The surreal air that surrounded the immediate aftermath of Greece's 1-0 semi-final victory against the Czech Republic has been replaced by an awareness of the momentousness of what the country have achieved in reaching the final of UEFA EURO 2004™.
Greece striker Angelos Charisteas, just 24, will have to rethink making any rash pronouncements in future after admitting that before the tournament he said he would quit if Greece reached the final. "Before I left Germany I said that I would retire from football because I believed that anyone who gets to that stage has become an accomplished footballer," he said.
"There are no words to describe my feelings," the SV Werder Bremen striker continued. "This is a great night. I believe that whoever saw the match from their TV sets must have gone mad."
Careful and focused
Greece will face hosts Portugal on Sunday in a repeat of the opening match of the tournament, which Otto Rehhagel's men won 2-1. "It will be 50-50 in the final," was Charisteas's assessment. "The Portuguese want revenge and that's only natural since we beat them. Today we proved that we can play good football. In matches like this you have to be careful and focused. We were both."
Praise for Czechs
Although, Greece eliminated holders France in the quarter-finals, midfield player Konstantinos Katsouranis argued that the Czechs were the most difficult opponents they have faced. "We had luck but we also made a great effort," he said. "In extra time we played with confidence. We are very tired but the atmosphere of the final will give us strength."
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