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Last Updated: Monday, 5 July, 2004, 07:40 GMT 08:40 UK
Greeks hail historic triumph

The Greeks have made football history. It's a sensation
Greece coach Otto Rehhagel
Greece coach Otto Rehhagel said his side's 1-0 defeat of Portugal in the Euro 2004 final was a sensation that made football history.

"It was an unusual achievement for Greek football and especially for European football," he said.

"We took advantage of our chances. The opponent was technically better than us but we took advantage of our chances. We should have made it 2-0.

"The Greeks have made football history. It's a sensation."

Rehhagel and his team delivered one of the biggest shocks in international football history with Sunday's victory.

He said: "The differences between the big teams and the so-called smaller teams have become smaller.

I call on all Greeks to rejoice and celebrate
Matchwinner Angelos Charisteas

"There are always surprises. Remember North Korea beat Italy in the 1966 World Cup in England. This time we are the surprise.

"Someone said we will be like gods in Greece after this. I know Greeks exaggerate both in joy and in sadness but we have no objections if the fans wish to welcome us back at the airport."

And he added: "I would like to congratulate my team and everybody involved. We have developed this team for three years and now you see the result.

"It was a great achievement for us to qualify. We were only interested in the first game but we carried on, had a terrific tournament and ended as champions."

Jubilant match-winner Angelos Charisteas added: "We're the champions of Europe. We're the best team in Europe and we deserved it.

"It's very significant. I'm very happy and very moved. I call on all Greeks to rejoice and celebrate.

"This is a unique moment, which many of us may never experience again.

"We came up against a very strong Portugal side but won - it's the best moment of my career."

Greece captain Theo Zagorakis dedicated his man-of-the-match award to his team-mates.

"I want to congratulate the players. We proved once again that the Greek soul is, and always will be, our strength.

"It is the greatest gift that God ever gave us.

Our country will remember this moment forever
Greece defender Nikos Dabizas

"We are going to take this cup to Greek people all over the world. I think we have given them something more than joy.

"We have given them a great pride, which they will be able to carry with them for the rest of their lives."

Leicester defender Nikos Dabizas put Greece's success down to a simple recipe.

Dabizas said: "Our hard work has paid off. We deserved this title because we have been the most consistent throughout this tournament.

"We don't have stars, what we have are quality players that have joined forces and played at a high level."

Dabizas' joy at Greece's triumph was not dimmed by the fact he lost his regular place in the team prior to the finals in Portugal.

The 30-year-old said: "This the most important moment of my life.

"We will never forget this, our country will remember this moment forever."





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