BotN: Germany put long-suffering fans through five minutes of slight discomfort

The Back of the Net team report on Germany 4-2 Greece

Germany saw off Greece 4-2 to book their customary place in the semi-finals, but they had to come through nearly 350 seconds during which the outcome was ever so slightly uncertain.

Joachim Löw’s side were enormous pre-game favourites, having finished with maximum points in Group B, while Greece escaped Group A courtesy of the 10 coupons their coach Fernando Santos had collected in copies of Tournament Ruiner Weekly.

Germany enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in the opening half hour, boosted by every member of their squad being more talented than their Greek counterpart. A series of chances went begging before Philipp Lahm scored a spectacular opener, mathematically ruling out a Greek win.

However, after half-time the Germans were to show the kind of fragility and lack of a ruthless streak that has so often dogged their national side, allowing Greece to strike on the counter-attack through the ever lethal Georgios Samaras.

You don't have to be mad to support Germany, but this guy is anyway...

The equaliser shook the Germans and left their stoic supporters wringing their hands mentally preparing for a few minutes of vague doubt about the result.

“I don’t know why they always put us through this,” German fan Anders Dörflein told FourFourTwo.com. “We never seem to be able to do things the easy way – they always have to concede a goal when they’re 3-0 up with 10 minutes left or miss a penalty when they’re only two ahead in a shootout.

“It was the same old Germany today. When we were 1-0 up and had 95% of possession you just knew that we’d let them equalize before we regained absolute control of the game and mercilessly battered them into oblivion. I don’t know how we put up with it: we must all be a little mad!"

After just under six minutes of torment, Sami Khedira blasted home to make it 2-1, which was swiftly followed by Miroslav Klose’s 950th goal for Germany.

Marco Reus added a fourth before the referee awarded Greece a farewell penalty – a courteous gesture which is being trialled as a replacement for the traditional farewell party bag containing a set of match programmes, opposition teams’ pennants and a piece of the official tournament cake wrapped in a napkin.

More match reports from Back of the Net:POR 1-0 CZE: Ronaldo: "Ronaldo? Ronaldo, Ronaldo. Ronaldo!"UKR 0-1 ENG: Oddly apportioned karmic refund sees England through SWE 2-0 FRA: Sweden march on, outITA 2-0 IRL: Italy live to use another clichéCRO 0-1 SPA: Spain no longer any good, pundits reveal

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