German engines roaring as title moves into view
GDANSK, June 23 – Germany turned on the turbo chargers to race into the Euro 2012 semi-finals and with their fourth consecutive last four spot in a major tournament secured they can see their first silverware in 16 years on the horizon.
A 4-2 demolition of Greece in the quarter-finals yesterday was their most dominant performance at the tournament so far and their 15th consecutive win in a competitive game makes them the odds-on favourites for a fourth European crown.
“This is our fourth semi-final in a major tournament and it is an outstanding performance,” said beaming manager Joachim Loew (picture), who was assistant coach when they reached the 2006 World Cup last four and in charge when they finished runners up at Euro 2008 and third at the 2010 World Cup.
“We have the youngest team in the tournament with great prospects,” he said.
Loew has every right to consider that his side can go all the way since neither of their possible semi-final opponents – England and Italy who meet in Kiev tomorrow – have yet shown such dominance at the finals.
The Germans went through the group stage with three wins out of three for the first time and yesterday crushed the Greeks with a dazzling display of attacking football and three goals in 13 minutes to advance in style.
Germany were in a class of their own despite making three changes to their lineup, including benching the tournament joint top scorer Mario Gomez, and their depth can only trigger respect and a sense of apprehension from their opponents.
“We are a tough team, have two players for each position and that speaks volumes for us,” said forward Miroslav Klose, who scored yesterday. “It is impressive if you look at which players are waiting to come on. We want to keep winning.”
While their semi-final opponents, whoever they may be, will no doubt be a tougher proposition than Greece, Loew could be excused for believing the time to win for their first trophy since 1996 had come.
“Both teams are extremely uncomfortable (to play against). England are much better than in 2010, Italy are a similar story,” he said. “All teams in the semi-finals are now title contenders.”
Loew is not the only one to talk up his team’s prospects.
“We are far from done yet,” said German FA president Wolfgang Niersbach. “This team can go all the way.” – Reuters