GDANSK, Poland: Greece coach Fernando Santos said that his players would leave Euro 2012 having grown in stature despite being on the wrong end of a 4-2 hammering by a vastly Germany in Friday’s quarter-final.
The 57-year-old Portuguese, who more than justified his 45 per cent pay rise in his recently-signed contract as they qualified for the last eight at the expense of heavily-fancied Russia, said his side had never faltered during the match even when they were 4-1 down and took many positives away from the tournament. “I want to congratulate my players because they fought at this game until the very last moment, and of course they managed to make it this far,” said Santos, who guided Porto to the 1999 league title and then to Cup wins in 2000 and 2001.
Greek fans down but proud in defeat
Greek fans voiced disappointment on Friday after losing to Germany in a Euro 2012 quarter final clash but said they were still proud of their team and defiant against German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The cafes in the Thissio neighbourhood near the Acropolis buzzed with anticipation ahead of the hotly anticipated game against debt-mired Greece’s paymaster and fell silent when Germany scored a first-half goal in Gdansk.
The fans exploded with joy, hugging, dancing and jumping on chairs, when striker Giorgos Samaras — who shares the same surname as the prime minister elected on Sunday Antonis Samaras — evened the score in the second half.
“Greece ole ole! We’ll never stop singing Greece ole ole!” they chanted along with another slogan against the eurozone giant seen as being behind widely hated austerity measures: “This is how those who owe you screw you!”
There was loud booing every time Merkel appeared on the screen and some of the fans held up their open palms — an insult in Greece where the gesture is seen as a way of cursing.