Group A: Greece – Cautious Football, Reckless Spending

The Back of the Net team are warming up for Euro 2012 with a few friendly looks at the teams involved. Here, John Foster looks at the high-spending, low-scoring enigma that is Greece...

The Greeks will hope to detract attention from their country’s dismal economic situation by refocusing people’s minds on their dismal football team.

Tournament pedigreeGreece’s solitary international success came in Portugal at Euro 2004, which they’ve not shut up about since, in the same way that Billy Bob Thornton never lets anyone forget about the fact that he used to be married to Angelina Jolie. The glory days did not last long, however, as Greece were retrospectively disqualified from the 2008 event after managing to stink the place out even more they had four years previously.

ManagerMournfully-countenanced Portuguese coach Fernando Santos has introduced a greater degree of flexibility than his predecessor Otto Rehhagel, replacing the latter’s tried and tested 8-1-1 with a more adventurous 7-2-1, occasionally daring to experiment with the swashbuckling – some might say reckless – 6-2-1-1.

Man to watchCeltic striker Georgios Samaras is the tallest player in the squad, and possesses the largest forehead, so will presumably be seeing more of the ball than any of his team-mates.

Worth a bet?Available at 66-1 to repeat their 2004 performance and lift the trophy, Greece are a more realistic 33-1 to repeat their 2008 performance and be found not to have qualified for the tournament at all.

Did You Know?
According to the Greek FA, the nation boasts two World Cup wins, in 480 and 387 BC. FIFA refuses to recognise these, however, insisting that winning the Battle of Salamis and establishing the Platonic Academy, impressive achievements though they are, do not count as football matches.

More from Back of the NetGroup A: Poland • Russia • Greece • Czech RepublicGroup B: Netherlands • Germany • Portugal • Denmark Group C: Spain • Italy • Croatia • Republic of Ireland Group D: Ukraine • England • France • Sweden

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