Greece V Czech Republic : UEFA Euro 2012 Match Preview
Published : 12 Jun 2012 17:08:20
Greeks hope fighting spirit will knock out Czechs
Greece hope that a repetition of the fighting spirit that saw them come from behind to draw 1-1 with co-hosts Poland in the opening match will be enough to beat the Czech Republic on Tuesday in Wroclaw.
Victory in itself would not guarantee the Greeks a place in the last eight -- even if group leaders Russia defeat Poland in the day's other match -- but it would end Czech hopes of progressing to the quarter-finals.
The Czechs by contrast will be looking to bounce back from their opening 4-1 drubbing by Russia and also avenge their Euro 2004 semi-final defeat by the Greeks, who shocked everyone by going on to win the tournament.
The Greeks will be without their first-choice central defensive pairing of Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who is suspended after his harsh sending-off in the Poland match, and Avraam Papadopoulos, who has torn cruciate ligaments.
In some quarters, the Greeks were criticised for letting three points slip from their grasp, as captain Giorgos Karagounis had a penalty saved.
"We lost a battle, not the war"
"We never give up and because we never give up, we don't like to lose games. And that's something you cannot buy or find. It's all about the mentality in the dressing room," said the Celtic striker.
Fighting spirit is all very well when you are down but Greece's Portuguese coach Fernando Santos says that shouldn't be needed if his side get off to the punchy start that was missing from their display on Friday.
"I will talk to my players and see if they know what went wrong and why they couldn't play as we had planned," said Santos.
"I've written all the mistakes they made on a big board, under the heading 'What we should avoid'.
Czech goalkeeper Petr Cech believes that not too much should be read into the Russian defeat.
"The first game sometimes shows what the group will be like but it's not the key one, the crucial game will be the second one (against Greece). If we fail in that one, our chances of advancing will be very thin.
"A 4-1 defeat doesn't look the best but it's basically the same as 1-0 -- you simply get no points.
"We lost a battle, not the war. The good thing is we still have 180 minutes to advance. We have to look ahead, that's what matters now.
"After all, we struggled throughout the qualification. I believe we'll make it again," said Cech, who got over the defeat by playing drums with a Czech rock band at Sunday's concert in Wroclaw, the Czech team's home in southern Poland.
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