UEFA 2012 European Championship: Day 16

Saturday 23 June 2012


Germany (1) 4 – 2 (0) Greece

Well it was never in doubt was it. Was it? Germany changed their entire forward line for this game with Mario Gomez, Thomas Mueller and Lukas Podolski, replaced with Miroslav Klose, Marco Reus and André Schürrle. It didn’t stop the Germans dominating from the opening whistle, as their pace, power, movement and intricate passing ripped the Greeks apart. As the half went on chance after chance was squandered and you wondered if it was going to be one of those nights. Then on thirty nine minutes, German captain Philipp Lahm fired them ahead with a long range effort. It gave Germany a 1-0 lead, but in truth they should have been three or four to the good. As with their other games in the competition, the Greeks came out much stronger in the second-half, as substitutes Fotakis and Gekas freshened the line-up. On fifty-five minutes the Greeks were back in the game, Salpingidis got down the right and his cross was bundled in by Samaras. You then considered whether the Germans were about to be mugged after so totally dominating the game and not taking their chances. However, it was not to be and a spell of three goals in less that fifteen minutes confirmed their superiority. On sixty one minutes, from a patient build-up, Khedira brilliantly volleyed home. Seven minutes later it was 3-1 as from a corner, Klose headed home with Greek keeper Sifakis at fault. Indeed Sifakis had a mixed night for Greece, with some good saves, but overall very poor handling. Reus then got on the score-sheet on seventy four minutes, with a terrific volley. However, the scoring wasn’t finished and in the last minute Greece got a consolation goal from the penalty spot, converted by Salpingidis. At the whistle Germany had won 4-2 but the margin of victory didn’t reflect just how dominant the Germans were. They look a class above everyone else at this tournament. One irritation from the night was the constant attempts by the commentary team and studio panel team to work in puns about the Greeks economic plight – for goodness sake we just want to concentrate on the action and the football, stop trying to be too clever.

Back on the pitch in the Quarter-Final fixture tonight, current World and European Champions, Spain play France. It will be the fourth meeting at the Finals. At Euro 1984, hosts France defeated the Spanish 2-0 in the Final, with second-half goals from Platini and Bellone. In England at Euro 1996, these two faced each other in a Group B game at Elland Road. Djorkaeff gave the French the lead on forty eight minutes, only for Caminero to level for Spain with just five minutes remaining. Their last meeting was at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges at Euro 2000 in a Quarter-Final tie. Spain went ahead on the half-hour with a penalty from Mendieta, but goals from Zidane and Djorkaeff, gave the French a 2-1 half-time lead. Late in the game Spain were awarded another penalty, however with Mendieta having being substituted, Raul Gonzalez took the kick, but missed. France held on to win 2-1 and went on to win the competition. So Spain have not beaten France at the Finals, but must be considered favourites to come through. However, anyone for 0-0 and France through on penalties?

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Posted June 23, 2012 by Editor in category "UEFA 2012 Euro Championship

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