WROCLAW, Poland: Greece can take a giant step towards reaching the last eight if they beat the Czechs, who they beat in the Euro 2004 semi-finals on their way to lifting the trophy, and all but consign their opponents to an early return home in Tuesday’s Euro 2012 Group A clash.
The Greeks showed great resolve to come from behind and draw 1-1 with co-hosts Poland in their opening match while the Czechs suffered a 4-1 hammering in their opening match against Euro 2008 semi-finalists Russia.
Dimitris Salpingidis Greece’s goal-scoring hero in the Poland game is likely to be rewarded by starting after he was brought on at the beginning of the second-half last Friday and got the Greeks back in the game when they were trailing 1-0.
And the player, said to be the target of a number of major European clubs, said Greece will need more of the same fighting spirit they showed against Poland to keep alive their hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals.
“Both of our upcoming games are difficult, Russia and against the Czech Republic. We will try to do our best and if we manage to qualify, we will all be very happy,” said Salpingidis.
Victory in itself would not guarantee the Greeks a place in the last eight — even if group leaders Russia defeat Poland in Warsaw in Tuesday’s other match — but it would end Czech hopes of going beyond the group stage.
Salpingidis and Greece’s never-say-die attitude is reminiscent of their style at Euro 2004, when they effectively ground their more flamboyant opponents into submission.But it has been strengthened by a desire to deliver some much-needed joy.