Euro 2012: Germany responds after equalizer to top Greece, advance to semis

Lahm getty


By JOHN BOSCHINI

In the end, Germany proved to be way too much for upstart Greece to overcome.

Despite a short-lived equalizer by the Greeks in the second half, Germany steamrolled the 2004 European champions, as a 4-2 victory booked the Germans' place in the semifinals. Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose, and Marco Reus provided the goals for Germany, while Greece got a goal just after halftime from Georgios Samaras and a late consolation penalty from Dimitris Salpingidis.

Germany, which left Mario Gomez, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Muller on the bench, could have been up as early as the fourth minute when Greece goalkeeper Michail Sifakis spilled a shot, but surprise starter Andre Schurrle's rebound was waived off for offside. In a span of three minutes, Mesut Ozil's shot was turned away and Reus saw three chances go begging. Eventually the breakthrough came when Lahm beat a defender and sent a swerving shot past Sifakis and into the bottom corner of the net. Greece ended the first half without a single shot on target.

Greece was much better to start the second half and were soon level. Breaking on the counterattack, Salpingidis broke down the right flank and found a streaking Samaras by the far post, and his close-range shot squeezed under Manuel Neuer and bounced over the line in the 57th minute.

From then on, however, it was all Germany. Khedira's vicious volley from just inside the box rocketed under the bar to restore Germany's lead four minutes after Samaras' tally. An ill-advised charge on a corner from Sifakis allowed Miroslav Klose to rise above Kyriakos Papopdopoulous and head into an empty net to extend the advantage. It was Klose's 64th goal for Germany, bringing him within four of Gerd Muller's record.

Reus put an exclamation point on Germany's victory when a rebound fell to him on the edge of the box and the goal mouth gaping. The Borussia Dortmund attacker smashed a one-timed shot into the net to end all doubt.

Greece got one back in the dying moments, as Jerome Boateng was whistled for a handball, and Salpingidis calmly converted the penalty to make the scoreline more respectable for the Greeks.

Germany moves on to the semifinals to face the winner of Sunday's quarterfinal between England and Italy. 

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What did you think of the match? Did you think Greece was going to pull the upset after the equalizer? Do you see either England or Italy troubling Germany in the semifinals?

Share your thoughts below.

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10 Responses to Euro 2012: Germany responds after equalizer to top Greece, advance to semis

  1. PD says:

    This was a masterclass in how to stay patient and hold your nerve when playing against an inferior team that relies on the “bunker and counter” strategy. I hope the USMNT was watching.

    I really hope we get to see an Italy vs. Germany matchup. Very similar to this dynamic, only the Italians will be much more skilled.

  2. Something had to give today, and it was the Greek resistance that was just too inviting to the German’s pressure, and it was the former who found themselves between a rock and a hard place. The Greek’s just couldn’t rally the troops when they got the ball and their set piece plan didn’t come to fruition as the only had one corner and no attacking free kicks noeasyfootballblogsatthislevel.blogspot.co.uk/

  3. GW says:

    I doubt JK and his staff learned anything new watching this game.

    Most professional managers know what you are supposed to do to beat “an inferior team that relies on the “bunker and counter” strategy”.

    Actually doing it is another thing and it doesn’t hurt to have Germany’s players either.

    Except for possibly Dempsey and a highly motivated Donovan, we have no one who makes Germany’s Euro 2012 23 man squad.

  4. carlos says:

    The PK for Greece was a crap call. The ball just hit the German, he made no move to touch it. The final score should have been 4-1 and that was just how unequal the game was. 4-2 makes it sound like Greece was in it. They weren’t

  5. Gazza says:

    Thank God Greece is out.

    Their football is DRECK!!

  6. ben in el cajon says:

    Tin Howard, (backup) goal keeper.

  7. ben in el cajon says:

    Tim (sigh)

  8. biff says:

    I disagree Carlos. It was a blatant handball by Boateng. It seems clear to me that German players are intentionally using hands as a tactical strategy. It started being used a lot by several FC Bayern players in the first CL semi-final game in Munich against Madrid. One of the most blatant was in the first half of that game by Boateng, using his arm to bock a Ronaldo free kick. And there were several other examples in that game. But by the CL final against Chelsea, it seemed the refs were getting wise to this and Schweinsteiger got called for a blatant handball in the first five minutes of the game. It was amazing to me that Schweine did it, it was near midfield, and was a strong indication that the Bayern players felt they had carte blanche to use their hands and arms.

    And with so many FC Bayern players on the German national team, not surprising to see the hand-ball strategy carried over. Against Denmark last week, we saw yet another blatant handball by Thomas Muller, but at least the ref spotted it and called him on it.

    I have been watching this closely during Euro 2012, and players defending in the box on most teams, either on normal play or on free kicks, keep their arms glued at their sides or behind there back, but not the Germans and Boateng’s arms were flapping around at his sides and it was great to see the ref call him on it. And, although I can’t prove it, I strongly suspect that this started as tactic by a Bayern team desperate to reach the CL final and is now being used by some German players on the national team. Coaches and players opposing Germany would be wise before and during games to remind the referees to keep a close eye out for German handballs.

  9. GW says:

    Maybe but he would be the third keeper