Euro 2012: Germany 4 – 2 Greece : Live Report
by Andrew Newby | AFP. Posted on June 23, 2012, Saturday
This Live Report is wrapping up afterbeat Greece 4-2 in the second Euro 2012 with yet another display of thrilling football to win a place against England or Italy in next week’s semi-finals.
The gripping match more than lived up to the high standard of entertainment set by Euro 2012 so far. Join us tomorrow for a Live Report on France versus Spain, which has every prospect of being another passionate epic.
2055 GMT: There was only one winner in the match billed as the “derby of debt”, “battle of the bailout” or “creditors versus debtors”: the winner was. However, the battling Greek team deserve a large helping of footballing credit for their feisty, tireless display as they maintained their spirit right up to the end, even winning a penalty barely two minutes from full-time.
2045 GMT:will now play England or Italy, who meet in Sunday’s Kiev quarter-final, in the semi-final at Warsaw’s National Stadium on Thursday as they inflicted Greece’s heaviest defeat at a European championships. It eclipsed the Greeks’ 3-1 defeat at the hands of Czechoslovakia in 1980.
2038 GMT: Angela Merkel sure looks pleased. You have to feel sorry for Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras, who is due to meet her at a European summit next week for talks about his wish to tone down the eurozone bailout package. When she greets him with a cheery “Kalimera” he knows what she’ll really be thinking: “4 Greece 2″
FULL-TIME:4 Greece 2
90 mins: Two minutes of added time.
89 mins: A penalty is awarded for a handball by Boateng in the penalty area, though he was looking away from the ball and it was clearly accidental. Salpingidis successfully outwits keeper Neuer and scores from the spot kick.
89 mins: GOAL!4 Greece 2
77 mins: The veteran Klose goes off and is replaced by Mario Gomes – the tournament’s top scorer with three goals. Hardly a weakening of the German team,then!
75 mins: “The cafes in Athens have fallen very silent indeed,” says Dario Thuburn. “A lot of resigned faces. Some people have stopped watching altogether.” Oh dear. The dream is over.
74 mins: Michalis Sifakis rushes out of the Greek goal to intercept a Klose shot. Marco Reus seizes on the rebound and blasts it towards goal. It bounces off the underside of the cross bar and lands well inside the net. No need for goal-line technology here.
74 mins: GOAL!4 Greece 1
71 mins: Greek striker Nikos Limberopoulos comes on as substitute for midfielder Grigoris Makos as coach Fernando Santos signals his wish for Greece to go for more goals.
68 mins: Miroslav Klose scores his 64th international goal, converting an inch-perfect pass from Ozil as Ozil’s marker Papadopoulos watches inertly.
68 mins: GOAL! Germany 3 Greece 1
66 mins: Thomas Muelle on for Andre Schuerrle.
64 mins: Greek corner. Fotakis takes it and Kyriakos Papadopoulos connects with the ball but his effort goes over the German bar.
63 mins: Gekas goes for another Greek equaliser. They aren’t giving up yet.
61 mins: Germany go immediately on the counter-attack. No messing about. Sami Khedira puts them ahead again.
61 mins: GOAL! Germany 2 Greece 1
55 mins: What a brilliant move. Noone can dispute the efficiency of the move. That’ll teach me to accuse the Greeks of lacking skills.
54 mins: Salpingidis breaks up the right. Samaras dashes forward down the middle, Salpingidis sends over a perfect pass and the Celtic man powers it into the net. Manfred Neuer gets to it but the speed on the ball is too great and it zooms through his fingers into the net.
54 mins: GOAL! Germany 1 Greece 1
52 mins: The Greeks aren’t giving up yet. Samaras and substitute Fanis Gekas go on the attack with a deft one-two move. They look dangerous for a few seconds but seem to lack the finishing skills to get the ball past the German defence.
1955 GMT: Match resumes. It’s looking just like the first half. You’ve guessed it: the German mount regular assaults.
1940 GMT: I’m sure we all sympathise with the Greeks. But in terms of footballing skills, the Germans have been several leagues above the Greels. The Germans’ organisation and passing have illustrated why they are the only unbeaten team in the tournament.
HALF-TIME: Germany 1 Greece 0
45+1 mins: Schuerrle scurries up the left but mis-hits and his fierce shot goes wide.
43 mins: Lahm and Ozil move forward together, trying for a second.
39 mins: Philipp Lahm scores a captain’s goal. His high shot swerves away from Sifakis into the top right corner. To be honest, Germany thoroughly deserved it after their repeated pressure.
39 mins: GOAL! Germany 1 Greece 0
37 mins: German return to the boil. Ozil sets up a chance for Sami Khedira but goalkeeper Sifakis scoops it.
31 mins: Greek shot! Sotiris Ninis dashes up the right and catches the German defence off guard. He almost catches Manfred Neuer unawares in the German goal but Ninis’ attempt is off target. Neuer leaps up late but the ball goes beyond his finger tips round the post.
29 mins: Any time Merkel is shown on the screens the Greeks fans in the cafes are booing and holding up their palms — an insulting gesture in Greece, says Dario Thuburn is Athens.
25 mins: Reus misses again. The Greek goal is charmed. Joachim Loew is furious. He’ll need more chewing gum. Tried biting your nails like Roy Hodgson?
24 mins: Ozil shoots from wide. The ball slides across the net and Klose just fails to reach it.
23 mins: Ozil collects a neat pass from Reus but Michalis Sifakis comfortably clasps Ozil’s shot.
21 mins: The Arena Gdansk pitch looks very heavy underfoot, says Ryland James. Maybe that was what caused Klose to stumble in the opening minutes – and the turf is cutting up in both goal mouths after only 10 minutes.
18 mins: Salpingidis, scorer of Greece’s equaliser against Poland, breaks forward but the German border guards stop him – at the edge of their penalty area.
15 mins: Samaras yellow card for trampling on Schweinsteiger’s ankle. Could be accidental but Slovenian referee Damir Skomina doesn’t think so.
13 mins: Marco Reus is clear in front of the Greek goal but fires wide and smacks an advertising hoarding.
11 mins: Kostas Katsouranis goes on the counter-attack, but three German defenders briskly close on him briskly to end the danger.
10 mins: Come on Germans, go easy on the Greeks. You’ve got the money, they buy your cars. And you still want to be welcome at Greek beaches this year, don’t you?
8 mins: In Berlin, an estimated 400,000 people are gathered at the Brandenburg Gate, says AFP’s Eloi Rouyer. They wave flags and sing the German national anthem.
6 mins: Ryland James says smoke hangs over the German fans after it looks like a flare was set off. “Wonder if that will mean another fine for the German FA from UEFA.”
4 mins: Bayer Leverkusen’s Andre Schuerrle, making his tournament debut, blasts the ball into the Greek net but the whistle goes – he’s offside. Dramatic start though.
3 mins: The Germans attack from the start. Ozil chips a neat pass to the recalled Klose in the Greek penalty area but he slips.
2 mins: AFP’s Dario Thuburn in Athens city centre says: “The cafes in the Thissio neighbourhood around the Parthenon are buzzing with young fans hoping to show Germany….
“Greeks are going to party all together. In a moment like this we must all party together,” said 17-year-old Ierasimos Paterakis, draped in a Greek flag as he arrived at a cafe to watch the game.
Another young fan, Meletis Remoussis, 18, said: “It’s special because we’re playing Germany and we’re indebted to them. We want to show them that we’re something more than what Merkel says.”
1845 GMT: The Greeks win the toss and kick off.
1844 GMT: Loew chews gum energetically. Maybe he’s nervous, given Greece’s exploits so far.
1842 GMT: Or are some Polish fans booing too? After all, the country neighbours Germany and they have a history of good and bad relations going back hundreds of years, with the border between the countries having moved back and forth enormous distances.
1841 GMT: Big boos around the stadium as a picture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel is beamed onto the large screens. The big smile on her face soon disappears. Amidst the Eurozone crisis, she is clearly not popular with the Greek fans.
1838 GMT: A huge banner is unveiled showing the symbol of Gdansk, Neptune’s Fountain, which can be seen in the centre of the city’s Dlugi Targ (the Long Market). Ryland says: “Sad that this is the last game in the north Polish city. It’s been home for the last three weeks.”
1837 GMT: The gold-suited volunteers are on the pitch as the pre-match show begins. “Players are now back in the dressing rooms and no doubt a few butterflies will be fluttering. There is a large pocket of blue-and-white clad Greek fans away to our right, while the left side has a hardcore of white-shirted German fans, ” says Ryland.
1836 GMT: AFP’s Ryland James, mingling with the crowd in the Arena Gdansk, tells me: “Air guitars are being strummed as Queen’s We Will Rock You booms around the stadium. It is filling up nicely with around 10 minutes until kick-off.|
1834 GMT: Greece coach Fernando Santos brings in Grigoris Makos for suspended captain Giorgos Karagounis, who scored the winning goal against Russia which put the Euro 2004 winners in the last eight.
PAOK striker Dimitris Salpingidis starts as the lone striker with 32-year-old Samsunspor veteran Fanis Gekas on the bench.
Midfielder Kostas Katsouranis captains the Greeks in Karagounis’ absence.
1832 GMT: Germany coach Joachim Loew pulls a triple surprise ahead by leaving out star players Mario Gomez, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Mueller.
Loew opted to bring in 34-year-old Lazio striker Miroslav Klose, who wins his 120th cap and with 63 goals he is five short of Germany’s record, for Gomez, the tournament’s joint top-scorer with three goals in three games.
Borussia Dortmund-bound Marco Reus comes in for Bayern Munich’s Mueller for his first appearance at Euro 2012 and will win only his seventh cap for Germany.
Bayer Leverkusen’s Andre Schuerrle has been Podolski’s understudy for the last year and finally starts at the expense of the former Cologne striker, who will join Arsenal after Euro 2012.
1820 GMT: Starting line-ups:
Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm (capt), Mats Hummels, Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng; Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger; Marco Reus, Mesut Ozil, Andre Schuerrle; Miroslav Klose
Coach: Joachim Loew
Michalis Sifakis; Vassilis Torossidis, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Giorgos Tzavellas; Grigoris Makos, Giannis Maniatis; Sotiris Ninis, Kostas Katsouranis (cap), Giorgos Samaras; Dimitris Salpingidis
Coach: Fernando Santos (POR)
Referee: Damir Skomina (SLO)
1815 GMT: Having shocked Russia 1-0 to confirm their place in the Gdansk last-eight clash, Group A runners-up Greece take on Group B winners Germany, who are the only team with a 100 percent record at the European championship.
The Germans are bidding to win a fourth European title and having won their three pool matches against Holland, Portugal and Denmark, plus all ten qualifiers en route to the final, the Greeks start as underdogs.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will attend the match, has provoked anger in Greece throughout the year for leading calls on Athens to impose tough austerity measures in return for financial assistance from Germany to help to bring down debt.
1817 GMT: There were two unhappy omens for Greece today when incoming Greek finance minister Vassilis Rapanos was admitted to hospital with a fever hours before he was due to be sworn into office and new Prime Minister Antonis Samaras was briefly in another Athens hospital after being diagnosed with a retinal detachment. He faces an operation tomorrow, before beginning his bailout battle at an EU summit on June 28..
However, the premier’s namesake Giorgos Samaras is fully fit and looking forward to leading the Greek attack as the 2004 winners seek to extend their astonishing run which began with them reversing a half-time deficit to hold hosts Poland to a draw in the opening match despite having a man sent off.
The 27 year-old Celtic striker says the Greek squad will play “for 11 million people who are hoping for us to do something worthwhile, so that they can get out in the streets to celebrate.”
The last time the two sides met in 2001, Germany won 4-2 in Athens. And in eight match-ups, Greece has only managed three draws and no wins.
WELCOME TO AFP’S LIVE REPORT on the second Euro 2012 quarter-final match, between Germany and Greece. The match kicks off in Gdansk at 1845 GMT. Stay with us for all the team news and build up to the match.
The David versus Goliath showdown comes just as the brand new Greek government is seeking fresh concessions from Germany over the ancient Mediterranean nation’s eurozone bailout pact. -AFP