Greece to take on Germany in ultimate grudge match

After Greece’s surprise win against Russia on Saturday night and Germany’s 2-1 victory over Denmark in the European championships on Sunday, the two countries will now face each other in a quarterfinal on Friday. Given the tensions, the prospect has filled Greeks with hope that, on the football pitch at least, they will be able to come out on top.

“Bring us Merkel,” demanded Goal News after the defeat of Russia. “You will never get Greece out of the euro.” The German chancellor was also the subject of various bellicose chants in Omonia Square on Saturday night, when football fans bedecked in blue and white and waving flags descended into the centre of Athens and indulged in a brief outpouring of national pride.

Captain Giorgos Karagounis, star of Greece’s legendary 2004 championship victors and scorer of Saturday’s winning goal, said the country’s debt woes had encouraged the players to perform on the pitch. “When we left Greece, we all said, ‘Really give it everything,'” he told reporters. “We would have anyway, but the [hardship] made us fight more.”

Twitter was awash with jokes ahead of the piquant Friday showdown. “If Greece get Germany in the quarterfinals, will Angela Merkel try to tell the Greeks how many goals they have to concede?” wondered @Nndroid.

Group of Death
Germany advanced to the quarterfinals as defender Lars Bender scored his first international goal to seal their 2-1 win over Denmark.

After Portugal’s 2-1 win over Holland in Kharkiv, another three points at Arena Lviv confirmed Germany as Group B winners with three victories while Portugal progress as runners-up from the so-called “Group of Death”.

Lukas Podolski, who was making his 100th appearance for Germany, celebrated his century with the opening goal on 19 minutes which was cancelled out by a Michael Krohn-Dehli just five minutes later before Bender’s late winner.

“Independent of the goal, that was my first start [for Germany], so it was something special,” beamed Bender.

“We were trying to get that second goal, I just saw the goal in front of me and it was a bit lucky.

“I am not used to being in that position but it felt good to be there.”

Essential changes
Having made his debut in the 2-2 friendly draw with Poland last September, the 23-year-old Bender was making his ninth appearance for Germany, while twin brother Sven, who plays for Borussia Dortmund, was cut from the squad.

Both coaches made only essential changes to their start line-ups.

Germany’s Joachim Loew opted for Bayer Leverkusen’s Bender at right-back for Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng, who was suspended after picking up a yellow card in their 2-1 win over Holland last Wednesday.

Likewise, Denmark’s Morten Olsen brought Jakob Poulsen into the midfield for veteran forward Dennis Rommedahl, who damaged his hamstring in their 3-2 defeat to Portugal.

The Germans started at pace and only a superb block by Denmark goalkeeper Stephan Andersen from a Thomas Mueller low drive on six minutes denied the Germans.

Germany got the break through when Mueller fired his pass across the Denmark goal and Gomez let the ball roll for man-of-the-match Podolski to drill his shot home for his 44th international goal.

Shock win
The Germans held the lead for five minutes before Bendtner headed back from a corner and Krohn-Dehli, who also scored in the Danes’ shock 1-0 win over Holland, got his head to the ball before the German defence.

It was 1-1 at the break but midfielder Jakub Poulson, in for hamstring injury-victim Rommedahl, clipped the post with his shot on 51 minutes.

The game’s tempo dropped noticeably in the second-half with Germany’s midfield star Mesut Ozil looking flat as the Danish defenders constantly thwarted the Germans.

Podolski was brought off with 25 minutes left as Leverkusen’s Andre Schuerrle was given his chance and he soon tested Andersen with a shot.

With ten minutes to go, Germany counter attacked at pace. Ozil squared for the grateful Bender and the right-back calmly slotted past Andersen to seal victory. – Guardian, AFP

Advertisting

Study unpacks the ‘hidden racism’ at Stellenbosch

Students say they feel unseen and unheard at the university because of their skin colour

Workers’ R60m ‘lost’ in banks scam

An asset manager, VBS Mutual Bank and a Namibian bank have put the retirement funds of 26 000 municipal workers in South Africa at risk

‘Judge President Hlophe tried to influence allocation of judges to...

Deputy Judge President Patricia Goliath accuses Hlophe of attempting to influence her to allocate the case to judges he perceived as ‘favourably disposed’ to former president Jacob Zuma

SAA grounds flights due to low demand

SAA is working to accommodate customers on its sister airlines after it cancelled flights due to low demand
Advertising

Press Releases

MTN unveils TikTok bundles

Customised MTN TikTok data bundles are available to all prepaid customers on *136*2#.

Marketers need to reinvent themselves

Marketing is an exciting discipline, offering the perfect fit for individuals who are equally interested in business, human dynamics and strategic thinking. But the...

Upskill yourself to land your dream job in 2020

If you received admission to an IIE Higher Certificate qualification, once you have graduated, you can articulate to an IIE Diploma and then IIE Bachelor's degree at IIE Rosebank College.

South Africans unsure of what to expect in 2020

Almost half (49%) of South Africans, 15 years and older, agree or strongly agree that they view 2020 with optimism.

KZN teacher educators jet off to Columbia University

A group of academics were selected as participants of the programme focused on PhD completion, mobility, supervision capacity development and the generation of high-impact research.

New-style star accretion bursts dazzle astronomers

Associate Professor James O Chibueze and Dr SP van den Heever are part of an international team of astronomers studying the G358-MM1 high-mass protostar.

2020 risk outlook: Use GRC to build resilience

GRC activities can be used profitably to develop an integrated risk picture and response, says ContinuitySA.

MTN voted best mobile network

An independent report found MTN to be the best mobile network in SA in the fourth quarter of 2019.