ELLADARA...In the Final Minute

-- ELLADARA...In the Final Minute --

Greece found the back of the net in the final minute of play in yet another match in recent years with Tzavellas’ thunderous strike against Bosnia. AGONAsport.com takes you back to Greece’s “last minute” goals that proved to be so impoirtant in qualifying and at major tournaments.



It was July 1st, 2004 at the Euro 2004 Championships as Greece faced the most in-form team of the tournament, the Czech Republic, in the semi-finals. Greece was the ultimate underdog to make it this far and the Czechs were thought by many to end Greece’s cinderella story. After a goalless 90 minutes of play, which was dominated by the Czechs, Greece was awarded a corner in the final minute of the first extra time period. At Euro 2004, the silver goal ruling was used to decide overtime, meaning that if a team scored in the first period and held on they would be awarded the victory. Tsiartas’ fast-paced, inswinging corner was played in and was met by Traianos Dellas to send Greece to the Final, where they would go on and pull-off the ultimate upset against the hosts, Portugal, and be crowned Champions of Europe.



In Euro 2008 Qualifying, Greece hosted Moldova at the Pankritio Stadium with hopes of continuing their good run in qualifying. Charisteas opened the scoring in the 30th minute with a beautiful header, but Moldova equalized with 10-minutes remaining through Funza. In the final kick of the game, Greece desperately launched the ball into Moldova's penalty area where it was flicked on by Kyrgiakos and eventually ended up in the path of Nikos Lymberopoulos, who pushed the ball into the back of the net to give Greece the 2-1 victory. The Galanolefki went on to qualify for Euro 2008 with the best record from all teams in qualifying (31 points), however the defending champions disappointed in the final tournament where they lost all three games and scored only one goal.



Greece traveled to Malta for Euro 2012 Qualifying hoping for an easy 3-points against the theoretically worst team in the group. The Ethniki put on a terrible showing against Malta and the game remained goalless until the final minute of stoppage time. Greece was awarded a free-kick on the left side and it was played in by Karagounis. The ball was cleared by Malta’s defense and fell to Mitroglou, whose scuffed shot turned into an assist for Vassilis Torosidis as he headed the ball into the net to give Greece the 0-1 victory. All 3-points proved to be decisive in the qualifying campaign as Greece only topped the group 2 points ahead of Croatia and qualified for their 3rd straight European Championships. At Euro 2012, Greece advanced to the quarterfinals where they were knocked out by Germany after a 4-2 loss.



Who could forget Greece’s final match in group play against the Ivory Coast at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil. Greece needed a victory to advance to the knockout stages of the competition while a draw would suffice for the Ivory Coast. The Greeks took the lead late in the first half with Samaris’ goal, but in the 74th minute Bony brought the Ivory Coast level and put his side in the driver’s seat. However, there was late drama as Greece was awarded a penalty in the final minute of stoppage time and Samaras was as cool as could be to put the ball past Barry and give Greece a historic 2-1 victory. Greece finished second (4 pts) behind Colombia in Group C and advanced to the knockout stages of the World Cup for the first time in their history. 



After a thrilling game against the Ivory Coast, Greece faced Costa Rica in the Round of 16 at the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Costa Rica took the lead with their only chance of the game in the 52nd minute through Ruiz. In the 66th minute, Costa Rica was left with 10-men and Greece pressed for an equalizer to send the game to extra time. Similar to the Ivory Coast, late drama ensued as Papastathopoulos put away the rebound from Gekas’ shot in the 1st minute of stoppage time and pulled Greece level. The Galanolefki, who had the man advantage, took control of the extra time period and wasted numerous chances for a winner and the game went into an agonizing penalty shootout, where Greece was defeated 5-3, putting an end to their World Cup dream. 



After a horrendous Euro 2016 Qualifying campaign, Greece pulled things together to kick off 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifying with three wins from three games. Their toughest test yet awaited them as they hosted Bosnia at the Karaiskakis Stadium. The visitors were fortunate took the lead in the first half with Pjanic’s free-kick (registered as an own goal from Karnezis) and were overall the better side in the fixture. Greece needed a goal to stay in control of second place in the group (and ultimately keep their hopes alive for qualification) and Tzavellas came through with a thunderous strike in the final kick of the game, giving Greece an important point from a 1-1 draw. The result keeps Greece in second place in group H with tough away tests next up in Belgium and Bosnia.


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