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Bitter memories stir Spain for Greece game

Spain face deposed European champions Greece in their final Group D fixture in Salzburg with the memories of their first-round exit of four years fading fast.

David Silva scored the winner when Spain met Greece in August 2007
David Silva scored the winner when Spain met Greece in August 2007 ©Getty Images

Spain are already assured first place in Group D and they wind up the first stage of UEFA EURO 2008™ by taking on Greece, whose reign as European champions came to a halt with their 1-0 defeat by Russia on Saturday.

• That was a second defeat for Otto Rehhagel's Greece team following an opening 2-0 reverse against Sweden. If their fortunes could not have differed more greatly from four years ago, something similar could be said for Spain.

• Spain drew 1-1 with Greece in their second outing at UEFA EURO 2004™ before a 1-0 defeat by Portugal then sent them spinning out of the tournament. Luis Aragonés's team, by contrast, made sure of their quarter-final place with a game to spare on Saturday after a last-gasp victory against Sweden.

• David Villa's 92nd-minute goal snatched three points against Sweden after Zlatan Ibrahimović (34) had cancelled out Fernando Torres' 15th-minute opener. Villa built on his opening-game exploits against Russia, scoring a hat-trick (20, 44, 75) before Cesc Fàbregas (90+1) registered his first international goal in a 4-1 triumph.

• Spain went into the teams' UEFA EURO 2004™ meeting in Porto as favourites and took a 28th-minute lead through Fernando Morientes, but a 66th-minute Angelos Charisteas strike earned Greece a share of the spoils.

• The lineups for that fixture on 16 June 2004 were:
Greece: Antonios Nikopolidis, Giourkas Seitaridis, Michalis Kapsis, Traianos Dellas, Panagiotis Fyssas (Stylianos Venetidis), Stelios Giannakopoulos (Demis Nikolaidis), Theodoros Zagorakis, Georgios Karagounis (Vasilios Tsiartas), Konstantinos Katsouranis, Zisis Vryzas, Angelos Charisteas.
Spain: Iker Casillas, Carles Puyol, Iván Helguera, Carlos Marchena, Raúl Bravo, Joseba Etxeberria (Joaquín Sánchez), David Albelda, Rubén Baraja, Vicente Rodríguez, Fernando Morientes (Juan Carlos Valerón), Raúl González (Fernando Torres).

• Greece and Spain also met in qualifying for UEFA EURO 2004™. Spain prevailed 2-0 in their opening qualifier in Athens on 7 September 2002, Raúl González (eight minutes) and Juan Carlos Valerón (77) the scorers. However, Greece then surprised the Spanish with a 1-0 victory in Zaragoza on 7 June 2003. Stelios Giannakopoulos's 42nd-minute goal gave Greece their first win against Spain and they went on to top the group ahead of their opponents.

• Spain boast a strong overall record against Greece, having won six and lost only one of their previous nine encounters.

• Luis Aragonés's Selección came from behind twice to win 3-2 when the countries met most recently, in Thessaloniki on 22 August last year. Theofanis Gekas (19 minutes) and Konstantinos Katsouranis (44) were on target for the home side but Carlos Marchena (38) and David Silva (68, 90) gave Spain the win. The match marked the international farewell of Theodoros Zagorakis, Greece's captain at UEFA EURO 2004™.

• The teams that day were:
Greece: Antonios Nikopolidis (Konstantinos Chalkias), Giourkas Seitaridis (Loukas Vintra), Traianos Dellas (Paraskevas Antzas), Michalis Kapsis, Vassilis Torosidis (Christos Patsatzoglou), Angelos Basinas (Alexandros Tziolis), Georgios Karagounis, Theodoros Zagorakis (Ioannis Goumas), Konstantinos Katsouranis (Dimitrios Papadopoulos), Theofanis Gekas, Dimitrios Salpingidis.
Spain: Pepe Reina, Ángel López, Carlos Marchena, Juanito Gutiérrez, Mariano Pernía, David Silva, Xavi Hernández (Luis García), David Albelda (Xabi Alonso), Joaquín Sánchez (Cesc Fabregas), David Villa (Miguel Ángel Angulo), Fernando Torres (Andrés Iniesta).

• Greece captain Angelos Basinas has played for Primera División side RCD Mallorca since January 2006 and counts Spain striker Daniel Güiza and defender Fernando Navarro among his colleagues.

• Greece defender Giourkas Seitaridis plays for Club Atlético de Madrid and was a team-mate there of striker Fernando Torres before the latter moved to Liverpool FC last summer.

• AEK Athens FC's Greek internationals Traianos Dellas and Nikolaos Liberopoulos have unhappy memories of facing Spanish opposition during 2007/08. AEK lost 6-1 on aggregate to a Sevilla FC team featuring Spain reserve goalkeeper Andrés Palop in the UEFA Champions League third qualifying round. They then went down 2-1 to Villarreal CF in the UEFA Cup group stage before suffering a 4-1 aggregate reverse against Getafe CF in the Round of 32.

• Spain's Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos were on the winning side against Greek internationals Antonios Nikopolidis, Christos Patsatzolgou, Paraskevas Antzas and Vassilis Torosidis when Real Madrid CF beat Olympiacos CFP 4-2 in Spain in the UEFA Champions League group stage in October last year. Torosidis was also sent off and missed the clubs' subsequent goalless draw in Greece.

• A Dimitrios Salpingidis goal could not prevent Panathinaikos FC going down 2-1 to Atlético in the UEFA Cup group stage last December. Alexandros Tziolis and Loukas Vintra were also on the losing side.

• When Spain beat Greece 1-0 in the final of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship on 31 May 1998, there were five current Greek internationals involved: Antzas, Basinas, Dellas, Giannis Goumas and Giorgios Karagounis.

• During his club coaching career, Rehhagel did not enjoy the best of fortunes against opponents from Spain. His Werder Bremen side lost 3-2 on aggregate to Atlético Madrid in the 1986/87 UEFA Cup first round. They went down by the same aggregate score to Barcelona in the 1992/93 UEFA Super Cup.

• As a player, Spain coach Aragonés was in the Atlético Madrid team defeated on away goals by Greek club Panionios GSS in the 1971/72 UEFA Cup first round. Atlético won 2-1 at home but then succumbed 1-0 in Greece.

• Greece are featuring at their third EURO finals following earlier appearances in 1980 and 2004, where they overcame Portugal 1-0 in the final.

• Spain are playing at their fourth successive EURO finals. Runners-up in 1984, they won the European crown in 1964 when they beat the USSR 2-1 on home soil in Madrid.