Germany has advanced to the semifinals of Euro 2012 and awaits the winner of Sunday's match between England and Italy. Greece held onto a 0-0 draw for most of the first half and fought back to equalize at 1-1, but fell apart defensively in the second half as the Germans went on to a 4-2 win.
Philipp Lahm broke the deadlock with an impressive strike in the 39th minute, and Miroslav Klose scored what would be the eventual winner in the second half. Giorgos Samaras made things interesting with a 55th minute goal that tied the match, but Germany opened the floodgates shortly afterwards with three goals in 13 minutes.
Greece didn't defend well in the first half, even though it utilized a very defensive strategy, and it was only Germany's finishing that kept the game interesting for an extended period of time. Marco Reus, Mesut Özil and especially Andre Schürrle missed a number of great opportunities. When Schürrle was substituted in the second half, he had nine shots and one on target. The one on target was a bad shot right at Michail Sifakis that he should have placed in the net.
Lahm's strike that put Germany ahead was a great right-footed swerving effort from the edge of the penalty area that curled around the hand of Sifakis. Greece's defending on the goal was terrible, as Lahm was allowed to skip by two players, which was followed by Kyriakos Papadopoulos failing to close him down.
Germany looked a bit lackadaisical and too comfortable with its lead to open the second half, and the team was made to pay for it. Dimitris Salpingidis set up Samaras for a tap-in finish in the 55th minute, with Jerome Boateng completely failing to contest Samaras on the chance. It was a surprise goal that got Greece back into the match, but it only served to remind the Germans that they should kick the ball towards the goal, instead of in random directions.
Sami Khedira put a volley off of a Boateng cross into the roof of the net to make it 2-1 in the 61st minute, and this effectively ended the game. Klose would seal the win in the 68th minute with a header on a corner kick, while Reus added the exclamation point with a great volley off the underside of the crossbar in the 74th minute.
Boateng gave away an 88th minute penalty with a handball, which Salpingidis converted, but it was too little too late for the Greeks. The sturdy defense that led them to a Euro 2004 title didn't show up on Friday, and they head home after slightly exceeding expectations by getting to the quarterfinals and keeping their match against Germany somewhat competitive.
You can find our previous coverage of the game in our Germany vs. Greece, Euro 2012 Quarterfinals StoryStream. For more on Euro 2012 and the entire world of football, follow @SBNationSoccer on Twitter.