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Germany vs Greece: More than just football

Published time: June 22, 2012 12:14
Edited time: June 22, 2012 16:14

German and Greek football teams (AFP Photo/Anne-Christine Poujoulat/Aris Messinis)

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While the countries have been locking horns politically, all eyes will be on the battle between Greece and Germany in Friday night's Euro 2012 quarter-final.

The Germans will be red-hot favorites over the team who knocked-out Russia in the biggest surprise of the tournament so far, but they will be well aware Greece shocked the football world in winning the Euro crown eight years ago.

What a difference a week makes. Seven days ago Greek fans were so convinced their team was going to be knocked out after the group stages many had already booked their flights home straight after their final game with Russia.

However, they produced a stunningly disciplined performance to beat Dick Advocaat’s side and prolong their stay in Poland and Ukraine for another week. And there’s already talk of the spirit of 2004 being repeated again, when despite being massive underdogs, Greece won the European Championships.

This game is being played with the back drop of the economic crisis and it has particular significance for both sides. Germany has been the major player helping to bail out Greece. And German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to attend the game, though the country’s head coach Joachim Loew draws a strict line between politics and football.

There were plenty of Germans in the Polish city of Gdansk and for good reason. Many banked on their team finishing top of their group and rightly gambled on their team playing their quarter-final here.

In fact Gdansk has more than a German feel to it when looking at the historical centre, and the reason is because it was actually German. Up until 1945, the city was known as Danzig and was part of Germany, however, following theWW2 it became part of Poland.

Germany have once again taken up root in Gdansk, but this time it’s only temporary. Joachim Loew’s side have their training base there, and they will certainly be looking to extend their stay for a few more days with victory on Friday and extend their unbeaten record in competitive matches to 15.