Wroclaw, Poland – Greece remains confident ahead of Friday's opening Euro 2012 match against Poland despite facing the tall order of trying to replicate its memorable run in 2004 that culminated in a championship.
Despite being drawn into a favorable group along with co-host Poland, Russia and the Czech Republic, the Greeks are still widely regarded as underdogs.
That's just fine with them.
According to defender Giorgos Tzavellas, that lack of pressure should help Greece provide a shock upset against the hosts right off the bat, just like its start to the 2004 edition of the tournament when it upset Portugal, 2-1.
"The Poles will have the stress of the first match as they will be the home team," said Tzavellas. "I believe we can repeat our effort of 2004 when we spoiled the opener for the home team. We respect every opponent in our group. We don't fear anyone. They (Poland) will have the stress and we hope to be the ones to spoil their celebration."
While some Greeks reflect on their triumph in 2004 as a source of inspiration, one experienced player chooses to focus on the bigger picture.
"In the last decade the Greek national squad have achieved many things and have reached the final stages of major competitions," 38-year-old goalkeeper Kostas Chalkias said. "This is a team that are constantly improving, evolving and have the resources for a great future. That's why I don't like comparing generations. I see a continuity instead."
Poland is arguably the better team on paper, but it may struggle if it relies too heavily on its three Borussia Dortmund stars.
Striker Robert Lewandowski, midfielder Jakub Blaszczykowski and defender Lukasz Piszczek have been in outstanding form over the course of the club season, leading the German club to the double with Bundesliga and Pokal Cup titles.
The trio can only take the team so far, but in any other group the Poles would be likely to miss out on the quarterfinals. In Group A, they have a legitimate shot of advancing.
"The group stage draw has been good to us," said Grzegorz Mielcarski, former Poland international. "We can beat Greece and the Czechs and qualify for the quarterfinals, which is as much as we dare dream.
"It troubles me a little that rely more on magic from Lewandowski and (Blaszczykowski) than our ability as a team."