Greece v Spain, 18 June 2008

Score2-1 to Spain
RefereeHoward Webb
CompetitionUEFA European Championship Finals Group D
VenueRed Bull Arena, Salzburg
Attendance30,883
Kick-Off: 8.45pm local Assistant referees: Darren Cann (England) Mike Mullarkey (England) Fourth official: Stéphane Lannoy (France) Man of the Match: Xabi Alonso (Spain) First international goals for Rubén de la Red and Daniel Güiza earned a second-string Spain team a 2-1 comeback victory as Greece's hopes of ending their UEFA European Championship title defence on a high were spoiled at the last. RCD Mallorca's Güiza rose unmarked with two minutes remaining to head in Sergio García's cross and complete an impressive second-half revival by Spain, who had fallen behind to Angelos Charisteas's header just before the break. However, after a tepid first half, Spain began the second with renewed vigour – Xabi Alonso hitting the post before Real Madrid CF's De la Red made it 1-1 on 61 minutes, rifling in after Güiza had nodded the ball into his path. The same pair almost added gloss to this third successive win for Spain, while Charisteas grazed the outside of the post at the other end, but it was Güiza who had the last word. With the fate of the sides bookending Group D already decided, and given the belated arrival of the Austrian summer, an end-of-term feel prevailed early on in Salzburg. For Greece's captain for the day, goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis, it was exactly that, with the 37-year-old having announced his international retirement in the wake of his error against Russia that sealed the holders' elimination. But while he may have been forgiven a few pre-match nerves in Salzburg, these were quickly eased. The cheers of the Greece supporters behind his goal had barely died down when Nikopolidis was presented with a comfortable save, collecting Güiza's dinked cross after the forward failed to realise how much time Andrés Iniesta's expertly disguised pass had given him. It was a false dawn in terms of attacking spectacle. Stung by the premature end to their campaign, Greece were circumspect at first despite the wide threat of recalled pair Giorgos Karagounis and Dimitris Salpingidis. Spain had the better of the possession, even if García and Cesc Fàbregas in particular did not make the most of it. Alonso offered a more serious threat midway through the opening period when he almost caused Nikopolidis embarrassment after spotting that he had been drawn off his goalline. The Liverpool FC midfielder nearly added another to his collection of goals from his own half, but with Nikopolidis scrambling, his attempt dropped just the wrong side of the upright. If Spain were not exactly peppering Nikopolidis's goal, it was still more than Greece were mustering. Yet Otto Rehhagel's UEFA EURO 2004 winners in Portugal were hardly renowned for their attacking play either – instead neutralising opponents and making their few chances pay, often from dead-ball situations. They found exactly that route to goal three minutes before half-time, with Karagounis's free-kick finding Charisteas all alone and the No9 burying his header into the top-left corner. Goaded into action, Luis Aragonés's team were almost level soon after half-time as space opened up for Alonso to rifle an unstoppable effort that Nikopolidis was grateful to see come back off his post. It was a brief let-off for the Blue and Whites, and just after the hour De la Red restored parity with a fulsome finish. Both sides had opportunities to add to the scoring but the stage was set for Güiza, who ensured Spain would go into Sunday's quarter-final against Italy in Vienna on the back of a 100% in Group D. For Greece, it is home time.

1  Greece

Manager: Otto Rehhagel

2  Spain

Manager: Luis Aragones

Goals:

Angelos Charisteas 42 G

Goals:

Rubén de la Red 61 G
Daniel Guiza 88 G

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis (captain)
Defender Trianos Dellas
Defender Loukas Vyntra
Defender/Midfielder Angelos Basinas
Midfielder Ioannis Amanatidis
Midfielder Giorgios Karagounis

Starting lineup:

Goalkeeper Pepe Reina
Defender Álvaro Arbeloa
Defender Juanito
Defender Fernando Navarro
Midfielder Rubén de la Red
Midfielder Cesc Fabregas
Midfielder Andres Iniesta
Midfielder Raúl Albiol
Midfielder Xabi Alonso (captain)
Forward Daniel Guiza

Substitutions:

Paraveskas Antzas for Sotiris Kyrgiakos 63
Alexandros Tziolis for Giorgios Karagounis 74
Stelios Giannakopoulos for Dimitrios Salpingidis 86

Substitutions:

Santi Cazorla for Andres Iniesta 59

Cards:

Giorgios Karagounis 34 Y
Angelos Basinas 72 Y
Loukas Vyntra 90 Y

Cards:

Daniel Guiza 41 Y
Álvaro Arbeloa 45 Y

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias
Goalkeeper Alexandros Tzorvas
Midfielder Ioannis Goumas
Midfielder Alexandros Tziolis

On the bench:

Goalkeeper Iker Casillas
Goalkeeper Andres Palop
Defender Joan Capdevila
Defender Carlos Marchena
Defender Carlos Puyol
Defender Sergio Ramos
Midfielder David Silva
Midfielder Marcos Senna
Midfielder Santi Cazorla
Midfielder Xavi
Forward Fernando Torres
Forward David Villa

Comments:

- Greece are the only team at Euro 2008 to lose all three group matches. This feat has befallen seven other teams in the history of the competition. - Giorgios Karagounis received his sixth yellow card at the European Championship (four in 2004 and two in 2008) breaking the record he shared with Hagi, Nedved and Zambrotta.

Comments:

Input amendment [26.05.2012]: Replaced Sergio Ramos with Sergio Garcia in starting line-up. - Spain have now equalled their record international winning streak of nine matches in a row. That record was set between 1924 and 1927 and ended by their quarter-final opponents Italy. Italy also ended Spain's last long winning streak of seven successive victories in 2004. - Spain have scored eight goals at Euro 2008 and are one of only six nations to score at least eight in the group phase of a European Championship. - Spain won all three of their group matches at Euro 2008, the seventh team to achieve this in European Championship history - Holland have done it twice - and the third at Euro 2008. - Spain came back from a goal down to win. They had only done this on one previous occasion at the European Championship, beating Yugoslavia 4-3 at Euro 2000, having been 1-0, 2-1 and 3-2 down. - Ruben de la Red and Daniel Guiza both scored their first international goals for Spain.