The German national team rolled into the Euro 2012 semi-finals this evening, crushing Greece 4-2, despite a few nervy minutes in the second half. Joachim Loew made a few adjustments from prior matches, with Miro Klose, Andre Schuerrle and Marco Reus getting a start, and Mario Goetze even getting some time off the bench. But even with some changes to the line-up, Germany was too tough, and Greece's run ended in emphatic style.
The game really went in 4 stages: Germany controlling possession and creating chances, but unable to crack through; then Germany getting a goal and feeling confident; then Greece leveling the score and gaining a new lease on life (this only lasted 5 or 6 minutes); then Germany pulling away with a late barrage of goals.
First things first: a hand to captain Philipp Lahm, who scored his first competitive goal for Die Nationalelf in 4 years, and his first in any capacity since early 2011. And it was a beautiful strike, too - worth the wait:
Germany went into the half feeling confident, and continued to control early in the second. But Greece hung around, and twice managed to create a threat from the counter. The second time, they put one in the net, leveling the score:
This was a frustrating moment, with both Hummels and Boateng failing to aggressively cut off the ball. But I thought the boys responded very well, and really seized control in the subsequent 10 minutes. Khedira, Klose and Reus all got on the score sheet. Khedira's was probably the most impressive, as he waited on a long cross that missed its first target and lashed it into the roof of the net:
Boateng was arguably at fault on the last Greece goal, a penalty from a handball in the area, but it was more bad luck than anything else. Overall, the defense still has some questions to answer. Considering Greece only controlled the ball for maybe 15 or 20 minutes, they were able to create several opportunities. if it hadn't been for the guys up front putting up goals, this could have been a close finish.
But, we'll worry about that later. Right now, Germany is in the semis, to face the winner of Italy - England. But first, we'll be here tomorrow with a Viewing Thread for Spain vs. France - maybe Ribery can lead the French to an upset. Thanks for reading.