The Greece national football team is the national team of Greece and is controlled by the Hellenic Football Federation.
Greece made their first appearance in a major tournament at the 1980 European Championship in Italy. At Euro 80, Greece were drawn into group A with West Germany, Netherlands, and Czechoslovakia. Upon qualifying, Greece were not expected to make an impact. In their first game with the Netherlands, Greece held the Dutch 0-0 until halftime. However the Dutch eventualy won the game 1-0. Three days later Greece played Czechoslovakia in Rome. After a 1-1 first half, Greece eventually fell 1-3. In their last game, Greece earned a 0-0 respectable draw against West Germany. Greece were eliminated with one point from a draw and two losses.
After appearing in Euro 80, Greece did not qualify for a major tournament in fourteen years.
World Cup 1994
Greece qualified for World Cup 1994 in the USA for the first time. They finished first in their qualifying group surpassing Russia. In the final tournament Greece were drawn into group D with Nigeria, Bulgaria, and Argentina. After having a successful qualifing campaign, Greece were determined to make an impact. In their first game against Argentina, Greece lost 4-0. Four days later Greece suffered another 4-0 blow from Bulgaria. In their final game Greece again lost to Nigeria 2-0. In the end, Greece were eliminated in the first round losing all three games and scoring no goals and receiving, making one of the worst records in the history of World Cup.
1994 to 2004
Greece failed to qualify for Euro 96. In their World Cup 1998 qualifing tournment Greece were only one point away from qualifying tournament in France behind Croatia the second place. In their Euro 2000 qualifiyng group, Greece finished again in third, two points behind second place finishers Slovenia. In the 2002 World Cup qualifying Greece finished fourth.
The Euro 2004 triumph
Greece made it to Euro 2004 after surpassing Spain in their qualifying group. In the final tournament Greece were drawn in to Group A with Spain, Portugal, and Russia. In the opening match against Portugal, Greece achieved the suprize by beating Portuguese with 2-1. After this win, the team was nicknamed "the pirate ship" by Greek sportscaster George Helakis. The nickname was inspired by the opening ceremony, which was held just before the game, and involved a pirate ship floating on the football field. Greece were portayed as the pirates who surprised the opponents and "stole" the win from their hands, a theme that would repeat itself throughout the tournament. Four days later Greece stunned Spain to a 1-1 draw. In the last group game, Greece were defeated by Russia 2-1. Greece however took second place over Spain on goal difference. In the quarterfinals Greece faced off with the reigning champions France. At 65 minutes Greece took the lead with a header from Charisteas and held on to win, knocking France out of the Euro 2004. Greece reached the semifinals for the first time to face the Czech Republic. After 90 minutes the game ended 0-0. In the first half of extra time, a close range header from Dellas ended the Czech campaign, puting Greece in the final of Euro 2004. The final was a repeat of the opening game between Greece and Portugal. In the 57th minute Angelos Charisteas gave Greece the lead with a header. Greece held on to win Euro 2004 creating one of the biggest shocks in football history.
World Cup 2006 qualifiers
After winning the Euro 2004, Greece were favorites to qualify in their group. Greece was drawn in to Group 2 with Ukraine, Turkey, Denmark, Albania, Georgia, and Kazakhstan. In their first qualifier Greece lost to Albania 2-1. Greece later drew with Turkey, Ukraine, and defeated Kazakhstan. On Feb 9, 2005 Greece defeated Denmark 2-1 to take second place, and increasing chances of qualification. Later wins against Georgia and Albania and draw with Turkey also increased these chances. However on June 8, 2005 Greece lost to Ukraine 1-0 and took the third place in the group. Greece later defeated Kazakhstan 2-1 scoring their winning goal in the 94th minute. On October 8, 2005, Greece was defeated 1-0 by Denmark in Copenhagen and chances for a qualification through a playoff were minimal. In order to make the playoff spot Greece needed a win against Georgia and needed Albania to defeat Turkey and Kazakhstan to defeat Denmark. In their last game, Greece defeated Georgia but the other games did not go in their favor. As a result Greece failed to qualify for Germany 2006.
After the 2006 qualifiers, many football analysts wondered what happened to the team and why they failed to make the subsequent World Cup after becoming European Champions. Most analysts concluded the Greek team were out of form and were without defender Trianos Dellas, and forward Angelos Charisteas in the key games.
On May 25th 2006, less than a month before the opening of the FIFA World Cup 2006 in Germany Greece lost 1 - 0 to Australia in a friendly in front of 95,000 people at the MCG.
After the 2006 World Cup, the Greek team fell in the World ranking from 20th in May to 32nd in July. This fall put them near the ranking they had before winning Euro 2004.
Greece was the highest ranked seed in the 'pots' for qualification to 2008 European Football Championship in Switzerland and Austria. Greece was drawn with Turkey, Norway, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Hungary, Moldova and Malta. This is the only group which does not have a team represented in the World Cup 2006.
Following Greece's victory over Moldova, the former bounced back at number 22 of the Fifa World Rankings in September 2006.
Greece uses for home matches the Karaiskakis Stadium (Olympiacos' stadium) since they became European Champions. They used that stadium for all home matches of World Cup 2006 qualifying round.
In the past, Greece used several other stadiums like Kaftantzoglio, Olympic Stadium (Athens), Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium, e.t.c.. For Euro2004 qualifying round- when Greece won the trophy- Greece used the Apostolos Nikolaidis stadium (Panathinaiko Stadium) for home for all the matches. In 1990s, most times they used the Athens Olympic Stadium. Olympic Stadium was used as home for Greece also in World Cup 2002 qualifying.
World Cup record
European Championship record
1930-31 "Τεχνική Επιτροπή"
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