Four-star Germans blast Greeks to reach Euro semis

Gdansk (Poland), Jun 23: Germany booked their place in the last four of Euro 2012 as Joachim Loew's side hammered Greece 4-2 after dominating their quarter-final.

Germany ran riot yesterday as captain Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira, veteran striker Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus all got on the score-sheet to cancel out Giorgos Samaras' and Dimitris Salpingidis' second-half strikes for the Greeks.

Germany will now play England or Italy, who meet in tomorrow's Kiev quarter-final, in the semi-final at Warsaw's National Stadium on Thursday as they inflicted Greece's heaviest defeat at a European championships.

It eclipsed the Greeks' 3-1 defeat at the hands of Czechoslovakia in 1980. The Germans dominated at Arena Gdansk with 700 first-half passes completed compared to the Greeks 70 and the Germans' ball possession never dropped below 60 per cent.

"That was a class performance from the team to reach the semi-finals for the fourth time in a row," said Loew with the Germans having reached the semi-finals at both the last two World Cups and lost the Euro 2008 final.

"We can be proud of the team, it was clear that the Greeks could make something out of nothing. "We failed to take an early lead, but we did not panic. "There were a few changes and I thought I had to change things after three wins."

Loew pulled off a pre-match triple surprise by leaving out striker Mario Gomez, plus forwards Lukas Podolski and Thomas Mueller in a bold move. Klose won his 120th cap to come in for Gomez to claim his 64th international goal leaving him just four short of Gerd Mueller's all-time Germany record.

Borussia Dortmund-bound Reus capped his first Euro 2012 appearance with a goal at Mueller's expense to win only his seventh cap while Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schuerrle took Lukas Podolski's place on the left wing.


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