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Greece 1 – Turkey 0 October 18, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Football.
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Ioannis Amanatidis said it was “about time” he scored for Greece after he found the target in Istanbul to send the European Champions to UEFA EURO 2008.

greek_national_soccer_team.jpg  Greece earned the chance to defend their crown in Austria and Switzerland next summer after Eintracht Frankfurt captain Amanatidis struck on 79 minutes to secure a 1-0 win against Group C rivals Turkey. It was the 25-year-old forward’s first goal in 20 internationals.

“When I saw the ball hit the net, I thought it was about time I scored for the national side,  and I am particularly happy this goal was the winning one in Turkey,” he said. “The whole team performed at a very high level. We had lots of chances and could have scored more goals. We are very glad to have qualified and now we will celebrate.”

If the victory avenged a humiliating 4-1 home defeat by Turkey in March, coach Otto Rehhagel was pleased his pre-match talk had helped his players to keep their focus at the Ali Sami Yen stadium. “Before the game I told my players they had a unique opportunity to take revenge for our defeat in Piraeus and to qualify for the finals,” he said. “We played a passionate and intelligent game. We went for the win and achieved it. I liked our defensive display but we could have done more with the goalscoring chances.”

The Thursday morning newspapers in Greece were full of praise for Rehhagel’s men. Under the headline “Emperors!”, Sportime wrote that it was “one of the greatest nights in Greek footballing history”. Fos ton Spor added: “We cannot remember such a commanding performance, perhaps not even in Portugal three years ago.” Meanwhile, right-back Giourkas Seitaridis, a starter in all six of Greece’s UEFA EURO 2004 matches, was thrilled to have made it to the Alpine finals. “I am delighted I will get to experience the unique atmosphere of a UEFA European Championship again,” he said.

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