Germany 4-2 Greece: near-total dominance

June 22, 2012
Germany 4-2 Greece: near-total dominance

Germany thrashed a poor Greece side to progress to the semi-finals with ease.

Jogi Low, as widely reported before the game, changed three of his front four. Mesut Ozil remained, but Marco Reus, Andre Schurrle and Miroslav Klose replaced Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez.

Fernando Santos was without Giorgos Karagounis from the centre of midfield, so Grigoris Makis played instead. Sotiris Ninis played on the right, with Dmitri Salpingidis upfront.

Greece tried to soak up pressure, but simply weren’t good enough defensively and Germany constantly created chances. Read more »

Germany v Greece preview

June 22, 2012
Germany v Greece preview

On paper, this is the most one-sided of the four quarter-finals. Germany qualified the most impressively of the eight quarter-finalists, while Greece squeezed through with just four points.

Team news

Greek coach Fernando Santos is without two players because of suspension. Giorgos Karagounis is absent from the centre of midfield, while left-back Jose Holebas is also unavailable, though might not have started anyway.

Jogi Löw doesn’t have such problems – in fact, he has Jerome Boateng back after a ban – but reports in today’s German newspapers suggest he’s set to make radical changes in the final third. Most importantly, it seems certain that Miroslav Klose will start instead of Mario Gomez upfront. On the flanks, Andre Schurrle is challenging Lukas Podolski for a starting place, while Marco Reus could play instead of Thomas Muller. It would be a surprise if Löw changed three of his front four, and probably unnecessary considering their 100% record so far. Read more »

Portugal 1-0 Czech Republic: Ronaldo a constant threat and eventually gets the winner

June 21, 2012
Portugal 1-0 Czech Republic: Ronaldo a constant threat and eventually gets the winner

Cristiano Ronaldo was a greater goalscoring threat than the Czech side put together, as Portugal narrowly won a game that should have been safe much earlier.

Paulo Bento named an unchanged side again – he’s played this XI in Portugal’s last six competitive games, four at the Euros, two in the play-offs against Bosnia.

Michael Bilek was without Tomas Rosicky again, and used Vladimir Darida rather than Daniel Kolar in Rosicky’s attacking midfield role.

This was a one-sided game, with Portugal superior all over the pitch. Read more »

Czech Republic v Portugal preview

June 21, 2012
Czech Republic v Portugal preview

This is a battle between two reasonably similar teams. They may play different formations, but they have the same problems – and, most interestingly, will look to play down the same flank.

9 and 10?

The first similarity the lack of a prolific number nine. Milan Baros and Helder Postiga have both started all three games, but Milan Baros has had two shots in the competition (no goals) and Helder Postiga has had three (one goal). They’re simply not a consistent goal threat, and the main part of their job is holding the ball up, drawing fouls and linking with the wide players.

The second similarity is the absence of a creative attacking midfielder. We knew this about Portugal before the competition started, but for the Czechs it’s a new development. Tomas Rosicky’s injury means he’ll probably be on the bench tonight, and replacement Daniel Kolar struggles to replicate Rosicky’s impact upon matches. Read more »