Greece are crowned kings of Europe after EURO 2004 final win against hosts Portugal

Portugal 0-1 Greece
Angelos Charisteas' goal helped Otto Rehhagel's side stun the hosts to win UEFA EURO 2004.

EURO 2004 final highlights: Greece 1-0 Portugal
EURO 2004 final highlights: Greece 1-0 Portugal

Greece, who began the tournament as 80-1 outsiders, pulled off arguably the biggest shock at a major football tournament as Angelos Charisteas' goal earned a 1-0 victory over Portugal in the final of UEFA EURO 2004.

Portugal thus became the first host nation to lose a UEFA European Championship showpiece and they will have to wait at least another two years to claim their first senior title. For the likes of Luís Figo and Rui Costa it was an agonising end to glittering international careers, but they can look back with pride on the past three weeks.

EURO 2004: All you need to know

Luiz Felipe Scolari's side in Lisbon were unchanged from the team that beat the Netherlands in the semi-finals, with goal-poacher Pauleta preferred to the in-form Nuno Gomes in attack. Greece made just one change, Stelios Giannakopoulos replacing the suspended Georgios Karagounis in midfield.

Angelos Charisteas after scoring against Portugal
Angelos Charisteas after scoring against PortugalIcon Sport via Getty Images

Perhaps contrary to some expectations, the game was an attractive spectacle from the start, with both sides playing fluently. Portugal playmaker Deco was involved twice early on, combining with Pauleta and then Cristiano Ronaldo, but first Greece captain Theo Zagorakis and then Traianos Dellas – man of the match in the semi-final win against the Czech Republic – made timely interceptions.

Pauleta was just beaten to a long through ball by Greek goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis before Greece showed their class with a sweeping move down the right involving Konstantinos Katsouranis and Zagorakis that was only halted with a crude foul by Costinha on Giourkas Seitaridis, for which the Portuguese midfield anchorman was booked.

Best goals of EURO 2004
Best goals of EURO 2004

Portugal hit back and Miguel, on his home ground, sent a powerful low drive fizzing across the face of goal; Nikopolidis had to tip the ball away in spectacular fashion. At the other end Ricardo was forced to race from the Portuguese line to deny Charisteas, who had been played in by Katsouranis.

A speculative Pauleta effort was saved comfortably enough by Nikopolidis but only a fine tackle from Dellas prevented Ronaldo causing havoc with his dancing feet. The hosts were getting on top and Maniche shot wide from a corner as the crowd held its breath, hoping for a repeat of his stunning goal against the Dutch.

Mihalis Kapsis, doubtful for the game owing to a knee injury, then broke up another promising Deco-Ronaldo attack on the edge of the area. At this point the Greece fans, heavily outnumbered, took the initiative on behalf of their team and created a deafening wall of sound at the end Portugal were attacking: an invisible barrier the hosts could find no way past for the remainder of the first half.

EURO 2004 highlights: Spotlight on Luís Figo
EURO 2004 highlights: Spotlight on Luís Figo

The second half opened with a Pauleta effort that was blocked when he might have done better, a microcosm of his frustrating tournament, and then the unthinkable happened – Greece took the lead. A surging right-wing run from Seitaridis won them a corner which Angelos Basinas swung over and there was Charisteas climbing above Costinha to head in from close range.

Costinha was immediately withdrawn in favour of Rui Costa and the veteran midfielder nearly made an instant impact, tricking his way into the area before delivering a wayward final pass. Seitaridis was then cautioned and Figo shot straight at Nikopolidis as nerves on and off the pitch began to fray.

Portugal national anthem: Watch Ronaldo and co in EURO 2004 final
Portugal national anthem: Watch Ronaldo and co in EURO 2004 final

Ricardo Carvalho had to be alert to prevent Zisis Vryzas doubling the lead just past the hour mark, and the home fans now did their best to rally their team. For a time Greece had their backs to the wall as Rui Costa, Deco and Figo probed for an opening, but the defensive discipline that has stood Rehhagel's team in such good stead throughout the tournament once again came to their rescue as Portuguese attacks broke down time after time.

Scolari swapped Pauleta for Nuno Gomes with 17 minutes of normal time remaining and soon after that Ronaldo almost latched on to a long pass by Rui Costa but, off-balance, his shot was high and wide. Rui Costa himself went closer but his deflected shot was palmed away by Nikopolidis, while Figo also saw an effort rebound behind as Greece held on for a famous win.

Reaction

Otto Rehhagel comes off the bench to celebrate
Otto Rehhagel comes off the bench to celebrateAFP via Getty Images

Otto Rehhagel, Greece coach: "It was an unusual achievement for Greek football and especially for European football. The team played great football. We took advantage of our chances. The opponent was technically better than us but we took advantage of our chances. We should have made it 2-0. The Greeks made football history today. It's a sensation."

Angelos Charisteas, Greece forward: "This is a unique moment, which many of us may never experience again and I believe we deserved it. We got this far by getting past very big teams, and today we came against a very strong Portugal. Despite this, we were able to win the trophy. It's the best moment in my career. I thought that there is no way we could lose the cup today. At that moment I didn't know how, but I knew that we were going to lift [the trophy] today."

Luiz Felipe Scolari, Portugal coach: "We ask forgiveness from all the Portuguese because we weren't able to achieve the goal that we all wanted. It's hard to lose this way ... to play a game this way, without goals. They won defensively. They won because they knew how to play in that way. The Greeks had more quality in what they are good at. They were superior in the high balls, in the set-pieces and in the individual positioning. This is football."

EURO 2004: Team of the Tournament

Lineups

Greece line up ahead of the EURO 2004 final
Greece line up ahead of the EURO 2004 finalAFP via Getty Images

Portugal: Ricardo; Nuno Valente, Ricardo Carvalho, Jorge Andrade, Miguel (Paulo Ferreira 43); Figo (c), Costinha (Rui Costa 60), Deco, Maniche, Ronaldo; Pauleta (Nuno Gomes 74)
Substitutes: Quim, José Moreira, Rui Jorge, Fernando Couto, Petit, Simão, Beto, Tiago, Hélder Postiga
Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari

Greece: Nikopolidis; Fyssas, Dellas, Kapsis, Seitaridis; Basinas, Katsouranis, Zagorakis (c); Giannakopoulos (Venetidis 76), Vryzas (Papadopoulos 81), Charisteas
Substitutes: Chalkias, Katergiannakis, Dabizas, Tsiartas, Kafes, Georgiadis, Goumas, Lakis
Coach: Otto Rehhagel

Referee: Markus Merk (Germany)

Man of the Match: Theo Zagorakis (Greece)

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