"We will envy those who take part," said UEFA EURO 2004 winner Panagiotis Fyssas as Greece prepared to watch the finals from a distance, but who will Greek fans follow?
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A UEFA EURO 2004 winner, Panagiotis Fyssas caught something of the national mood for the finals when he told LiveSport: "All of us who love football will be excited to watch the games, but we will be sorry that Greece are not there, that we will not hear our national anthem. We will envy those who take part."
Home and away defeats by the Faroe Islands were the worst moments of a truly miserable qualifying campaign for Greece, though now that the finals are on, Greek fans can revert to their natural habit of rooting for the underdogs – and confidently expecting one of the big sides to win UEFA EURO 2016.
As for which plucky outsiders fans will be getting behind, there are some obvious choices.
In Salonika, fans may take an interest in Slovakia who include PAOK players current and past - Róbert Mak and Miroslav Stoch - while Vladimír Weiss spent time at Olympiacos. Panathinaikos’s Marcus Berg and Olympiacos’s Jimmy Durmaz both play for Sweden, which could give the Blågult an unexpected following in Athens.
Greek fans are as keen as everyone else on Zlatan Ibrahimović too, and Cristiano Ronaldo has no shortage of fans, but they have other reasons to wish Portugal well.
Current coach Fernando Santos led Greece to UEFA EURO 2012 and the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and they also feature Vieirinha – a huge hit during his time at PAOK and one-time AEK Athens player Bruno Alves.