Three days to go: Few backed Greece to upset hosts and favourites Portugal in the UEFA EURO 2004 final, but Otto Rehhagel's men had a major shock in store.
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The game: Portugal 0-1 Greece, 2004 final
The date: 4 July 2004
The location: Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon
The protagonist: Angelos Charisteas
What made it special?
The goal that handed Greece the unlikeliest of UEFA European Championship wins was simple in its execution but devastating in significance. A tense, attritional final sprung into life as the hour mark approached when Greece won themselves a corner – a fact celebrated by their fans as if they had already found the net.
They soon would. Otto Rehhagel's men had worked diligently on their set-piece routines and their preparations paid off as Angelos Basinas swung in the corner from the right and Charisteas towered above Costinha. With Portugal goalkeeper Ricardo having left his line, the forward was able to head into an unguarded net, and Greece had the game exactly where they wanted it.
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What did it mean?
Charisteas's strike sealed Greece's third 1-0 consecutive victory in the knockout phase, all three goals coming from headers – and two of them nodded in by the Werder Bremen striker. His effort against Portugal was the crowning moment, securing Greece the European title against the hosts and favourites in a win that defied the odds. A remarkable achievement for a team that had not even recorded a victory at a major final tournament before UEFA EURO 2004 kicked off.
How Charisteas remembers it …
"I admit I've watched that goal a few times by chance when it's been on TV. When I replay it in my mind, it seems as if I was completely alone in the box, with no opponents around me. I think about that goal a lot, especially when things go badly. It boosts me and helps me bounce back psychologically. Even in 50 years' time, everybody will remember that I scored the goal which made Greece the champions of Europe. We wrote history."
Otto Rehhagel, Greece coach
"'Harry' wasn't playing much for Werder Bremen. I had to talk a lot to him, to encourage him and convince him he was capable of great things. I always believed in him. And he proved me right. He became a star of the tournament."
Traianos Dellas, Greece defender
"When Angelos scored, I remember thinking just one thing: 'That's it! The cup is ours. We can't lose it now!'"
Ricardo, Portugal goalkeeper
"We tried hard for a different result, but we couldn't get past the Greek wall. They were very strong defensively and were always looking for the occasional set piece in our half. Unfortunately for us, that's what happened and they scored."
What the papers said
"Melody of Angels: Corner by Angelos Basinas, header by Angelos Charisteas." Goal News (Greece)
"Everybody in Portugal's defence played the statue when Charisteas rose to take the header. A powerful header, a goal, the victory." El País (Spain)