Germany the Team to Beat
June 25, 2012
Confirmation arrived on Friday that Germany, barring a semi-final collapse, are the team to beat at Euro 2012.
The surprise (and brave) decision by coach, Joachim Loew, to leave out heavyweights, Mario Gomez, Lukas Podolski, and Thomas Mueller, was vindicated by goals from replacements, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus, in a 4-2 win against the Euro 2004 winners, Greece.
Loew had spent much of the build-up insisting that he would not underestimate the Greeks, but a scintillating performance and pace and power meant that he avoided the custard pie he privately would have feared.
The three-time winners, who had 76 per cent of possession, and 26 attempts on goal, won at a canter, as the live in-play betting previews had predicted.
This is a Germany side ready to peak, and a destructive fusion of fearless youth and wily campaigners makes them opponents to avoid like the plague.
Greece sat deep in the trenches, but the compelling statistic that they did not have one touch of the ball in Germany’s penalty area in the first half meant an upset was never on the cards.
If the good Lord has his way, they will meet the holders, Spain, in the Euro 2012 final, in what would be a fascinating clash of styles.
Boxing scribes have long lectured that styles make fights, and Germany and Spain offers neutrals the chance to see the gunslinger and counter-puncher slug it out.
Las Rojas, easy winners over a toothless France, on Saturday, despite playing without a recognised centre-forward, must first jab away at in-form Iberian neighbours, Portugal, in the last four, before hoping to land the knock-out blow.
Germany will take on the winners of the remaining semi-final between England and Italy. Fans placing online bets are anticipating a close encounter between the Three Lions and the Azzurri.