Greece spent most of their history in relative obscurity, having participated only twice in the final tournaments of the FIFA World Cup and the UEFA European Championship, in 1994 and 1980 respectively.
The team's success in qualifying for the 1994 FIFA World Cup in the USA, marked the first time they had made it to the FIFA World Cup finals. Greece finished first and undefeated in their qualifying group, surpassing Russia in the final game.
But it was in the UEFA Euro 2004, when Greece were crowned European champions in only their second participation in the tournament, in one of international football's greatest surprises. Since then, Greece have received several distinctions for their triumph and have reached a higher status in international football. They have also been proven more competitive than they used to be and often reach high places in the FIFA World Rankings.
Furthermore, the team attracts large numbers of fans not only at home matches, a rare phenomenon in the previous years, but even when they play abroad, providing the team with great support. For instance, a friendly clash between Australia and Greece in 2006 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, in Melbourne, Australia, set a stadium attendance record for association football attracting 95,103 fans, a portion of whom originated from the large Greek Australian community. From 1994, they never appeared in the World cup until 2009 that they secured a place to the 2010 World cup. By way of the November 2007 FIFA World Rankings, Greece was seeded in Pot A for the European zone group stage draw for 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying.
For the qualification race, they were drawn into Group 2 with Israel, Switzerland, Moldova, Latvia and Luxembourg. Greece's group stage campaign began and ended with matches against Luxembourg on 6 September 2008 and 14 October 2009. While earning only three clean sheets in ten qualifying games, Greece relied heavily upon the scoring prowess of Theofanis Gekas, who led all Europeans in scoring with 10 goals. Two losses to Switzerland placed the Greeks one point behind the Swiss group winners, leaving Greece's 2010 World Cup hopes to be decided in a play-off with Group 6 runner-up Ukraine. A 0-0 tie in Athens preceded a 0-1 second-leg Greek triumph in Donetsk to secure a ticket in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
COACH: Otto Rehhagel.
The Veteran defender, who played more qualifying minutes than any other squad member.
Theofanis Gekas: The top scorer in European Zone qualifying.
Angelos Charisteas: Scorer in the final at EURO 2004.
Greece which is the 10th on FIFA table of World ranking is not a team to take lightly because of its recent emergence in recent times. Greece will be determined to improve on their showing at USA 1994, where they sank to group-stage defeats against Argentina (4-0), Bulgaria (4-0) and Nigeria (2-0) and headed for home at the first hurdle.