Euro Flashback: Greek gods stun hosts Portugal on opening night
Throughout Euro 2020, LiveScore will be looking back at classic games from previous tournaments. Ahead of Portugal’s first match against Hungary tonight, we turn the clock back to their shock defeat to minnows Greece when hosting in 2004.
Expectations were high as 2004 European Championship hosts Portugal got their tournament started against minnows Greece.
But clearly the Greeks hadn’t read the script and the Portuguese, perhaps suffering from stage fright in front of an expectant crowd, endured a nightmare start.
The game was only six minutes old when Greece silenced the Estadio do Dragao.
Full-back Paulo Ferreira, who would later that summer join Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea revolution, made a careless mistake by surrendering possession in a dangerous position.
That allowed Georgios Karagounis to stride forward and lash past Ricardo into the bottom right-hand corner from 25 yards.
On another day, Greece might have extended their lead when Angelos Charisteas sliced his effort following another Portuguese slip-up, while Pangiotis Fyssas volleyed comfortably over.
The hosts finally threatened Antonis Nikopolidis’ goal when Ferreira crossed into the box for Rui Costa but he could only head wide when well placed.
Bad to worse
Just after half-time, things went from bad to worse for Portugal.
Cristiano Ronaldo, making his tournament debut after shining in his first season in English football with Manchester United, conceded a clumsy penalty for a foul on Giourkas Seitaridis.
Midfielder Angelos Basinas coolly converted the spot-kick and the hosts, against all pre-tournament expectations, were on the canvas.
Deep into stoppage time, Ronaldo atoned for his earlier indiscretion by climbing highest to power home a header from Luis Figo’s corner.
Given everything that CR7 has gone on to achieve, it was a moment in history — but on the day it proved in vain for the hosts.
Portugal still made it out of Group A as winners, memorably defeating England on penalties in the quarter-finals before overcoming the Netherlands in the semis to set up a rematch with Greece.
But lightning struck twice.
With their first corner of the game, Charisteas met a Basinas corner to head home the only goal as Greece pulled off the biggest shock in the history of the European Championship.