Holders Greece knocked out of Euro 2008

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Champions in Portugal four years ago, Greece forced out of Euro 2008 as they were beaten 1-0 by Russia.

The Greeks cannot through for the quarter-final whatever the result of their final group match against Spain.

While Russia must fight Sweden in the last match for the last quarter-final ticket from Group D.

The European Championships has a repeating style of embarrassing its defending champions.

Three times in the last four tournaments, the champions have been ruled out at the group phase.

After Denmark out in the group stages at Euro 96 and Germany in Euro 2000, this year the Greeks had their name added to the list.

It also kept the tournament's record of the title holders failing to reach the final since it changed the format in 1980.

Konstantin Zyryanov scored the only goal of the match in the 33rd minute to make the Greeks out from the tournament.

Veteran Greek goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis made a fatal error of judgement as he rushed out of his goal to retrieve a deep cross only to miss out.

Then a brilliant overhead kick by Sergei Semak sent a pass back across the goal where Zyryanov could not miss to score his third international goal in 14 matches.

The match was predicted as a match between two worst teams in Euro 2008.

Instead, Greece and Russia carry out one of the most entertaining matches of the tournament.

The Greeks finally came out of their ultra-defensive sweeper system as their coach Otto Rehhagel switched to 3-4-3 formation, while Russia played technically-excellent football, driven on by their impressive left wing-back Yuri Zhirkov, who did a decent impression of Roberto Carlos with his penetrating runs down the flank.

Even their defeat ended their defence of their title, Greece coach Rehhagel praised his players for their passion and determination during the game.

He said the Russian were outstanding and just hanging in there until the very end was a major credit to the Greeks.

For him it was unrealistic to expect Greece to repeat their success four years ago when they won the trophy.

Greece0 - 1Russia
Konstantin Zyryanov 33

Greece: 1-Antonis Nikopolidis; 2-Giourkas Seitaridis (10-Giorgios Karagounis 40), 5-Traianos Dellas, 16-Sotiris Kyrgiakos, 15-Vassilis Torosidis; 21-Kostas Katsouranis, 6-Angelos Basinas, 3-Christos Patsatzoglou; 9-Angelos Charisteas, 23-Nikos Lyberopoulos (17-Theofanis Gekas 61), 20-Ioannis Amanatidis (8-Stelios Giannakopoulos 79)
Russia: 1-Igor Akinfeev; 22-Alexander Anyukov, 8-Denis Kolodin, 4-Sergei Ignashevich, 18-Yuri Zhirkov (2-Vasily Berezutsky 87); 11-Sergei Semak; 7-Dmitry Torbinsky, 17-Konstantin Zyryanov, 20-Igor Semshov, 15-Diniyar Bilyaletdinov (9-Ivan Saenko 70); 19-Roman Pavlyuchenko
Referee: Roberto Rosetti (Italy)


Shots on target :7-4
Shots off target :6-10
Ball possession (%) :50-50
Corner kicks :7-9
Offsides :5-1
Fouls :16-19
Yellow cards :2-2
Red cards :0-0

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