Greece put a scare into Germany, but the drama truly lasted only six minutes as Sami Khedira’s splendid volley sparked an onslaught that put the Germans through to the Euro 2012 semifinals with a 4-2 victory.
It had been a dominant performance in the first half – one in which Germany held the ball for extended amounts of time. Greece packed it inside their own half, nary venturing out to pressure the heavily-favored Germans. The result was 364 completed passes for Germany and just 61 for Greece.
Despite that dominance, Germany held just a 1-0 advantage at halftime, courtesy of a fine finish from Philipp Lahm.
In the 39th minute, the defender took possession on the left side, took two heavy touches toward the middle and smacked a shot with the outside of his right foot that curled away from Greece goalkeeper Michalis Sifakis and into the upper netting.
It appeared, though, that Greece would perhaps have enough magic to upset Germany in the second half, perhaps recreating their stunning run to the 2004 European Championship.
A textbook counterattack sprung Dimitrios Salpingidis, who crossed to an onrushing Georgios Samaras. The forward slid and got a touch onto the cross, putting it past Manuel Neuer and stunning the Germans to even the score at one.
Not 20 minutes later, however, the score was 4-1.
Germany needed just six minutes to take the lead again on a clinical volley from Khedira on the end of a cross from Jerome Boateng. Seven minutes after that, Miroslav Klose punished Sifakis for a mistake when he headed into an empty net, and Marco Reus’s thunder strike on a rebound in the 74th minute sealed the well-deserved victory for Germany.
An 89th minute penalty kick from Salpingidis provided the final tally.