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23
Jun 2012
09:52
Competitive Germany, by Rafa Benitez

Euro 2012

Rafa Benítez

Germany have become the second semi-finalists in Euro 2012. Their resounding win against Greece which was eventful and which we will now look at, puts them in a privileged position waiting to see who will qualify to play them out of England and Italy who play on Sunday.

Joachim Low side confirmed all predictions and were much better than their opponent. What happened was this superiority was not showing in the scoreline in the first half but in the second it was much more conclusive. Everyone can see that Germany have enormous potential. But in this game you could see it in the changes they made to the starting eleven. Players such as Reus, Schurrle and Klose played their part and brought quality and energy to the German attack but the rotation also allowed them to rest some of the players who had given a lot so far. Greece had a huge handicap from the start with the suspension of Karagounis and their coach had to play Salpingidis as a striker with Ninis and Samaras on the wings. The Greek system, supposedly 1-4-3-3, was really 1-4-1-4-1 with the changes they had to make. And with a obviously defensive mindset. The Germans were faithful to their 1-4-2-3-1 even with their changes.


In the first half there was total German domination even though the scoreboard wasn’t showing it. There were details like Samaras, a forward, booked after 14 minutes for having committed three fouls in his defensive efforts. Possession for the Germans was around 70% and the Greeks had phases in the first period where they were defending with everyone on the edge of the box except for the striker. It wasn’t easy to get through on goal but between the 22nd and 24th minutes there were four chances to convert. Immediately after the Germans upped the intensity of their attacks with separate shots by Schurrle and Khedira and the goal came in the 38th minute with a great shot from outside the area by Lahm. After the goal, just before the break, they added two cross shots from Schurrle as he has been doing in the Bundesliga. He dribbled in from the left and shot with his right against the far post. Another detail of the German superiority was when Neuer came far out to the centre circle to support his team mates’ play.

Fernando Santos’s team gave us little to note because they were so occupied defensively that they could hardly see their opponent’s goal.

The outcome

Looking for a reaction, the Greeks made two of their three substitutions. Gekas came on for Ninis taking up his normal striker position and Fotakis came on for Tzavellas a straight swap at left back. They moved Salpingidis to the wing where he had had his best games arriving late in to the box and we could see it had an effect in the 54th minute with a counter attack which brought the equaliser finished by Samaras.

Far from going in to their shell, Germany reacted by putting even more intensity in to their attacks and they bore fruit with goals from then on. Greece on the other hand retreated more and more trying to defend the draw and they almost had their whole back line on the edge of the 6 yard box in open play. In the 61st minute, Khedira scored with a great volley, arriving late, and made it 2-1 finishing any hope the Greeks had. Muller came on for Schurrle in the 67th minute and went on the right, moving Reus to the left and a few seconds later another goal was scored by Klose with his head at a corner as the Greek goalkeeper came out unnecessarily. That was 3-1. But Germany kept on creating chances and in the 73rd minute with a great through ball by Ozil to Muller, Reus was able to put away a rebound with another volley.

The game still wasnt over as we saw a penalty put away by Salpingidis after a handball by Boateng as he turned his back on the ball.

In conclusión, Germany rightly won the game and are still favourites to get to the final on the 1st July. At the moment they are in the semis.