Today’s going to be a fun day, that’s for sure. Eurozone jokes will abound. Germany, the prohibitive favorites in the tournament, and Greece, surprisingly one of the most entertaining teams at the tourney this year, will challenge for the right to face the winner of Sunday’s England-Italy tilt.
The Germans have played well, if not spectacularly, throughout their group matches, gliding to nine points with pretty minimal fuss in the Group of Death. The Greeks have usurped their traditionally defensive attitude, going out to attack in every one of their matches in the erroneously dubbed “Group of Meh.” They suffered an ignominious defeat at the hands of the now-ousted Czech Republic, but that was with defensive linchpin Sokritis Popastathopolis serving a suspension for two very dubious fouls in the opening draw with Poland, before shocking the world and dumping Russia out.
Pre-match smack talk has indeed referenced the Germans’ inexorable hold over the Greek economy, with Bild’s front page reading “Bye, Greeks. We can’t save you today!”
Hopefully, incoming Greek finance minister Vassilis Rapanos can make it through this game in better stead than he made it through the Greek balance sheet.
Lineups and jokes about the Greeks being “bankrupt of ideas, too” to be found after the jump!
Plato; Epiktet, Aristoteles, Sophokles, Empedokles Von Acraga; Plotin, Epikur, Heraklit; Demokrit, Sokrates, Archimedes Sifakis; Torossidis, Papastathopoulos, K Papadopoulos, Tzavellas; Makos, Maniatis; Ninis, Katsouranis, Samaras; Saipingidis.
Leibniz; Kant, Hegel, Schopenhauer, Schelling; Beckenbauer, Jaspers; Schlegel, Wittgenstein, Nietzsche, Heidegger Neuer; Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Khedira; Reuse, Ozil, Schurrle; Klose
So Ze Germans, confident that they’ll get by a Greek side dealing with a suspended captain, start with their front three on the bench. If resting them was that important, SURELY Jogi Loew would have done so in the last match. Everyone knows you don’t mess with hubris around the Greeks.
Angela Merkel singing the German anthem next to Platini. Not suspicious at all!
And we’re off, with the Greeks kicking off. Whoops. Greece kicked off ahead of the whistle. And now we’re off!
1′: Klose’s first involvement is to burst offside onto an Özil through ball.
2′: Khredira is getting treatment after a harsh challenge from Samaras that didn’t even get called a foul. The Germans almost engineered a goal from the play following.
Offside! schweinsteiger was inches ahead of the line when Khredira had a go from range. He and Klose bundled into Sifakis and the goal, but the play was waved off, and Sifakis got treatment for his trouble.
6′: the Germans work another opportunity before Khedira shoots wide.
8′: the Greeks work an opportunity through Maniatis, but the shot is way too tame and Neuer easily claims it.
9′: Salpingidis pressures Neuer for a loose ball, but the German keeper gets there first. Down the other end, Klose fires wide after some intricate passing.
11′: Katsourinas works out a counter, but Hummels does enough to put him off. The Germans charge back, but Reus fires wide left from the D. Sifakis is still struggling from his earlier knock.
13′: Samaras fouls Khedira again down the right flank. Ozil’s free kick is below par and the Greeks cut it out.
14′: Samaras is going to get sent off if he keeps this up. Schweini now getting treatment after the Greek Winger cut him down deep in attack.
16′: CHANCE Germany. Boateng curls a tasty ball in, and Torrosidis could have given up a penalty there for his lusty marking on Khedira. But the ref waves it off, and it peters out for a goal kick.
17′: The Greeks try to spring the break, but Badstuber cuts out Ninis’s throughball for Salpingidis.
19′: The Germans can’t apply the final touch at the moment, but neither can the Greeks on the counter. It’s going to take something excellent on either side to break this deadlock, but it’s thrilling nonetheless.
20′: Katsourinas starts to engineer a counter, but his throughball for Ninis on the right is cut out. Nice idea, though.
21′: Germany probe for an opening, and in the end Lahm’s cross is cut out by Papastathopolous.
22′: SAVE!!!!! Reus, Schurrle and Ozil all combine to send the latter through, but Sifakis is equal to the shot, and Papadopolous clears.
23′: Reus has a go from the corner of the area and Sifakis clears.
24′: CHANCE!! Short corner to Ozil, who centers for Reus, whose through ball across the six is JUUUST outside of Klose’s reach, and it tamely goes wide.
25′: Schurrle cuts down a long ball before chipping to Reus, who screws it JUUUUST wide. Germany looking likeliest to score here.
26′: Greece spring a highly effective counter with a ball over the top to Salpingidis, but Neuer anticipates the danger and clears it for a throw just outside the area.
29′: Backpass almost creates a problem for Sifakis, but the Greek keeper chests down and clears before Klose can apply a touch.
31′: Hummels tries to surge forward, but he is brought down and the counter is sprung through Samaras, who unfortunately does not have the pace to keep it going. Tzavellas overlaps, but loses the ball for a throw.
32′: Ninis has a go from range, and Neuer with an impressive sliding save to keep it out and hold it.
33′: Boateng kicks it crossfield for Schurrle, who niftily cuts in before lashing it from the left channel, but wide.
34′: Lahm gets the ball in space, but his cross is charged down for a corner. Hummels tries to head across, but he hits it right to Papastathopolous.
35′: Khedira has a go from range that hits Safikas in the chest. Papadopolous rushes over to clear.
39′: GOAL GERMANY!!!! LAHM!!!! The diminutive skipper does well to chest down a crossfield pass from Reus, steps up into space and hits a GORGEOUS swirling strike across goal and into the side netting. What a hit. Safikas got a hand to it, but not enough.
40′: The Greeks pressing forward now; Maniatis heads on for Salpingidis, but Neuer is easily out to it. And NOW, talk around the bar at the Vic turns to Greek laziness and urges to “Pay our taxes!” So I guess I’m among German partisans then. . . .
42′: Klose is called offside after Reus’s shot from a Boateng throw takes a deflection out to him.
44′: Some back and forth possession leads to Schurrle gaining possession on the left channel, Torrosidis gets a block on his attempt, and it’s a German corner. Ozil’s cross is cut out by Tzavellas.
45′: Germany bossing it, and now just kicking it around for fun. Ozil with a cheeky backheel into the area that Safikas claims.
45′ +2: Schurrle is having a pop whenever he sees goal. This one goes just wide, tamely to the wrong side of the side netting.
45′ +3: Reus and Schweinsteiger play it around in the right channel, and the ref blows for halftime
HALFTIME: Germany 1-0 Greece
The Germans have had a ton of the ball, but have only been able to get a handful of their shots on target. Of course, they’re up and in control, but the few times Greece have sprung the counter, they’ve looked incredibly vulnerable. The Greeks, for their part, have defended like lions, but really lack the pace to make any of these counters pay. Despite the gulf in class and possession, the first half was full of fireworks for both sides. Second half should be fun!
Halftime notes: Boy, Laurent Blanc’s tapdancing around conflict rising in Les Bleus’ camp is hilarious.
And we’re back! The Germans will prepare to kickoff, but Greece are making changes- Gekas on, Ninis off, and Fotakis on, Tzavellas (who played pretty well) off.
46′: Germany work the ball through the spine to bring their legs back into the match. The Greeks halt possession and attempt a break that peters out at Salpingidis.
47′: Germany pass the ball deftly around the area; Khedira attempts to backheel in a throughball that Papadopolous cuts out.
48′: Klose earns a corner after Germany attempt to break from midfield. Papastathopolous heads away,
49′: Reus earns a foul down the right channel under pressure from Papastathopolous, who clears away the resultant free kick.
50′: Sloppy passing by Germany leads to Samaras wasting possession on the left, but Reus cannot find anything for the resultant break.
52′: Germany beginning to Arsenal the ball around, which results in a Greek break. Samaras tries to get too cute playing Gekas in, and Neuer claims in the area.
53′: Klose gets the ball WIDE OPEN in the area; his crossing attempt for Khedira is fired out for a corner by Maniatis. Badstuber volleys over and wide.
55′: GOALLLLLL GREECE!!!!! SAMARAS! Sloppy pass by Schurrle, and the Greeks play Salpingidis into ACRES of space. The Greek talisman hits a low cross that Samaras bundles in under Neuer. What a break, what a goal. Game right the fuck on.
57′: Germany own possession, but Reus’s cross is easily cleared for a throw.
58′: Germany try to carve a chance, but Khedira’s ball in for Reus is cut out.
60′: Lahm plays Schurrle in for a cross, but the youngin over cooks it for a goal kick.
61′: GOAL GERMANY! KHEDIRA!!!! 2-1! Germany pass the ball calmly across the area from left to right. Boateng crosses from the right channel, and Khedira ROOFS it on the volley. Class play to a class finish.
62′: Greece work out a chance right away, but Gekas blasts to Row Z from the D.
63′: Germany knocks on the door for a third, but Reus can’t get a handle in the area.
64′: Maniatis wins a corner off the back of Badstuber. Fotakis hits it onto Papadopolous’s head, but the defender can only hit it over.
66′: German change: Schurrle off, Muller on.
67′: GOAL GERMANY!!!! KLOSE! 3-1! Ozil with a tasty, tasty ball on the free kick in the right channel, and Klose rises up above Safikas and Papadopolous and powers the header home. Simple stuff, well finished.
68′: Klose wins the ball back, and forces a save from Safikas, before the ball is cleared for a corner. The corner, though, is easily cleared.
70′: CHANCE! Boateng’s low cross bounces to Muller deep in the right side of the area, but Muller fires wide.
Greek change: Makos off, Liberopolous on.
72′: Liberopolous tries one from 40, but it’s pretty apparently for shits and giggles.
73′: GOAL REUS!!! 4-1! Khedira plays Klose in down the left; Safikas saves with his chest, and Reus pounces on the rebound to hammer it home. This has become a laugher.
74′: Ozil wins a free kick at 25 out, and Papastathopolous goes into the book.
75′: Schweinsteiger plays it short to Lahm, and it’s OLE! time.
77′: Germany have been playing it around for fun, with some interruptions from the Greeks.
78′: Germany delivering instructions to Marios Goetze and Gomez as Samaras blasts over.
And Gomez is on for Klose, while Goetze comes on for Reus.
79′: Khedira takes a foul at midfield, and it’s back to passing drills for Germany.
80′: Ozil carries into the area; his shot is saved by Safikas and the rebound is hit wide by Gomez.
81′: Now the Greeks try passing. It’s super effective! Samaras hits a centering pass to Fotakis, who hits it slow and low into Neuer.
84′: The Germans have settled it back down, but the Greeks spring a break through Samaras, but Hummels gets back and makes an excellent saving tackle.
85′: Ozil has a go from range that Safikas saves and almost Robert Greens into Gomez’s path before he pounces on it.
87′: The Greeks are still defending strongly; they stop a nice German move, and Ozil fouls Salpingidis as he attempts a break.
88′: PENALTY TO GREECE! Liberopolous swings it to Samaras, who has a go from the corner, and Boateng is guilty of handball. Salpingidis to take. . . AND IT’S IN! He hits to Neuer’s left, Neuer dives right. 4-2
90′: tame back and forth possession, and we have 2 minutes added time (which seems short for 5 goals, but whatever).
90′ + 2: Header tennis, and the Greeks pour forward for one last chance. Maniatis hits in a cross, and Liberopolous bundles over Boateng chasing down the cross. And THAT’S THE GAME!!!!
FULLTIME: Germany 4-2 Greece
A good run for the Greeks, who were seen as cannon fodder for the rest of Group A. But the gulf in class between them and the Germans eventually showed. But very much credit to the Greeks for their attempts to still play even down 4-1. The consolation goal at the end was well deserved. For all my accusations of hubris on the part of Jogi Loew (and the team played very arrogantly in the first half), the “replacements,” Reus especially, acquitted themselves very well indeed.
An excellent match, and I could see either England or Italy struggling mightily with Germany’s attacking options, though the pace that England have on the counter might be good enough to overcome Germany’s class, and take advantage of their defense getting too far forward.