Greece © Getty Images
Greece celebrate their win over Cote d’Ivoire © Getty Images

 

Athens: Jun 25, 2014

 

There were celebratory scenes Wednesday in the Greek capital of Athens after the national football team secured a place in the Round of 16 of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Greece, Euro champions in 2004, beat Cote d’Ivoire 2-1 Tuesday in the Brazilian city of Fortaleza to secure a spot in the knock-out round for the first time in history, finishing second behind Colombia in Group C, reports Xinhua.

 

Yorgos Samaras, who scored the winning goal for Greece, dedicated the victory to his countrymen, who are suffering an acute four-year financial crisis.

 

“We hope we can make people happy back home,” he said.

 

Hundreds of Greeks, mostly youth, gathered at Omonoia Square in the early hours of Wednesday in central Athens to celebrate.  Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras sent a congratulatory message to the team stressing that “once again they made all Greeks proud”.

 

Greece, often considered an outsider at major tournaments, surprised bookmakers and fans worldwide to lift the European Championship 10 years ago, which is their best result so far in a major tournament.

 

“The national squad achieved a feat today. The qualification in the Round of 16 proves the quality of our players and the great potential of Greek football,” Deputy Culture and Sports Minister Yannis Adrianos said, wishing best success in the next game Sunday against Costa Rica.

 

Greek media reflected the joy of Greek football fans in their early Wednesday editions. “Triumph: Greece made it to the 16 of the World Cup,” was the headline of the main story at leading news portal in.gr.

 

“Despite all predictions and difficulties during the game, our team made its best performance in the tournament and spread joy to 10 million Greeks,” read the story.

 

“Historic qualification” was the headline on Proto Thema (Top Story) newspaper.

 

“Greeks worldwide feel proud for a fair qualification, Samaras was the last-minute hero,” it said.

 

“Greece made history in Brazil. Historic moments for the Greek football. The national team made an epic performance and advanced to the group of the best 16 squads for first time in its history,” sports news “Gazzetta” daily underlined.