SEROCK: Swinging from underdogs to quarter-finalists at Euro 2012 is Greece’s way to bring cheer to their austerity-gripped homeland, said midfielder Kostas Katsouranis.
“We wanted to give everybody back home something to cheer, to celebrate,” said Katsouranis, a day after their shock 1-0 defeat of favourites Russia. “Everybody in Greece is having a really hard time. The most important thing is that we never put ourselves above the team. We represent our country. So we know what we have to do.”
Drawn in Euro 2012’s Group A along with Russia, the Czech Republic and co-hosts Poland, Greece started their campaign with a 1-1 draw against the Poles then lost 2-1 to the Czechs.
The high-octane Russians had only needed a draw to make it to the quarter-finals, but conceded a fine goal by Karagounis in stoppage time in the first half and then failed to breach Greece’s solid defence.
Katsouranis said the players were still coming to terms with having stormed into the last-eight, along with the Czech Republic, whose 1-0 win the same night smashed Poland’s dreams and took them top of the group.
“It’s too difficult to describe the feelings after what happened,” said Katsouranis. “We can’t describe what we feel in words.”
‘Character got us through’
Meanwhile, Czech Republic’s injured captain Tomas Rosicky said he believed it was his teammates’ strong character that had seen them rebound from an opening hammering by Russia to securing their place in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.
“The boys played really well, the second half was excellent,” said Rosicky. “We absolutely deserved to advance. If we didn’t have strong personalities, the team would have fallen apart. But we stayed calm, thanks to coach Bilek and our team spirit.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2012.
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