Sabtu, 23 Juni 2012

Greece bails out as Germans advance

The markets don't lie. Germany holds the whip-hand over Greece. And despite a heroic comeback straight out of Euripides, Teutonic willpower triumphed and the odyssey ended in Gdansk.

Georgios Samaras' unlikely equaliser came courtesy of a cheeky shirt-pull, an infringement all too visibly unpunished throughout Euro 2012.

4-2 was a convincing result and Germany's 15th consecutive competitive win, although let us not get carried away about the DFB. Greece had a straggly defence and were probably waiting to be exposed by a good team after surprisingly edging past Russia in the group stage.

If their game-plan was based on defending in deep and hitting Germany on the break and at set-pieces, they did not play the counter-attack well enough and allowed their opponents too many scoring chances. Croatia by comparison, did a far better job of trying to beat Spain, frustrating La Roja's superiority for most of the game and almost nicking the game with timely raids, foiled by bad finishing.

Germany obviously were a good bet to win the tournament going into Euro 2012 and they remain so. But however clinically they finished their chances last night, it is premature to etch their name on the trophy. Spain, Portugal, England and Italy are all still in the competition and none of them will submit so feebly as the Greeks did in Gdansk.

Their elimination came as no surprise but was still a big disappointment for the European nation in the direst straits right now. Success on the international stage can inspire a nation, or at least dull the pain for a while. Greece has more pressing matters to deal with at home now, and may have to look to its illustrious past for inspiration.





- Sean O'Conor


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