It is a scenario that few could have imaged before the start of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2005: Greece leaving Germany without having scored a single goal. Less than a year after stunning all of Europe to win UEFA Euro 2004, Otto Rehhagel's charges have fallen very far indeed.
Just one point is all the Greeks have to show for their efforts against Brazil, Japan and Mexico. Never before in the history of the tournament have European champions performed so poorly. Worse still, since the introduction of the group system (in 1992, the United States, Saudi Arabia, Argentina and Côte d'Ivoire faced each other directly in semi-finals), only Saudi Arabia (1995) and Canada (2001) have found success so hard to come by.
Did Lady Luck desert the Greeks? Were their minds elsewhere? What has happened to the team that pulled off such a major coup in 2004? Perhaps only their German coach Otto Rehhagel knows the reasons for this failure. One thing is for sure: he is going to have to draw heavily on his motivational skills to get his side back on track in time for their vital FIFA World CupTM qualifiers in September and October.