Euro 2012: Germany responds after equalizer to top Greece, advance to semis

Euro 2012: Germany responds after equalizer to top Greece, advance to semis

Euro 2012

Euro 2012: Germany responds after equalizer to top Greece, advance to semis

Lahm getty


By JOHN BOSCHINI

In the end, Germany proved to be way too much for upstart Greece to overcome.

Despite a short-lived equalizer by the Greeks in the second half, Germany steamrolled the 2004 European champions, as a 4-2 victory booked the Germans' place in the semifinals. Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose, and Marco Reus provided the goals for Germany, while Greece got a goal just after halftime from Georgios Samaras and a late consolation penalty from Dimitris Salpingidis.

Germany, which left Mario Gomez, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Muller on the bench, could have been up as early as the fourth minute when Greece goalkeeper Michail Sifakis spilled a shot, but surprise starter Andre Schurrle's rebound was waived off for offside. In a span of three minutes, Mesut Ozil's shot was turned away and Reus saw three chances go begging. Eventually the breakthrough came when Lahm beat a defender and sent a swerving shot past Sifakis and into the bottom corner of the net. Greece ended the first half without a single shot on target.

Greece was much better to start the second half and were soon level. Breaking on the counterattack, Salpingidis broke down the right flank and found a streaking Samaras by the far post, and his close-range shot squeezed under Manuel Neuer and bounced over the line in the 57th minute.

From then on, however, it was all Germany. Khedira's vicious volley from just inside the box rocketed under the bar to restore Germany's lead four minutes after Samaras' tally. An ill-advised charge on a corner from Sifakis allowed Miroslav Klose to rise above Kyriakos Papopdopoulous and head into an empty net to extend the advantage. It was Klose's 64th goal for Germany, bringing him within four of Gerd Muller's record.

Reus put an exclamation point on Germany's victory when a rebound fell to him on the edge of the box and the goal mouth gaping. The Borussia Dortmund attacker smashed a one-timed shot into the net to end all doubt.

Greece got one back in the dying moments, as Jerome Boateng was whistled for a handball, and Salpingidis calmly converted the penalty to make the scoreline more respectable for the Greeks.

Germany moves on to the semifinals to face the winner of Sunday's quarterfinal between England and Italy. 

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What did you think of the match? Did you think Greece was going to pull the upset after the equalizer? Do you see either England or Italy troubling Germany in the semifinals?

Share your thoughts below.

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