Saturday, 4 July 2009


Fourth of July, 2004 Greece beat Portugal 1-0 in the final of the European Championships and all my sporting dreams are satisfied. I have no more demands to make on the sporting gods and I will die a happy man.

Above is a reminder of those extraordinary few weeks.

The first video contains the goals from all of Greece's games in the tournament. The second is of the last few minutes of extra-time in the semi-final against the Czech Republic and Traianos Dellas' delirium-inducing winning goal – the most memorable moment of the championships for me. And the third video cleverly mixes Greece's triumph in the football with the Greek basketball team's brilliant success at Eurobasket 2005. There's great commentary on all the videos.


lastgreek said...

What I'd like to hear:

Έλληνες Κύπριοι, νενικήκαμεν!

John Akritas said...

LG. We might need a lot of patience for that. And, of course, let's be clear Cypriots will only truly be victorious when their island unites with the rest of Greece. Everything else is degrees of defeat.

Prometheus said...


I was brought into tears with the videos you posted.

After so many years, some sense of national accomplishment, pride, and unity, was much needed.

The guys made us all proud indeed.

John Akritas said...

I too was moved by these videos; although, at the same time, I asked myself if it's right that by winning a football competition we should have felt, as you put it, this 'sense of national accomplishment'. I'd hate us to become like the English, who have been so stripped of their national identity, that the only place they can just about express it now is through their sporting teams and particularly their football team. Sport – which is just sport, and whose practitioners are often obnoxious morons – is not a satisfactory field on which to judge national prowess or accomplishment.

Prometheus said...


by no means should we judge national prowess, or accomplishment, by how well we did in one sport or another. But, for a nation in which almost everything pretty much is dysfunctional and problematic, with first and foremost our national identity (we don't know who we are), then that accomplishment was at least something. It defined us, at least, as the "ones" (those people) who won the championship.

Sad isn't it? You know, when we first won it, and saw how much we celebrated it, or how important it was for us that we won it, it kind of made me sad angree. It made me wonder how desperate we are, or that we have nothing else to be proud of.

Then i said, well at least it's something. Oh, i also happen to see couple of Greeks in the funs in one game, who were wearing those ancient greek togas, and the hoplite helmets, etc, and made me a bit happy that some of the people watching would remember that Greeks were (some still are) decentants once of those ancient Greeks, and they define themselves as such, and not as miserable Orthodox Christians. Luckily, i didn't see any ones celebrating dressed in orthodox monk outfits, etc.

lastgreek said...

Hi, P.

Regarding togas, there is no such thing as a Greek toga. Togas were worn by the Romans. A Greek would not be caught dead in such an outlandish garment.

There is a great article in the TIMESONLINE by Mary Beard, classics editor TLS, titled "What made the Greeks laugh?" You'll find an interesting bit about the Roman toga and how in the third century BC, when the Romans were negotiating with the Greek city of Tarentum, Greek laughter at Roman dress may have pushed the Romans to war. "Laugh, laugh while you can. For you’ll be weeping a long time when you wash this garment clean with your blood."

Here's the link: