Greece will make their debut at the 2021 Rugby League World Cup in England after thrashing Serbia 82-6 in Belgrade.
Full-back Chaise Robinson scored a hat-trick as the visitors, ranked 16th in the world, ran in 16 tries to secure the final European qualifying spot.
“We hope it’s the step forward needed and everyone back home will be proud of us.” said head coach Steve Georgallis.
Greece’s win comes against a backdrop of turmoil in their home country.
The 16th and last spot for the World Cup will be decided in Jacksonville, Florida, on 16 November when the United States host the Cook Islands.
The draw will be made on 27 November, exactly two years out from the start of the tournament.
‘Sour note to Greek qualification’
Greece are currently not allowed to play matches in their home country as the government and the Hellenic Modern Pentathlon Federation (HMPF), who claim governance of the sport, do not recognise the Greek Rugby League Association.
Police have been called to matches, facilities were made near impossible to acquire and as such, the sport continues to operate on an ‘estranged’ basis.
The waters are muddied slightly as Tasos Pantazidis – the president of the HMPF – used to be in charge of the Hellenic Rugby League Federation before its member status was withdrawn by the Rugby League European Federation over concerns about mismanagement.
It adds a sour note to a historic qualification that Greece – into the major competition for the first time – cannot celebrate its achievements before its own people.