Modern sport in Greece: characteristics and nuances

One of the key areas of Greek sports is football. Both adults and children like to drive the ball on the lawn for their own pleasure, but Greek football is not so brightly represented in the professional field.

A huge surprise for the fans was the victory of the Greek team at the European Championship in 2004, when in the final match the team led by Otto Rehagel won the main cup of the Old Continent. Even before the start of the group selection, the chances of the national team were estimated, at best, as 1 to 80, since for more than 70 years before that, the team could not even pass the group stage. Detractors have repeatedly stated that the victory went to the Greeks purely by chance, however, even ardent opponents of the Greek team appreciated the contribution of the German coach Otto Rehagel, who was able to rally the team and discipline it. After the Portuguese triumph, the popularity of football in Greece has grown markedly. Wishing to become like their idols, the country’s children and youth gather daily for friendly matches and local championships, making their small contribution to the country’s sports future. And although significant victories at the interstate level have not yet been observed, youth football provides an opportunity to redirect the hot southern temperament in a useful direction.

Basketball is the second most popular sport in Greece. As one of the founding members of the International Basketball Federation, Greece is in 4th place among all teams in the world. The national team consistently takes the silver position at the world championships. Twice in its history (in 1987 and 2005) the Greek team became the European Champion. Traditionally, high positions in the international ranking of athletes are occupied by Greek athletes — sprinters and long distance runners, javelin and discus throwers, long jumpers and pole vaulters. Perhaps the secret of success lies in the genetic memory that allows modern Greeks to feel a physical connection with their ancestors — the founders and active participants in the Olympic Games.

Mind sports are also highly respected among the Greek population. Chess and backgammon have gained particular popularity and popular love — on hot summer days in all parks of the country you can meet many people of different ages who are fighting fierce battles over a wooden board. In the past few years, sports such as water polo, athletics and volleyball have begun to gain popularity in Greece. Given the maritime status of the country, sailing, surfing, rowing, swimming, and diving are actively developing here. Many travelers come here to try their hand at kitesurfing, diving, rock climbing and skydiving. In addition, the services of the so-called «sports tourism» are in great demand — vacationers are fully provided with all the necessary equipment, they provide access to sports complexes, stadiums, golf courses.