It all seems like a distant memory. The improbable, unthinkable and downright impossible happened in 2004. As the ball gracefully was headed off of Angelos Charisteas head, Greece and Greeks around the world watching for a split second were in disbelief. This disbelief wasn’t a negative disbelief, but was rather a shock to our brains. For that split second, we all experienced it… noise all around us, but for some reason we all heard silence. That second went into slow motion, the ball stood still in the air. It was almost like a scene out of a Hollywood film. All of a sudden the noise came back and silence quickly faded; the realization of the ball that seemed to be stuck in the air for an hour, slipped past the goalie and an entire nation and people celebrated as it was one of the proudest moments for Greeks around the world. The whistle blew and the celebrations began!
That was the Greece of 2004. At the peak of the world’s attention. The Olympics held again in Athens that same year for the first time since its modern inception. Our national team winning one of world soccer’s largest and most prestigious tournaments when all odds were against us. (By the way, if you would have bet on Greece in the EURO 2004, the odds were 100-1 on winning the tournament. I wish I would have taken that bet, I would not be working right now.) Greece was in the limelight and was a country that was the envy of all others.
Fast-forward to 2012. Need I say more? We have become a poor example of a government and a society and are constantly in the news for all the wrong reasons. Why I say this? We need a win, and we need it now more than ever. Say we win… it would give us at least one reason to smile and be proud given our current situation. That being said, let me break down our tactics to success at the EURO 2012.
1. We are currently ranked 10th in Europe – 10th in Europe means that we are flying somewhat under the radar, and you know what…..good! The only team in our group that is worth anything is Russia, but they are beatable. Let the odds-makers give us a 100-1 chance to win the tournament again. How did that turn out for you clowns last time?
2. Perfect balance between youth and experience – Somehow, Karagounis (Panathinaikos) the old man who always draws a foul, is still on the squad. Moving from that, Dimitris Salpigidis (PAOK) will be leading the charge along with new youth sensation Giannis Fetfatzidis (Olympiakos) with a new attack plan that varies from Otto Rehagel’s sit back and counter attack plan.
3. Two words. Fernando Santos – The National Team’s coach and resident calculated killer has pushed this team to even higher heights that before, as he lead this squad to a first place and unbeaten finish once again in the qualifying rounds.
4. NOTHING TO LOSE, EVERTHING TO GAIN – If we lose it’s not that big of a deal. It would be the same as if we never went. If we win….now then we regain a great deal of respect on the World Stage, as a team and as country!
The next question is where can we watch all of the great EURO 2012 action? There are a bunch of places to watch it, but let’s be serious folks… you want to watch it Greek Style. Savvas on Drexel University’s campus is a Great pizza/food/bar and you can sit down for a coffee with friends and enjoy Drexel’s campus as it buzzes in the spring months. Now things are a bit more serious. We are talking EURO Cup folks. From what the buzz on the street is, I heard that they have big screen TV’s showing all Euro Cup matches, but more importantly the GREEK GAMES! I for one will be there enjoying a frappe in the first half, and a beer in the second half. Other places that will be showing it will be the Plough and the Stars in Olde City and Fado Irish Pub in Center City. But in all honesty, would you rather watch the games with your own or with others? The call is yours.
In closing, this happens once every 4 years, so it’s definitely an opportunity not only for all soccer fans, but for all Greeks around to get together and support our people, and our squad!