Germany's new-look line-up blasted past Greece 4-2 on Friday to reach the last four in Euro 2012. They'll face the winner of Sunday's England-Italy match.
Goals from Philipp Lahm, Sami Khedira and tournament starting line-up newcomers Miroslav Klose and Marco Reus were enough to see off a determined Greece as Germany booked their place in the Euro 2012 semifinals.
Greece had scored with a goal by Giorgos Samaras in the 55th minute and a penalty by Dimitris Salpingidis in the 89th.
Joachim Löw made some alterations the first XI prior to the match, with four changes to the line-up that had beaten Denmark.
"After three wins, I had a feeling it was time to shake things up," said Löw.
The moves paid off.
As well as making his competitive debut, Reus got a goal in the 74th minute and Germany's passing throughout was crisper and more incisive than earlier in the tournament. Löw’s side created chance after chance from the outset - what they couldn't do, at least for a while, was score.
That all changed in the 39th minute which captain Philipp Lahm scored with a shot from distance, and it seemed they were on their way to the last four.
But Greece fought back, getting a goal on their first real foray forward early in the second half courtesy of Giorgos Samaras.
Sami Khedira’s scissor-kicked goal six minutes later, in the 61st minute, put Germany back on track, however. And they were to pour on two more to put the game out of reach in the next quarter of an hour.
Miroslav Klose scored on a header in the 66th minute, and Marco Reus hit with a lashing volley in the 74th. Greece would narrow the margin to two with two minutes to go after Jerome Boateng handled the ball in the German penalty area, but the result was no longer in doubt.
Evolution in play
After the match, Reus said he was happy to have scored in his Euro 2012 debut - and wasn’t surprised to have got the start.
“I talked with the coach a couple times and he told me to keep doing what I was doing,” said Reus after the game. “I knew I’d get my chance eventually.”
Along with Reus, Andre Schürrle and Miroslav Klose had got their first starts of the tournament, while Jerome Boateng returned to the first XI after a suspension.
Despite the win and the dominating display for long stretches, Lahm said "we made a lot of mistakes - ones we need to fix in the semifinal."
In that semifinal, Germany will face the winner of the England-Italy match on Sunday.
"It's hard to predict" what will happen in that match, said Löw. "England is a lot more disciplined than they were in 2010, and Italy is always hard to play against."
Germany's semifinal will take place on Thursday, 28 June.
Author: Matt Hermann
Editor: Richard Connor