The English Premier League is an incubator for players and teams that participate in the European Cup. It is regarded as one of the most talented and respected leagues in the world and pairs up rival English football clubs in high performance and competitive matches on the pitch. Visit one of the Best EPL betting sites to gain a good understanding on the odds of your favorite English Premier League teams right now. The EPL is one of the most famous leagues in the world, and definitely one of the best – that’s why England is very often reaching the late Euro stages, as they have some great players who can work together perfectly. Being one of the most popular leagues in the world, the Premier League is attracting many bettors – sometimes even more than the Euro itself. In Euro 2004, England reached the late stages but didn’t reach the semi-finals after they lost to Portugal. Which leads us to who were the favorites to win in 2004.
When Euro 2004 began in the summer, the usual suspects were being predicted as winners. Nations like France, Netherlands, Spain and England were among the teams who were anticipated to go the distance. Another team that was fancied was Portugal, given some of the talent in the squad, and the fact that the tournament was taking place in their country.
No one spoke about Greece pre-tournament. In fact, most assumed Greece would go out at the group stages, or be lucky to get into the quarter finals. What no one anticipated was that Greece would be the team that would lift the trophy on the 4th of July in Lisbon. And that is what happened. This story ends with an amazing triumph for Greece, who emerged as 1-0 winners over Portugal that night.
The tournament began for Greece in the identical way that it ended. They started the first group game against Portugal, and it was a 1-0 win that got them off the mark. But that win was seen as an aberration. Portugal were off their game, it was the start of the tournament, and everyone assumed normal service would resume.
But it did not. Greece maintained that excellent defensive record that served them so well in the qualifying stages, and they got enough points to get out of the group in second place. It was hardly impressive, given they drew and lost their other two games, and only scored 4 goals in three group games.
In a knockout tournament like the Euros or the World Cup, form in the group stages does not matter. So long as you get out of there, you have done your job. And that is what the Greeks did. They were second, and they booked a game against France. Again, no one gave them a chance, but a 1-0 win was enough to get them into the semi-finals. It was a remarkable upset, given the level of talent of that French team.
They were pushed all the way by a very talented Czech side, who were also fancied among the pre-tournament favorites. It took a silver goal in extra time to give Greece another 1-0 win. Yes, there is a theme to all their results. It was a string of 1-0 wins that got Greece to the promised land of European success.
They had never won the Euros before, and no one gave them a chance before the tournament started. But this incredible group, led by manager Otto Rehhagel, the German who was known for his defensive prowess, was not to be denied. And everything was done on the backs of that incredible defense and goalkeeper.
It is often that the team with the best defense wins such tournaments. But it is rare for a team to not concede a single goal in three knockout games, where they faced three of the best teams in Europe. Shutting out France, Czech Republic, and Portugal in Portugal is an insane achievement, and one that no soccer team has bested in a Euros or World Cup since.