July 02, 2004

"Greece is not going to sleep tonight ..." and neither is Australia, apparently

Canberra is typically quiet, as far as I can tell, but much of Australia is not so this morning:

Soccer fans take over streets

CELEBRATIONS by Greek soccer fans were causing chaos in Sydney and Melbourne this morning after Greece defeated the Czech Republic in the semi-final of Euro 2004.

Rowdy fans had blocked parts of Enmore Road in the inner Sydney suburb of Enmore, as well as a section of Norton Street in nearby Leichhardt.

Waving flags, dancing and chanting in celebration, thousands of Greek supporters poured into the streets after watching Greece defeat the Czech Republic 1-0 in extra time.

In Melbourne, hundreds of Greeks joined celebrations in Lonsdale Street, a Greek haunt in the city centre, where hundreds of fans cried, screamed, burned flares and let off fireworks.

Police blocked off Lonsdale Street between Russell and Swanston streets and fire crews were on stand-by nearby.

However, the celebrations so far have been without incident. [...]

And from another article ...

The 2500 people who poured out of the club at the end of the game had been in good spirits, she said.

They welcomed police who arrived on the scene in blue and white cars, the Greek colours, as extra patriotic support.

Meanwhile, back at the source of Australia's massive Greek population (this from Melbourne's The Age) ...

Complete strangers fell into each other's arms, car horns reverberated on the streets and fireworks crossed the Athens sky as Greece's soccer team exceeded its wildest expectations today and qualified for the final of Euro 2004.


"There's no sleep until the final is over on Sunday," Poulios said before jumping into his car to go to Athens central Omonoia square, the city's traditional place of celebration.


In a first for Greece, municipalities across the country had put up giant screens in central squares, some of them even on beaches, so people could watch the match taking place in Oporto.

The game threw all schedules into disarray. Some cinemas simply dumped Hollywood blockbusters and showed the football instead.

Ukrainian Eurovision song contest winner Ruslana, who is currently on tour in Greece, moved her show in the western city of Ioannina 90 minutes ahead of schedule in order not to overlap with the match.

And a village in southern Greece even postponed for a day its traditional festival of celebration for its patron-saint.

Posted by anatole at July 2, 2004 12:43 PM

Yeah, we actually watched that match on TV, because Matej was over, and unsurprisingly he was rooting for the Czechs. I was perfectly happy that Greece won, of course, but I tried to keep that fact tactfully hidden until after he left. ;)

I'm rather worried that the Greeks won't have a lot to celebrate with the Olympics later this summer, but that's another story...

Posted by: Tyla at July 4, 2004 03:32 PM