The Greeks rarely score more than one goal, but it wasn’t nearly enough. German, despite all of the changes to the attacking trio made by Joachim Low, were by far the superior side, winning their 15th consecutive competitive match and reaching their second straight Euro Semi Final with an impressive 4-2 win.
Low started Klose instead of Gomez, Schurrle instead of Podolski and Marco Reus instead of Thomas Muller. Everything Germany did in the first 30 minutes went through Ozil and Reus who found themselves in decent positions multiple times, but just couldn’t connect with a shot on goal. So Philipp Lahm, rather bored on the left flank due to Greece hardly managing to obtain and retain possession and because the match never drifted his way, took the ball and cut through the middle, releasing a wonderful shot that curved beyond Sifakis’ reach.
Greece? Salpigidis was too alone, and so was Samaras. We counted three occasions in which Greece had possession beyond their own half. Sotiris Ninis, who keeps getting mentioned as a wonderkid, couldn’t hang on to any of the few passes or errant long balls that reached him, failing to make anything happen on the offensive side.
For 10 minutes in the second half it was more of the same. Germany kept pushing to get a decisive second goal, neglecting their defending. Both Lahm and Boateng pushed forward, while Badstuber and Hummels felt confident enough to venture far away from Neuer’s goal. One Greek counter attack didn’t teach them the lesson, so a second time, in the 55th minute, stunned the stadium with a Georgios Samaras equalizer.
It didn’t last long. The very industrious and dangerous Sami Khedira gave Germany the lead against six minutes later. That goal broke the Greeks. Germany made a substitution and scored through the never-ending Miroslav Klose a minute later. Greece, with its very limited attacking weapons and options, couldn’t come back from 3-1, could they? Nope, hardly even tried.
Marco Reus moved to the left and looked just as good on the other wing, finishing with a lot of power off a Klose rebound to get a well deserved goal in a match that started looking bit a little unpleasant for Greece. Luckily, they got a penalty kick out of nowhere, scored by Salpigidis to finish the match at 4-2.
Joachim Low showed how deep Germany are by using Reus (Very Good) and Schurrle (Decent), knowing he needed more flank action, which is why he chose to give Podolski and Muller some time on the bench. The two might be more experienced players, but they lack the speed and winger qualities that Reus in particular brought to the pitch. Mesut Ozil did everything possible but score. If he’d have a decent shot with either his left or his right foot, he might have been the best midfielder in Europe.
For Greece, in general, despite all the problems with the team and back home, it was a successful tournament. No one gave them a chance of coming out of their group but they managed to make it to the quarterfinals. Didn’t show anything new or special, and there’s not much new generation to speak of, but you have to take what you get. Germany won without playing at their best or using their strongest lineup. At the moment, they look like the best team in the tournament.