Germany 4-2 Greece
An entertaining enough contest, with a result to match the attacking fortunes of either team.
The game went largely as expected. Germany pressed and pressed, given more possession by the stand-offish Greek defence then they might be used to, the Greeks content to sit back and try and soak up the pressure, hitting Germany on the counter or at set-plays. The result was an opportunity for Germany to flex their midfield passing muscle, occasionally culminating inn a through ball or a burst down the wing.
The chances came much more easily for the Germans then for the Russians though. Reus was guilty of a number of glaring misses, Klose couldn’t gey the space, Ozil was unable to make the room to get away shots from the flanks and Schweinsteiger was unimpressive at times, misplacing many passes. But the goal was always coming, though Greecr will rue being unable to make it into half time with the scores still level. Lahm took his strike well, the kind of distant swerving effort that the typical Greek game plan cannot really prepare against fully.
Greece didn’t panic though, and stuck to the game plan in the second. It worked, as they were able to poach a goal from a blistering counter-attack, Samaras adding a rough looking finish to Salpigidis’ right wing movement.
The Greeks were buoyed and looked, for a few minutes, capable of holding back the white tide. But then Khedira slammed home his volley, sneaking into the Greek area like a ghost, exposing the frailties of the defence very vividly. From there, the Greeks collapsed, unable to keep up with the pace or passing ability of the Germans. Klose’s header, typical of him, saw the Greek keeper in no mans lands, and Reus effort was a thumping shot, that would have been difficult to save even if Sifakis was in position. Salpigidis’ late penalty was a just consolation for a team that tried to contain Germany, but were just not good enough.
Greece have their typical game plan, but it was never going to work in this tournament as well as it did in 2004. They’re older, less able, and opponents have had the time to study ways to work around the turtle like job that Hellas tries to pull. The Germans were confident on the ball, able passers, and most importantly of all patient, willing to wait for the opening to appear in a way that Russia couldn’t in the group stages. It took a while, but they were eventually able to tear Greece apart.
Greece go home having garnered a lot of respect in this tournament for just getting to the knock out stages from a very difficult group. But they won’t be winning tournaments anymore. Germany move on to face either England or Italy, either of which they are well capable of beating, though numerous individuals will have to step up their game in order to do so. Germany deserved to win this game simply because they outclassed Greece in offence, defence and team work rate.