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Karagounis focused on crucial opener

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 7 Jun 2012

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Greece veteran Giorgos Karagounis has warned his team-mates to not make any mistakes in Friday’s Euro 2012 opener against Poland.

The Panathinaikos midfielder was part of the side that stunned Europe eight years ago after beating host nation Portugal 1-0 in the final to clinch the trophy against all odds.

Although many have tipped the Greeks for an early exit from Group A, Karagounis understands the importance of avoiding defeat in Warsaw.

“In such a tournament every game is a final, let alone when we speak for the opening match of the group and the whole tournament,” the 35-year-old told reporters.

“It’s a proper final. Since there are so few games that we will play, no mistakes are allowed.”

Karagounis scored the first goal of Euro 2004 with a 25-yard thunderbolt to help his side on the way to a 2-1 success over Portugal.

“I’m wishing for the game to end the same way it ended eight years ago, when we were victorious in the opening match,” he said.

“We came here to enjoy our participation in the tournament and give joy to our fellow Greeks back in our country.

“For me, a good opening match is one you win. We know the capabilities of this team, I hope that we will demonstrate our potentials tomorrow on the pitch.”

The Greeks will be led into Poland and Ukraine by former Porto coach Fernando Santos.

However, the Portuguese coach is cautious about comparing the current squad to that of 2004 and insists he wants to do Greece proud in his dream job.

“We want to give as much happiness to Greek people as possible. We have proved that will fight with passion and determination to achieve that,” Santos said.

“From the first day I came to Greece to take over a club I had said that one of my dreams is someday to coach the national team. And now, I have made it.”

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