Greece 1, Portugal 0

-- Even before the Olympics, 2004 will be remembered as one of the great years for Greek sports.

Greece won the European Championship in one of the biggest upsets in soccer history, beating host Portugal, 1-0, Sunday on Angelos Charisteas's goal early in the second half.

"I have no words to describe what I'm feeling right now," Greece captain Theodoros Zagorakis said. "We just proved once more that the Greek soul has always been there, the greatest thing that God gave us."

Charisteas scored in the 57th minute with a header off a corner kick from Angelos Basinas.

Giourkas Seitaridis went on a speedy run down the right and was stopped by a block by Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, with the ball rolling over the end line. Basinas floated the corner kick into the six-yard box, and Charisteas timed his run perfectly to outjump Jorge Andrade and beat goalkeeper Ricardo Pereira from five yards.

"All Greeks should celebrate this victory. We are the best team in Europe," Charisteas said. "It's the greatest moment of my career. When I scored, I thought we could not lose."

The unheralded Greeks, a long shot given little chance of advancing from a first-round group that included Spain, Portugal and Russia, had been to only two major tournaments before this, the 1994 World Cup and the 1980 European Championship, failing to win a game.

In Athens, which hosts the Olympics Aug. 13-29, thousands of jubilant fans waving Greek flags and honking car horns poured into the streets and fireworks formed a bright drape over the Acropolis and other monuments.

Thousands of fans, some crying and embracing, gathered in Omonia Square, many waving Greek flags and singing the national anthem. Some cried and embraced, some jumped into fountains and others spread out the national flag on the street and bowed in front of it.

"I have to say that I am very proud because these players gave a great victory to Greece," Prime Minister Costas Caramanlis said.

In Cyprus, thousands of jubilant Greek Cypriots packed the squares of all the main towns and villages, setting off fireworks and waving Greek flags.

When referee Markus Merk blew the final whistle, about 15,000 Greek fans in the Stadium of Light cheered.

"I hope this reverberates in Greece. I hope when we get into Athens on Monday, there will be incredible scenes," said Coach Otto Rehhagel, a German who helped Greece become the first team to win the quadrennial European title with a foreign coach.

Portugal, which dominated possession in its first major final, nearly tied the score with 16 minutes remaining but with goalkeeper Antonios Nikopolidis out of position, Ronaldo lobbed the ball over the crossbar.

Traianos Dellas blocked Ronaldo's shot with 10 minutes to go, and Nikopolidis allowed a rebound of Ricardo Carvalho's 25-yard shot, but Portugal didn't have anyone in front.

Eusebio, the greatest player in Portugal's history, stood on the podium as 50,000 Portuguese fans watched in disappointment as their heroes received the second-place medals.

Angelos Charisteas, left, scores game-winner past Portugal goalie Ricardo Pereira. "All Greeks should celebrate this victory," Charisteas said. While a Portugal fan endures defeat alone, thousands of fans in Athens waved Greek flags, honked car horns, poured into streets.