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Here's The Highlights last game
Euro Cup 2012 Highlights: Hummels Continues Making Noise As Germany Advances
The breakout star of Euro 2012 is modest to a fault, so much so that when he was told he had been tabbed as the player of the tournament so far, he thought his teammates were playing a practical joke on him.
Mats Hummels is not a name hot on the lips of many American soccer fans, much less the wider sporting public, yet he has suddenly been thrust into the spotlight at the world's second-biggest tournament as the young face of Germany's rampaging national team.
Part of the reason for Hummels' lack of widespread recognition, even among soccer supporters, is that his club side Borussia Dortmund, two-time reigning German champion, failed to make it past the group stage of this season's Champions League.
No longer. From the moment French legend Zinedine Zidane, winner of the 1998 World Cup, Euro 2000 and three-time world player of the year, picked out Hummels as the only player who has seriously impressed at the Euros, the focus was going to intensify.
Hummels was on form again Friday as Germany cruised into the semifinal thanks to a comfortable 4-2 victory over Greece in Gdansk for a fourth straight win in the competition, to follow on from 10 in a row in qualifying.
Mats Hummels is making a name for himself in the Euro 2012 tournament. (Reuters)
Now, it seems, whatever happens in the remainder of the tournament, he will leave Poland and Ukraine with his reputation greatly enhanced.
It is rare that central defenders get the kind of plaudits like the one dished out by Zidane, and – once Hummels realized it wasn't a joke – the compliment was gratefully received. Yet neither is Hummels a typical defender, having been given the liberty to venture forward and create offense by coach Joachim Loew, an opportunity he has eagerly snapped up.
A far cry from the uber-efficient and somewhat mechanical teams of the past, the current German side is fun to watch and has attracted plenty of neutrals into their corner. Hummels' role may be the epitome of that and, now just two more wins from the title, the Germans are easing more and more comfortably into the role of favorite – despite the continued progress of reigning European and World Cup champion Spain.
"We know what is expected," said Hummels. "In Germany the publicity says nothing, but the title counts."
Indeed, the pressure on this young side has been nothing short of extreme. Frustrated by close shaves in recent times, like defeat to Spain in the Euro 2008 final and the 2010 World Cup semifinal, the German public believes the time is now to clinch a first major tournament trophy since 1996.
While there was hope and some degree of optimism four years ago and again two years ago, now nothing short of triumph will be considered good enough.
That, surely, is part of the reason wily coach Loew has sought to keep things so low key around his training camp. His players are free to smoke, drink, entertain their partners and do pretty much whatever they like outside training, an attitude that has not been abused but that has certainly helped lighten the mood.
Mueller was one of three first-choice players to be rested against Greece, a sign of Loew's unshakeable confidence in the strength of his squad. Leading scorer Mario Gomez also made way in favor of Miroslav Klose, while Lukas Podolski was also left in the line up. In the end it didn't matter, although there were a few nervous moments. Phil Lahm's thunderous strike 39 minutes in put the Germans in control, but an equalizer against the run of play from Giorgos Samaras gave the courageous Greeks a sniff at a shock result.
However, Germany asserted its authority once more, with three goals in 13 minutes throughout the middle of the second half, killing off the Greek challenge. Sami Khedira's blast from inside the area sapped the life out of Greece, before a Klose header and a fierce strike from Marco Reus sealed the deal. Dimitris Salpingidis scored a late penalty to make it 4-2 but it was little more than a consolation – and Germany marches onward.
"This is a young team and we believe in ourselves," said Hummels, who on this night was not called into so much action due to Greece's lack of attacking ambition. "We are having fun and we are ready to be adaptable. It is nice to go forwards and to be recognized for that, but I am prepared to be a wall if I need to be."
EURO 2012: Germany vs Greece Timeline
90+2' - The match is over. Final score 4-2.
90' - At PGE Arena Gdansk the fourth official shows that 2 minutes will be added to the Second half.
89' - Greece are back in the match in Gdansk. A Dimitris Salpingidis penalty has made the score 4-2.
88' - Greece have been awarded a penalty...
85' - In Gdansk Germany drive forward through Mesut Ozil. His shot is on target but it's saved.
83' - Giorgos Fotakis for Greece drives towards goal at PGE Arena Gdansk. But the finish is unsuccessful.
81' - Germany's Mario Gomez is whistled for offside at PGE Arena Gdansk.
81' - Germany push forward through Mesut Ozil, whose finish on goal is saved.
80' - Mario Gotze is on a sub for Marco Reus for Germany.
80' - Joachim Low (Germany) is making a Second substitution, with Mario Gomez replacing Miroslav Klose.
75' - Sokratis Papastathopoulos (Greece) gets a yellow card.
74' - Goal! Marco Reus extends Germany's lead to 4-1.
72' - Damir Skomina has awarded Germany a corner. Mesut Ozil takes the kick from the Right .
72' - Greece make their Third substitution with Nikos Liberopoulos replacing Grigoris Makos.
69' - At PGE Arena Gdansk Mesut Ozil (Germany) takes a corner from the Right.
69' - Germany drive forward and Miroslav Klose gets in a shot. Without netting, however.
68' - Germany move into a 3-1 lead through a Miroslav Klose header.
68' - Great play from Mesut Ozil to set up the goal.
67' - Germany make their First substitution with Thomas Muller replacing Andre Schurrle.
66' - Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Greece) wins the ball in the air but heads wide.
66' - Damir Skomina has awarded Greece a corner. Giorgos Fotakis takes the kick from the Right .
64' - Germany's Miroslav Klose has run offside.
63' - Greece's Fanis Gekas gets his shot away but it misses the target.
61' - Goal! Sami Khedira gives Germany a 2-1 lead.
61' - That's a fine assist from Jerome Boateng.
60' - Germany's Andre Schurrle breaks free at PGE Arena Gdansk. But the strike goes wide of the post.
57' - Corner awarded to Germany.
55' - Georgios Samaras gets an equalizer for Greece. The score is now 1-1.
55' - Dimitris Salpingidis with an assist there.
54' - In Gdansk Greece's Dimitris Salpingidis is caught offside.
54' - In Gdansk Mesut Ozil for Germany takes a corner from the Right-hand flag.
50' - Damir Skomina blows against Greece's Fanis Gekas for offside.
48' - Germany have been awarded a corner by Damir Skomina. Mesut Ozil steps up to take it.
46' - Giorgos Fotakis is on a sub for Georgios Tzavellas for Greece.
46' - Fanis Gekas is replacing Sotiris Ninis for Greece at PGE Arena Gdansk.
46' - The second-half is underway. Germany with the kick-off.
45+3' - The first half has been concluded at PGE Arena Gdansk.
45+1' - Andre Schurrle for Germany gets in a strike but fails to hit the target.
45' - 3 minutes will be added to the First half in Gdansk.
45' - Damir Skomina has awarded Germany a corner. Mesut Ozil takes the kick from the Right .
43' - Germany's Miroslav Klose is whistled for offside at PGE Arena Gdansk.
39' - Germany take a 1-0 lead thanks to Philipp Lahm.
36' - Corner awarded to Germany.
36' - Sami Khedira of Germany smashes in a shot on target. The keeper saves, though.
35' - In Gdansk Mesut Ozil for Germany takes a corner from the Left-hand flag.
33' - Germany are coming forward and Andre Schurrle gets in a strike, it misses the target, however.
32' - Greece's Sotiris Ninis is on target but unsuccessful.
25' - Germany's Marco Reus misses with an attempt on goal.
24' - Marco Reus of Germany gets in a strike, but is off target.
24' - At PGE Arena Gdansk Mesut Ozil (Germany) takes a corner from the Right.
24' - In Gdansk, Marco Reus of Germany is presented with a shooting opportunity. But the strike is blocked by the covering defence.
23' - Germany have been awarded a corner by Damir Skomina. Mesut Ozil steps up to take it.
23' - Mesut Ozil (Germany) is given an opening but the shot is blocked by a defender.
14' - Greece's Georgios Samaras has been booked in Gdansk.
11' - Germany are coming forward and Marco Reus gets in a strike, it misses the target, however.
8' - Greece's Grigoris Makos gets in a shot on goal at PGE Arena Gdansk. But the effort is unsuccessful.
6' - Germany are pushing forward but Sami Khedira's finish is wide of the goal.
5' - Michalis Sifakis for Greece is back on the field again.
5' - Play has been resumed at PGE Arena Gdansk.
4' - Attention is being given to Greece’s Michalis Sifakis and play has been suspended briefly.
4' - In Gdansk Germany's Miroslav Klose is caught offside.
4' - Sami Khedira returns to the field for Germany after picking up a slight injury.
3' - Damir Skomina has blown to resume play in Gdansk.
2' - Damir Skomina waits before resuming play because Sami Khedira for Germany is still down.
1' - Miroslav Klose of Germany is pulled up for offside.
1' - The referee blows his whistle to start the first-half. Greece with the kick-off.