Greece entered the 2012 UEFA European Championships with tempered expectations, but a real chance of advancing to the knockout rounds. Drawn into Group A along with co-host Poland, Russia, and the Czech Republic, the group’s parity gave the Greeks a fighting shot at making a run to the quarterfinals.
The Greeks played Poland in the first game of the tournament. Though it finished as a 1-1 draw, the game was an emotional rollercoaster. Greece had a chance to win it, but reserve Polish keeper Przemyslaw Tyton saved Giorgos Karagounis’s penalty and the Greeks had to settle for a point.
Greece’s next game against the Czech Republic was a disaster from the start. It conceded two goals in the first ten minutes, and Fanis Gekas‘s solitary goal wasn’t enough to overcome the early deficit.
The Greeks faced a huge challenge in needing to beat Russia in their final group game. Until this point, the Russians had dominated the group and looked like easy favorites to advance. But Karagounis’s goal in first half stoppage-time was enough for a 1-0 win and advancement to the quarterfinals.
In the quarterfinals Greece faced its biggest challenge yet — in tournament favorites Germany. Despite an admirable effort, it just wasn’t meant to be. Germany won the “Bailout Game,” sending the Greeks home. Although they were unable to relive the magic of the Euro 2004 triumph, the Greeks leave Poland with their heads held high.
Emerging from Group A put smiles on the faces of the legions of Greek fans who travelled to Poland to support their team. Many of them were pretty smiles and, fortunately, we have compiled photos of some of the best-looking soccer fans around. See them by clicking the link below. You can also enjoy pictures of other countries’ fans in our round-up of Euro 2012 fan photo galleries.