Sat, June 23, 2012
Sports > Soccer > 2012 European Championship

Germany thrashes Greece to reach Euro 2012 semis

2012-06-23 01:31:56 GMT2012-06-23 09:31:56(Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

Germany's Miroslav Klose celebrates after scoring a goal against Greece during their Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match at the PGE Arena in Gdansk June 22, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

Germany's Philipp Lahm (L) scores a goal against Greece's Michalis Sifakis past Kyriakos Papadopoulos (R) during their Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match at the PGE Arena in Gdansk, June 22, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

Greece's goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis (top) fails to save a goal by Germany's Sami Khedira during their Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match at the PGE Arena in Gdansk June 22, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

Germany's Marco Reus (R) celebrates with Jerome Boateng after he scored the fourth goal against Greece during their Euro 2012 quarter-final soccer match at the PGE Arena in Gdansk, June 22, 2012. [Photo/Agencies]

GDANSK, Poland, June 22 (Xinhua) -- Germany showed their champion-level strength by sweeping past Greece 4-2 to reach Euro 2012 semifinals on Friday night.

Philipp Lahm's powerful strike, Sami Khedira's volley, Miroslav Klose's header and Marco Reus' last shot inspired Germany to keep 100% record at this tournament and play either England or Italy in the last-four battle in Warsaw on June 28.

"No matter whom we will meet, the next step for us is to go to the finals. We want to achieve it," said German playmaker Mesut Oezil, who was voted as the man of the match.

Greece, who upset Russia to progress from Group A, failed to find their rhythm throughout this lop-sided match despite being boosted by Giorgos Samaras' equalizer and Dimitris Salpingidis' late penalty.

Germany has refreshed their advantageous record against Greece by six wins and three draws, igniting the passion of their fanatic supporters at the 39,150-capacity Gdansk Arena, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel also appeared in the stands.

"The Chancellor showed her praises and congratulations to us," added by Oezil.

Germany head coach Joachim Low made a bold selection by giving four changes to his starting lineup for the encounter. Jerome Boateng returned from suspension to his regular right defending role while two young wingers Marco Reus, Andre Schuerrle and veteran Miroslav Klose all made their first appearances.

"Though they put in many new faces, they are equally good as the first-choice players. As I said before the tournament, Germany and Spain are favorites to win the title. Low made a right decision to give chances to young players," said Greece's head coach Fernando Santos.

The youngest squad at this tournament started solid and gave no chance to the opponents, dominating the game with a near 70% possession and 26 shots in total, which are three times of Greece.

The fullback Lahm showed his attacking talent with six minutes left in the first half. The German captain cut in from left flank, rounded a defender and struck a swerving shot near the edge of the area to send the ball in the dead corner.

Greece launched a counterattack 10 minutes into the second half when left winger Samaras ran onto a sharp pass to the near post and made a cool finish before a desperate save from Manuel Neuer.

However, the fans of Greece got another blow just after six minutes when Khedira in the middle of the area connected well with Jerome Boateng's pass to deliver a volley and restore Germany's lead.

The starting forward Klose proved his value in the 68th minute when he grabbed a header in the area to make it 3-1 and leave no suspense for the match.

Greece produced their last goal in the tournament by a well-placed penalty in the last minute of regular time after the young gun Reus fired in a Germany's fourth goal in the area.

"I just thought about the change after the group campaign. Greece knew our formation well. So today I wanted to make our team unpredictable. I fielded onto three different type players. All of them did well," said coach Low.

Germany are now on a run of 15 consecutive competitive victories, refreshing their national team record.

"We are in the fourth successive semifinals in big tournaments (2006, 2008 and 2010). We won 15 official games in a row. No one would think about that after 2004. The team are very young and have great future. I was proud of what they did today," added by the coach.

For the next opponent England or Italy, Low said every team in the last four had the talents to win the title.

"England are well organized and dangerous in counter-attack. Italy are great in the back. Just a small thing can decide the match in this level. We don't allow that to happen."

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