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Euro 2012- Quarterfinal #2 Preview
Posted By Michael Jenkins On Jun 20 2012 @ 11:41 pm In Soccer | No Comments
Quarterfinal #2- Germany (Pool B Winner) v. Greece (Pool A Runner-Up)
These teams have not met over the last five years.
Outlook- This looks like a complete mismatch on paper. Germany is the overwhelming favorite. They have looked like the best team in the entire tournament during pool play. They are extremely talented on offense, they play fluidly and as a team and they have a sufficient defense to deal with most of the teams in the tournament. Their goalie is also one of the best in the world. Greece barely got through the weakest group in pool play. They needed help from others to advance. They did not look convincing in any of their pool play games. So, this should be a convincing German victory, right? I think this game will be more competitive than many think.
Offense- Germany has a plethora of multi-talented attacking players. Mario Gomez has played as the striker and has shed his reputation as a non-big game player and has scored 3 goals in the competition. Lukas Podolski got his name on the score sheet for the first time in the last pool play game against Denmark. Thomas Muller has played as the other wing and provides strength and speed and a deft finishing touch.
Greece will have Georgios Samaras or Theofanis Gekas up top and they will have to perform in a magnificent fashion. When the Greeks are able to get the ball, the forwards will have to hold up play and allow the Greek midfield to get involved in the play. If Sotris Ninis gets back in the lineup, he will probably play a hybrid wing/midfield role and will have to create opportunities for the other two forward players if Greece is to compete with the Germans.
Midfield- Germany’s midfield play has been stellar. Mesut Ozil is the maestro of the German midfield. He will need to play better against the Greeks than he did against the Danes though. He will serve as the 4th attacking player that will try to link up with the front three making Germany’s offense extremely dynamic. Bastian Schweinsteiger is the rock of the German midfield. He will try to control the pace of play linking the back four to the front four. He also needs to up his game as the Germans seek to advance further in the tournament. Sami Khedira is the holding midfielder who will have to stifle any counterattacks that the Greeks throw at the Germans by slowing them down before they get going. The patience that the Germans will show in the midfield will help break the Greeks down.
Greece will counter with a midfield that will have to deal with the suspension of inspirational captain Giorgos Karagounis. The Greeks will look to sit defensively and will probably drop winger/striker Dimitris Salpingidis into the midfield to help stifle the German attack. Sokratis Papastathopolous and Kostas Katsouranis will have to pick up the slack and look for Ninis and Salpingidis to check back into a more defensive role. The Greeks will try to bog this game down in the midfield and at times will have all of their midfield in the defensive third of the field.
Defense- The Germans still have some questions in regards to their back four. Mats Hummels has been outstanding and Phillip Lahm has been his usual self, providing stellar defense while helping out with the attack on the wing. Holger Badstuber and Jerome Boateng will probably be in the lineup to complete the German backline. Boateng is coming off suspension and Badstuber seems to be a safe choice than anyone else the Germans have on their bench. Historically, the German defense has been their strength, but this is not the case. The German defense is susceptible to lapses and the Greeks hope they can cash in on one of those lapses.
The Greeks will probably play with five in defense making their lineup look more like a 1-4-5 for most of the game. Vasilis Torosidis has been remarkably solid and Kyriakos Papadopoulis has stepped in admirably for his namesake who went out with an injury earlier in the tournament. They will play for a low scoring game and hope that they can keep Germany off of the board with sheer grit and tenacity.
Goal- The German keeper, Manuel Neuer, is one of the world’s best goalies. He is extremely active and has world class reflexes that allow him to get to balls that other can’t. He will have to be sharp and into the game because the Greeks will not get many chances. He has to be wary and not let the Greeks capitalize on one of their limited opportunities.
The Greek keeper, Michalis Sifakis, played well against the Russians and I anticipate he will get the start against Germany. He is athletic and physically gifted. He will have to play the game of his life in the hopes of keeping a clean sheet to give his team the chance to win.
Overall- Germany has the skill, pedigree and physical prowess to knock out the Greeks. The Greeks have two things that can keep them in the game for some time though and that is an abundance of courage and heart. I expect the Greeks to try to make this as ugly as possible. They will slow the game down with fouls, stall whenever the can and hope that they can get a 1-0 or extra-time result against the Germans. I just cannot see it happening. It is more likely that the Germans are patient in their approach and systematically break down the Greeks. The Greeks will get desperate towards the end of the game and will get countered to put this game out of reach.
Final- Germany 2 Greece 0
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