Germany stride on as Greece crash out of the EuroPosted: June 23, 2012
Germany are through to the semi finals, joining the awaiting Portugal, after beating Greece 4-2 in Gdansk. Celtic striker, Georgios Samaras equalised in the second half for the Greeks, cancelling out German captain, Phillip Lahm’s contender for goal of the tournament. Germany were back on top soon after though, following another goal of the tournament contender from midfielder, Sami Khedira. Goals from Polish born, Miroslav Klose and Dortmund new boy, Marco Reus made the scoreline 4-1 but a late penalty was conceded after Jerome Boateng accidently handled in the box which Dimitris Salpigidis happily converted, making the scoreline one that Mrs. Carberry would enjoy.
Despite being Germany’s highest goalscorer at the tournament so far, Mario Gomez was one of the casualties of Jogi Low’s tactical reshuffle. The other changes were both of the other two of the front 3, Thomas Muller and Lukas Podolski, who were replaced by, the before mentioned, Reus, and André Schurrle.
The changes had come to be, as Low looked to break down what he anticipated to be a compact Greek defence, with more speed and trickery on his flanks, and that is what he got. Germany dominated possession throughout the game, with some lovely flowing football and were lucky not to take the lead earlier in the game.
I expected this game to be very similar to the Portugal – Czech Republic game we saw the day earlier, in which it was all Portugal, with the Czechs hardly leaving their own half, but Greece, to their credit, gave the German defence headaches, as they constantly attempted to play the counter attack.
In the first half they didn’t have much success, with Samaras never having more than one player to pass to in the German half, but after half time, they had more success. I account this to the substitution at half time of Theofanis Gekas, who came on for Sotiris Ninis, which allowed Salpigidis to move on to the right wing and inject speed in to the Greek attacks, which led to the equaliser which no one in white, and many in blue, did not see coming.
The man of the match for me, again, was Mesut Ozil, because he was at the heart of every German attack and was a constant pain in the backside for both, the goalkeeper and the defence, just ask Sokratis Papastathopoulos, who was almost always left looking bamboozled by the one affectionately known as Nemo.
If I was to have one criticism of the Germany team, it is that they have to ticker with their defence before they face a team like Spain or Portugal if they get to the final. They didn’t deal with Greece’s counter attacks well enough in my opinion, Jerome Boateng not looking particularly impressive, and if they don’t sort this out the likes of Iniesta, David Silva, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani would have a field day.
But before the final they will have to face the winner between England and Italy, both of whom play fairly negative tactics which some swing in Germany’s favour if they continue to be able to cut through tight defences in the same way they did in this game.