Germany into semi-finals as Greece resistance crumbles

Germany 4 Greece 2

Germany eased ominously into the semi-finals of Euro 2012 - where they will meet either England or Italy - as Greece's resistance finally crumbled.

Having set out to frustrate from the off, once they fell behind to Philipp Lahm's goal just before half-time the 2004 champions were always up against it.

Having equalised somewhat unexpectedly through Celtic forward Giorgios Samaras they could not hold on for very long, and goals from Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus merely reflected the dominance of the three-time winners of this tournament before Dimitris Salpingidis' late penalty.

On the four previous occasions Germany have won a last-eight encounter they have reached the final, and this performance increased the likelihood of them making it five.

For a long time in the first half it appeared they might regret a number of missed chances, but once Lahm broke the deadlock there was only going to be one winner.

Greece, who have now have never beaten their opponents in nine competitive matches, scrambled, scampered and blocked their way towards half-time only for the Germany captain to fire home a swerving effort from outside the penalty area six minutes before the break.

It allowed coach Joachim Low to breathe a little easier after making four changes from the side which beat Denmark, the most notable being handing Klose his 120th cap at the expense of three-goal Mario Gomez.

After the Lazio striker had an early effort ruled out for offside, when Michalis Sifakis had fumbled Khedira's shot, Germany laid siege to Greece's goal.

Excellent movement and passing had the Greeks manning a determined rearguard effort, but even when that was breached Mesut Ozil shot weakly at Sifakis after being set up by the impressive Reus, who had already sliced one shot wide.

Klose failed to get on the end of Reus' cross-shot and Khedira had Sifakis scrambling with another shot before Lahm made the 39th-minute breakthrough, the left-back cutting in from an advanced position to smash in a swerving shot.

The advantage should have been much greater, however, and Germany were made to pay 10 minutes after the break when out of nowhere Greece equalised.

Substitute Theofanis Gekas released Salpingidis on a quick break down the right, and when he slid over a teasing cross Samaras poked home at the far post.

They were level for only six minutes, though, as Khedira, Germany's supposed defensive linchpin in midfield, timed his run from deep perfectly to volley home from Jerome Boateng's assist.

Klose ensured the Greeks could not produce another 2004 upset when he powered home a header from Ozil's free-kick as Sifakis came but got nowhere near the cross, and Reus lashed in a volley off the underside of the crossbar after Klose's shot rebounded off the goalkeeper.

Salpingidis converted a late penalty, generously awarded for Boateng's handball, but it was little consolation.

PA

Sport
Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi during Barcelona training in August
footballPete Jenson co-ghost wrote Suarez’s autobiography and reveals how desperate he's been to return
News
newsMcKamey Manor says 'there is no escape until the tour is completed'
Voices
Hunted: A stag lies dead on Jura, where David Cameron holidays and has himself stalked deer
voicesThe Scotland I know is becoming a playground for the rich
News
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Architect Frank Gehry is regarded by many as the most important architect of the modern era
arts + entsGehry has declared that 98 per cent of modern architecture is "s**t"
Money
Welcome to tinsel town: retailers such as Selfridges will be Santa's little helpers this Christmas, working hard to persuade shoppers to stock up on gifts
news
Arts and Entertainment
Soul singer Sam Smith cleared up at the Mobo awards this week
newsSam Smith’s Mobo triumph is just the latest example of a trend
News
Laurence Easeman and Russell Brand
people
Sport
Fans of Dulwich Hamlet FC at their ground Champion Hill
footballFans are rejecting the £2,000 season tickets, officious stewarding, and airline-stadium sponsorship
News
Shami Chakrabarti
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has refused to deny his involvement in the upcoming new Star Wars film
filmBenedict Cumberbatch reignites Star Wars 7 rumours
Sport
football
News
news
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker