Germans plan to inflict Greek tragedy
22 Jun, Euro 2012 (quarter-final): Germany v Greece (Gdansk, 7.45 UK)
Bookmakers like a novelty bet. Anything that grabs the punter’s attention and persuades them to part with their hard-earned cash. Thus, the meeting of Germany and Greece has inspired all manner of wacky bets with the pun-laden emphasis on Euros, the championship finals, and Euros, the currency.
The presence of Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, at the game in Gdansk has added extra flavour to the occasion, with Ladbrokes proudly offering 66-1 that Germany will knock Greece out of Euro 2012 and then, within 24 hours, also announce that they want them to leave the Eurozone.
It is unlikely that Joachim Low, the Germany coach, will do anything to inflame the economic tensions between the countries but the bookies, tongues firmly in cheeks, will keep on hoping. “Punters are hoping that Low and Merkel show typical Germany efficiency to give the Greeks a double Euro boot,” Alex Donohue, of Ladbrokes, said.
William Hill has joined in the fun, too. “This match is expected to mirror the contrasting financial differences between the two teams,” Joe Crilly, a spokesman, said. “With that in mind, we reckon that the German fans will be bouncing higher than a Greek cheque.”
Er, quite. How very diplomatic, Joe. Still, it’s just typical bookie banter, with Hills getting down to the serious business by going 1-3 on a Germany win in 90 minutes and Greece a 9-1 shot. That just about reflects their respective chances, with Germany having won Group B with a 100 per cent record and Greece having only scrambled through Group A as runners-up, albeit with a fine 1-0 win over Russia in their last match.
Sami Khedira, the Germany midfielder, illustrated his team’s confidence of securing a semi-final berth. “Greece are a very good team, underestimated by many,” he said. “They create few chances but score from them. Technically, they are strong and play well one on one. “It will be tough to crack their defence but we have the means. We have to be patient but we also have to be constantly on the move. They will try to disrupt our game and beat us but they will not succeed.”
Greece will be missing playmaker and captain Giorgos Karagounis, who is suspended, with Kostas Katsouranis, the midfielder, taking over the armband. “Self-sacrifice, it’s our main characteristic,” Katsouranis said. “We will give it all on the field. It will take a minor miracle. Germany are the favourites, we are the underdogs, but think about it: we will not play against the Germans ten times to see who wins the most. It’s one match and we will fight to the end.”
Dimitris Salpigidis, the striker, echoed the sentiments. “It won’t be our last match at Euro 2012,” he said. “We players don’t think so, that’s why we are here. The more you eat, the hungrier you get. Things are getting tougher round by round and I hope that we can go even farther and make Greeks happy. It will not be easy, that’s for sure.”
Despite all the Greek bravado, Germany should win at a canter. You can bet on it …
Prediction: Germany 3, Greece 0