Greece moves onto round 2

In 2004, the Greek national team won the European Cup with a defensive minded squad.   At that time, many pointed out that the other factor in Greece’s favor was the fact that none of Greece’s players were subjected to the physical demands of the European season which for most star players means a difficult regular season combined with the rigors of the Champions League tournament.   By the time June rolls around, many of Europe’s best players are worn down.

With fresher players and a good strategy, Greece swept the 2004 title.

Could history be repeating itself in 2012?  Thanks to an impressive win against a very tough Russian squad, Greece has arrived to the elimination round of Euro 2012 so they find themselves 2 wins away from having a chance to once again be the champions of Europe.

Euro 2012 kicks off

The tournament is underway. There was some disturbing news about racist chants, but now we can focus on the games.

Robert Lewandowski scored the opening goal in the 2012 European Championship as co-hosts Poland settled for a draw against Greece. Hours later, Russia set the tournament for Group A with a 4-1 victory against the Czech Republic.

Poland may regain its footing after the draw. The squad features forward Lewandowski, midfielder Jakub Blascykowski and defender Lukasz Piszczek, all key players in Borrussia Dortmund’s Bundesliga triumph.

Greece pulled a major upset by winning the tournament in 2004, but is the weakest team in this tournament. The Czech Republic has neither the sufficient firepower up front nor a disciplined enough defense to get much further.

Meanwhile, Russia showed all of the discipline that the Czechs lacked. Its defense was well organized, its midfield effective and its offense comfortable. The Russians look unlikely to break under pressure, and may repeat their 2008 feat of reaching the semifinals, or do better.

Today we’ll see the group of death.