Greece defended deep, defended admirably, and scored on the counter-attack. It may sound like a perfect execution of its plans but the victory would not have come about without Russia's profligacy.
Dick Advocaat's men had 31 shots on goal (with 69 per cent possession), but managed only two on target.
Fernando Santos made important changes to his side. The left flank had been a problem area and so that was fortified. Giorgios Tzavellas replaced Jose Holebas at left-back while attacker Giorgos Samaras was pushed out to the left from the centre. Samaras was excellent; he was Greece's first-choice outlet out of defence; he held the ball up splendidly, waited for support, and then switched play.
In what was a 4-2-3-1, the captain Giorgos Karagounis played in the middle of the attacking third, just behind striker Theofanis Gekas. Pushing Karagounis forward paid off; he is more than a holder and scored off the first clear-cut chance (and should also have won a penalty in the second half). Greece sat deep and invited the Russians forward; the midfielders Igor Denisov (who saw a lot of the ball) and Roman Shirokov were practically camped in its half. But up front, Alexander Kerzhakov and Alan Dzagoev were wayward. Russia did not trouble Greece much on the flanks; knowing Dzagoev and Andrei
With Arshavin's propensity for drifting in, more should have come from the fullbacks. Their Greek counterparts deserve some credit here. Russia appeared to tire as the match wore on; Advocaat made attacking substitutions but they came too late.