Venue: PGE Arena, Gdansk Date: 22nd of June Kick-off time: 19:45
This clash between the Euro 2004 Champions and the three times winners and most recently, the finalists at Euro 2008, will be played against a backdrop of economic uncertainty and rancour. Not that the footballers are concerned about that, Joachim Low stressing that this match will be a “totally normal quarter-final”. Greece is still very much in this Euro even though paralleling the political situation, Germany will have a huge say in how long this remains so.
Latest News - Germany
Germany, as widely expected, qualified from Group B top of the pile although not many expected them to come away with 9 points; the first time in their history they have accomplished that. Nevertheless, this should not lend a false sense of comfort to either the players or the watching public – Germany was made to work extremely hard for those results.
Franz Beckenbauer, never short of something to say, expressed his dissatisfaction with the standard of Germany’s play, stating that the team “was not effective in the second half (against Denmark)”. Watching the Germans, it is clear there has been an evolution in their style, from a counter-attacking to more possession oriented approach; a change which might have contributed to Mesut Ozil not being at his best thus far, particularly with teams defending very compactly and deep against Germany.
Latest News - Greece
The Greeks pulled off the mother of great escapes while also pulling off a huge upset by beating Russia and qualifying second. With UEFA’s mini-league system which prioritises head-to-head records, Greece always stood a chance of qualifying, depending on the other result, if they could beat Russia. And beat the Russians they did, stirring performances from 20 year old Papadopoulous and veteran, and captain, Karagounis, illustrating the spirit and desire of the team.
Greek Coach, Fernando Santos, acknowledged that his team might not be the best but did declare “every opponent we have will have to sweat blood to get past us”. Greece will be tough and Germany will duly taken heed.
Both teams have met just twice in the past with the Germans winning both games in World Cup 2002 qualification (4-2 and 2-0). With such a limited history of encounters, this match is very much a novelty (not strictly speaking) which should add an extra layer of interest to the game.
Greece – Sifakis; Papastapoulos, Papadopoulos, Tsavellas; Katsouranis, Maniatis, Makos; Salpingidis, Gekas, Samaras.
Captain, Karagounis, will be missing from this game along with Holebas due to suspension. Karagounis’ absence could pave the way for one of Makos, Fotakis and Fortounis to make an impact. Goalkeeper, Chalkias (oldest player at the tournament) and Avraam Papadopoulos miss out due to injuries.
Germany – Neuer; Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm; Khedira, Schweinsteiger; Mueller, Ozil, Podolski; Gomez.
With the exception of the last game against Denmark, Joachim Low has kept the same starting line-up in all the games thus far.
Germany will welcome Boateng back into the side after he served his suspension thus relegating goalscorer, Lars Bender to the bench. Apart from that, Low will keep faith with the side that has won all its game so far.
Germany vs Greece odds
In all 6 games both teams have played so far, none has featured more than three goals, with Germany’s more considered approach coming up against the notoriously conservative Greeks. This will not be a goal-fest hence Bet365 offers odds of under 2.5 goals scored at 1.95 (19/20).On a similar note, 888sport gives odds for total goals of 2 or 3 at 2.00 (1/1), an enticing offer seeing as none of the teams’ games have been high-scoring affairs.
Mario Gomez has been in great form so far, and despite not netting against Denmark, he will look to add to his goal tally of three goals so far, particularly with the incentive of knowing that Dzagoev and Mandzukic, the other players on three goals, are out of the tournament. Bwin offers odds of Gomez scoring at anytime at 2.00 (evens).
Germany vs Greece prediction
Greece will be hoping to rekindle the spirit of Euro 2004 when they were simply on a roll, recording one-nil victories throughout the knockout phase on their way to triumph. Knowing his team’s limits, Santos will set Greece up very conservatively.
Germany, on the other hand, have shown a new side to their game, taking a more progressive approach in terms of winning the ball back and controlling the tempo of games. This has mainly resulted in their relatively low-scoring games (by their standards).
With Greece setting up for a smash and grab, expect a low scoring game, despite Germany’s superiority across the park. It may be that solidity and efficiency would trump style for Germany but many regard this tournament as ‘Germany’s time’ and they should dispatch Greece with comfortably in the end.
Score prediction: Germany 2-0 Greece
Tip: Teams to score – Germany ONLY at 1.90 (9/10) on William Hill
By Raymond Utuk
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