2012 UEFA European Soccer Championship Quarterfinals
Germany vs Greece
Arena Gdansk – Gdansk, Poland
Friday, June 22, 2012, 2:45 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
All Odds Courtesy of Bookmaker
Point Spread: Germany -1 1/2 -117 / Greece +1 1/2 -103
Total: over 2 1/2 -110 / under 2 1/2 -110
Three Way Line: Germany -355 / Greece +1000 / Draw +400
Odds to Advance: Germany -800 / Greece +500
Point Spread, Total, and Three Way include regulation and stoppage time only. Advance includes extra time and/ or shootout.
In 2004, Greece made a miracle run and won the European Championship. It will take a similar miracle for the Greeks to win Euro 2012, as they drew the Germans in the knockout stage. There is political tension between the two nations as Greece is on the verge of economic collapse, and is asking for financial aid from the European Union. Germany is insisting on stringent regulations on the Greeks if they loan them the money to keep the country afloat. Greece would love nothing more than to upset the heavily favored Germans, and bring a little solace to a beleaguered nation.
Germany and Greece have played 8 times in history with Germany winning 5 with 3 draws. Germany has outscored them 17-7 in all meetings but they haven’t played since they were in the same qualifying group for the 2002 World Cup.The winner of this match-up will face either England or Italy in next week’s semifinals.
Germany managed by Joachim Low, won the group of death with a 1-0 win over Portugal and 2-1 wins over The Netherlands and Denmark. All four Group B teams were ranked in the top 10 in the FIFA rankings, making it even more impressive that Germany was the only team that won all three of it’s group matches. Germany hasn’t won the European championship since 1996, a drought they would love to end.The Germans have won 14 straight competitive matches not counting friendlies.
Greece managed by Fernando Santos, scratched out a 1-1 draw in their Group A opener against tournament co-host Poland despite being a man down in the first half due to a red card. The Greeks then lost 2-1 to the Czech Republic, and their prospects for advancing looked about as bleak as the nation’s economy. However, Greece pulled off a shocking 1-0 upset of Russia as +400 underdogs to finish second behind group winner Czech Republic and advance to the knockout round.
German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has only allowed 2 goals in the tournament. He is a very good keeper but is sometimes overshadowed by the superstar German midfielders and forwards.
Germany will use their normal 4-2-3-1 attack. Chemistry will not be an issue as 7 of the 11 starters play together for Bayern Munich. Dynamic striker Mario Gomez already has 3 goals in the tournament. He will be helped out by creative playmaker Mesut Ozil, who has had a quiet tournament so far. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Thomas Muller can also score from anywhere. Mats Hummels is one of the best defenders in the world. Left back Jerome Boateng returns from suspension and should give Germany an added boost.
Greek keeper Michalis Sifakis has given up three goals during Euro 2012. He was the hero against Russia with a clean sheet despite facing 25 shots, with 10 on target.
Greece will be without it’s best player and captain Giorgos Karagounis who is out due to a suspension. He scored the game winner against Russia late in stoppage time in the first half. The Greeks will also be without German born Jose Holebas due to yellow cards. Forwards Fanis Gekis and Dimitris Salpingidis scored the only other goals for Greece during the group stage.
Let’s be honest here, Germany is a heavy favorite for a reason. The Germans are deep, very talented and play with a machine like precision. However, the Germans should not overlook this plucky, scrappy Greek team that has nothing to lose. The Greeks know they can’t get into a speed contest with the Germans and will be content to stay back and hope for an opportunity to score much like they did against Russia. I don’t think the Germans will give up such a careless goal like Russia did just before halftime. Greece’s best shot might be a scoreless draw that is decided in penalty kicks. I don’ see that happening. Germany wins 2-0.
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