Euro 2012 breathes new life into countries that are never favorites to win the tournament. Fans of these sleeper teams have renewed hopes that one day, their country will have one of the best soccer teams on the planet.
Even for the biggest of underdogs, expectations always begin high no matter how bad it might look, and slowly come down or rise based on the results of the opening matches of the tourney.
Here are some teams that have done the inevitable and disappointed their fans with a bad start to the European Championship.
With Cristiano Ronaldo on their roster, it was thought Portugal had a puncher's chance to get out of group play and advance to the quarterfinals.
But after an opening match loss to Germany, 1-0, those sentiments are quickly changing.
While the Portuguese weren't pushovers by any stretch of the imagination, hopes were higher. It was thought Portugal could at least escape with a tie against the Germans, but that wasn't the case.
Matches with Denmark and a tough Netherlands club remains. Portugal could potentially win both of those matches, but thanks to their loss to Germany, there is zero room for error moving forward.
The Greeks got through the qualifiers in an impressive manner after going unbeaten and were riding high coming into group play. Greece was certainly a favorite to come out of Group A and make it to the quarterfinals.
But after an opening match result of a tie with Poland, Greece went on to fall to the less-talented Czech Republic team, 2-1. Despite being favored in the match with Poland, Greece didn't prove it in the least bit and failed to crawl out of the 2-0 hole they put themselves in.
After such high hopes for this team to compete in the next phase of the European Championship, Greece is on the brink of being eliminated from the tournament altogether.
Republic of Ireland
It's been 24 long years full of failure and disappointment, but the Republic of Ireland is finally back in the Euro 2012 ready to make up for the lost time.
In their opening matchup, Ireland was given a great opportunity to score a victory, or at least, a tie against Croatia. However, quite the opposite happened.
The Croats were clearly better than the Irish and proved it by winning 3-1 and giving Ireland about as bad a start as they could have imagined. Sure, they weren't a favorite in the first place, but anticipation made the expectations greater.
And those unreasonable expectations certainly didn't see Ireland's loss to Croatia coming.
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