Greece dumped out of Euro 2008
Defending champions Greece have been dumped out of Euro 2008 after Otto Rehhagel's side slumped to a 1-0 defeat to Russia. Greece rarely looked like getting into the game until the latter stages; and now face the penalty with an early exit.
Russia on the other hand looked impressive and great on the ball.
The most impressive player on the park was Chelsea and Real Madrid target Roman Pavlyuchenko who showed he has the abilities to become one of the best players to ever come out of Russia.
A mistake from Greece keeper Antonis Nikopolidis allowed Konstatin Zyryanov to score for Russia and they will now reach the quarter-finals alongside Spain if they beat Sweden in their final game of the group stage.
Russia started off the better side and enjoyed long spells of possession without creating too much. But they almost suffered a sucker-punch after 20 minutes when a precise ball into the box from Angelos Basinas fell perfectly onto the head of Angelos Charisteas, who completely missed the ball from five yards out.
Ten minutes later Russia got the goal they had been threatening. A hopeful ball from Dmitry Torbinsky was going out harmlessly towards the back-post, but Greece goal-keeper Antonis Nikopolidis decided to come out for some reason – leaving his goal empty. Sergei Semak lifted the ball into the area and Zyryanov tapped in.
Russia could have doubled their lead moments later when a floated ball from Semak found Roman Pavlychenko free at the back-post, but he somehow managed to head over from a couple of yards out.
The second-half started with Greece coming out of their shells and pouring men forward looking for the equaliser. They should have been back level when a delightful through ball from Giorgos Karagounis found Charisteas whose tame effort at goal was comfortably saved.
With Pavlychenko upfront, Russia always looked threatening going forward and the big striker almost scored when he cut in from the left wing and nutmegged Sotirios Kyrgiakos before shooting just wide form inside the penalty area.
Greece skipper Basinas then had a brilliant chance to save his team but when the ball fell to him inside the Russia penalty area, he leaned back and thumped the ball over from inside the area.
The defending champions continued to surge forward but they just lacked the imagination to break through the Russian defence. And in the end they were lucky not to lose 2-0 as Pavlychenko fired over when he had a chance on goal from five yards out.