Greece upsets Portugal 2-1

Greece created the biggest opening game upset in European Championship history today by beating host Portugal 2-1.

updated: February 25, 2007 10:04 IST
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Greece created the biggest opening game upset in European Championship history today by beating host Portugal 2-1. Inter Milan's Georgios Karagounis fired the Greeks ahead with a low, 25-meter shot in the seventh minute to stun the home fans at the Dragao Stadium, home of Champions League winner FC Porto. Angelis Basinas added the second from the penalty spot six minutes into the second half after Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo had brought down Giourka Seitaridis. A Portuguese goal finally came in the third minute of injury time when Ronaldo climbed to head home a corner by Luis Figo but it was too late. Although the Portuguese, who didn't have to qualify as hosts, can repair some of the damage by beating Russia on Wednesday, they still have Spain to face in their final Group A game and may be going out in the first round. Shocking result It was the first time that the hosts had lost the opening game since the group format was introduced in 1984 and Greece's first victory in a major championship. "Greece has great defense and attack as well. We started too nervous, we got more shots on goal in the second half but we couldn't turn it round," said Portugal coach Luis Felipe Scolari. Inter Milan striker Karagounis was allowed a free long range shot at goal for the first strike of the championship. The goal was a shocker for the 45,000 Portuguese fans and also for Scolari, who led Brazil to the last of its record five World Cup triumphs two years ago. The 12th European Championship almost had a goal in the opening minute. After Luis Figo conceded a foul on the right, Angelos Charisteas had a shooting chance but miskicked in front of goal. But the Greeks didn't have to wait much longer. The Portuguese defense backed off Karagounis as he ran through the midfield and he was allowed to fire a low 25-meter shot that flicked off the fingertips of diving 'keeper Ricardo Pereira inside the left hand post. So close yet so far After two more near misses by the Greeks, Portugal went close in the 16th minute when Francisco Costinha's 25-meter shot beat keeper Antonios Nikopolidis but flew past the post. Charisteas, who plays for German champion Werder Bremen, went close for Greece again when he climbed to meet a corner but headed high. At the other end, Rui Costa met a right wing cross from Paulo Ferreira but his header went tamely wide of the target. With Luis Figo making some weaving runs, Portugal began to do more useful work with the ball. And the home side had another half chance in the 31st minute when Sabrosa Simao got clear of his marker Traianos Dellas but the keeper was quickly off his line to smother the ball at his feet. (AP)