Euro 2012: Five things we learned from Germany v Greece

by Neil Sherwin

A change will do you good

German boss Joachim Low surprised many with his decision to change three of his attacking players for the game as Mario Gomez, Lukas Podolski and Thomas Mueller made way for Miroslav Klose, Andre Schurrle and Marco Reus.

They were still of course heavy favourites with all betting sites, including FREEbets, but it was still something of a bold move.

“To be cheeky is a good thing,” said Low of the team selection.

“Today it was the time to bring in some fresh faces and different types of players who could do a job and I think it worked very well.”

It worked very well with both Klose and Reus finding the net and Schurrle registering six shots on goal, though just one of them was on target.

Low has now left himself with a pleasant selection headache ahead of the semi final against Italy or England.

Samaras is the Greek trojan donkey

I had high hopes for Giorgios Samaras when he signed for Manchester City in 2006. The lanky forward looked like he could be one of those unpredictable playes with deceptive skill and pace that are a nightmare for defenders.

Sadly I was wrong.

A poor tackle on Sami Khedira inside the first few minutes set the tone for Samaras’ performance, and within fifteen minutes he had committed two more fouls to pick up the first booking of the game.

With Greece looking to play on the counter, they needed an outlet to pose the German defence genuine problems but Samaras looked far from threatening in the first half.

Credit where it’s due of course as he popped up in the six yard box to touch home Dimitris Salpingidis’ cross for the equaliser, but that sort of awareness and run to get on the end of ball in the area is much more the exception than the rule with Samaras.

The Germans are resolute

You don’t make it to the semi finals of 20 tournaments in 28 attempts without having a winning mentality, and Germany emphatically displayed theirs last night having relinquished their half time lead.

“At 1-1, our control had slipped,” said Marco Reus.

“So it was great to come back. We kept attacking and the goals finally came.”

Indeed they did, with three in just thirteen minutes to blow the Greeks out of the water and put to bed any doubt about the outcome.

Greece need to find a goalkeeper

Conditions admittedly weren’t ideal for goalkeepers at The Municipal Stadium in Gdansk but there is simply no excusing the amount of spillages by Greek goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis who had a very average night.

Greece began the Euros with the oldest player in the tournament, 38 year old Kostas Chalkias, between the posts but a first half injury against the Czechs saw Sifakis given the nod.

Against Germany he looked dodgy from the outset, and picked up a facial injury off the first of his dropped balls which did little to inspire confidence.

With some exciting young talent at the back in the form of Giorgos Tzavelas, Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Sokratis Papastathopoulos, it would be disappointing to see their efforts wasted thanks to a poor last line of defence.

There’s life in the old dog yet

After an injury interrupted season with Lazio in Serie A, many wondered what sort of role Miroslav Klose would have to play at Euro 2012.

With Mario Gomez in such devastating form for Bayern Munich, his chance of game time looked slim given Germany’s tactics of playing just one central striker.

However, as already mentioned, Low changed things up last night and gave the 34 year old an opportunity to do what he does best at international tournaments – score goals.

Klose, who is the only player to score five goals or more at consecutive World Cups, now has 64 goals in 118 games for the national team and even if he doesn’t get the nod to start in the semi final, he’s a fantastic option to have on the bench.

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