Expert analysis of the events in Poland and Ukraine
Back of the Net
The Back of the Net gang report on Greece 1-0 Russia
Greece are through to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, a reluctant tournament spokesman has admitted, but organisers are clinging on to the hope that they might forget to claim their place in the last eight.
Fernando Santos’ men produced a scarcely believable smash and grab raid to beat Russia 1-0, to the joy of Greeks everywhere and the horror of anyone with even the slightest fondness for the sport of football.
A Giorgios Karagounis goal – the fifth in Greek football history – proved enough to knock out a wasteful Russian side, who had 31 shots but only managed two on target, 16 off target and 13 that are still missing, feared wide.
While the result was met with scenes of delirium in Athens, football fans across Europe have responded less enthusiastically. For many, the scars of Euro 2004, which Greece won without attempting at any stage to put the ball in the opposition’s net, are still raw.
And there is genuine fear that history could repeat itself despite pre-tournament guarantees that there would be ‘no more than 270 minutes of Greece’.
“Greece have finished second, so yes they are technically through to the next round,” Euro 2012 organiser Markiyan Lubyivskyi grumbled through gritted teeth.
“But we’d really appreciate it if nobody would mention that to them. With all due respect, Greece are to a football tournament what myxomatosis is to rabbits.”
There has been pressure on UEFA to address the problem of the Greeks. A special committee meeting in March led to an abortive attempt to transfer Greece to the Oceania Football Federation and Michel Platini has repeatedly stressed that a Greek victory at Euro 2012 would leave him with no option but to discontinue the competition.
More match reports from Back of the Net:POL 0-1 CZE: Polish celebratory vodka repurposed as misery vodkaSWE 2-3 ENG: Ice-cool England dispatch Sweden with ruthless efficiency... UKR 0-2 FRA: Ukraine, 400-year-old God of Thunder unable to stop FranceESP 4-0 IRE: Trapattoni pinpoints kick-off as turning point for IrelandITA 1-1 CRO: Croatia refuse to give in, grab socially awkward point with Italy
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The Back of the Net boys report on Sweden 2-0 France Sweden recorded a majestic 2-0 win over France and
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