence.
“I’m not disappointed,” Greek coach Fernando Santos insisted. “How can I be? It is the will of Samaras.
“Like any coach I would have liked us to win, or draw, or score a proper goal, but there is a higher power at work.”
Greece did claw their way back into the game in the second half when Petr Cech dropped a routine cross at the feet of Fanis Gekas to make it 2-1: a goal they celebrated by butchering left back Jose Holebas and placing his bloody carcass at the feet of Samaras.
“It was the work of Samaras,” captain Giorgios Karagounis explained. “People will say that he was nowhere near the ball on the one occasion we did score. but we understand that it is faith in something we cannot see that makes it true faith.
“If Samaras were to have shots on goal or win headers or hold the ball up for teammates then it wouldn’t require us to have this faith in him. The fewer goals Samaras scores, the more certain I am that we would be wrong to try and engineer a basic passing move without him.”
More match reports from Back of the Net:Everyone and no-one happy as England and France drawFairytale for Shevchenko as he scores twice, kills wolf, rescues princessTorres performance vindicates Spain decision to play with no strikers Ireland defeated as every chance somehow falls to Keith AndrewsPortugal lull Germany into a real sense of security
During the Euros, Back of the Net will tweet live during the match. Follow the commentary at http://twitter.com/backofthenetFFT
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