soccer June 24, 2012
A TREBLE of second-half goals put Germany into the European Championship semi-finals for a record seventh time yesterday after a 4-2 win over Greece.
Philipp Lahm gave Germany the lead in the 39th minute before Georgios Samaras equalised for Greece in the 55th. But Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus all scored to fire Germany into the semis where they'll meet either England or Italy.
''We made some silly mistakes but at the end we scored four goals,'' Lahm said. ''We had many chances in the first 10-15 minutes.''
German Chancellor Angela Merkel made the trip for the match and stood to cheer every time her team scored. The match was played amid the political backdrop between the countries. Germany has been a major contributor to economic bailouts for Greece and was instrumental in demanding unpopular spending cuts.
Germany dominated nearly the entire match at the Arena Gdansk, but the Greek defence held strong for much of the first half. Lahm finally put his team in front by controlling the ball with his chest and dribbling to the middle before sending a long-distance shot into the corner off the hand of Greece goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis.
The Greeks looked better at the start of the second half, and even equalised when Samaras knocked the ball past Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after a perfect cross from Dimitris Salpigidis.
But after that goal, it was back to being all Germany.
Khedira volleyed in a cross from Jerome Boateng in the 61st, and Klose headed in a free kick from Mesut Oezil in the 68th as Sifakis was late to punch the ball away. Reus made it 4-1 in the 74th, volleying a shot in off the underside of the crossbar. AP