Who is going to win Euro 2012? — Part II — Greece vs Germany: Friday 22nd June.
Tonight’s game, Czech Republic v Portugal, will be the proof of the pudding as far as my full worth as a ‘pundit goes’, but I’m not too worried, even the best authorities on the beautiful game get it wrong at times and I often tell the commentators what they should be saying a second before they actually do.
This proves nothing, of course, but I hope to bring you enjoyable and informative blogs over the course of the tournament which will prove both my obsession with the subject and knowledge of it, if nothing more.
Of course, my blogs will continue when the competition ends and I will begin to concentrate more on the the Premier League, Championship, SPL and other tournaments as well as rumours and footie news.
Greece vs Germany
A good performance in their opener, as well as a well-deserved win over Russia in the last group game, saw Greece make it into the last 8. An organised approach and a goal from Greek legend Giorgos Karagounis made for a surprise win for the 2004 European champions in their previous game and a ticket to the quarter finals.
Greece’s prize for coming 2nd in their group is likely to be a tough test, as they take on Germany, who are many people’s favourite for the competition. And as if things aren’t hard enough, Giorgos Karagounis, their most capped player, received his second yellow card of the tournament and won’t be eligible to play in Friday’s game.
For their part, Germany did everything right in the group stages. A group opener against a good Portugal side, followed by a win over Holland, who were the 2010 world cup finalists, and a 2-1 victory over Denmark saw Germany progress from the group of death without any slip ups.
The organisation displayed against all three teams in the group, as well as their composure during the last 10 minutes against both Portugal and Holland make Germany look a real force to be reckoned with.
This game will be settled in the midfield and with Giorgos Karagounis missing, Papadopoulos and Papastathopoulos (wouldn’t fancy trying to chant their names in a stadium) the Greeks are going to have a long night, as they try and defend a midfield that also contains
Schweinsteiger and Ozil. With these two players likely to dominate, it’s probable that Greece will have to concede the midfield and hope to hit the Germans on the break, it’s very likely that Greece are going to have a long night, as they try and defend what is likely to be constant pressure from a solid German outfit.
Samaras, who has frustrated Celtic fans over the last few seasons with his up and down performances, will need to turn in a performance equal to that displayed against the Russians if he is to have a hope of making an impact.
The Greek’s strength is in their defence, so you can expect them to take a similar approach to that which Portugal adopted in their opening game against Germany; they will defend in numbers and then look to hit Germany on the break.
From Germany’s perspective, the key to winning this match will be to keep the game flowing, control the midfield and pass the ball around. If they can do this then there is very little hope for a Greek victory. Germany’s discipline and composure have ensured victory in their last 14 consecutive competitive games and they will be looking to make it 15 on Friday night.
The pair go head to head on Friday 22nd June with the winner taking on the winner of England vs Italy in the semi finals. Only 8 years ago Greece shocked the footballing world with a win over Portugal in the final of Euro 2004, and let’s be honest, a tie against the Greeks sounds far more appealing than the inevitable penalty shoot-out with Germany that will await England should they progress.
Whist my money (nor many others) might not be on Greece to win, many will be hoping for a shock for the Germans, if only because Greece as a nation could do with some cheering up right now, given their current, deepening economic crisis.
Germany have bailed Greece out already this year, but you can expect nowhere near the same sympathy when Joachim Löw’s team take to the field. The two teams have met eight times in the past and Greece have yet to record a victory, a fact that’s unlikely to change anytime soon
Let’s face it, whilst football has a terrible habit of not giving fans exactly what they want, it’s difficult to see the Germans doing any thing other than easing their way into the semi-finals of Euro 2012, and probably they will go on to progress even further than that.
My Prediction: final score - Germany 3-0 Greece.