Euro Championship articles | Greece primed for repeat showing
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Greece primed for repeat showing
Greece shocked Europe four years ago when they lifted the European Championship title in Portugal and it seems they have been written off again this time around.

Much was made of the squad's freshness in 2004, but it was coach Otto Rehhagel's tactical genuis which turned Greece into an Italian-like well-oiled machine.

Rehhagel's men carved out three consecutive 1-0 wins, from the quarter-final to the final, to land the trophy and with it a remarkable piece of history.

Half of the winning squad will be back to defend their title and once again they look well-rested ahead of the June kick-off in Salzburg against Sweden.

Greece only dropped five points in qualification and racked up seven clean sheets in their 12 games and they look primed to produce another dour, but effective, defensive display at the finals.

They should squeeze through their group, just as they did four years ago, as only Spain look to have the firepower to break down their dogged resistance.

Russia historically are poor travellers and Sweden never seem to work their way out of the initial phase of tournamnets.

Then the quarter-finals could see the Greeks paired with France or Italy, who look the pair to beat from Group C, but they will not be worried by that prospect - having disposed of the French at the same stage last time around. Italy may provide a sterner test in a game which I advise you to avoid watching at all costs unless you've re-mortgaged the house on a 'no-goalscorer' bet.

If they can edge through, the semi-finals and final will pit Greece with the cream of Europe. However they showed they have no respect for reputations last time around and with a water-tight rearguard to build on, the two frontmen Ioannis Amanatidis and Theofanis Gekas might just surprise one or two people.

Rehhagel is likely to switch to a 4-4-2 formation for the finals after employing a 4-3-3 style in qualification, but that won't alter their work ethic and if you can get a price of around 33/1 it will be worth trading before the tournament begins.


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