Greeks happy as David to Germany's Goliath
The Local · 22 Jun 2012, 11:50
Published: 22 Jun 2012 11:50 GMT+02:00
The Germans are bidding for a fourth European crown, having last tasted success 16 years ago, but Greece are aiming to pull off another giant killing having shocked Russia to book their place in the Arena Gdansk quarter-final.
Much has been made in the build-up to Friday's quarter-final with un-fancied Greece aiming to emulate their Euro 2004 triumph against Germany, who are amongst the favourites for the title.
The match has a political backdrop with German Chancellor Angela Merkel an unpopular figure in Greece due to her insistence on painful austerity measures as the best response to the Eurozone crisis.
A first win over Germany in the history of Greek football would boost morale amongst Greeks who are enduring their fifth straight year of recession and Santos is happy for his team to take the under-dog role, as long as they win.
When a journalist asked if Greece could be considered as the biblical figure David who killed the giant Philistine warrior Goliath, according to the Old Testament, Santos warmed to the analogy.
"If we see it from a historical point of view, David verses Goliath is a good thing for us, because ultimately Goliath lost to David," said the 57-year-old with Greece having never beaten Germany in eight attempts.
"It is something true that the size of the Germany side is really impressive, they are a good team who often make it to the semis or finals of tournaments.
"They are very stable and concrete side, I am willing to accept the role of David... as long as history repeats itself."
Greece will be without captain Giorgos Karagounis and German-born defender Jose Holebas, who are both suspended after picking up two group stage bookings.
Germany striker Mario Gomez is the tournament's joint top-scorer with three goals in three games, while Real Madrid's Mesut Özil leads the Germany attack in midfield, but Santos said he is not worried about the German stars.
“We don't focus on one particular player, we have to concentrate on the team as a whole," said Santos.
"In Özil, we are talking about a marvellous player, who is extremely talented and it is no accident he is in the Real Madrid starting side.
"(Real coach) Jose Mourinho clearly thinks Özil is the best Number 10 in the world.
"We will have no plan to mark him, it won't be like it was when I was a player when a coach would tell you to mark a guy until the end, even if he goes to the toilet. Then you had to wait for him outside."