Part of complete coverage on
Greece's Samaras insists politics and football don't mix
June 21, 2012 -- Updated 1654 GMT (0054 HKT)
- Giorgios Samaras says Greece players will ignore political innuendo over Germany match
- Greece face the Germans in Euro 2012 quarterfinal in Gdansk on Friday
- Governments of the two nations have clashed over Greece's debt
- Samaras believes team spirit is greatest asset for unfancied Greek side
(CNN) -- Greece striker Giorgios Samaras says the team's players are blocking out the political overtones of Friday's Euro 2012 quarterfinal against Germany.
The Gdansk contest has been billed in some quarters as a Eurozone grudge match, amid tensions between the two nations over German Chancellor Angela Merkel's tough stance on austerity measures affecting the Greek people.
But Samaras says the soccer squad has developed a siege mentality amid the media hype surrounding the game.
"What's going on between Greece and Germany politics wise -- I really don't care. We as footballers need to stay out of this story and stay focused on the football game only," Samaras told CNN.
Greece vs. Germany: More than a game
Who will win Euro 2012?
"We are so focused on our football game that we don't care what's going on outside the hotel. We try to stay compact, like a team, stay together like a family, and if there are problems or something we try to avoid everything."
However Samaras revealed that the Greek players were not immune to the economic problems in the country, where national elections were held this week.
"I think it affects everyone in Greece," said the 27-year-old Samaras. "Just because we are football players does not mean we don't have problems."
With politics and economics serving as a backdrop to Friday's quarterfinal, the Celtic forward also admitted it had been a source of pleasure to the Greece squad that they had brought joy to the fans that are following the team, whether in Poland or back home.
"After the game against Russia, people were partying in the streets with Greek flags. They have a smile on their faces and we feel proud.
"We don't play for ourselves or for the money. We play for the national team, we play for history and for the 11 million people back home," said Samaras.
The Celtic striker and his teammates provided a lift to their troubled nation by sealing a surprise 1-0 victory over highly fancied Russia in last weekend's group decider.
It was the latest against-the-odds Euros triumph for the shock 2004 champions, and Samaras believes Greece's phenomenal team spirit is the secret to their string of unlikely successes.
"It's something sometimes you can't explain. It's so strong. We care about each other outside the pitch and that's going onto the pitch. I think that's the strength we have as a team," he said.
"We don't have personal egos in the team. We don't have a superstar -- sometimes the superstars are a little bit outside the team."
Follow CNN's Euro 2012 live blog on each match day
Part of complete coverage on
June 29, 2012 -- Updated 2226 GMT (0626 HKT)
Sunday's Euro 2012 final in Kiev pits holders Spain against Italy, between them the winners of the last two World Cups.
August 22, 2013 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Euro 2012: Images from 13th European Championships being held in Poland and Ukraine.
June 29, 2012 -- Updated 1447 GMT (2247 HKT)
Can English football reinvent its "warrior" style to emulate the success of freeflowing football nations such as Spain and Germany?
June 22, 2012 -- Updated 1202 GMT (2002 HKT)
The Germany-Greece quarterfinal at Euro 2012 is just one example of when political and sporting lines become blurred.
June 20, 2012 -- Updated 1601 GMT (0001 HKT)
CNN's panel of football experts look at the Euro 2012 contenders ahead of the quarterfinal stage.
With Euro 2012's group stage now over, CNN's Pedro Pinto picks out his highlights of the action in Poland and Ukraine.
June 19, 2012 -- Updated 1619 GMT (0019 HKT)
UEFA's decision to fine Nicklas Bendtner for revealing a sponsor's name on his underpants during Euro 2012 may have opened a can of worms.
CNN's Alex Thomas wonders how such an exciting football team as Spain could become, as heretical as it may seem to say... boring.
June 14, 2012 -- Updated 1543 GMT (2343 HKT)
Fighting in the streets of Warsaw during the opening week of Euro 2012 is a stark reminder that football's "disease" has not been cured.
CNN's Amanda Davies argues that footballers are picked for their sporting ability, not because they can do justice to their national song.
June 8, 2012 -- Updated 1346 GMT (2146 HKT)
Poland kicked off Euro 2012 as one of the underdogs. It is a far cry from the days when the nation was one of the most feared teams in world soccer.
June 7, 2012 -- Updated 1759 GMT (0159 HKT)
Euro 2012 is almost upon us and Europe's finest footballers will be marked men -- in more ways than one.
June 7, 2012 -- Updated 1632 GMT (0032 HKT)
CNN World Sport looks at the challenges that teams and host countries Poland and Ukraine faced to get to the Euro 2012 cup.
June 7, 2012 -- Updated 1551 GMT (2351 HKT)
As national teams arrive in Poland and Ukraine, will the tournament be a football success or overshadowed by racism?
June 7, 2012 -- Updated 1917 GMT (0317 HKT)
If the pre-vote predictions had been accurate, football heavyweights Italy would be preparing to host the 2012 European Championship.
CNN's Pedro Pinto predicts who will fly and who will flop at Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. Have your say here.
June 6, 2012 -- Updated 1734 GMT (0134 HKT)
Portugal have never won a major tournament at senior level, could this be the year the Euro 2012 underdogs shine?
June 7, 2012 -- Updated 1859 GMT (0259 HKT)
Some of Europe's best footballers will be missing in Poland and Ukraine this month, as the effects of another grueling season takes its toll.
June 5, 2012 -- Updated 2040 GMT (0440 HKT)
Can defending European champions Spain retain their title in Poland and Ukraine? CNN's Pedro Pinto reports.
June 7, 2012 -- Updated 1902 GMT (0302 HKT)
Euro 2012 is nearly here and the 16 competing nations have announced the final 23-man squads.
June 22, 2012 -- Updated 0857 GMT (1657 HKT)
Check out who is playing who, and where, as 16 teams compete at the European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.
June 7, 2012 -- Updated 1920 GMT (0320 HKT)
Euro 2012 hosts Ukraine and Poland have told CNN a documentary accusing fans from both nations of racism was "unbalanced and biased."
May 18, 2012 -- Updated 1710 GMT (0110 HKT)
UEFA president Michel Platini tells CNN he thinks Chancellor Angela Merkel will attend the final of Euro 2012 in Ukraine -- if Germany reach it.
May 8, 2012 -- Updated 1510 GMT (2310 HKT)
It was supposed to be a symbol of Ukraine's development, but next month's Euro 2012 tournament has become mired in controversy.
April 30, 2012 -- Updated 1534 GMT (2334 HKT)
Poland and Ukraine will host the European Championships for the first time in 2012, welcoming 14 other teams and football fans from across the continent.
December 9, 2011 -- Updated 1652 GMT (0052 HKT)
The build-up to next year's finals has truly begun, so here is CNN's guide to our top 10 most memorable European Championship moments.
December 9, 2011 -- Updated 1655 GMT (0055 HKT)
With less than 200 days to go until Euro 2012 football fans across Europe can start to look forward to the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
Today's five most popular stories