Euro 2012: Germans Batter Greece, Koscielny To Feature Today
It was another one-sided quarter-final in Gdansk as Germany thrashed Greece 4-2 under the watchful eyes of their chancellor Angela Merkel. In years to come, those who haven’t seen the match may look at the result and imagine a keenly contested match. It was anything but that.
A lot of the excitement came prior to kick-off with Joachim Low making four changes to his side. It was a brand new front three of Klose, Schurrle and Reus instead of the usual suspects Gomez, Podolski and Muller. A brave decision by Low and one which points to the depth of this German squad. His choices were vindicated in the end with Reus and Klose getting on the score sheet and Schurrle, although a little wasteful, always looking a threat cutting inside from the left.
Podolski’s exclusion meant there was no Arsenal interest in this match whatsoever, with Mertesacker already being kept out of the team by the impressive Badstuber and Hummels. And Arsenal’s last Greek connection was nearly a decade ago when Efstathios Tavlaridis made a few cup appearances for the Gunners.
The Greeks were completely dominated in the first half and while they frustrated the Germans by keeping the ball in front of them, opportunities were being created and it seemed only a matter of time before Germany would score – especially as the gloves of Greek keeper Sifakis seemed to have been greased, so regularly did he spill the ball throughout the match. When Lahm gave them the lead just before half-time, the Germans were well in control having recorded an 81.5% possession rate in the first-half.
There was a scare early in the second half as a quick break by Greece resulted in Samaras’ equalizer. This only sought to anger the Germans who piled on the pressure, scoring 3 goals in 13 minutes to put the game to bed. A late penalty for Greece gave the scoreline a touch of respectability.
The 2004 champions were hampered by the loss of Karagounis, it has to be said. Still, they showed spirit in coming back to level the score. But the Germans always looked like winning the tie and all of their four goals were a delight to watch – especially the Khedira volley at 1-1. Based on this performance, Germany are certainly favorites for the title.
Spain take on France today and Laurent Koscielny will finally get a chance to play in the tournament. With Mexes suspended, a good performance by Kos could confirm his place in central defense if France get past Spain. He will be up against the tippy-toey Iniesta, Silva and possibly Fabregas so his pockets will need to be appropriately large to fit these players in. It should be a good contest all over the pitch and if France can get over their post-Sweden squabbles, they certainly have the quality to upset the Spaniards.
Olivier Giroud, 90% an Arsenal player next season, is unlikely to start but could prove useful as a substitute later in the game if France choose to adopt a more direct approach. Spain don’t have the tallest team in the tournament so his presence in the penalty box could cause some havoc. Yann M’Vila is likely to start as well as Laurent Blanc is likely to field two holding midfielders against the current champions.
I think this might to extra-time but Spain should just edge it, 2-1 is my prediction. Enjoy the game.