4 July 2004

								Charisteas 57

Ronaldo headed on Deco's cross to Miguel, the right back, a target for Newcastle amongst others, was forced
wide by Dellas and hit a shot across goal and while Nikopolidis' intervention was good for the camera's I'm sure
the ball was going wide. Charisteas almost put the finishing touch to a lovely passing move but Ricardo was quick
off his line and bravely dived at the big striker's feet. The best chance of the half, arguably the best chance
Portugal had, came from a corner. The absolutely World Class Seitaridis headed the ball out, Maniche controlled
on his knee before sending a shot flying past the post.

Ricardo, the hero against England, did his David James impression to gift Greece the crucial goal. Hhe came off his
line as Basinas swung the ball into the box, ran into the back of Vryzas and Charisteas headed into an empty net.
Rui Costa, playing his final match for Portugal, found Ronaldo with a fabulous through pass, a heavy first touch
allowed Nikopolidis to close him down and he shot over the bar. Figo forced a corner with a magnificent turn in the
box, his early shot was brilliantly saved by the Greek George Clooney. Seconds after Zagarakis sent a volley in row
Z Merk blew for full time.

Greece ARE the best team in Europe. They've done it the hard way, beating the hosts, defending champions, favourites
and hosts again without a dodgy penalty or any help from the officials. IMO the fact that the Greeks nullified some of
the finest attackers in football playing man to man illustrates just how exceptional the forwards of the past were and
what they had to cope with on a weekly basis. While this won't signal the death of zonal defending it will be interesting
to see how many coaches will follow Rehhagel's example and go back to basics as it were.

While there was a lack of goalmouth action the tackling was out of this World and Seitaridis has established himself
as the best right back in Europe. We'll be seeing a lot more of him at European Cup winners Porto next season.

It's been a brilliant tournament and Greece are worthy champions. 

Assist : Basinas (ck)