Story by Robin Popley
Heralded as the Euro Bailout Match before Kick-Off, the only thing seperating these two teams after 90 minutes wasn’t their economies, but rather depth and cutting edge: topped by clinical finishing. Nevertheless, Greece (disregarded by many pundits and fans alike, before a ball was even kicked on Friday evening), put on a good showing for their travelling support and Television Cameras. An example to the rest of Europe that, despite adversity, sport can really bring a nation together.
The game, as predicted, was started stronger by the Germans. However, somewhat surprisingly, they showed they were only mortal after failing to capitalise on a string of opportunities the Greecians had almost handed to them on a plate. Anymore gratitude from the men in blue and Merkel may have thought her bailout repayments were arriving sooner rather than later.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the 39th Minute, after German captain: Philip Lahm had woven clear, to curl the ball into the top of the Greek net. A top finish for a pretty dominant showing. Greece, like on day one, must have thought to themselves will our luck every change?
Sometimes in football there is some justice. Even if slight. For Greece, their justice came ten minutes into the second half. The man, with the same surname as their country’s new Prime Minister, slid the ball past Neuer in the German goal to level the match at one-a-piece. Samaras and his team mates ran over to their supporters. Then to the bench to celebrate with one another. It was probably one of the most poignant moments of the Championships to date: surreal but touching. You’d have to be pretty cold hearted not to feel a bit of joy for them, especially, after these past few months. Sport once again defining people; a la South Africa 1995 in the Rugby World Cup.
Sadly, their joy was short-lived, as Germany once again took the lead not long afterwards. Khedira slamming the ball home only 6 minutes after Greece had equalised. Sifakis stood no chance as the ball thundered past him.
It wouldn’t be long before Germany extended their lead, as Miroslav Klose nodded home from a free-kick in the 68th minute before Reus scored in the 74th to complete the rout and complete a superb individual performance by the young German star.
However, somewhat fittingly, it would be Greece who had the final word as their man-of-the-tournament, Salpingidis slotted home from the spot, after they had been awarded a somewhat soft penalty. Nevertheless, it was no less than the Greeks deserved and they can go home now, heads held high.
As for Germany: the march towards the final continues!