Fri, Jun 22, 2012 - Page 20 News List

EURO 2012: Germany plan to tire wily Greece

Reuters, GDANSK, POLAND

Germany are planning to bide their time and eventually wear down defensive-minded Greece when they meet in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals today.

The Germans advanced through Group B with three wins from three games, but are bracing for a much tougher defense than what they faced against Portugal, Netherlands and Denmark.

Greece conceded only five goals in 10 qualifiers, though they also let in three goals in three Group A games, advancing as runners-up behind the Czech Republic.

“We got a small taste of what we can expect when we faced the Danes,” Germany holding midfielder Sami Khedira said of their 2-1 victory on Sunday.

“Greece are a very compact team, tactically very strong, well organized and aggressive. They are also fast on the breaks and if you see that they had three or four chances in the tournament so far and scored three goals, you can tell they are masters of efficiency,” he said.

“So patience will be necessary from our side. We have to move because if we remain static it will be very difficult against them. We have to wear them out, tire them out and keep moving,” he said.

Germany, who will have defender Jerome Boateng back after missing the last game through suspension, will meet either England or Italy in the last four should they advance against the seemingly weaker Greece.

Asked whether he was happy to have avoided a potential match-up with world and European champions Spain in the semi-finals if they beat Greece, Khedira refused to speculate.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a fervent supporter of the team, will be hoping there are none as she attends the game, but her presence could trigger the ire of Greek fans, angered by Berlin’s backing of an austerity plan for the debt-ridden nation.

Both teams have played down the political connotations of the game and Greece will be looking to cause an upset only on the pitch, even without suspended captain Giorgos Karagounis.

Greece coach Fernando Santos has yet to reveal who will replace the inspirational midfielder, but it is likely to be Grigoris Makos, a more defensive player, who will try to break up German attacks early.

“There is an atmosphere of self-sacrifice in this team,” midfielder Kostas Katsouranis said. “All 11 players will give it all we have got. We have been successful as a team where each one player plays for the team, and that is what we will do again.”

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