Holders Greece will need to show the stuff of champions if they are to revive their UEFA EURO 2008™ ambitions against Russia, the only team to defeat them four years ago.
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Holders Greece will need to show the stuff of champions if they are to revive their UEFA EURO 2008™ ambitions against Russia. With both sides smarting following first-day defeats, the stakes have been raised an extra notch ahead of their Group D meeting in Salzburg.
• Otto Rehhagel's Greece side went down 2-0 to Sweden in Salzburg on Monday, Zlatan Ibrahimović and Petter Hansson inflicting the damage with second-half goals.
• The only shred of consolation was they at least did not finish the day bottom of the group – Russia filling that slot after their 4-1 loss to Spain in Innsbruck. Guus Hiddink's men were undone by David Villa's hat-trick and even Roman Pavluchenko's late reply was followed by another Spanish goal from Cesc Fàbregas.
• The circumstances are quite different from when the teams met at UEFA EURO 2004™ in their third and final group match. Russia beat Rehhagel's team 2-1 at the Estádio Algarve but with two earlier defeats to their name, the result came too late to rescue their hopes – or threaten the advance of a Greece side who had won their first two games.
• Dmitri Kirichenko opened the scoring for Georgi Yartsev's men two minutes into the game on 20 June 2004. Dmitri Bulykin added a second after 17 minutes before Zisis Vryzas halved the deficit two minutes before the break.
• The teams that day were:
Russia: Viacheslav Malafeev, Vladislav Radimov, Andrei Kariaka (Igor Semshov), Rolan Gusev, Dmitri Bulykin (Dmitri Sychev), Roman Sharonov (Dmitri Sennikov), Aleksandr Anyukov, Dmitri Alenichev, Vadim Evseev, Dmitri Kirichenko, Aleksei Bugaev.
Greece: Antonios Nikopolidis, Giourkas Seitaridis, Stylianos Venetidis (Panagiotis Fyssas), Traianos Dellas, Angelos Basinas (Vassilios Tsiartas), Zisis Vryzas, Michalis Kapsis, Konstantinos Katsouranis, Dimitrios Papadopoulos (Demis Nikolaidis), Theodoros Zagorakis, Angelos Charisteas.
• Greece have overcome Russia just once in eight attempts, a 1-0 home victory in November 1993 in the final match of their successful qualifying campaign for the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
• The seven other fixtures produced four draws and three wins for Russia, including home and away triumphs in qualifying for EURO '96™. Russia prevailed 3-0 in Thessaloniki in April 1995 – Greece's Michalis Kapsis put through his own net for the second goal – and then edged the game 2-1 in Moscow six months later.
• Current Greek internationals Angelos Charisteas, twice, and Angelos Basinas found the net – the former on his international debut – when Greece and Russia played out a 3-3 friendly draw in Heraklion, Crete, on 28 February 2001.
• As coach of Australia, Guus Hiddink oversaw a 1-0 friendly victory against Greece in Melbourne on 25 May 2006. Josip Skoko scored the only goal of the Socceroos' final home match prior to the 2006 World Cup, which attracted a record crowd of more than 95,000.
• At PSV Eindhoven, Hiddink was on the receiving end of a 4-1 defeat by Panathinaikos FC in the 2004/05 UEFA Champions League group stage. However, PSV had already beaten the Athens side 1-0 at home and qualified at Panathinaikos's expense.
• Greece coach Rehhagel has enjoyed success against Russian clubs in the past. His Werder Bremen team made a spectacular comeback to defeat FC Spartak Moskva in the 1987/88 UEFA Cup second round, undoing the damage of a 4-1 first-leg loss with a 6-2 triumph in Germany.
• In the same competition in 1995/96, he oversaw FC Bayern München's 5-1 aggregate victory against FC Lokomotiv Moskva in the first round, with Bayern winning 5-0 in the second leg after a narrow defeat in Moscow.
• Greece striker Charisteas is a team-mate of Russia's Ivan Saenko at German outfit 1. FC Nürnberg.
• Greece forward Dimitrios Salpingidis struck both Panathinaikos goals in a 2-0 UEFA Cup group stage success against Lokomotiv Moskva last December. Greek internationals Georgios Karagounis, Alexandros Tziolis and Loukas Vintra also appeared for Panathinaikos against a Lokomotiv side including Russian internationals Diniyar Bilyaletdinov and Renat Yanbaev.
• Greek international Nikolaos Liberopoulos finished on the losing side when AEK Athens FC were defeated 4-1 by Sevilla FC in the Greek capital to complete a 6-1 aggregate triumph in the third qualifying round of the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League.
• Russia internationals Andrei Arshavin and Aleksandr Anyukov were in the FC Zenit St. Petersburg side that recorded a 3-2 victory at Larissa FC in UEFA Cup Group A in November.
• Greece are competing at their third EURO finals following earlier appearances in 1980 and 2004, where they beat Portugal 1-0 in the final.
• This is Russia's third EURO finals as an independent state following earlier participations in 1996 and 2004. As part of the former Soviet Union, they won the inaugural UEFA European Championship in 1960 and finished runners-up in 1964, 1972 and 1988.
• Russia failed to progress from the first round of any of the four final tournaments at which they have competed previously since the break-up of the USSR.
• This is the 13th edition of the UEFA European Championship and the eighth edition that involves a final tournament with a group phase.