When the groups were drawn well before the tournament started, everyone thought that it would be near-impossible to come out of Group B, aka the “Group of Death,” unscathed.
However, Germany was able to do it while playing fundamental, efficient and opportunity-taking soccer.
On the other side, Group A was seen as the easiest bunch and the only “lock” to advance, Russia, was sent home.
Greece surprised many by advancing on to the knockout rounds and will need to continue playing inspired football in order to shock Germany and the world.
Where: PGE Arena, Gdansk, Poland
When: Friday, June 22 at 2:45 p.m. ET
TV Info: ESPN
Live Stream: ESPN3
In terms of looking at the past matchups, the Greeks may just want to ignore the numbers if they want confidence heading into Friday.
In eight games between the two countries, Germany has been the dominant side by a long shot.
Having not lost in those contests, the Germans won five and drew the other three games with the Greeks.
Also, the goal differential is rather absurd, with the Greeks scoring seven goals and Die Mannschaft netting 17 goals.
However, it has been awhile since these two squads faced off last, as the countries last played in March 2001 as a part of the 2002 World Cup qualifiers. Facing off in Hamburg, the Germans defeated the Greeks 2-0 with goals from Sebastian Deisler and Marinos Ouzonidis.
Now, unless you haven’t been watching the tournament, those guys are no longer playing for Germany.
While history is always a telling factor, these teams are completely different than 11 years ago and Friday could show that.
Can Mario Gomez continue scoring?
While Mario Gomez isn’t an unknown player by any means, the Bayern Munich man has been using this Euro 2012 as his coming-out party to the rest of the world.
So far, the 26-year-old hasn’t scored any spectacular, highlight-reel goals, but he’s terrific around the net and doesn’t allow scoring chances go to the wayside.
In the first three games, Gomez has put three balls in the back of the net—all of which were key to the Germans' group stage efforts.
In the Germans' first contest, Gomez delivered the game-winning goal in the 72nd minute to seize a key three points against Portugal.
Looking ahead to the match against Greece, it’s a good chance that Gomez will have his chances to score.
While the Greek defense has played extremely well during group play, calling them world-class would be a stretch and it will be hard to stop Gomez the way he’s been playing lately.
Can Greece continue its Cinderella run?
After shocking Russia with a 2-1 win in its last group stage game, Greece will be looking to replicate its 2004 European championship run in which it won the whole tournament.
Teamwork and chemistry certainly haven’t held the Greeks back at all, as coach Fernando Santos’ playing style banks on an understanding of one another, which the players have from playing together at the club level.
Also, the Greeks have some solid players, but needed a few unsung heroes to step up and make some noise. So far, that has been the case in terms of the performances by Giorgos Karagounis, Dimitris Salpingidis and others.
While many are saying that Greece will need a miracle to beat Germany, that was also the attitude heading into Euro 2004 when the Greeks defeated then-defending champions France in the quarterfinals and host country Portugal in the finals.
If the Greek side can continue to play as a cohesive unit and not surrender a knockout blow early, it has the ability to keep pace with the Germans.
Prediction: 3-1 Germany
While Greece played well during the group stages, the teams it faced were nowhere near the caliber of the Germans and it’ll have a tough time staying in the game.
Not only are Germany’s sharpshooters, Gomez and Lukas Podolski, in form, but also their midfield trio of Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira and Bastian Schweinsteiger has been able to control possession and slice opposing defenses with crisp passing, along with the ability to have strikes at goal.
I look for Germany to put Greece in a hole by starting off the game with two relatively quick goals and never looking back.
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