No bailout for Greece vs. German onslaught

Jon Super/Associated Press

Miroslav Klose’s goal was the second in a three-goal, second-half barrage from Germany, which broke a 1-1 tie en route to a 4-2 win over goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis and Greece in Friday’s Euro 2012 quarterfinal.

By Chris LehourItes
AP Sports Writer

GDANSK, Poland

Germany scored three second-half goals to reach the European Championship semifinals for a record seventh time after a 4-2 win over Greece on Friday.

Philipp Lahm gave Germany the lead in the 39th minute before Georgios Samaras equalized for Greece in the 55th. But Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus all scored to pull Germany clear. Greece got a consolation penalty in the 89th by Dimitris Salpigidis.

“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 a political background 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 defense held strong for much of the first half. Lahm finally put his team in front by controlling the ball with his chest and dribbling toward 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 equalized when Samaras knocked the ball past Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer after a perfect cross from Dimitris Salpigidis.

“When we conceded a second goal, we had to open up. and that cost us,” Salpigidis said. “I hope the Greeks got some encouragement from watching us fighting.”

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 after Sifakis had saved a shot from Klose.

“One-one was unnecessary, but we kept looking for chances,” Reus said. “We kept attacking, and the goals finally came.”

Salpigidis added a consolation penalty for Greece in the 89th after Boateng handled the ball.

Germany coach Joachim Loew dropped his three main forwards for the match, including leading striker Mario Gomez, but their replacements did just fine.

Klose constantly troubled the Greek defense and linked up well with Oezil and Andre Schuerrle.

“We made it to the last eight, and this is very important,” Papastathopoulos said. “The Netherlands didn’t make it, and we are talking about a very big country in football terms.”

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