Greece won the European Championships in 2004 so can't be completely written off but it would be a similar shock if they triumphed in Ukraine and Poland this summer.
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FIFA Ranking: 14
Best Finish at European Championships: Winner (2004)
Fixtures at Euro 2012
Friday June 8
Warsaw: Poland v Greece (17:00)
Tuesday June 12
Wroclaw: Greece v Czech Republic (17:00)
Saturday June 16
Warsaw: Greece v Russia (19:45)
Top Goalscorer in Qualifying: Giannis Fetfatzidis, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Vassilis Torossidis (2 Goals)
Greece shocked the whole of football when they won the European Championship back in 2004, but a repeat of that feat is almost unimaginable. Greece have been drawn alongside Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic in Group A and the bookmakers have made them outsiders to come out on top.
How They Qualified
Their progress to Euro 2012 was hardly spectacular, but Greece did manage to complete their qualifying campaign with an unbeaten record. They started slowly with draws against Georgia and Croatia before embarking on a five-game winning run that put them in a strong position to reach this tournament.
A draw against Latvia sent the Greeks into their showdown with Croatia knowing that a victory would all-but ensure their progress, and they duly delivered on home soil. Georgios Samaras and Theofanis Gekas were on target in a 2-0 win for Greece and they then closed out the campaign with a 2-1 win over Georgia. It is worth noting that Greece were in fact the lowest scoring team to reach Euro 2012 having netted just 14 goals.
Former FC Porto and AEK Athens boss Fernando Santos enjoyed a successful club career before replacing Otto Rehhagel back in 2010. Santos was handed the reins following Greece’s poor showing at the 2010 World Cup in which they scored just twice as they bowed out at the group stage. The Portuguese has enjoyed some success already by leading them to Euro 2012 with an unbeaten record, but it remains to be seen if he has a team that can progress in this championship.
21-year-old Sotiros Ninis, who saw little playing time at the 2010 World Cup, played a starring role for the Greeks in qualifying until he damaged cruciate knee ligaments during a match against Israel. While Greece did go on to reach this competition without him, they missed his creativity.
The Panathinaikos man returned to action in March and the theory is that he will be well rested and ready to guide his country to another successful European Championships. If Ninis isn’t up to the task then it will fall to the trusty old midfield pair of Kostas Katsouranis and Giorgos Karagounis to try and win matches for Greece.
Euro 2012 Squad
Goalkeepers: Kostas Chalkias (PAOK FC), Michalis Sifakis (Aris Thessaloniki FC), Alexandros Tzorvas (US Città di Palermo).
Defenders: Vassilis Torossidis (Olympiacos FC), Kyriakos Papadopoulos (FC Schalke 04), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (SV Werder Bremen), Avraam Papadopoulos (Olympiacos FC), José Holebas (Olympiacos FC), Giorgos Tzavellas (AS Monaco FC), Stelios Malezas (PAOK FC).
Midfielders: Kostas Katsouranis (Panathinaikos FC), Giorgos Karagounis (Panathinaikos FC), Giannis Maniatis (Olympiacos FC), Giorgos Fotakis (PAOK FC), Grigoris Makos (AEK Athens FC), Giannis Fetfatzidis (Olympiacos FC), Sotiris Ninis (Panathinaikos FC), Kostas Fortounis (1. FC Kaiserslautern).
Forwards: Dimitris Salpingidis (PAOK FC), Giorgos Samaras (Celtic FC), Fanis Gekas (Samsunspor), Nikos Liberopoulos (AEK Athens FC), Kostas Mitroglou (Atromitos FC).
Expected Starting Team
Chalkias, Torssidis, Papasthopoulos, K Papadopoulos, Holebas, Katsouranis, Karagounis, Maniatis, Ninis, Samaras, Gekas
Captain: Giorgos Karagounis
Penalty Taker: Giorgos Karagounis
Top Team Goalscorer Tips
Greece scored just 14 goals in qualifying with defenders Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Vassilis Torossidis joint top scorers on a mighty two goals so it’s hardly an inspiring market. That said, Greece are going to have to score at some point as they have an easy enough group so someone will find the net for Fernando Santos’s side.
That someone probably won’t be Celtic striker Georgos Samaras, who has never convinced as a goalscorer and will play as a left winger. Theofansi Gekas makes appeal at 6/1 with bet365
but it might be worth taking a chance on Papdaopoulos at a massive 28/1 with Bet Victor
The Schalke defender may only have 8 caps for his country but he has scored three goals and, with much of Greece’s attack likely to based on set-pieces, he could be the value bet, particularly as one goal could be enough to see him finish at least joint top scorer for his country.
The longest priced team at Euro 2012 but can’t be completely written off. Much will depend on their opening match with Poland. If they lose that they’re going home early.