Giorgos Samaras said that passion was "sometimes more important than oxygen" as his spirited Greece side celebrated the win that sent them through to the last eight.
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Giorgos Samaras, Michalis Sifakis and Giannis Fetfatzidis were thrilled to have brought joy to Greeks around the world, following the 1-0 win against Russia that sent them through to the quarter-finals of UEFA EURO 2008.
Giorgos Samaras, Greece forward
The joy is huge for everyone – for the players, the coach, for everyone who works in the team, the doctors, the entire group here. But in my mind the most important thing is that we brought joy to the people and to Greece. We made people escape from their problems for at least a few hours and now they can celebrate. I think this is the most important thing which I am personally proud of.
It was the first game at this EURO where we really came together as a team – a team that knew what was going on, who knew what to do and how to play. We were very attentive in defence, we closed down the space and did not let the Russians create many chances. When it was our turn, when we had the ball, we tried to create our own chances. We scored a goal and after that, no matter how tired we were, we would not have allowed ourselves to concede a goal. In addition to the way we developed as a team, we also had passion, which is sometimes more important than oxygen or freshness on the pitch.
I don't really care who we play in the quarter-finals. The only thing we care about is that we are fit. We will rest for the five to six days before the next game because I am very tired. From now on you never know what can happen. We will come out with the same desire to win as we did today.
Michalis Sifakis, Greece goalkeeper
I don't want to say anything at all about the match. The only thing I want to say is that we sent all our love to our fans back home. There was a little chance for us to get through, but we proved that we were alive to it. We accept criticism and we like it – it makes us stronger. A big thank you to everyone. I don't have anything else to say. Only that it is a pity for Giorgos Karagounis [who is suspended for the next game] that he might not manage make it to 121 appearances [a Greek record]. We had but one choice, and we found the solution.
Giannis Fetfatzidis, Greece midfielder
We are all very happy. It is a big day, actually a big night for Greece. We want to enjoy our victory, but after tonight we should look ahead, as we have a lot to do. An important game is coming up six days from today, and we have to be ready. We were pretty well prepared against Russia, and we did what we needed to do.
First of all, I must dedicate this victory to Avraam Papadopoulos, a player who was injured while playing for the national team, and who will be out of action for a long time. I would also like to dedicate this victory to Giorgos Karagounis, who has played 120 games for the national team, and consequently he is the first on the [all-time] list [along with Theodoros Zagorakis]. We are happy for those two players. We made them happy, and we made all Greeks happy.