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Euro 2012 Quarterfinals: Germany vs. Greece


Germany may have emerged from the Euro 2012 Group of Death unscathed, but the Germans may be overlooking their quarterfinal match just a bit with a lineup that looks like it's geared toward resting some players for an eventual semifinal match against England or Italy.

Germany plays Greece in Gdansk, Poland (2:45 p.m., ESPN/, and manager Joachim Loew has left starters Mario Gomez, Thomas Muller and Lukas Podolski on the bench in favor of Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle and Miroslav Klose. Reus has yet to appear during Euro 2012, while Schurrle appeared as a substitute in the final group match against Denmark and Klose has come off the bench in all three matches.

Greece got to the knockout round by springing a surprise on Russia, though, and the Greeks, without suspended captain Giorgos Karagounis, will look to step forward with another stout defensive effort to stun the Germans while maintaining hope for their second Euro title in the last three tournaments.

If you will be watching today's match, please feel free to share any thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below. Enjoy the action.


  1. I think it’s Greece’s competitive advantage to bunker like they do. I think the people who suggest they need to open their game up just have a set image of soccer, a sense that Greece wouldn’t play it well, and the belief that Greece should simply open up and take their knocks. Taking that argument to its logical far end we should just hand Spain the trophy for playing flowing pretty soccer. People forget for years the 451 Spanish were in the international wilderness, no wins at any tourney to show for passing soccer. The Dutch also play pretty total football sometimes and the net result is one Euro title like 24 years ago. But Italy has won a bunch of Catenaccio titles. I think defensive soccer can be a competitive advantage for bad teams and an edge for good ones.

  2. I’m not really criticizing the tactics, but the Greek goalkeeper must have ate fried chicken with his gloves before the game, he spilled nearly every shot. And the last 20 minutes the Greeks looked gassed, hence my saying they were looking terrible at that point.

    But no, I don’t criticize bunkering anymore than I dislike catenaccio or long ball or route 1; if it works for the players you have then use it!

  3. I don’t understand why all the hate for the Greeks. They have played this defense-first, long-ball and dead-ball game for years, with trophy-winning success at the 2004 Euros. With the exception of the 2006 World Cup they’ve qualified for their major tourneys (ie, World Cup, UEFA). That level of success deserves at least a grudging admission their style works. I fully recognize it’s ugly Stoke City or Houston Dynamo soccer. But their whole game is to churn results playing hard defense and sneaking goals here and there. Meanwhile the pretty Dutch are gone. You’d think after Chelsea-Barca the notion pretty always wins would be out the window.

  4. You were using a quarterfinalist playing Germany — in and of itself dubious — to argue there are too many teams in the Euros. That much is obvious.

    I then added on that Greece actually has some recent pedigree in tournaments, won Euro 2004, so the suggestion they don’t belong there is a big stretch.

    As I argued above, if you want to argue the field’s too big, you should probably stick to teams that did not (a) win their groups in qualifying and then (b) advance from their group and make the quarters. Those teams might be in an 8 or 12 team Euros anyway, which suggests that you’re just confused about who’s good in Europe when you claim Greece proves some teams don’t belong.

    No, if you wanted to make a reasonable argument you’d use the ROI who were not a qualifying group winner, won a playoff, and then went 0-3 in group play. Now THEY might be proof UEFA overexpanded the Euros. But the idea that a top 8 team losing by a goal to Germany and the Czechs (which would be a respectable US result I would think) proves the tourney got too big verges on self-refuting.

  5. I don’t see how a solid team who would have qualified for an 8 or 12 team tourney shows “So much for adding teams.” They’d have made the old, smaller tourneys. And that’s what Kosh was actually talking about.

    In terms of how they actually fared, a Russia win, host Poland tie, and losses to the Czechs and Germans is not so disrespectable that it calls into question their place in the tournament. The better example there would not be any quarterfinalist for certain, but instead some team like the ROI that royally sucked and qualified by playoff in the first place. But then they had the same 0-3 record the Dutch did, who qualified first place, which means you’re still in the subjective realm in guessing how many teams is too many.

    I think 16 is fine, maybe a few too many, but there are going to be a few dogs in any UEFA 16 so the problem would be if they got the idea of 20 or 24.

  6. Greece had to undo their bunker leading to holes in their defense that were easily exposed…that’s why they play the bunker style yes? becasue they get horribly exposed without it.

    possess and attack can be the tactical answer in closing out a game IF you have the ability to do just that…attack and possess.

    and if you cannot? what then? better have some other tactics that can also be effective

  7. First of all, I said right off the bat that I was NOT trying to say that the level of play was equal, just that the dynamics of this match were very similar to CONCACAF matches I’ve watched the US play.

    But two counter points:
    1. Samaras’ first 30 minutes was the definition of a hack–he was lucky to not have been sent off.
    2. if Germany had converted all of their “quality” chances, this game would have ended 8-1.

    But that’s my point. Each time a favored team doesn’t finish their chances it’s like a vise that squeezes harder on that team. It’s not a criticism, just an observation on how the game works; the favorite/underdog dynamic can really become an obstacle to the favored team and a weapon for the underdog the longer a match stays close.

    I think it’s an element of the game that is under-recognized, especially by many US fans/media folk that seem to think anything less than a US result of a 4-0 drubbing is some sort of failure, when in truth a well-organized and patient but much less-skilled team can still make life difficult for the best of teams and really cause them to come undone and become their own worst enemy. it happened to Russia and it nearly happened to the Germans twice in this match, once around the 30th minute when they started to look pretty poor and then right when the Greeks equalized. If Lahm hadn’t scored that goal in the first half who knows what would have happened?

    The fact that Germany held their nerve and stayed patient shows that they are capable of being champions. It’s a good lesson for the USMNT to observe.

  8. Yes I am very much aware of these facts. That said I am not sure where you’re going with this one, Voice, Greece were clearly the inferior side in many of their games in this edition of the tournament. Now think of the teams Greece beat to get here and you’ve got a lotta games that look like this one sided affair, who really wants that?

    I’m not discounting Greece for ever and ever, all I am saying is that we would see much more of this type of manhandling if the field were expanded.

  9. Disagree, the greeks played an organized contain defence. They just filled the middle with players preventing any run or cross.

    They were not trying to break the legs of anyone near the ball like some concacaf minows play. Even if you are someone who disgraces ”anti-football” you have to respect the teamwork and attention a contain bunker requires. There is little to respect except effort from the way some central american teams play

  10. The big difference/problem with the US breaking down the minows of CONCACAF is we are not as good converting our chances. When the US creates a chance we need to put it away, and too often we flub that execution. Where as the Germans, say against Greece, finish the chances they create. Another aspect to remember is that the German attackers…when they see an opportunity…will take the opponent defender on 1v1. Most US Players tend to shy away for that and prefer to pass back and reset the situation.

  11. Now its just out of hand.. But great game. I love games that have two opposites trying to win their ways.

    On a less serious note; how much has the white stripes made off this turnament? Every goal!?! Do they not have another song?

  12. speaking on putting a US perspective on these matches. I feel like Greece v. Germany is very much being played in a CONCACAF style (Please understand I’m not saying that CONCACAF plays at this level of technical skill).

    Greece is simply keeping 11 (plus a ballboy) behind the ball. It’s fascinating to see what kind of onus that’s putting on the Germans–every missed sot flubbed pass makes then all a little more distracted. It was interesting to see how the Germans almost lost their patience in the 30th minute, started getting sloppy, dropped off the tempo.

    Yet Greece plays “chippy” often gets the benefit of the doubt on tackles, get more and more of an advantage with every minute that goes on while they stay within striking distance.

    The fact that Greece are within 1 goal of this match is maddening. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve felt that way watching the US play against a CONCACAF minnow.

    It’s just so interesting how that double standard of expectation becomes such a powerful weapon for the underdog.

  13. You’re aware Greece won this tournament a couple cycles back? Made some World Cups since? Won its qualifying group which included Croatia? It may not be Germany’s level but they would have made a smaller tournament just the same.

  14. “Samaras may be lumbering, but he’s got real pace and all it takes is one bad break. This is how Greece did it in 04.

    June 22, 2012 at 03:12 PM”

    Yeah, I’m awesome.

  15. OT (a bit) – I wanted to make mention of this yesterday, but I saw what JK meant of play nasty. When Czech Republic acted like they were in the mood to go toe-to-toe with Portugal and entertain the concept of an upset the tackles got mean and nasty there for a brief moment – to me it knocked the Czechs out of the game and Portugal went on to do their thing and eventually win the game.

    Sometimes you gotta let the opponent know “not today buddy, this one is ours!”. I think that’s what JK wants from our guys.

  16. Pure feasting, right about now. So much for adding more teams to this thing.

    I think the next two games are gonna be great matches. I’d be shocked if this type of domination occurs further in this tourney.

  17. Greece has had a few 2 on 2’s and a good break away chance. I’m surprised at how high of a line the German’s are playing. Lot’s riding on the speed of the back line….

  18. So as USMNT fans…I feel pretty motivated to cheer for GErmany. Not just for Klinsman, but all the German – Americans now joining the Nats team.

  19. Given how dominating the Germans have been in possession so far, it is surprising how bad they’ve looked in the back.

    Neuer just saved his backline.

  20. Is Germany going to regret all these missed chances?

    German defensive midfielders are looking shaky with some of the missed passes. Samaras may be lumbering, but he’s got real pace and all it takes is one bad break. This is how Greece did it in 04.

  21. I love the geopolitical aspect of this game. Given everything that’s happening in Europe right now, Greece v Germany is perfect.

  22. Lineups announced:


    Leibniz (GK)












    Plato (GK)




    Empedocles of Acragas








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