UEFA.com works better on other browsers
For the best possible experience, we recommend using Chrome, Firefox or Microsoft Edge.

Samaras out to bring joy back to Greece

Giorgos Samaras hopes to give people back in Greece a reason to "get out in the streets to celebrate" against Germany, who Kyriakos Papadopoulos thinks might be "a little bit scared".

Giorgos Samaras is hoping to give Greece something to celebrate
Giorgos Samaras is hoping to give Greece something to celebrate ©AFP/Getty Images

For the first time at UEFA EURO 2012, there were a shortage of parking spaces outside the press centre where the Greece team hold their media activities in Legionowo. German journalists, along with other international media, were there to start monitoring the Nationalmannschaft's next opponents.

Giorgos Samaras and Kyriakos Papadopoulos, two of Greece's best players on Saturday against Russia, stepped up to the microphones and made it clear that Friday's quarter-final represents a welcome distraction for those back home. "Football is a game and we play because we enjoy it – we like it," said Samaras. "On Friday we will take to the pitch, enjoy being in the quarter-finals and try to make the most of it.

"We are a team, 23 players," the Celtic FC forward added. "We don't play for ourselves, but for 11 million people who are hoping for us to do something worthwhile, so that they can get out in the streets to celebrate. We managed to do that against Russia and that's what we will try to do again this Friday."

Would he have preferred another opponent, perhaps Portugal? "No, we are among Europe's eight best teams and have no preferences," replied Samaras. "We achieved our initial goal and we are not stressed about what happens next. We are here to enjoy ourselves. If we qualify, it will be a dream come true. But let's not compare this team with the one that won in 2004."

Papadopoulos, the Greece central defender who plies his trade at FC Schalke 04, echoed his team-mate's sentiments. "We have nothing to lose now," he said. "We did what we set out to do, qualifying for the quarter-finals. We will face one of the tournament's best teams, we will do our best and I hope we make it. Whatever we achieve from now on will be a huge success for us."

On a personal note, Papadopoulos said: "It's a special game for me, as I play in the Bundesliga and I will come up against players I know well. The fact that we have several players who play or have played in Germany is an advantage for us, as it will help us deal with our rivals. Mario Gomez? He is a great player, but we have to focus more on our team, not on them. We will do what we have been doing all tournament, and fight until the end.

"I believe that [Germany] won't take us lightly," he concluded. "Maybe in a corner of their minds, they are a little bit scared."