The European Championship has so far shown a definite shift in the balance between finesse football in favour of pure power. England's striker Andy Caroll, Germany's front man Gomez, Mario Balotelli "Mad Mario" of Italy, Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, have all scored fantastic goals that emphasize their physical prowess, a dominance of size and strength.
Smaller genius such as Luca Modric of Croatia, Wesley Sneijder of Holland, Arshavin of Russia, have had to go home early in what has evolved into a more physical and faster competition that favours certain physically more powerful national teams.
The second quarterfinal will be played in the port city of Gdansk, formally known as Danzig, where World War II effectively started when the Nazi's invaded the Polish city. Another war of a better kind will be played here as the tournament favorite Germans take on the heroic Greeks. German, Coach Low won all of his three matches to win group B easily. The efficiency and coordination of the Germany team are typical aspects of German engineering, a motor that rarely sputters and seems to be unaffected by the opponents it faces.
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They must not commit the same error that the Russians team did and underestimate the resilience of the Greek players. In a game that will mirror the current economic crises in Europe, the rich and powerful German team will confront a now leaderless Greek team, as Captain Karagounis is suspended, who will try to defend itself with its blood, sweat and anything else they can find.
The Germans are fit and ready, with no suspensions. Coach Lowe will undoubtedly play his most solid formation 4-4-2 with very talented goalie Neuer in goal, Mertesacker and Badstuber in center defense, Lahm as right back and Boateng as left. The German midfield is a humming Mercedes motor of speed and solidity. Young Real Madrid stars Ozil and Khedira are midfielders second to none, and in the center Schweinsteiger is the backbone of this solid German team. Muller runs up and down the right flank and crosses the ball in for the two forwards.
Bayern Munich's Gomez is a tower of strength and force. So far he has looked sharp, scoring head and foot goals with ease. His partner Podolski recently signed for Arsenal, and seems to want to make Arsene Wenger look good as he has overwhelmed his opponents. It’s easy to admire this German team. They have youth, talent and power and are definitely the overwhelming favorites to win this match, and possibly the championship.
If 300 Greeks were able to hold off 10,000 Persians at Thermoplyae, then 11 Greeks certainly will have a chance against 11 Germans. That said coach Santos, knows he has the game of his life in his hands, as he faces an uphill battle of gargantuan magnitude. He pulled off a miracle in defeating the Russians and will have to redouble the spirit of his team on this night in Gdansk. The Greek goalie Sifakis showed his valor in an incredible save on Pogrebnyak, he will have to do the same against Gomez.
In defence the hard to spell duo of Papadopoulos and Papastathopoulos make up in courage and strength what they lack in talent, admirable. Torossidis and Tzavellas guard the flanks. But don’t look to formations here for the Greeks. There will be 10 men in defense, and possibly, one man up front in big lanky striker Samaras. The Greek midfield will be without 34 year old hero, Karougounis, who like Ulysses won the day for the Greeks when it counted most. Santos will probably bring in Paok’s striker Salpingidis to start as right midfield with Kastouranis, Maniatis and Makos to contain Ozil, Khedira and Schweinsteiger. Samaras, best player for the Greeks against Russia, will have to be the lone offensive force on his own, and hope for the one chance that might give Greece a goal to defend, or possibly penalty kicks after 120 minutes.
The German team is fit, young, and powerful. The Greeks are tough, old and experienced. As this championship has emphasized power and strength, and although I am sure that the Greeks will put up a heroic resistance, Germany should win this preparation game and move on to the semifinal clash against the victor of England vs. Italy.