Fernando Santos's team remained undefeated in qualification, a series of narrow victories helping them finish first in Group F as they target a repeat of their shock 2004 success.
Fernando Santos's team were unbeaten in qualifying, owing much of their success to narrow wins. Those were a familiar feature during their stunning UEFA EURO 2004 success, and an emphasis on team spirit to compensate for the shortage of star names remains an overriding characteristic. Before Portugal, Greece had participated in two major tournaments; this marks their third consecutive UEFA European Championship appearance and they also contested the 2010 FIFA World Cup, exiting after the group stage. It was the same story at UEFA EURO 2008, where they failed to pick up a point.
HOW THEY QUALIFIED
In arguably the easiest qualifying group for Euro 2012, Greece recovered from a disappointing 1-1 draw at home against Georgia in their opening game to remain unbeaten throughout the campaign and pip Croatia to top spot.
With first place still up for grabs with two games remaining, a 2-0 win over Croatia, which was marred by crowd trouble, made Fernando Santos’ men favourites to reach Euro 2012 as group winners, and a late goal from veteran Angelos Charisteas in their final qualifier against Georgia secured their place at the tournament.
PAST RECORD IN THE EUROS
1960 Did not qualify 1988 Did not qualify
1964 Did not qualify 1992 Did not qualify
1968 Did not qualify 1996 Did not qualify
1972 Did not qualify 2000 Did not qualify
1976 Did not qualify 2004 Winners
1980 Group stage 2008 Group stage
1984 Did not qualify 2012 Qualified as group winners
Having qualified for the European Championships just once prior to Euro 2004, Greece, who had already caused a major upset against France in the quarter-final, stunned the world of football by beating host nation Portugal 1-0 in the final in Lisbon to pull off one of the biggest shocks in the history of the competition.
The success of 2004 remains the only time Greece have managed to progress past the group stage, though, with 2008’s campaign in Austria and Switzerland particularly forgettable. Otto Rehhagel’s men scored just one goal and failed to even pick up a point, losing to Sweden, Russia and Spain.
Overall: P112 W55 D22 L35 F161 A122
Final tournament: P12 W4 D2 L6 F9 A13
Qualifying: P100 W51 D20 L29 F152 A109