Georgios Samaras drew a penalty after contact from Giovanni Sio in the second minute of stoppage time and then converted the ensuing kick, sending Greece to a 2-1 win over the Ivory Coast at the 2014 World Cup. In turn, Greece booked its place in the knockout stages for the first time in its history. Although Greece was poor in its first two games, it did enough in its final match to live to play another day.
Greece’s style does have its merits in the knockout rounds where it can play drab, defense-first soccer and try grind the game down to penalty kicks or a late goal against the run of play. (Oh joy.)
Anyways, doesn’t it seem a little cruel that Costa Rica surprises everyone to win Group D and its reward is a date with Greece on Sunday? The pairing does mean we’ll get one “outsider” in the quarterfinals. To its credit, Greece had to win on Tuesday to have any chance to advance and it found a way. Two goals by Greece in a single match is almost as improbable as Costa Rica topping a group that consisted of Italy, Uruguay and England.
Meanwhile, Ivory Coast’s so-called “Golden Generation” was a minute away from the knockout rounds after Wilfried Bony’s equalizer late in the second half, but were undone by Samaras — a call that will certainly be debated for years in the country. Sports aren’t fair.