In the din of the energized stadium at Porto, the sound of a silver football caressing the cranium of Traianos Dellas was imperceptible, a noise only imagined.
Yet, for all of history, it will be the header heard round the world.
There have been sporting Cinderella tales down through the ages, but few that will match the unlikely saga of the Greek football team that has qualified for the championship final of Euro 2004.
Nobody knows how to party like the Greeks and this magic goal in extra time that gave Greece a 1-0 semi-final victory over the Czech Republic touched off celebrations all over the planet. Wherever there are Greeks, there was a party last night.
And why not? The elements that have carried the Greeks to the title game against Portugal on Sunday are hard work and teamwork, combined with an improbable self-belief, qualities always to be celebrated.
"It's a true miracle," said Otto Rehhagel, the German who has coached the Greek side since 2001. "The Czechs were technically better, but the passion and the will were on our side."
It also helped that Czech captain and star midfielder Pavel Nedved left the game late in the first half with a leg injury.
But as far as goal-scorer Dellas was concerned, there may have even been a bit of divine interference.
"We did an unrepeatable thing," Dellas said. "We deserve to be in the final and we proved we have an organized and good team. At the end, God gave us the win."
Whether that's true or not, there's no denying the goal was perfectly timed. For this tournament, the sudden-death "golden goal" has been replaced by a so-called "silver goal." When regulation time ends, the 30 minutes of extra time are divided into two 15-minute segments. If a goal is scored within either 15 minute segment, play continues until that 15 minute segment is over, eliminating the sudden-death aspect.
Thus, when Greece was awarded a corner late in the first half of extra time, Dellas grasped immediately the importance of the moment.
"I realized that when we were given the corner that exactly 14 minutes and 36 seconds had been played. I said to myself that now we must do it," he said. But Dellas couldn't do it alone, no matter how much he wished it. It required not just a good cross from Vassilio Tsiartas, but a perfect one and that's what the Greek midfielder delivered.
It sailed just inches over the front wall and into a dead zone occupied by Dellas. With a defender's arms wrapped around his shoulders, he flicked the ball into the net with his head. There was no time left for the stunned Czechs to respond.
"The fairy tale continues," said Rehhagel. "It's unbelievable what they did."
He's right. There were a dozen places along the way to this improbable destiny that it all could have fallen apart and no one would have given it a second thought. After all, this was a football team with a reputation for self-destruction.
They began their qualifying run last year by losing in succession, to Spain and Ukraine. Elimination was a near-certainty, even at that early stage.
Then, surprisingly, they won six games in a line to not only qualify, but to win their grouping, a fact that was largely ignored as a fluke. After all, Greece had never won a game at a major championship and had qualified for the European championship only once, 24 years ago, when they didn't even score a goal. Their finest hour in that tournament occurred when somebody actually hit the goalpost against West Germany.
That said, anyone who still has the arrogance to believe this is a fluke, is in for a shock.
It's unlikely that Portugal will make that mistake. If they do, they are the dunces of the football world, having been defeated by the Greeks in the opening game of the tournament. Back then, everyone called it an upset, but was it?
"We beat the Portuguese in the first match and they managed to stay in the tournament," said Rehhagel, "and now it's a dream final against us -- a chance for them to get revenge for the first match."
And the Greeks have an ace up their sleeves.
"We're the underdogs but we have nothing to lose," said Rehhagel.
"We're already the winners of this tournament."
More than that, now Portugal, playing at home, has to win. They, too, are in a place they've never been before but, unlike the carefree Greeks who are living in a dream, the pressure is enormous.
Besides, the Portuguese want a party of their own. No bouzouki music allowed.