Germans Impose Austerity Measures on Greek Defence


Germany 4 : 2 Greece

by Dominic John
Fourteen. This is the number of straight victories for the Germans entering their match today versus Greece. The Greeks came into todays match looking to recapture 2004 glory, playing in only their second ever quarter final of a major tournament. The winner of this match plays the winner of the England vs. Italy match on Sunday afternoon.

Philipp Lahm scored for Germany / Photo: Denise McCooey

They say timing is everything. Joachim Low definitely thinks so. He made three big changes to the German line up just prior to kickoff. Klose replaced Gomez, Reus and Schurrle replaced Mueller and Podolski.

Both Gomez and Podolski have provided great play and more importantly, goals in the group stage matches for the Germans.

To many, this was indeed a strange choice, especially when these players are crucial in the final third. So, why today?

Well, Joachim Low was hoping that his changes give the team the magic touch. Germany are heavily favored, if they didn’t win, his job would certainly be in jeopardy.

The Germans looked hungry very early in the game.

The wet pitch seemed to be a factor with players slipping and sliding. The Germans’ first chance came in the 3rd minute with a millimeter close offside decision that saw Klose’s goal disallowed. This came after Greece keeper Sifakis struggled to hold onto the ball from the initial shot from Khedira.

The Germans looked in control from the get go, holding over 60% of the possession, and controlling the tempo of the match. That number finished closer to 70%.

A wonderful chance came in the 22nd minute with great build up from Reus and Klose. A great pass to put Ozil one on one saw him squander the chance and tap it right into the keeper’s feet. The Germans only had a matter of time before the goal came.

That result came in gorgeous fashion, Philipp Lahm smashing home a wonder strike in the 38th minute from about 20 yards out. The rocket paced, swerving effort by Lahm proved too much for Sifakis and the Germans were finally up, 1-0. Greece had their work ahead of them from this point on.

After the first 45, the score was in favor of the Germans, who honestly, should have been up by at least a few more goals. They looked in complete and utter control from the first whistle. The Greeks needed to come out in the second half with more of an attacking mindset, as Manuel Neuer was nothing but a spectator in the first half.

The Germans started the second half, just as they had ended the first; constant pressure, a flurry of shots and a large foot pressed firmly on the pedal. The Greek’s looked panicked and hurried in what seemed to be them clearing the ball from the 18-yard box on a number of occasions.

An unlikely turn of events occurred in the 53rd minute when the Germans were caught napping on the counter attack. It almost appeared that they were just too relaxed. A pin point cross from the right side into the box from Salpingidis to Samaras and a well timed tap in meant the Greek’s were level. This was certainly the biggest goal for the Greeks since 2004.

Joachim Low looked angry, worried and upset all at the same time after the goal went in. He went ballistic and sent the three relegated to the bench, to warm up immediately.

Then in the 60th minute, they were back. The Germans new they needed to score, and that they did. A great cross into the box from Boateng, an unmarked Khedira volleyed home an absolute screamer of a goal that almost shattered the roof of the net. A front-runner for goal of the tournament. The Germans were in the drivers seat once again.

The Germans sealed the deal and put their dominance on display again in the 66th minute off a textbook header from a poorly marked Miroslav Klose. 3-1 Germany. Many questions will be asked of Sifakis as he came to claim the ball in the air but was absolutely lost in the process. He seemed to struggle mightily throughout the match, dropping easy shots and failing to take command of his box.

The match was well and truly over when Reus blasted home a goal that was as difficult as it was spectacular. He struck it home into the top corner after a Klose shot took a deflection right into his path. 4-1 Germany. Their ticket was officially booked to the Semi’s. Goodnight Poland.

A gift was given in the 88th minute to the Greeks as Boateng inexplicably turned from a shot and had the ball strike his hand. Salpingidis stepped up to the spot and buried his chance. If anything the goal just made the score line a little more respectable.

People will talk about how dominant the Germans were tonight, but also about how they conceded two goals that were just silly. This will need to be rectified in a hurry. The final score line certainly showed just how one sided this match truly was.

Give a minute amount of credit to the Greeks as they did hold their own in the first half. That being said, Germany played sloppy and uncharacteristically until about the 60th minute when they clicked on all cylinders.

The Germans are just in a class all of their own, no matter who is on the pitch. The changes to the side made no difference in the end, proving Low’s doubters wrong and showing that the Germans are a true team. They are able to work together to win under any circumstances, that is a scary thing for anyone facing them in the matches to come.

Italy or England await.


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