ANGELA MERKEL, Chancellor of Germany, watched on as her nations football team stormed through Greece and into the semi-final’s of Euro 2012. Sitting alongside Sepp Blatter, Merkel seemed to enjoy her country sharing a pitch with
Greece, certainly a lot more than she’s enjoyed sharing their finances. The Quarter-Final tie was, if you like, a microcosm of the two country’s political situation.Germany set out their stall early on, Greece showed fight for a very short time before it was proved false and their opponent’s power shone through.
No one can fault Greece’s effort; throughout the tournament they have made the best of a bad situation. Pity their government cannot do the same.
But back to the important thing, the football. In most parts, the game consisted of wave after wave of German attack and Phillip Lahm put his team ahead after 38 minutes. The left back who is hailed as one of the best in the world cut inside on his right and shot past goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis from twenty yards. The half ended with Greece only managing to make 77 passes. Possession may not always mean results, but it certainly helps.
Although Greece showed much improvement after the break the stadium was still left in shock when Giorgos Samaras equalised after 54 minutes. Neat play down the right side and an excellent cross from Salpingis gave Samaras the chance to smother the ball over Neuer’s goal line. Many teams may have been fazed by conceding such an unexpected goal but this was the Germans and business resumed quicker than one could even spell out European Union. Within seven minutes they were back on top. After moving the ball quickly from left to right, Boateng’s box-cross landed on the arriving shin of Samir Khedira and all was put right again in Warsaw.
Before the 70th minute mark Germany were two goals ahead for the first time in the match. Miroslav Klose, starting the game ahead of the in-form Gomez, headed home from Mesut Ozil’s corner giving the Lazio striker his 64th international goal. A strong header but one considerably helped by the flapping hands of the Greek goal keeper. If the game wasn’t won already, Marco Reus confirmed the victory with a twelve yard volley before the 75th minute mark. The 23 year-old’s strike flew off the bar and into the open net.
Greece did however get a second consolation goal through a late Dimitris Salpingidis penalty. Although it sparked minimal hope of a great escape, indeed the strikers own crowd-kiss celebration signified goodbye and his country’s exit from the tournament. Again over achieving, albeit not to the extent of 2004 when they won the competition after scoring only seven goals and winning all three of their knockout games 1-0.
Meanwhile Germany progress to another semi-final and will wait on the England vs. Italy result to know their next opponents. Neither of which Joachim Loew’s team will fear.
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