Guten abend! Germany faced Greece in Gdansk and we went minute-by-minute throughout, get in involved in the usual ways – email firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet @thesore_ie or find us on Facebook.
Full-time: Germany 4 Greece 2
19.11 – So, here we go again. There’s a place in the semi-finals up for grabs tonight, but this is about so much more it seems. As I type, Bill O’Herlihy and Eamon Dunphy are arguing about Greek economics and politics. God, I love those men. Between them, Liam Brady and Didi Hamann agree that the Greeks will be motivated by the very presence of German chancellor Angela Merkel in the stands in Gdansk this evening. ‘That nation has been humiliated’ hisses Eamon, though Chippy reckons it’ll have little bearing on the result. “This is a top Germany team,” he shrugs.
What do you think?
19.14 – Though I’m back at base, slugging milky tea, Miguel Delaney is in the stadium for us and will file after the whistle and the post-game press events.
Not only have the Germans never lost to Greece but they’re currently on a run of 14 consecutive competitive victories — a national record. Indeed, the pattern of this match is almost as easy to predict as many of the headlines that will surround it: Germany to impose their game on the Greeks from the off, with the latter looking to do their impression of the 2004 team’s defence. There a number of factors, however, which may make this apparent mismatch a little more complicated.
19.23 – So, let’s have the team news shall we? Germany coach Joachim Loew has pulled a triple surprise leaving out star players Mario Gomez, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Mueller. Is he resting them? I think so. 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 — it’s pronounced ‘Rice’ says Didi — 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.
Greece coach Fernando Santos brought 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.
Germany (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Philipp Lahm (capt), Mats Hummels, Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng; Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger; Marco Reus, Mesut Ozil, Andre Schuerrle; Miroslav Klose.
Greece (4-2-3-1): Michalis Sifakis; Vassilis Torossidis, Sokratis Papastathopoulos, Kyriakos Papadopoulos, Giorgos Tzavellas; Grigoris Makos, Giannis Maniatis; Sotiris Ninis, Kostas Katsouranis (cap), Giorgos Samaras; Dimitris Salpingidis
19.32 – As we’ve heard, Angela Merkel will be present for the game while Greece’s new prime minster has taken a rain check. But more importantly, have you heard the ‘Angela Merkel Thinks We’re At Work’ flag was sold for over €20k today. Boom.
19.36 – We asked some of the riff-raff on our Facebook page (we’re 20 or so away from 34,000 by the way) how they thought the game would play out tonight. Here’s some of the replies.
How do you see it going? Let’s have those predictions.
19.42 – So, the teams are on the pitch and we’re currently humming along to the respective anthems.
19.47 – And we’re o.. no, now we’re off. The volume of noise in the stadium apparently contributed to some confusion and a false start. But we’re up and running now and Klose has already had his first sight on goal but it’s gone behind for a goal kick.
19.49 – We’re little more than two minutes in and Germany look very threatening. Samaras is lucky not to have been booked already after a strong tackle on Sami Khedira. The Germans had played on and made lovely inroads down the right thanks to Reus but it ultimately came to nothing.
19.52 – DISALLOWED GOAL “This isn’t looking good for Greece,” writes our man Miguel in Gdansk. “They’re already tippling over the edge. Germany running riot.” He’s not wrong. Sami Khedira didn’t take long to get over that challenge from Samaras, striking a strong shot moments later that Sifakis could only parry and Klose — I think — who toe poked it home, only for the flag to be raised.
19.57 – First shot on goal from Greece comes through Makos. And it’s as feeble as *insert topical reference to European currency*. That disallowed goal was a Schuerrle effort, by the way. 12 minutes in now.
20.03 – No, I was right the first time. Klose got the toe to it. Now let’s move on. Samaras has been booked for his third strike; standing on Bastian Schweinsteiger’s ankle. Ouchies. Bohs are gone a goal ahead against Pats at Inchicore while Rory Paterson has put Derry City one up at Turner’s Cross. The Candystripe fans have unveiled this banner, according to RedFM’s Rory O’Hagan:
JD drinks, LOI clubs sink.
20.07 – Andrew Maxwell tweets that Mesut Ozil has the ‘eyes of Peter Lorre’. I concur.
On the pitch? Well the Germans are good at football. But you knew that. It’s opening up a bit and the conditions are pretty slippy out there. Reus and Khedira are at the heart of everything while Klose has threatened to break the deadlock a handful of times. He doesn’t need many opportunities when in a Germany shirt usually.
20.14 – Germany should be one up at least. Ozil was played in and with only the keeper to beat, managed to hit it straight at Sifakis. Moments later Klose was lunged for a ball on the back post but came up half a foot short. And then that impressive young Reus struck one wide when he should have done better. 28 minutes now on the clock and the Germans are starting to get a little bit nervy. And we’ve also just had our first shot of Frau Merkel with her head in her hands.
20.17 – Long-time reader, first-time emailer Brian sends this ‘classic encounter’ between Greece and Germany
20.23 – The Chancellor is, like, totally freaking out. [H/T Business Insider]
20.26 – GOAL! Germany 1 Greece 0, Lahm 39′ A captain’s goal. With his side tensing up and forcing the issue a little, Philip Lahm chests the ball down, cuts inside two defenders and unleashes a cracking, curling drive past the Greek ‘keeper. To state the obvious: that changes the entire complexion of the game now.
20.30 – From Opta: “2 – Philipp Lahm has scored as many goals as Miroslav Klose in the European Championships. Captain.”
In the League of Ireland? Approaching half-time, Cork City are two down at home to Derry, Drogheda and Bray are drawing 1-1; Bohs are still a goal to the good at Richmond Park while UCD are being held scoreless by Dundalk at Belfield.
20.34 – This is from the AFP news wire:
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s features switched from a smile to a frown on Thursday as she was heckled by Greek fans during the two nations’ politically-charged Euro 2012 quarter-final here. Sitting chatting to UEFA president Michel Platini, Merkel appeared relaxed until the stadium camera at the Gdansk Arena showed her on the big screen and a wave of whistling and booing erupted in the Greek end. She broke off from her discussion with the European football leader, glanced downwards and her expression changed to a glum one. Merkel had been widely expected to come in for catcalls from Greek fans, as the eurozone crisis gives the match an extra edge, She is maintaining the pressure on Greece to toughen its austerity measures in return for continued financial assistance to the indebted, cash-strapped nation. While players from both teams have moved to play down the political aspect of a match pitting Europe’s most troubled economy against its effective paymaster, the media in both countries have cranked up the pressure.
The referee has just blown the whistle for half-time. What did you make of that?
20.46 – Who wants to see Jogi Low’s weird hand-ringing goal celebration after Lahm’s screamer? Course you do.
20.50 – Roy Keane: I’ll expect more goals in the second half. Dare I ask… do you agree with Roy? The teams are trotting out for the restart, with the Greeks about to make two changes; Fotakis and Gekas are on.
21.00 – We brought you that baner at Turner’s Cross earlier which alluded to John Delaney. Well Ruaidhi O’Connor from the Indo tweets this from Richmond Park: “Bohs fans unveil a half time banner which reads ‘Irish football’s problems can’t be sung away’”.
21.03 – GOAL! Germany 1 Greece 1 Deary me. Bastian Schweinsteiger and his Bayern Munich team-mates must be having post-Champions LEague defeat flashbacks right about now. But for Didier Drogba read Celtic man Samaras. the sub Gekas gor down the line and played a lovely ball across the face of Neuer’s goal which his strike partner tucked under the goalkeeper. This is on.
21.07 – GOAL! Germany 2 Greece 1, Khedira 60′
21.09 – And normal service is resumed. The Real Madrid man put Germany back in front with a volley wellied into the roof of the Greek goal after a scross from Boateng down the right. Angela Merkel is shown to be happy.
21.11 – Miguel Delaney, I may have mentioned, is at the tournament for us. “Germany are as open, if not even more open, than Spain at the back. Of course, like Spain, have to cope with their use of the ball first,” he writes from the stadium in Gdansk. There’s 65 minutes on the clock now.
21.17 – GOAL! Germany 3 Greece 1, Klose 67′ This party’s over. For once the Greeks’ defending was less than skin-tight and they were punished by a routine Ozil-cross-to-Klose’s-head move from a free kick. The goalkeeper Sifakis went for a wander around the penlaty box as the striker was nodding it home. There’s 20 minutes left for Greece to stage a the unlikeliest of comebacks.
21.21 – GOAL! Germany 4 Greece 1, Reus 73 ‘Smashed it’ says Jim Beglin helpfully. And Reus did. Ozil picked up the ball, threaded it through to Klose but his shot was saved. When it hopped up in front of Reus, the Leverkusen man drove it into the net. Good goal.
21.26 – Vindicated in his changes, Jogi sends on Mario Gomes — only Mario Gomes — to replace Klose who has done an excellent job, predictably. Gotze comes on for Reus — or Rolls Reus as the ITC commentator called him after that goal. 10 minutes left.
21.28 – Vinny Sullivan has pulled one back at Turner’s Cross; Cork City trail 1-2 to Derry City. Drogheda are 3-1 up on Bray while it’s still 1-0 to Bohs against Pat’s at Richmond Park. UCD and Dundalk are tied at a goal apiece. There’s about five minutes left in each of those games.
21.33 – Do you think we’re watching the champions elect here?
21.37 – Germany 4 Greece 2, Salpingidis 88′ The POAK striker tucks a penalty past Neuer after the referee insists that ball struck against Boateng’s arm — which was at his side — was an infringement. It matters little but Salpingidis did the business.
21.40 – Full-time: The referee blows it up and a thoroughly impressive Germany put to bed all this Eurozone-pun nonsense with an super performance. Greece did what they do best for a lot of the game and might have believed the dream was on at one stage but the Germans had too much tonight when it came to it. What did you think? Keep the comments coming, we’ll have reaction and analysis from Gdansk throughout the rest of the night.