Five-Star Germans Pummel Greece
Germany 4 Greece 2
P Lahm (1-0); G Samaras (1-1); S Khedira (2-1);
M Klose (3-1); M Reus (4-1); Salpingidis (4-2);
Fernando Santos’ Greece were definitely underdogs in this one but anyone who saw their convincing win over Russia would know the Greeks have a fighting spirit that could upset any team. Greece was without influential captain Karagounis after he picked a booking for diving against Russia. Joachim Low had to choose between Jerome Boateng and Lars Bender at right back position. Boateng was available again after suspension.
But Low surprisingly left Thomas Muller, Mario Gomez and Lukas Podolski on the bench. Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle and Miroslav Klose were handed starts while Boateng retook his place on the right side of defence. Grigoris Makos replaced the suspended Karagounis while Sotiris Ninis replaced Theofanis Gekas for Greece.
The Germans were off to a flying start with Klose beating the offside trap in a promising position but he was incorrectly waved offside. As early as the fourth minute, Andre Schurrle found the net after Sifakis spilled a Khedira shot but again, the offside flag was up. Greece got reprieve with their first shot but Makos’ shot was too easy for Neuer. On 11 minutes, Marco Reus sliced a shot wide of the left post from just inside the box. Samaras received a harsh booking for a foul on Schweinsteiger in the 13th minute. A lovely move from the Germans ended with a tame shot from Ozil who should have done better from 15 yards. His shot was smothered by Sifakis. It was all Germany with the Greeks defending in battalions. Reus played a smart one-two with Klose in the box before finding Mesut Ozil whose effort was again held in check by Sifakis. On 24 minutes, Ozil burst down the right and pulled back for Reus whose low shot was not enough to beat Sifakis. Frustration ensued for Joachim Low who swung his arms around furiously. A decent shot from Ninis was spilled by Neuer but there was no one following up. Germany finally got their goal in the 39th minute. Lahm’s shot from the edge of the area found the top corner. It was 1-0 at half-time, the Greeks doing well to avert a possible 5-0 deficit.
Giorgos Fotakis and Theofanis Gekas replaced Sotiris Ninis and Giorgos Tzavellas after the restart. The changes proved effective as Greece got an equaliser through Samaras. Germany’s high defensive line came to Greece’s rescue as Salpingidis raced down the right to deliver a pin-point cross for Samaras who bundled the ball past Neuer. It was great wing-play from Salpingidis via a breathtaking counterattack. The goal served as a wakeup call for the Germans who peppered the Greece goal with a flurry of goal-bound efforts thereafter. It was 2-1 six minutes later. Boateng’s cross found Khedira who thumped the ball ferociously into the net from 12 yards past a helpless Sifakis. The Greeks began to attack more after the goal, opening up many spaces at the back. Miroslav Klose made it 3-1 on 69 minutes, cementing Germany’s place in the semi-finals. The Lazio striker powered home a header from an Ozil corner. That goal took Klose’s tally with the German national team to 64. Fernando Santos made his final substitution, throwing Nikos Liberopoulos into the fray, Makos coming off. Germany got their fourth on 74 minutes. Klose’s shot was parried into the path of Marco Reus whose strong volley whistled past Sifakis into the net. Low sent in Gomez and Gotze for Klose and Reus but it was Greece who got a consolation through Salpingidis. The PAOK FC attacker sent Neuer the wrong way from the spot after Boateng handled the ball in the box.
POST MATCH THOUGHTS
Germany’s impressive depth and free flowing football means they are strong candidates for the trophy. Khedira read the game brilliantly and was particularly impressive on the night. Ozil’s vision and genius also can’t be understated. The Real Madrid midfielder won the Carlsberg man of the match award.
“My first game was not that great but today I think I played very well, the team supported me so I could show my potential,” he said. “I did that very well although it was not just me but the whole team that did that.” – Ozil on his performance.
“We enjoyed every moment and the fact that we had to battle every day. We fought as hard as we could and we leave the tournament with our heads held high.”- Salpingidis on Greece’s tournament.