EUROPEAN CHAMPIONSHIP

Arena Gdansk, Poland

Attendance: 43000

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Germany

  • Philipp Lahm 39'
  • Sami Khedira 61'
  • Miroslav Klose 68'
  • Marco Reus 74'

4 - 2

FT

Greece

  • Georgios Samaras 55'
  • Dimitris Salpingidis 89' PEN

Defensive austerity Greece's hope

Fernando Santos can bring joy to Greece© PA Photos

A day after Greece's new coalition government declared its intention to stay in the eurozone, the financially stricken nation's football team will be hoping to keep its place at the European Championship.

Greece's path to a quarter-final against Germany has been a tumultuous one. In the first match against Poland they went behind and had a man sent off before fighting back for a draw and missing a penalty. Then came defeat to Czech Republic, which had everyone tipping Fernando Santos' side to finish bottom of Group A, before Saturday's dramatic 1-0 victory over Russia defied footballing logic in the same way the country did time and again eight years ago on their way to winning Euro 2004.

"Today's saga is something comparable to what happened in Portugal," match-winner Giorgos Karagounis said after the Russia game. "We are a new team - a renewed team - and we managed to qualify against everything. I really mean that. We had all the soul and the heart that are the ingredients of our team. We have proven the character of this team."

The absence of Karagounis, the Greek captain and all-time leading appearance maker, through suspension will be keenly felt in the quarter-final. He has been the beating heart of the Greek team for almost 15 years and his big-game experience would have been a real boon against a Germany outfit that are favourites by some distance to claim a semi-final berth.

A tight defence was key to Greece's shock triumph at Euro 2004 and Fernando Santos will look to emulate Otto Rehhagel by packing his midfield and relying on a resilient defence, marshalled commendably so far by centre-backs Kyriakos Papadopoulos and Sokratis Papastathopoulos. They come up against the tournament's current joint-top goalscorer in Mario Gomez and a team that has won its last 14 competitive games and scored in each of its last 19 matches.

Winning all three of their group games, Germany will hope to go forth and conquer as France and Spain have previously done, both nations having become champions after achieving first-round whitewashes in 1984 and 2008 respectively. Led by the creative talents of Mesut Ozil, Joachim Low's players ooze confidence at present and, despite some question marks remaining over their defence, it is difficult to see Germany failing to extend their unbeaten record of five wins and three draws in all eight previous encounters.

Germany player to watch: Bastian Schweinsteiger. Having played in a group that boasted attacking talents in abundance, Schweinsteiger was required to rein in his marauding forward runs a bit in Germany's first three games in order to maintain defensive balance. However, against Greece it is likely that the midfielder, set to win his 94th cap, will be unleashed from his midfield patrol and given a little more freedom to swarm upfield and make the sort of ghosting late runs he has become renowned for over the years.

Greece player to watch: Dimitris Salpingidis. Down to ten men and losing 1-0 to Poland, Salpingidis' goal from the subs' bench secured Greece a vital opening point and ensured he was picked for the subsequent two games. The PAOK forward still boasts lightning pace and will suit the counter-attacking game Santos' side will have to play if they are to have any chance of progress to the semi-finals.

Key battle: Marco Reus v Giorgos Tzavelas. The threat of Russia's Alan Dzagoev was heavily hyped up prior to Greece's final Group A game, but left-back Giorgos Tzavelas helped nullify the in-form attacking midfielder to lay the foundations for what was a famous victory. Against Germany, the Monaco left-back will come up against another precocious right-sided player. Yet to play a single minute at Euro 2012, Reus will be thrust into action by Low on the right of a new-look front three on Friday night. He enjoyed a sensational season with Borussia Monchengladbach and will be determined to stake a claim for a semi-final spot ahead of Thomas Muller or Lukas Podolski, both of whom have been somehwhat disappointing at the tournament so far.

Stats: Greece have had fewer attempts on goal (17) at Euro 2012 than any other side in the quarter-finals, while they have not scored a goal before the 42nd minute of a European Championship game since the Euro 2004 opener against France.

Trivia: Germany have progressed from five of their past six quarter-finals at major international tournaments - against Argentina (2010, 2006), Portugal (2008), USA (2002) and Croatia (1996). Defeat to Croatia at the 1998 World Cup was the last time they failed to advance from the last eight.

Odds: Germany (1.33), Greece (11.00) and the draw (5.50) are on offer with bet365, while the game going to penalties is available at 11.00.

Prediction: There is more chance of references to eurozone finances being omitted from commentaries and match reports than Greece winning this one. They could potentially frustrate Germany if discipline is maintained but Low's side boast too much attacking strength to be kept out.