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Euro 2008 Applauds As Sweden Win For Football

Thank god. Thank you Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thank you Lars Lagerberg. Thank you Sweden. Tonight you have re-affirmed my belief and love of football with your win over Greece. Watching Greece is the antithesis of why I love football, they make me hate the game, make me angry, burrow at my relationship with football and sportsmanship in general. The Greeks play a spoiler’s game, a game design to break football and make into a succession of long balls and set pieces, of cheap fouls and niggly play. Hell, I don’t know why they just don’t come on the pitch with a knife and puncture the ball. I’m sick of this argument that because they play a highly defensive tactical game, we should applaud them; Applaud them because they achieved so much with so little talent. Greece winning Euro 2004 was the worst footballing achievement of the modern era. It made a mockery of everything I believe that football should be about, the skill that gets of your seat, the style that makes you cheer with joy, the panache of wonderful expansive play, the reverse pass that leaves defenders on the floor, the mazy dribble and a shot that breaks the net, the burst from the half way line and spanking a shot past the helpless keeper.They don’t play football, it’s a horrific, suffocating version of what we love, a cataclysmic abomination of the beautiful game. The only thing Greece want to do is not lose and that is a disgrace. I was willing Sweden on all night, as I will Russia and Spain to beat this team of destroyers. The offer nothing to the game and everything to the critics of football. Ibrahimovic’s goal should be applauded by everyone who loves football because that one moment of pure skill broke the Greek template and allowed Sweden to win for football. If tonight achieves one thing, let’s hope it’s the end of the tactical mind numbing mockery of football that the Greek’s gave us tonight and in 2004.

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  1. Chris Walker

    June 12, 2008 at 3:23 am

    When did i say i despise Greece?!?! I actually found their 2004 win refreshing as it was someone outsider the current ‘big three’ from europe.

    Get political if you want about stereotyping the British but i dont think anyone gives a damn about the political side of things.

    And if you read my posts carefully you will find that i have actually defended the greeks. They dont have the technical ability to get it on the floor and run at the likes of Germany , Spain and the other big names. So they play to their strengths. All i said was its crap to watch and it is. I watch that brand of football with sheffield united every other week , i still watch it i appreciate that its effective for them but i wont say for one second its how i would want them to play. Its about making the best of the players you have, Trianos Dellas of Greece PLAYED for Sheff United for god sake so i know exactly what the greek side is about.

    Im not condemning them john im just merely pointing it out that isnt an entertaining brand of football for the European championship.

    I dont think its a pride issue for most people either its just boring to watch, its like watching watford in the premier league but with a bit more end product. Lets face it chelsea play dull football and the neutral lambasts them as a rule but if its effective than whos to cast them to the flames?

    Im supporting Germany (seems as im half german) anyway boys so im jealous of a one off Greek triumph am i?

  2. john

    June 11, 2008 at 7:00 pm

    sorry buddy no fluke here, cant FLUKE all wins,and the sad ass political comments comes from fans like you who despise victories like greeces. cmon buddy face it. they got the job done. this isnt about greece its about the way they played, italy plays the same way. today in sports just like in hockey , basketball etc defense poves to be more then offense. ive talked to non greek fans most agree greece played a tight defensive game. covered the flanks there opponents forwards and so on. that was a team effort, absolutley no selfishness in each other part. they may not go through this time around, almost half the team has changed, new faces emerged, with no prior experience, there just getting a taste of euro 2008. and otto will have these boys ready for world cup 2010. i said they will qualify for the 08 season they did with a great qualifying record, 10-1-1 isnt a FLUKE either. what did you expect greece to win again and again and again. this is a unpredictable sport. you me anyone can only guess. evem myself never thought greece would win in 04. i laughed. otto built a great team. and from now on you will see a better team. im very dissapointed in many of you for not accepting a 04 victory. swallow your pride. and like christos said, if greece fluked its way alllllll the way to the end, then the hell with soccer.

  3. Christos

    June 11, 2008 at 6:39 pm

    People obviously dont want to see a change of the “Natural Balance”, and like to see football to be a protected INSTITUTION. I hear less complaints about football bribery and match fixing than i hear about a perfectly acceptable win of Euro 2004 by Greece. If it is a FLUKE than the whole sport is a joke, nobody should fluke their way through France, Czec republic and Portugal Twice. Mabey Fanis Gekas is Fluking being Top Scorer in the bundesliga. European teams like Spain England and Portugal should be furious at them selves after not securing a euro championship in the last fifty years.

  4. Chris Walker

    June 11, 2008 at 5:02 pm

    the yawwwn is about the sad-arse political comments not the football.

  5. Kartik

    June 11, 2008 at 4:52 pm

    Actually based on watching the national team I know the best the last three matches, England right now is miles ahead of both Spain and Argentina.

    England looked dominant and very tactical against an outclassed, inferior side.

    Against Spain we had the better of the play in the first half and quite honestly Spain only had two good chances to score all match whereas England had about 10. We had three good chances against Spain and only one against England.

    Then Argentina allegedly the best team in the world hit American soil last week and after thrashing Sven’s soon to be boys, they really crashed an burned against us. They outplayed us in the first half but in the 2nd half we owned them creating more chances in a ten minute period than we did the entire match at Wembley.

    Qualifying began two years ago and England dug themselves a hole. But based on what I have seen in the last few weeks if they were in the Euros they’d be a threat to advance out of the group stage.

  6. john

    June 11, 2008 at 4:30 pm

    yaawwwwwning is for those who dont like defensive soccer. go italy go greece.

  7. chris walker

    June 11, 2008 at 4:00 pm

    how on earth has this become about britain/england???

    This is a football forum not a political one.


  8. john

    June 11, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    first of all i never said you were a brit. second why hate a tactic that worked. is there a specific rule to the game im missing. please tell me. i may have missed it. in the sports entertainment, you do what works best. italy and greece play the same old boring soccer and i love it. you can hate it hun. winning is winning. no matter how you do it.

  9. betsy's bolton bum baster

    June 11, 2008 at 3:20 pm

    i’m not even british. in fact i hate the british like the rest of the world. i have no predisposition to hate the greek team other than their tactics.

  10. john

    June 11, 2008 at 2:40 pm

    hey olly keep bashing, hate hate hate, england were are they now. tis tis.

  11. john

    June 11, 2008 at 2:31 pm

    dean wining is wining, soccer is NOT about dancing with the ball , you use any tactic to win. italy plays the same style like greece, so what the problem here, greece is new to these major tournaments. for many years greece never had good proper discipline, coaching staff players and most of all funds. i applaud greece with there sucess and many others will agree, im not here to convince anyone to change there minds. you know who you are. and dont forget greece style of defence comes from otto himself. this is his tactic. the greek organization left it to otto to build this team. so dont sit there and yap about a team that won deservingly. i can tell you this much without otto greece woudnt be the team they are. hes a well respected coach and know the game well.

  12. john

    June 11, 2008 at 2:14 pm

    betsy you sound like a typical brit, where is england in all of this. looks like they were bum blasted. villa 5 goals lol your sad. keep dreaming. greece finished with a 10-1-1 record to qualify. ah wait dont tell me. that was fluke too right. even if greece dosent go through. they still remain a great team, and they will only get better as the years go along.

  13. Chris Walker

    June 11, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Looking at the greek teamsheet i wouldnt have said ‘ flair’ is something they have an abundance of. At the end of the day for Greece nor any other team are OBLIGED to entertain its about whichever brand of football suits best.

    . Greece were poor and have to improve if they are to get to the knockout stages if they are going to go with one up front then it is vital that the striker gets support from both his widemen and central midfield. Noone wants to see aimless ball bursting like last night.

  14. betsy's bolton bum baster

    June 11, 2008 at 8:39 am

    Greece wasn’t playing to it’s strengths. What their coach said was….we have no strengths so we will play 5 defenders and try not to lose. They had no tactics beyond their own 1/3 of the field. It was pathetic. Swiss, Austria or Turkey could have easily done the same tactics as Greece. Put 3 goons in the center-back positions. Let them push the forwards around. Then have 3 CM’s in the middle, who are slow, hold the ball or play a long ball hoping their tall forwards can head it in from 50 yards away. It was sad.

  15. Dean

    June 11, 2008 at 8:29 am

    I agree with Paul, these competitions should be about the “best of the best”, about showcasing skill to the world, not about putting 10 men behind the ball hoofing it up the field at every given opportunity. Sweden won yesterday because they were by far the better team. Ask yourself this, do Greece look like the European champions…

  16. Christos

    June 11, 2008 at 8:15 am

    Furthermore When World Champions France lost to Senegal in 2002, and World Champions Argentina lost to cameroon in 1990 we see that Crowned Champions Are a Popular scalp. Greece Won a Major Tournament in a sport which is not its national Sport. Basketball IS and they have won two Eurobasketball championships.

    Congratulations Greece hope you score a couple of quality goals as you did in the qualifying rounds to show what football you can play.

  17. Christos

    June 11, 2008 at 8:06 am

    Greece qualified with flair. It is moving towards more attacking football. But remember sweden is possibly the best defensive side in the world. Expect a better brand of football against russia and spain. Im confident Greece wont win but will take chances. Germany has been winning major tournaments with the system Greece employed in 2004 for years, why is everyone Greek Bashing.

  18. Chris Walker

    June 11, 2008 at 7:42 am


    I agree the brand of football Greece play is horrific to watch and against the likes of sweden playing for a 0-0 draw is hard to understand in some quarters.

    After all, Sweden are hardly tournament. favourites

    Having said that my club play in the coca cola championship and have to play to their strengths. Naturally these are not usualy guile and flair, but hard work , passion and commitment.

    The same goes for the Greeks, they have to win in the way they are most likely too and i firmly believe that if they tried to get it on the floor and go at teams they would struggle to pick up more than 2 points in most tournaments. And if this is the way they played in 2004 and won, its hard to argue with their somewhat negative philosophy.

    As a strict neutral before the game i did however decide i couldnt watch anymore of Greece’s UK Amateur league tactics and stopped watching, hoping that sweden would tear them apart.

    As a neutral you want to be entertained, with the exception of a few select nations Europe has the strongest teams in the world and we want to see that demonstrated.

  19. Chris

    June 11, 2008 at 6:41 am

    Last time I checked, the point of the game was to win. While I don’t necessarily enjoy watching Greece play, I understand that the style they employ gives them the best possibility of success.

  20. Olly Wilkinson

    June 11, 2008 at 2:29 am

    Paul mate, it’s like you read the mind of every football loving chap in this despicable world.

    After Euro 04 I hated greece with a passion, not because they were champs but for how they won it, like you said with ultra defensive tactics and long balls into the box.

    Sweden played with style, composure and most of all a desire to play true football. Well done Sweden and well done Paul for his truly spot on comments!!

  21. Ivan

    June 11, 2008 at 12:12 am

    I have gripes with clubs who call themselves “big” that have the resources and capability but still play rubbish football. My personal criteria for what i deem a “big club” involves the style of football played.

    Small clubs or small footballing nations i can understand the pragmitism…

  22. betsy's bolton bum baster

    June 11, 2008 at 12:03 am

    greece is overrated and will be disposed of rightly. nobody will hear about them again after this tournament. i cant wait to see david villa score 5 goals against the greek goons.

  23. john

    June 10, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    hey bestall. you must be a fascist and a dreamer. you claim soccer should be played with beautiful moves, and so much skill and talent. where has that gotten other teams. im glad to see you burn inside with arrogance and jealousy. over tiny little greece that done much damage. you say thank you sweden thank you ever so much, i say thank you greece for pissing loosers like you off. that makes me feel so much better to see foolish people like you knock a country that did so much that not many other countries cant and will never do.

  24. john

    June 10, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    lol i just love reading comments about how greece was a fluke,lucky, all and nothing more but a usless team and no one wants to see them play, or win, where the hell you gettin your info from, the maple leafs team. many countries love greeces succes, it aint greeces fault the other supposly better teams coudnt beat them. let hope for this let hope for that, etc. there style and with luck on there side won, winning is winning no matter how you win. you do what you gotta do to win, if other teams are that much better, why coudnt they penetrate there defence. looks like you need a new hobby. like stamp collecting or watching paint dry. i guess the montreal canadiens with 24 cups was all a fluke too. i guess greeces best winning record with 10-1-1 for the european qualifying was nothing but a fluke too. face, you hate greece because they beat the better teams and it burns you up inside, i since jealousy and arrogance.

  25. Shakira Graham

    June 10, 2008 at 9:35 pm

    I know I got the coaches name wrong, cant multi-task tonight. I do agree on the second goal, what a joke that was, looked like Derby County defending there.

  26. Hudsonland

    June 10, 2008 at 9:32 pm

    Hitzfeld? What is it with this post and coaches’ names? Otto Rehhagel, not Ottmar Hitzfeld.

    And the second goal? I was laughing so much at the ball bouncing off one knee, onto the other and into the net that I didn’t notice what the defender did.

  27. CFTV

    June 10, 2008 at 8:53 pm

    The Greek Defender who got knocked to the ground on the goal that bounced around the goalmouth is totally gutless. The guy didn’t even try to play the offensive player after the 50/50 ball and was perfectly content playing dead on the ground hoping to goad the ref into a call. I’ll admit, I don’t think he could have gotten to the Swedish attacker but my problem is that he didn’t even try.

    Don’t get me wrong I love soccer but it really drives me nuts watching guys play acting like they have been shot after watching the Stanley Cup Playoffs and seeing guys totally selling out their bodies in a chase to a Championship. I can see why general American Sports Fan hates the game because if this was pro football and a DB went down he would at least attempt to get up and go for the guy with the ball.

    The Greek defender got what he deserved for not even trying to make a play.

  28. Shakira Graham

    June 10, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    Could not disagree with you more on this period. You may not like the style of the Greeks and it can be boring but they can’t play beautiful football, they would get slaughtered. They understand that and play to thier strengths, the horror of that. Hitzfeld knows the weakness of his team and thus deveolped a sceme to combat it and won Euro 04. It may not work this time around but your senceless bashing of Greece is wrong.

  29. betsy's bolton bum baster

    June 10, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    you mean technical incompetence?

  30. Hudsonland

    June 10, 2008 at 7:33 pm

    You could even throw in an umlaut (heavy metal or otherwise) and make it Lagerbäck.

    Regarding Greece, they were dull, but they weren’t quite as dull as I remember them from 2004. Also, the defensive aspect (i.e. 98%) of their game seemed to be based more on technical competence than 2004’s desperation – a case of ‘this is what we’re best at’ rather than ‘we’re no good at all, better knock it around at the back and hope a long ball takes a lucky bounce’. If that makes any sense.

  31. betsy's bolton bum baster

    June 10, 2008 at 7:09 pm

    LOL. It is Lars Lagerback not Lagerberg.

  32. betsy's bolton bum baster

    June 10, 2008 at 7:08 pm

    I couldn’t AGREE with you more. Back in 2004 Greece was efficient and very very lucky. The rest of Europe knows they got lucky and are gunning for them. The crowds do not want them to win. The average football fan does not want them to win. Perhaps even their own fans don’t want them to win for the sake of the game. They are a dreadfully dull side. I’m happy that they lost their first match because they might have to actually form some sort of attack in their next match. It was great that Sweden won. All of Europe and your average neutral football fans were rooting for Sweden to wipe the floor with the sorry excuse of football called the Greece national team.

  33. Hudsonland

    June 10, 2008 at 6:56 pm

    “Thank you Lars Lagerberg.”


  34. Django

    June 10, 2008 at 6:50 pm

    As a fan of no team in particular, I agree with Paul. Kudos to Greece for having a successful formula, but as a mostly impartial viewer, watching games with teams like Greece, Romania, even Rangers in the UEFA Cup, is not that fun. I couldn’t care less how many trophies Holland or Arsenal have won recently, but watching their games is more fun. As a Liverpool fan I excuse my squad when they shut things down and play defensive anti-football, but if it’s teams I don’t care about, the Greek style of play helps me change the channel pretty quickly.

  35. Michael

    June 10, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    Couldn’t disagree with you more. It’s not about how you win and it’s not about style, it’s about doing whatever it takes to win.

    If you get the job done, it doesn’t matter how you do it. We should applaud Greece for such a huge achievement without the same talent as other nations. You talk about playing beautiful soccer, but what had that gotten Holland in recent years? What has that gotten Arsenal lately?

    Look, if you can play an attractive style and win, that’s a bonus. But in no way, shape, or form should style be valued over substance.

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