Germany v Greece, 19:45
2004 European Champions Greece will know that tonight they are expected to lose, and lose heavily, as they face the side that most people are picking for an appearance in the final as a bare minimum. Germany haven’t won a competition since 1996, and the fact this is an issue for them shows how ridiculous of England fans it is to pretend they are our rivals and not our superiors, and this squad has every ingredient needed to end that sixteen-year run this summer.
In Bastian Schweinsteiger and Philip Lahm they have players right at the top of the tree, not to mention Mesut Ozil, a genuine maestro of the kind not always produced by the German side. The squad is also well-selected in terms of good back-up being available if players get injured, and the question marks over Gomez and Neuer fade with each imperial performance. It has been hard for the big teams to assert their superiority at times, but I would back Joachim Low’s team to come through this and make the semi.
Greece may have a little chip on their shoulders, if Germany will lend them the euros to buy one, about the amount of press in Germany that has focussed on Eurozone issues before this match. if the men in blue can get a win they’ll be over the moon, and the likes of Das Bild will have a giant, humble Bavarian pie to eat. The Greeks have the attacking sensibilities of Wimbledon circa 1990 at times, but I suspect the German ‘confidence’ may have the neutrals shouting for a Hellenic victory.
Greece captain Giorgios Karagounis serves a one-game ban after picking up his second yellow card of the tournament against Russia. He could be replaced by AEK Athens midfielder Grigoris Makos or PAOK’s Giorgos Fotakis. Germany right-back Jerome Boateng is available after missing the win against Denmark through suspension. His replacement, midfielder Lars Bender, will hope to keep his place after scoring against the Danes.
Germany are 1/3 favourites with StanJames, and the best price on Greece is BetDaq’s 56/5 as winners by any means, so I think the 5/1 on a 2-0 German win with WilliamHill is my pick. Coral have 10/3 on Gomez as first scorer, if you’d prefer to go down that route.