Just one player will miss the final of UEFA EURO 2004™ through suspension, but Greece's Georgios Karagounis is refusing to grumble about his fate.
The 27-year-old FC Internazionale midfield player was ruled out of Sunday's final against Portugal after picking up his second yellow card in as many games in yesterday's semi-final against the Czech Republic for a foul on Vladimir Šmicer. "Getting to a final like this only happens only once in your life," he said. "Unfortunately I won't be playing but, then again, we can't be greedy. We've already achieved so much. I guess it was God's will."
Karagounis also missed his country's final Group A game against Russia though suspension but, bookings aside, he has had a brilliant tournament. The highlight of his contribution to his country's cause was the opening goal of the tournament against Portugal which paved the way for a 2-1 win and started Greece on the most amazing journey in their football history.
Three giants fall
"After that match I said that Portugal, France and the Czechs were the best teams and we have beaten all three of them," Karagounis pointed out. "I think this speaks for itself. It's just fantastic." Karagounis's team-mates have already stressed that they will be thinking of their absent colleague during Sunday's rematch with the Portuguese. "In the final we will play for Georgios," said fellow midfield player Konstantinos Katsouranis.
Fyssas praise for fans
More than 10,000 Greek fans watched their semi-final at the Estádio do Dragão and thousands more are expected to converge on Lisbon for the final. "We have been helped a lot by the people and the footage of celebrations in Greece," said Panagiotis Fyssas. "The Greek fans have moved us. We hope to give them more joy in the final."
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