Soccer: Spain beats Greece, finishes perfect in Euro 2008
By PAUL LOGOTHETIS
AP Sports Writer
By PAUL LOGOTHETIS
SALZBURG, Austria — Spain takes its perfect record and long unbeaten streak into the European Championship quarterfinals. Greece goes home empty.
Spain finished its spotless first round in Group D with to a 2-1 victory over Greece today, leaving the defending champions with no points. Dani Guiza and Ruben de la Red scored second-half goals Wednesday to rally Spain, which has won nine straight games and is unbeaten in 19.
"It was important for us to win the game," said midfielder Xabi Alonso, who threatened the Greek goal with long-range shots throughout. "We complicated the first half, but we're leaving satisfied."
Greece avoided becoming the first defending champion to leave the European Championship without scoring a goal, getting a 42nd-minute header from Angelos Charisteas. But Greece was the only team to not earn a point from its three matches.
"I'm quite upset. We weren't organized properly," Charisteas said. "We believed in victory, that's the way we go into every game. But we didn't get the breaks we needed."
De la Red tied it in the 61st minute with a hard shot that goalkeeper Antonis Nikopolidis got a hand on. Guiza, who led the Spanish league with 27 goals scored this season, then headed in the winner in the 88th off a cross from Sergio Garcia.
Both Spain players scored their first goals for their country, which will face Italy in the quarterfinals on Sunday in Vienna. The Spaniards played backups almost exclusively today.
Charisteas, who scored the winning goal against Portugal in the Euro 2004 final, gave Greece the lead, but it was the only positive development all tournament for the Greeks.
"We wanted to say goodbye in an orderly way, and we did that," coach Otto Rehhagel said. "I don't blame anyone individually. All the players followed my instructions."