Greece coach Fernando Santos said the country, stricken by the eurozone crisis but buoyed by unexpected progress to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012, deserved respect owing to its proud tradition and history.
Speaking Saturday after a goal from captain Giorgos Karagounis put the 2004 champions into the last eight at the expense of Group A opponents Russia, Portuguese national Santos said Greece did not need lessons from anyone in clear allusion to EU pressure on Athens to try to balance its books.
"Everyone has to respect Greeks because of its history and the principles of democracy, science... everything started from Greece, so it's very difficult for anyone to give us lessons," said Santos, whose team is now likely to face Germany in their next game.
German leader Angela Merkel is at the forefront of European attempts to force Greece to undergo a strict austerity programme, slashing wages and spending to put its stricken economy back on track, so Santos was asked if a potential meeting with Merkel's compatriots would inspire his side.
"What inspires us in the history of Greece. This is the thing that inspires me the most because the Greek people have huge pride for their tradition and history and I think respect from everyone is well deserved.