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Holders Greece set for Sweden challenge

Published: Tuesday 1 January 2008, 21.45CET
Four years after stunning Europe by winning UEFA EURO 2004™, Greece begin their defence of the Henri Delaunay trophy against Sweden in Salzburg.
Holders Greece set for Sweden challenge
Angelos Charisteas got Greece's winner in the final of UEFA EURO 2004™ ©Getty Images

Tournament statistics


Goals scored1
Total attempts34
Attempts on target14
Attempts off target13
Attempts blocked0
Attempts against woodwork1
Yellow cards8
Red Cards0
Fouls committed45
Fouls suffered50
Published: Tuesday 1 January 2008, 21.45CET

Holders Greece set for Sweden challenge

Four years after stunning Europe by winning UEFA EURO 2004™, Greece begin their defence of the Henri Delaunay trophy against Sweden in Salzburg.

Four years after stunning Europe by winning UEFA EURO 2004™, Greece begin their defence of the Henri Delaunay trophy against Sweden in Salzburg. Otto Rehhagel's team will hope to repeat the winning start they made by beating hosts Portugal 2-1 in the opening match in 2004 but Sweden, appearing in their fifth successive major finals, will have other ideas.

• This is the first competitive fixture between the two countries, although they did meet at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp where Sweden prevailed 9-0.

• The sides have met five times subsequently with Greece faring the better. After a 2-1 win in Thessaloniki in 1981, Greece earned a 0-0 draw in Malmo in 1986 and a 2-2 draw in Athens in 1991. More recently, there was a 2-2 draw in Thessaloniki in 2002 before Greece triumphed 2-1 in Norrkoping on 20 August the following year.

• Greece's Giourkas Seitaridis and Sotirios Kyrgiakos made their international debuts in the 2-2 draw in 2002 – a game where the visitors led twice through Magnus Svensson and Stefan Selakovic, only for Greece to reply through Panagiotis Fyssas and Georgios Karagounis.

• Greece also came from behind when beating Sweden 2-1 in 2003. Anders Svensson gave the Scandinavian team a 16th-minute lead but quickfire goals from Stelios Giannakopoulos (63) and Pantelis Kafes (65) turned the tie Greece's way on an evening when Konstantinos Katsouranis made his international bow.

• The full teams that day were:
Sweden: Andreas Isaksson (Magnus Hedman), Teddy Lucic, Olof Mellberg, Michael Svensson, Mikael Dorsin (Pontus Farnerud), Mikael Nilsson (Erik Edman), Tobias Linderoth, Anders Svensson (Kim Källström), Andreas Johansson (Anders Andersson), Marcus Allbäck (Rade Prica), Niklas Skoog (Andreas Jakobsson).
Greece: Antonios Nikopolidis, Giourkas Seitaridis (Konstantinos Katsouranis), Panagiotis Fyssas (Stylianos Venetidis), Paraskevas Antzas, Traianos Dellas, Michalis Kapsis (Nikolaos Dabizas), Theodoros Zagorakis (Angelos Basinas), Stelios Giannakopoulos (Lambros Choutos), Angelos Charisteas (Zisis Vryzas), Georgios Karagounis (Pantelis Kafes), Demis Nikolaidis (Georgios Georgiadis).

• Because they missed out on the 2006 FIFA World Cup, this will be Greece's first match at a major tournament since Angelos Charisteas's header earned them a 1-0 victory against Portugal in the UEFA EURO 2004™ final in Lisbon. It was the Greeks' third straight 1-0 win in Portugal and meant they ended the tournament without conceding a goal in their final 358 minutes of play.

• Prior to 2004, their only previous experience on the international stage had come at the 1980 UEFA European Championship and the 1994 World Cup.

• Greece qualified in style for UEFA EURO 2008™, winning Group C with a greater number of points than any other side in Europe. With ten victories, one draw and one defeat, they collected 31 points and sealed their finals berth on 17 October last year after overcoming Turkey 1-0 in Istanbul through Ioannis Amanatidis's 79th-minute strike.

• This is the second tournament for Lars Lagerbäck in sole charge of Sweden. Following the departure of co-coach Tommy Söderberg after Sweden's quarter-final exit at UEFA EURO 2004™ – beaten on penalties by the Netherlands – Lagerbäck led Sweden to the last 16 at the 2006 World Cup, where they lost 2-0 to hosts Germany.

• Sweden are participating in their fourth UEFA European Championship finals in Austria/Switzerland. The Scandinavians appeared previously at the 1992, 2000 and 2004 tournaments and their best performance to date was in 1992 where they reached the semi-finals on home soil.

• Sweden booked their finals ticket on the concluding day of qualifying, 21 November last year, when they defeated Latvia 2-1 through goals from Marcus Allbäck and Kim Källstrom to tie up second place in Group F behind Spain. Their overall record in qualifying was eight wins, two draws and two losses.

• As coach of Werder Bremen, Rehhagel oversaw a 3-2 aggregate success against Sweden's Malmö FF in the first round of the 1983/84 UEFA Cup. Bremen drew 1-1 at home before winning 2-1 away.

• Sweden midfielder Mikael Nilsson counts a number of Greece players among his team-mates at Athens outfit Panathinaikos FC – Giannis Goumas, Karagounis, Dimitris Salpingidis, Nikos Spiropoulos, Alexandros Tziolis and Loukas Vintra.

• Greece forward Giorgios Samaras played with Swede Petter Hansson at Dutch club SC Heerenveen and, more recently, with goalkeeper Andreas Isaksson at Manchester City FC.

• Greece midfielder Giannakopoulos played alongside Sweden's Christian Wilhelmsson during the latter's brief stay on loan at Bolton Wanderers FC during the first half of 2007/08.

• Sweden striker Markus Rosenberg got little joy out of Olympiacos CFP's Greece defenders Paraskevas Antzas, Christos Patsatzoglou and Vassilis Torosidis, as well as goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis, when Rosenberg's Werder Bremen suffered home and away losses to the Greek champions in the 2007/08 UEFA Champions League group stage.

• Salpingidis scored one of Greece's goals in a 2-0 victory against Sweden at the UEFA European Under-16 Championship finals in 1998. The Sweden squad included current senior internationals Mikael Dorsin, Johan Elmander, Isaksson and Källström.

• This is the 13th edition of the UEFA European Championship and the eighth edition that features a final tournament with a group phase.

Last updated: 08/06/08 21.56CET