National team wants to spread joy amid crisis

Greece is determined to lift the mood back home during Euro 2012 with the country's huge debt woes causing worry and fear, striker Giorgos Samaras said on Wednesday.

"I don't like to say big words or throw promises around,» he told a news conference. «We are all thinking about the (deciding Euro qualifier) against Croatia and how we managed to help people celebrate and escape from their daily problems for a while.

"That is what we will try to do again. I do not know how far we will go and what we can do but with our joy of playing football we want to give joy to Greeks.

"We are a young team and the atmosphere in the squad is outstanding and that is where everything starts."

Euro 2004 champion Greece faces co-host Poland in the tournament's opening game in Warsaw on Friday.

Eight years ago Greece caused a huge surprise by claiming an unlikely success in Portugal, while also riding a wave of enthusiasm ahead of the Athens Olympics a month later.

Now, the country is on the brink of bankruptcy and with talk of a potential eurozone exit swirling, is facing a second general election in less than two months with sharp austerity measures angering Greeks.

"I see all the messages we get sent from our fans and that is additional motivation for us,» said defender Avraam Papadopoulos. «We want to make the people happy who are with us during good times as well as bad times.»


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