HARRISON, N.J. – The crowd that watched Greece defeat Bolivia 2 -1 last night wasn’t huge – 11,024 people in a Red Bull Arena that seats 25,000 – but the ones donning Hellenic blue and white were loud, and passionate from start to finish.
Greece, spurred by continuous chants of Hellas! Hellas! that sent chills down the spines of proud Greek–Americans on a warm night, drew first blood when Guerki Panagiotis Kone scored in the match’s 21st minute.
In the 53rd minute, the captain, Konstantinos Katsouranis, scored a header off a Jose Holebas corner kick – and the crowd went wild, smelling a big win.
The shot by Rudy Cardozo in the 70th minute that eluded Orestis Karnezis, however, did more than let the Bolivians back into the game at the 70th minute – it unleashed a wave of concern among Greek fans who know that their team will only advance as far as their defense permits.
Most of that anxiety evaporated as time ran out on Bolivia and the Greek-Americans capped their cheering with a celebration.
The large gathering of Greeks beneath a huge Greek flag that billowed throughout the night behind the goal on the north side kept the rest of the crowd pumped up, and certainly made the Greek squad feel at home – they expressed their appreciation for the diaspora support as they walked off the field after the victory.