Portugal dispatched Czech Republic rather easily in the first quarterfinal, and we can only hope the next three matches are more exciting. Portugal outshot their opponents 20-2. We knew it didn’t have the same buildup as the other quarterfinals, but the game was quite boring. Quarterfinal No. 2 isn’t expected to be that thrilling despite the news outlets’ attempts at making it so. Maybe it’s because CNN is a news network, but they keep tying Greece vs. Germany into the economic and political situation in Europe. I hate to break it to them, but Germany isn’t going to throw the match because it’ll positively influence the population of Greece. It’s a frigging soccer contest.
1 – Does Greece have a chance?
Germany is the best team in the tournament and Greece is the worst team remaining, having barely qualified for the knockout stage. Greece is a +825 underdog, so they have no shot, right? It’d be unwise to completely doubt Greece. They did something similar in 2004 by upsetting powerhouse France at this same stage before eventually winning the title. Anything is possible…
2 – How can Greece shut down the strong Germany attack?
The best thing the Greeks can do is park the bus and hope to counterattack. They’ll need to make sure they always have at least eight guys back on defense. Germany is a really good counterattacking team themselves, but they haven’t been able to do much of that in this tournament because they’ve faced teams who have let them control the play. Greece would be wise to focus on Mesut Özil. While Mario Gomez has been scoring the goals, it’s Özil who has been Germany’s best attacking player this tournament and is the cog to their offensive efficiency. The Germans also like to attack the flanks, so Greece will need to keep the game played in the middle third of the field.
3 – Where can Greece find a goal?
Georgios Samaras is an aerial threat and can be a target man for long ball layoffs. The goal will have to come on a header from Samaras off a corner or free kick from Giorgios Karagounisor. Dimitris Salpigidis has been Greece’s best attacking player so far. The Greeks won’t win this game if they have to score two goals.
4 – How does Germany avoid a disaster?
An early goal solves all ills. If Germany gets on the score sheet in the first 20 minutes, Greece will gradually have to be more aggressive. If they don’t increase their attacking play when down a goal, their opportunities to score will be very limited. Sadly for them it’s a double-edged sword as it could lead to more German goals. Germany just needs to stay patient and take care of business.
5 – So who wins?
This is Germany’s tournament to lose. They haven’t played the prettiest games so far, but they’ve done what they’ve had to do. They’re not ones to get flustered easily and should be able to eventually open up Greece like a nice can of Bumble Bee tuna.
Final Score: Germany 3 Greece 1
Over 2.5 goals in the game (-125)
Germany to win the second half (-166)