Germany have overcome a slight scare to move into the final four at Euro2012 courtesy of a 4-2 quarter-final victory over Greece at a rain-soaked PGE Arena in Gdansk tonight.
Joachim Low’s Die Mannschaft completely dominated proceedings to book their spot in the semi-final – where they will take on the winner of England v Italy on June 28 – but did have to deal with an equalizer from the Greeks ten minutes into the second half.
The opening goal had been coming since kick-off and after 38 minutes of domination, Germany took the lead through captain Philipp Lahm who took possession outside the area before hitting a swerving right-footer from just over 20 yards into Michail Sifakis’ top left corner.
For all their dominance, however, Germany found themselves level in the 55th minute when Greece countered with Dimitris Salpingidis being released down the right and making a strong run before supplying a peach of a ball for a sliding Georgios Samaras to knock home from close range despite the best efforts of Manuel Neuer.
Soon enough though, sanity was restored when Germany got their lead back just over five minutes later when full-back Jerome Boateng chipped a dangerous ball into the area from the right for Sami Khedira to power home with a luscious volley into the roof of the net.
With just over 20 minutes remaining, Germany gave themselves breathing space when Mesut Ozil sent in a tasty inswinging free-kick from the right flank for Miroslav Klose to nod home from the edge of the six-yard box for his 64th international goal.
A little over five minutes later, the rout was complete when Ozil played a deft through ball for Klose whose angled effort was kept out by Sifakis with the deflection falling to Marco Reus for the 23-year old to hammer his volley into the back of the net to completely ease the pressure on the tournament co-favourites.
Very late in the game, referee Damir Skomina awarded a penalty when Giorgios Fotakis’ shot hit the hand of Boateng but it appeared a harsh call as the defender had his back to the ball. Nevertheless the call was made with Salpingidis stepping up to send Neuer the wrong way and enabling some consolation for the Greeks.
Germany had a plethora of chances throughout – in the first half in particular – and really could have put the contest to bed before the break but Fernando Santos’ Greece did give an account of themselves albeit for a short period.
In the end though, the 1996 European champions did the business over the 2004 victors to move into the last four for the fourth consecutive time at a major tournament where they will be favoured to progress to the July 1 final .
Euro2012 – quarter-final
PGE Arena, Gdansk