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Watching the World Cup Abroad: Greece

Heading off to Greece this summer? Afraid you’re going to miss the World Cup? Don’t want to stand out as a rowdy England fan abroad? We’ve got the answer to all of these questions and more in our ultimate guide to watching the World Cup in Greece.

The best part is that the Greeks have qualified for this year’s tournament, which gives you a chance to get behind the boys in blue once England inevitably crash out. Take a look at our top tips and learn how to watch the World Cup like a true Grecian. You’ll be scoffing humus and smashing plates before you know it! 

1. Learn the lingo

Of all the languages you’ll hear at this year’s world cup, Greek is definitely one of the trickiest. It’s extremely rare for British holiday makers to attempt even a few words of the local language. Luckily Icelolly have translated some crucial phrases to help you cheer on your Greek warriors. And don’t worry, we’ve done away with the funny Greek letters and gone by pronunciation instead!

The Greeks are defending like Spartans

e elines aminode sa spartiates  

This is like 2004 all over again! (Any Greek fan will know what you mean)

zoume ksana to diokhiliadestessera! 

Great effort, the boys are running a marathon out there!

orea prospathia, ta pedia trekhoun sto marathonio! 

2. Show off your football trivia

If you’re still finding the language tricky, there is always one other way to communicate with your new Greek friends – quoting the names of obscure retired international footballers. Don’t worry if you don’t know your Papastathopoulos from your Giannakopoulos, we’ve done all the hard work for you. Here is a name that is sure to make Greek football fans go all misty eyed.

Name: Mimis Domazos

Born; 22/01/1942

Nickname: The General

Clubs: Panathinaikos, AEK Athens, Panathinaikos

International Caps: 50

Need to know: Attacking midfielder known for his great range of passing, brilliant dribbling skills and incredible longevity.

What to mention: Winning the Greek championship 10 times with Panathinaikos. Playing in Greece’s top tier for 21 years. Captaining Panathinaikos to the European cup final of 1971 by overturning a 4-1 deficit to Red Star Belgrade in the semi-final second leg.

What not to mention: The World Cup. Despite his Roy of the Rovers antics for Panathinaikos, Domazos never managed to lead Greece to the greatest show on Earth.

3. World Cup history

Learning a bit about your host country’s history in the World Cup can be a great way to integrate yourself with the nation’s fan-base. However when it comes to Greek participation at the finals of the competition, you’ll have to tread carefully.

Despite consistently producing some of the best players in Europe, Greece failed to reach the World Cup finals until 1994. Even when they finally got there, they crashed and burned quite majestically, losing every game and failing to score a single goal.

You’ll be much better off quickly diverting the conversation to the European Championships where Greece shocked the world with victory in 2004. The victory also earned the Greek team one of the coolest nicknames in world football – Piratiko or ‘The Pirate Ship’.

Apparently the name came about after the Portuguese team arrived at the opening ceremony in a replica of a 16th century galleon, which prompted the Greek commentator to demand that his team become pirates and storm the ship. You don’t get John Motson coming out with gems like that! 

4. Eat and drink like a local

Greek taverna culture embraces a very laid back attitude to snacking. Greek football fans will generally munch on whatever happens to be laid out on the bar. This usually means a combination of olives, breadsticks, strips of pita bread and an assortment of dips.

Like most of Europe, beer is the tipple of choice for footy fans in Hellas. However if the plucky Greek team manage to bring back the spirit of 2004, you’ll have to watch out for when the ouzo starts flowing!

Icelolly compare deals to a vast array of Greek destinations from idyllic island getaways to classy city breaks. With a whole host of different accommodation to choose from, we’re sure there’s a place in the Greek sun for you. Why not book today and feel the excitement of watching the World Cup abroad this summer?

By Mark Pollock - World Cup Addict / Penalty Specialist