Determination to neutralise
Russia's strengths and a clear focus earned Greece their 1-0
victory in their last Group A game and a place in the Euro 2012
quarter-finals, coach Fernando Santos said on Saturday.
Greece, who upset Russia with a first-half goal from captain
Giorgos Karagounis in their must-win match, went through as
Group A runners-up and will play the Group B winners in the last
"This result was the fruit of the efforts and decisiveness
of the players on the pitch. God was with us," Santos told
"Focus and concentration decided this match. We didn't allow
our opponents to exploit their strengths and score a goal... the
character of the team emerged when they were in this situation
and the reply was fantastic."
Karagounis, winning his 120th cap to equal the record for
his country, made Russia pay for a flurry of missed chances when
he scored against the run of play deep into first-half stoppage
Studying the Russian team, Santos said, revealed a weakness
at set-pieces and their need for lots of space in order to
create chances, which Greece answered with a rock-solid
"They need a lot of space, especially in the last third of
the pitch in order to create dangerous chances," he said. "So we
needed to be very concentrated in not allowing them to deploy
their skills and the talent that they possess."
Facing repeated questions trying to relate the fate of the
Greek team to debt-strapped Greece's wider fate, Santos said:
"Everyone has to respect Greece. Everything started in Greece.
It is very difficult for anyone to give us lessons."
"From tomorrow we have to clear our minds and keep our feet
on the ground. We know who we are, and we will give everything
in the following match as well."
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