Euro 2012 Live Blog: Germany Comfortable Winners Over Greece in First-Ever ‘Bailout Game’

Euro 2012 Live Blog: Germany Comfortable Winners Over Greece in First-Ever 'Bailout Game'Final, 4-2 Germany: This one is over, and Germany moves on to the Euro 2012 semifinal. It comfortably wins the “Bailout Game” against Greece, thanks to a clear gulf in class between the two teams.

There were a few moments of tension in the first half, as it looked like Germany might not have luck on its side (when it comes to scoring goals). But its little captain Lahm strode forward and showed those attacking stars how it’s done.

Samaras’ goal set the stage for what could have been the most unbelievable of upsets, but Germany responded by pushing its play into a higher gear. Kehdira, Klose and Reus ensured that Germany would romp its way into the last four.

The Greeks go home with their heads held high, while Germany awaits the winner of England-Italy, which will be determined on Sunday.

That’s all for now and thanks for joining us. Let’s discuss this one on Twitter @NESNsoccer and Facebook. Be sure to keep an eye out for some news, fan reactions, analysis and opinion that is on the way on NESN.com.

89th minute, 4-2 Germany: Salpingidis cooly slots it home, to give Greece the smallest glimmer of hope.

Just kidding, the Greeks are not coming back in this one, but there’s no shame in their game. Scoring twice against the best team in the tournament will go down well with the fans at home — especially the beleaguered ones.

88th minute, 4-1 Germany: Greece is awarded a penalty. Torosidis crossed it in from left and it hit Boateng in the arm.

86th minute, 4-1 Germany: Well so much for those few moments when Greece drew level. What a story that would have made if only we had time to type the title (or even first paragraph of the first chapter).

79th minute, 4-1 Germany: “Super” Mario Gomez comes on for Miroslav “Santa” Klose.

Reus exits and Goetze takes his place.

It is a squad game after all, and you don’t get too many chances to play your squad players in garbage time during a major tournament.

74th minute, 4-1 Germany: The German volley parade is stomping Greece.

Klose shot, Sifakis saved, and the ball bounced into the air. Reus ran onto it and volleyed it into the roof of the empty net. 

68th minute, 3-1 Germany: How do you know it’s a major international tournament? When Klose scores.

The veteran striker jumped over giant defender Papadopoulos to head home a corner kick.

The Greek goalkeeper was lost somewhere in the Mediterranean sea when he should have come off his line and dealt with it.

67th minute, 2-1 Germany: Muller replaces Schurrle. It’s likely the last you’ll see of the youngster at this tournament, but you’ll hear more about him in the future. 

61st minute, 2-1 Germany: Khedira gives Germany the lead with a volley that almost shook the stadium.

Boateng crossed into the area from the right. Klose jumped and missed making contact with the ball, but Khedira burst into the area from the midfield and met it with a perfectly-timed volley.

Greece needs a little more of that magic to tie the game again.

55th minute, 1-1: Just as the commentators were savaging Greece for a lack of courage and effort, Samaras scores to tie the game.

It was precise, counter-attacking soccer that created the goal. The substitute Fotakis sent Salpingidis down the right with a great pass into space.

The Greek forward sprinted forward, crossed it across the face of goal and Samaras (yes, the butcher of Gdansk) slid and knocked it past Neuer. Game on.

46th minute, 1-0 Germany: Gekas is coming on for the second half in place of Tzavellas. Fotakis is replacing young winger Ninis.

Halftime, 1-0 Germany: After 45 minutes, the only surprise is that Germany isn’t leading by more.

The Germans had about a dozen shots in or around the goal, but only converted one.

Lahm is as good an attacking fullback as there is in world soccer, and he showed why. He’s equally comfortable on the left side as he naturally is on the right.

The deficit will force Greece to cut out all the defending and push forward in search of the tying goal. It will only open up more space for Ozil, Schurrle, Klose and friends to exploit.

45th minute, plus two, 1-0 Germany: Schurrle, 21, is looking to make the most of his chance on the big stage.

He’s cutting in from the left and shooting whenever he gets the chance.

It’s unlikely that he’ll play much in the semifinal or final, so he figures his time is now.

39th minute, 1-0 Germany: Not for nothing, but the defending wasn’t good enough.

Lahm had too much space, and Sifakis could have made the save. The ball hit him in the hand.

38th minute, 1-0 Germany: Lahm cuts inside from the left and drills a hard, swerving shot past the goalkeeper with his right foot.

It was reminiscient of that goal he scored against Costa Rica in the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Back then, he used the inside of his foot to curl it around the goalkeeper. Now he hits it with his laces so it bends away from the out-stretched goalkeeper. Both came from similar positions on the field.

37th minute, 0-0: It’s still one-way traffic in this one. Germany is doing what it wants with the ball. Greece has the rare counter attack, which keeps Germany honest, but is offering little else but defense. Yet it remains scoreless.

It’s just like the “negotiations” — if one can even call them that between E.U. power Germany and struggling Greece.

25th minute, 0-0: Germany just had four very good chances to score in quick succession, and Low is going ballistic on the sideline.

Ozil and Reus drew saves from Sifakis. Klose nearly got on the end of a cross (or shot) from Reus. Then Reus blasted a shot from a tight angle wide.

21st minute, 0-0: Greece may trail Germany in quality off the field, but its fans are out-singing and out-chanting their German opponents at this point in the contest.

Their chants are louder (and shorter) when Greece has the ball, and their whistles are louder (and longer) when Germany has it.

15th minute, 0-0: Samaras is the first player to be booked. He stepped on Schweinsteiger’s ankle just minutes after a hard challenge on Khedira left the other German central midfielder writhing in pain.

Samaras could truly become the butcher of Gdansk, Poland.

12th minute, 0-0: Germany boss Joachim Low is gambling on going with youngsters Reus and Schurrle on the wings.

Reus had a chance to put Germany ahead, but he skied his shot well over the bar. It bounced up as he went to strike it. The field isn’t in good condition. It’s wet and coming loose in clumps, which only plays into the Greeks’ advantage.

4th minute, 0-0: Germany already has a goal disallowed, as the referee’s assistant ruled that Schurrle was offside before he slotted his shot past Sifakis.

2:30 p.m. ET: Here are the lineups:

Germany

Manuel Neuer(1), goalkeeper
Jerome Boateng (6), right back
Mats Hummels (5), center back
Helger Badtstuber (14), center back
Philipp Lahm (20), left back
Sami Khedira (6), midfielder
Bastian Schweinsteiger (7), midfielder
Mezut Ozil (8), midfielder
Andre Schurrle (9), forward
Marco Reus (21), forward
Miroslav Klose (11), striker

Substitutes

Tim Wiese (12), goalkeeper
Ron-Robert Zieler (22), goalkeeper
Marcel Schmelzer (3), defender
Benedikt Howedes (4), defender
Per Mertesacker (17), defender
Ilkay Gundogan (2), midfielder
Thomas Muller (13), midfielder
Lars Bender (15), midfielder
Toni Kroos (18), midfielder
Mario Gotze (19), midfielder
Lukas Podolski (10), forward
Mario Gomez (23), striker

Greece

Michalis Sifakis (13), goalkeeper
Vasilis Torosidis (35), right back
Giannis Maniatis (2), center back
Kyriakos Papadopoulos (5), center back
Georgios Tzavellas (3), left back
Sokratis Papastathopoulos (19), midfielder
Grigoris Makos (6), midfielder
Sotiris Ninis (18), midfielder
Konstantinos Katsouranis (21), midfielder
Georgios Samaras (7), striker
Dimitrios Salpingidis (14), striker

Substitutes

Konstantinos Chalkias (1), goalkeeper
Alexandros Tzorvas (12), goalkeeper
Stelios Malezas (4), defender
Georgios Fotakis (16), midfielder
Konstantinos Fortounis (22), midfielder
Giannis Fetfatzidis (23), midfielder
Nikos Liberopoulos (9), forward
Konstantinos Mitroglou (11), striker
Theofanis Gekas (17), striker

2:00 a.m. ET: Rarely do sports and society mix as perfectly as they will on Friday. Germany plays Greece in a quarterfinal of the 2012 UEFA European Championships. The game pits two of the main protagonists of the ongoing European debt crisis against each other.

The contest between Greece and Germany has been dubbed “the Bailout Game,” because German officials want their Greek counterparts to implement austerity measures in return for billions of Euros worth of bailout funds.

Residents of Greece are feeling the pinch, as the reforms affect nearly every aspect of society in that country. Unemployment is uncomfortably high, and the Greek people are looking toward the national team to get one over on their German creditors.

The heavily favored Germans were the only team to win all three of its games in the group stage. They reigned supreme in Group B, the so-called group of death, by beating Portugal, the Netherlands and Denmark. Their performance in the first phase of the competition justified the pre-tournament tag of “favorites” that was attached to the German express.

Greece emerged from Group B as runner-up following a dramatic victory over Russia. Solid in defense and dangerous in the counter-attack, Greece must absorb Germany’s continuous pressure in order to book an improbable place in the semifinal. It will have to do so without its goal-scoring captain Giorgios Karagounis. He will miss the game because of suspension.

Join us at 2 p.m. for our live coverage of Germany-Greece.

Have a question for Marcus Kwesi O’Mard? Send it to him via Twitter at @NESNsoccer, NESN Soccer’s Facebook page or send it here. He will pick a few questions to answer every week for his mailbag.

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