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Last Updated: Friday, 2 July, 2004, 10:02 GMT 11:02 UK
Greek joy over semi-final victory
Athens
Tens of thousands poured into central Athens
Greek communities at home and across Europe have been celebrating their team's success in reaching the final of the Euro 2004 football championships.

As the match ended, with a 1-0 win over the Czech Republic, thousands of supporters poured out onto the streets of Athens and other towns and cities.

They sang, sounded car horns and let off fireworks well into the night.

Correspondents say the spontaneous exuberance was mainly because many Greeks didn't think they could win.

But the underdogs managed to beat a much-favoured Czech side in the semi-final in Porto by a goal in extra time of a very tight match.

Even the Gods have gone demented
Ethnos daily newspaper

In the final on Sunday, Greece will face the hosts, Portugal, who they have already beaten 2-1 in the opening game of the tournament.

After the bad news and criticism the Greeks have received in the run up to the Olympic Games in Athens in August, the football team's progress in Portugal has provided a welcome diversion.

Greek papers reflected the national mood on Friday.

"Hail our Colossus of Rhodes" was the headline for the Ethnos daily, comparing the goal-scoring hero Traianos Dellas to one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

"Even the Gods have gone demented," it added. "National delirium, all the country is taking a breath before Sunday's final."

New pride

Eleftheros Typos said it was a "victory for the Greek soul" while Ta Nea acknowledged the "Czechs were technically better but the passion and the will to win were with the Greeks".

The BBC's Richard Galpin, in Athens, said the celebrations were wild, with tens of thousands of people going "completely berserk and mad".

He said that in the early hours of the morning, police joined the celebrations by using their van's loudspeakers to broadcast the excited commentary from the "silver goal" across the city.

There is a sense of revamped national pride which will allow them to look forward to the Olympics rather than the great concern and anxiety of recent months, he said.


SEE ALSO:
Greeks hail 'miracle'
02 Jul 04  |  Greece
Port still tickling taste buds
01 Jul 04  |  Business
In Pictures: Greece celebrates
26 Jun 04  |  In Pictures
Is Euro 2004 worth it for Portugal?
02 Jun 04  |  Business
A steal at half the price
10 Jun 04  |  Business
Country profile: Czech Republic
28 Jun 04  |  Country profiles
Country profile: Greece
25 May 04  |  Country profiles


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