Euro 2012: Germany play down Eurozone talk for Greece clash

Updated: 18 June 2012 20:00 IST

Germany's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Greece is being billed as the battle of the two nations at the heart of the Eurozone crisis, but the Germans have insisted politics will play no role.

Gdansk, Poland:

Germany's Euro 2012 quarter-final against Greece is being billed as the battle of the two nations at the heart of the Eurozone crisis, but the Germans have insisted politics will play no role.

Of all the Euro 2012 last eight matches, Friday's clash at Arena Gdansk has the added backdrop of the on-going financial crisis.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has provoked anger in Greece for leading the calls on Athens to impose tough austerity measures in return for financial assistance from Germany to help to bring down debt.

The weekend's final round of matches in Groups A and B confirmed Joachim Loew's Germans will meet Fernando Santos' Greeks and the media in Greece were quick to react on Sunday morning.

"Bring us Merkel!" demanded Greek newspaper Goal News after Greece reached the knock-out phase by beating Russia 1-0 to finish as Group A runners-up on Saturday.

"You will never get Greece out of the Euro. Europe once again delirious about bankrupted Greece."

Germany confirmed their place against Greece with a 2-1 win in Lviv, Ukraine, over Denmark on Sunday as right-back Lars Bender marked his first start for the Germans with his first international goal.

The Germans are amongst the favourites to lift the title in the Kiev final, but Bender insisted politics will be forgotten on the pitch against Greece.

"I think we are all aware of the political situation as far as the Eurozone is concerned," said the 23-year-old Bayer Leverkusen defensive midfielder as the Germans enjoyed a rare day off from training on Monday.

"There were elections in Greece yesterday and the fact they have got through to the knock-out stage is fantastic for the Greek people.

"It makes them forget, if even for a few minutes, the hard times they are going through.

"But I think on match-day, politics won't play such a big role and that is what counts."

The Greek squad is aware that a good run in the competition in Poland and Ukraine will bring some joy in the southern European country currently in its fifth year of recession.

In both sporting and economic terms, Friday's quarter-final has a David versus Goliath feel.

Germany has one of Europe's leading economies and Loew's team are bidding for a fourth European title having finished runner-up at Euro 2008 to defending champions and World Cup winners Spain.

In contrast, the Greeks are experiencing a crippling recession and their future in the eurozone remains uncertain.

Their football team has only qualified for the finals four times, but exceeded all expectations in Portugal to win the Euro 2004 title, beating the hosts in the final.

Topics : Greece Germany Tennis Alou Diarra Lech Poznan Euro 2012 Football
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