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Trojan Ambush Conquers Portugal

Posted June. 13, 2004 22:18,   


The "Mini World-Cup," Euro 2004 (the 12th European Soccer Championships) started with an upset.

Group A teams Portugal and Greece played in the opener in Dragos Stadium in Porto, Portugal on June 13. Portugal was a member of the final four in the last championship, but Greece was playing in its first Euro in 24 years since 1980.

But defying expectations, Greece, led by its "Champion Maker from Germany," Otto Rehhagel, beat Portugal, which has excellent players such as Luis Figo, Pauleta, Deco and Christiano Ronaldo, by a score of 2-1.

It was the first time that a host team was defeated in the opener in 20 years since the 1984 Euro in France, when the group format began.

Greece made the Portuguese attack powerless with rigid defensive "double back" walls, and achieved a victory with a counterattack. Georgios Karagounis intercepted a pass from Portuguese defenders and scored with a 25m long-range shot in front of the left arc in the seventh minute of the first half for Greece. Subsequently, Angelos Basinas added a goal with a penalty kick, made possible by a counterattack chance in the sixth minute of the second half. Ronaldo scored with a header off a corner-kick by Figo during injury time to avoid the shutout for Portugal.

This game also interested Korea because Korea will face Greece first in Group A of the Athens Olympic men`s soccer tournament on August 11 (local time).

Competing for entry into the elite eight with Greece, Mexico and Mali in same group, it is expected that Greece as a host team will have a chance, but it is not a powerhouse of Europe that Korea will be facing.

But the level of Greek soccer was quite high throughout the game on the day. KBS commentator, Lee Yong-soo said, "The Olympic team is mainly made up of players under 23 and will be different than the national team for Euro 2004, but the addition of three wild card players over 23 will have a big impact."

Karagounis (27 years old, InterMilan on Italy), who scored first against Portugal, Angelos Charisteas (24 years old, Bremen of Germany, striker) and a tall (1m 93cm) defender, Traianos Dellas (28 years old, AS Rome of Italy) are candidates to be the wild card players.

Meanwhile, Spain beat Russia by a score of 1-0 in the same group.

Soon-Il Kwon stt77@donga.com