Germany beats Greece 4-2 to reach semifinals
With Chancellor Angela Merkel cheering every step of the way,
Germany dominated Greece – on the football field.
The Germans reached the European Championship semifinals for a
record seventh time by beating Greece 4-2 Friday in a match played
amid the contentious political backdrop between the countries.
But just like in the real world, where Germany has been a major
contributor to economic bailouts for Greece, the three-time
champions were in control at the Arena Gdansk. And after the match,
Merkel visited the players in the changing room.
”(Merkel) congratulated us and said that we played very well,”
Germany forward Mesut Oezil said. ”The rest of what she said will
stay among us.”
Philipp Lahm put Germany in the lead in the 39th minute as his
team controlled nearly every facet of the game. Although Georgios
Samaras equalized for Greece in the 55th, it was all Germany after
that as Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus scored.
It was the 15th consecutive competitive victory for Germany,
dating back to the win over Uruguay for third place at the 2010
World Cup. The Germans will go for No. 16 against either England or
Italy in the semifinals on Thursday in Warsaw.
Although Germany dominated from the start, the Greek defense
held strong for much of the first half. Lahm finally put his team
in front by controlling the ball with his chest and dribbling
toward the middle before sending a long-distance shot into the
corner off the hand of Greece goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis.
”We couldn’t breathe and did very little with our chances and
on set pieces,” Greece coach Fernando Santos said. ”The first
goal made things very difficult for us, despite our good defensive
The Greeks looked better at the start of the second half, and
even equalized when Samaras knocked the ball past Germany
goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after a perfect cross from Dimitris
It was one of Greece few forays into Germany’s side of the
”Greece is a curious team. They had one chance and scored two
goals,” Germany coach Joachim Loew said. ”But we didn’t get
nervous after 1-1, and the goals came.”
They did indeed.
Khedira volleyed in a cross from Jerome Boateng in the 61st, and
Klose headed in a free kick from Oezil in the 68th as Sifakis was
late to punch the ball away.
”When we conceded a second goal we had to open up and that cost
us,” Salpigidis said. ”I hope the Greeks got some encouragement
from watching us fighting.”
Reus made it 4-1 in the 74th, volleying a shot in off the
underside of the crossbar after Sifakis had saved from Klose.
Salpigidis added a consolation penalty for Greece in the 89th after
”We scored twice. We did what we could,” Greece defender
Sokratis Papastathopoulos said. ”Maybe we could have been a bit
more careful but we fought hard, we fought for the whole of
Loew dropped his three main forwards for the match, including
leading striker Mario Gomez, but their replacements did just
Klose, who has Polish heritage, constantly troubled the Greek
defense and linked up well with Oezil and Andre Schuerrle.
Greece had one major change in its lineup, but it was because of
suspension. Captain Giorgos Karagounis sat out the match after
picking up a yellow card in the 1-0 win over Russia for diving.
Without him in the midfield, the Germans had little trouble
controlling the play and creating chance after chance.
”We made it to the last eight and this is very important,”
Papastathopoulos said. ”The Netherlands didn’t make it and we are
talking about a very big country in football terms.”
Germany: Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Holger
Badstuber, Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger,
Marco Reus (Mario Goetze, 80), Mesut Oezil, Andre Schuerrle (Thomas
Mueller, 67), Miroslav Klose (Mario Gomez, 80).
Greece: Michalis Sifakis, Yiannis Maniatis, Giorgos Tzavelas
(Giorgos Fotakis, 46), Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Grigoris Makos (Nikos
Lymberopoulos, 72), Georgios Samaras, Dimitris Salpigidis, Vassilis
Torosidis, Sotiris Ninis (Fanis Gekas, 46), Sokratis
Papastathopoulos, Costas Katsouranis.