By Jason York, ESPN Stats & Information
Germany’s domination in the attacking third of the field Friday against Greece sparked the Germans to a 4-2 win in the quarterfinals of EURO 2012.
No other team since group play began in 1980 had more touches in the attacking third of the field (349) and completed more passes into the attacking third (271) in a single game than Germany did against Greece. In contrast, Greece set group-play era lows with 26 passes completed into the attacking third and 43 touches in the attacking third.
Attacking midfielder Mesut Özil directed Germany’s forays forward at an extremely high level. No player, since group play began in 1980, had more touches in the attacking third of the field (90) and completed more passes into the attacking third (72) than Özil did Friday.
Özil also created the second-most scoring chances (passes that led directly to shots) in a single EURO game since 1980, bested only by the 10 each from Gary McAllister for Scotland at EURO ’92 and Holland’s Wesley Sneijder in the group stage earlier this tournament.
Germany created 22 scoring chances overall against Greece, its highest total of the tournament and equal to its combined total in its three group stage games.
Left back Philipp Lahm was also vital for Germany going forward against Greece. Lahm scored Germany’s first goal with 26-yard swerving shot from outside the box and completed 30 of 35 passes into the attacking third, the most by a defender in this tournament and third-best single-game total since 1980. Only fellow defender German Andreas Brehme (83 in EURO ’92) has completed more passes into the attacking third in a single tournament since 1980.
Greece was able to create its only true danger by crossing the ball, especially over its last two games. Greece completed 7 of 25 crosses in its last two games and created six scoring chances from those crosses, including a cross from Dimitris Salpingidis that Georgios Samaras finished off against Germany.