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Euro 2012: Greece captain promises Germany tough fight

Associated Press
Jun 21, 2012 at 09:36pm IST

Legionowo: Greece captain Costas Katsouranis is hoping for a minor miracle when his team goes looking for their first ever victory against Germany in the European Championship quarter-finals on Friday.

A convincing Germany side advanced to the last eight after three straight group wins, while Greece's 1-0 victory over Russia — their first win at a European Championship since lifting the trophy in 2004 — saw the team scrape through.

In terms of head-to-head matches, the figures look even worse. Greece have lost five and drawn three of their eight games against Germany and former West Germany.

Greece captain promises Germany tough fight

Stand-in Greece captain Costas Katsouranis is hoping for a 'mini miracle' in the quarter-final.

Though the odds are not in his team's favour, Katsouranis says the players will be giving everything in Friday's match in Gdansk, Poland. "You know that we'll fight tooth and nail to win. This is one match, not the best-of-10 games," Katsouranis said before training on Wednesday. "If will pull off the mini miracle ... [and] if luck smiles on us, we will smile too. If not, we'll still have a sound sleep that night.

"We have one promise: To fight as hard as we can, for the full 90 minutes."

Katsouranis will be wearing the captain's armband in place of suspended skipper, Giorgos Karagounis.

Coach Fernando Santos abandoned his attacking 4-3-3 line-up against Russia, and could be tempted to keep a cautious formation against the Germans and frustrate their fast forwards.

Friday's match will be played in a tense political atmosphere, with Greece being the focus of the eurozone crisis. It has been forced to accept tough austerity measures in return for rescue loans from Germany and other eurozone countries.

Following general elections in Greece at the weekend, conservative leader Antonis Samaras was sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday and heads a coalition government after months of political crisis.

In Poland, Katsouranis made it clear that players were not at the tournament to talk politics.

"We came here to play football and are not concerned with politics," he said. "We are here to represent our country and we know what everyone at home is going through. We have a new prime minister, so if you have any political questions, ask him."

However, team-mate Dimitris Salpigidis said players were irritated by reports mocking Greece ahead of the game, with the country remaining heavily in debt.

"Sure we are annoyed as the comments we see on the Internet and in the newspapers, because our country has problems. People have so many problems in their everyday lives," Salpigidis said. "We're really hoping that we can put a smile on their face."

He also played down Greece's poor international record against the Germans. "I think reporters worry about that stuff," Salpigidis said. "And that's their job. But we are not to bother about statistics. If we beat Germany, it won't really matter if it's the first ever win or not."

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