The euphoria was not to last, but the reaction in Athens to Greece’s equalising goal against the Germans must have made the walls of the Acropolis tremble.
The terrace in front of the big screen erupted amid scenes of joy as the Greek number 7 Giorgos Samaras – an appropriate name given the outcome of the recent election – bundled the ball into the German net for 1-1.
It was not to be. The favourites scored again, and again… and again.
Despite a late penalty for Greece, in football as in Europe’s debt crisis, Germany had called the shots in winning 4-2.
After the match, euronews asked supporters whether the two nations could now be reconciled.
“You’re talking about politics I think? Right? No, never! Why not? Because it’s politics not athletics, not sports. If it were for sports we would be much closer to each other,” said one young Greek man.
There was a different view on reconciliation from a German-Greek couple:
“We will do so. I’m German and she is Greek,” said the man, indicating his partner. “With two hearts I’ve seen this game and it was a difficult game for the Greece side. We hope that everything will be good between these two countries.”
Despite the political dimension, for the most part these fans kept sport in perspective – and knew they had been beaten by the better team.
euronews’ correspondent in Athens, Laura Davidescu said:
“Niki, the ancient goddess of victory, was not on the side of Greece tonight. But be it in football or in politics, Greeks and Germans, southern Europeans and northern Europeans, must find a way to heal the wounds of those past two years. The years of Cold War of words.”