Euro 2012 quarter-finalists
Greece have had enough of eurozone jokes as well as the ridicule
and sharp criticism of their playing style and they are seeking
respect ahead of their match against Germany.
The Greeks have had to endure a flood of negative media copy
despite battling through Group A with a 1-0 win over favourites
Russia to set up a last-eight clash with the three-times
Whether it is the Italian Rai TV commentator's
expletive-laden description of Greece causing a stir or German
football association officials privately demanding a goal-fest
against the eurozone's problem child, Greece must be feeling
like a pinata at a children's party.
Comic strips depicting a Greek player snatching the
referee's coin at the toss-up before the start of a game and
shouting "a euro" are a daily occurrence.
"Greece are a shit team, a shit team," said a Rai
commentator before the broadcaster went to half-time commercials
and seconds after Greece had scored what proved to be the
winning goal in first-half stoppage time against the Russians.
A Germany football association official (DFB), on the flight
back from Lviv after their 2-1 win over Denmark, even privately
said whether it was now time for German Chancellor Angela Merkel
to attend the game in Gdansk "to stick it into them."
Relations between the two countries have deteriorated in
recent years due to a Berlin-backed austerity plan and German
finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble even called Greece "a
Comments regarding the quality of their football have not
been much kinder.
"People have been slinging mud at us and we are very sad
about what has been said. Against Russia we managed to silence
them. Now we must keep quiet and keep working," defender
Kyriakos Papadopoulos said.
Keeping quiet would be a wise course of action for a team
who qualified undefeated for the tournament, conceding only five
goals as any other reaction would merely be a distraction.
"The Greeks deserve more respect," said their coach,
Portuguese Fernando Santos. "We all need to pay a bit more
respect to them. It is not appropriate for others to give
lessons to the Greeks."
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