Germany's Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mario Gomez celebrate with coach Joachim Loew after winning the Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match against Greece at the PGE Arena in Gdansk, June 22, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Bartosz Jankowski)
Greece's hopes of repeating their 2004 championship were defeated by Germany as they were beat 4-2 in the UEFA EURO Cup 2012 semi-finals on Friday.
The game held at the stadium in Gdansk, marked world-record 15th consecutive competitive win for the Germans, boosting their confidence levels entering their Warsaw semi-final against England or Italy next Thursday.
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The game got off to a rocky start for Greece, causing concern that their record of never beating Germany would continue. The Greeks entered the game without their two best players Giorgos Karagounis and José Holebas due to suspension.
Germany took the lead in the 39th-minute lead with a goal by Philipp Lahm. Ten minutes later at the start of the second half, the Greek's tied it up on a Giorgos Samaras goal. However, Joachim Löw's men reasserted their superior play as Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus all scored goals in the second interval. At a late point in the game Dimitris Salpingidis's gave Greece some natural pride and cut the score in half. It was Greece's final goal of the tournament.
Interestingly enough coach Joachim Löw changed the starting lineup by introducing Reus and André Schürrle in the wide positions previously occupied by Thomas Müller and Lukas Podolski, as well as Klose for Mario Gomez at centre-forward.
Löw wanted to provide some unpredictability along with speed and mobility. For the most part it worked as the Germans constantly attacked and had many opportunities to score. The first opportunity was when Michalis Sifakis failed to hold Khedira's shot, and Klose turned in the rebound only to be flagged offside.
Another chance came when 23-year-old Reus sent one shot wide creating an interchange between him and Klose ending with Mesut Özil testing Sifakis. Klose and Reus both threatened again before Lahm struck, with his fifth goal in 90 appearances
The Greek team also had many opportunities after their slow first half start. In the second half Salpingidis put a low ball across goal and Samaras got there ahead of Jérôme Boateng to squeeze it under Manuel Neuer.
After the fourth goal it was clear that Greece was out but Salpingidis's late penalty after a Boateng handball gave their fans one final thing to shout about as he scored the second goal for their team.
While the Germans celebrate their victory and wait for their next opponent the Greeks say goodbye to the tournament.
Coming into the match, Germany had only scored five goals in its first three matches. However, this very team had broken out for 4-0 victory of Australia, a 4-1 win over England, and a 4-0 thrashing of Argentina at the 2010 World Cup before losing 1-0 to Spain. There were expectations that this team would break out offensively at some point in the tournament. Unfortunately Greece turned out to be the first victim.
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