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Greece hope to profit from German lessons

Published: Monday 18 June 2012, 20.00CET
Vassiliki Papantonopoulou concedes that Germany will be favourites against Greece in Friday's quarter-final but is hopeful that some inside knowledge might help Fernando Santos's side.
by Vassiliki Papantonopoulou
from Legionowo
 
Published: Monday 18 June 2012, 20.00CET

Greece hope to profit from German lessons

Vassiliki Papantonopoulou concedes that Germany will be favourites against Greece in Friday's quarter-final but is hopeful that some inside knowledge might help Fernando Santos's side.

So next for Greece it's Germany, one of the overwhelming favourites for the trophy after three straight victories and a team performing like clockwork.

In Greece we have the expression "it exudes health" for something that functions to perfection. Germany certainly look in rude health: youth, strength, pace and talent; they are players who have worked together for some time now and know each other. Therefore, prior to Friday's quarter-final against Germany in Gdansk, there can be no mind games. Nobody – in their right mind at least – can suggest that Germany are not favourites.

There are no recent head-to-head stats to offer us an idea of which way this game will go. The last time the two sides met was in March 2001 in FIFA World Cup qualifying. Miroslav Klose came off the bench when it was 2-2 in Athens and put Germany ahead, ultimately helping them to a 4-2 victory.

Things have changed considerably since then – except, of course, for Klose's presence in the Germany squad. The German influence in Greece's squad has been plain to see, with coach Otto Rehhagel the man who presided over their unlikely UEFA EURO 2004 triumph.

©AFP/Getty Images

Kyriakos Papadopoulos plays for Schalke in Germany

There has also been a Greek exodus to the Bundesliga, with the players fitting in well in the German top flight thanks to its athleticism and physicality. In Germany, the Greek player also takes a 'crash course' in discipline and the basics of training there. Furthermore, Bundesliga teams trust in young talents more readily than they do in Greece. Therefore, it's only natural that players like Kyriakos Papadopoulos or Kostas Fortounis leave at the age of 18 and mature there.

However, back to Friday's game. We know that the Nationalmannschaft will come up against a German-type team. Greece are rugged, tough and physical and have a 'never-say-die' attitude. Their players know what German football is all about, having learned much of their trade there. It will be interesting to see how the powerhouse and the underdog, with similar characteristics, will fare against each other.

Last updated: 22/06/12 3.39CET

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