Euro 2012 Day 14

Med Nation In Euro Bailout: Germany 4 – 2 Greece

After the rather predictable tedium of Portugal v Czech Republic, this was the first real knockout match. Indeed, it was the first real grudge match of the tournament (we can comfortably ignore Germany Holland, France Engerland and Italy Practically Anyone). Greece, angered by Germany’s apparent success in everything and their own corrupt ineffectiveness, were on a mission.

Their first aim, to stultify the Germans with a Thermopylae defence, a massed rank of heftily bearded Greeks lined up, arms linked just in front of their goal, was initially successful. The Germans tried to push, pull, romance and roughhouse the ball into the net with consummate failure until captain Lahm simply decided to muller it into the net from 25 yards.

After that the Greeks changed tack. They broke fast and clawed back a goal. Possibly the most bizarre thing about this Greek side has been their reticence to actually attack, especially if you consider how effective they have been when they did. You think back to some of their attacks against Poland, which contained great movement and guile, and this excellent counterattack and then wonder why they should go two down in 6 minutes against the Czechs.

And once they were level, what did the Greeks do? Why fall back into their defensive shell, that’s what. Not a great move when you’re facing the Germans. Cue a couple of really nicely struck goals and it was game over. Not even the softest of soft penalties would prove consolation for the Greeks. For them austerity beckons.

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