Germany eye quarterfinals berth

German Football
By German Football June 12, 2008 14:59

Germany eye quarterfinals berth

Euro 2008 favourites Germany take on Croatia with an eye on the quarter-finals while Austria and Poland look for their first points in Group B on Thursday.

Germany lived up to the bookmakers’ predictions on Sunday as they swept to a convincing 2-0 victory over a Poland side who had qualified as group winners. Joachim Loew’s men controlled the midfield, took few risks at the back and scored twice through Lukas Podolski. The only concern was some jittery moments from keeper Jens Lehmann. Captain Michael Ballack already looks to be revelling in these finals and, along with Podolski and Miroslav Klose, will be one to watch in Klagenfurt.

German officials are hoping there is no repeat of the trouble involving supporters in the same city on Sunday. A total of 157 mainly German fans were detained by police after incidents which included the chanting of Nazi slogans and clashes between rival supporters.

While Germany’s footballers turned on the style Croatia were fortunate to leave Vienna with all three points after hanging on to a 1-0 win over co-hosts Austria. Playmaker Luka Modric, who converted their fourth-minute penalty, Niko Kovac and Niko Kranjcar showed plenty of neat passing and clever footwork in midfield. However, Slaven Bilic’s men looked toothless up front without injured striker Eduardo da Silva and will struggle to find much room in attack.

Beaten and hit by injuries at these finals, Poland could get their campaign on track with a victory, which would most likely come from the feet of striker Ebi Smolarek.

Austria, the weakest team at these finals, will need to draw heavily on the atmosphere at the Ernst Happel stadium if they are to upset the formbook against Leo Beenhakker’s side.

German Football
By German Football June 12, 2008 14:59
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