Posted: 6/22/2012


        It had rained solid for 48 hours in Gdansk and the pitch inside the Amber PGE Arena was soaked and cut up badly, but Philip Lahm, the captain opened the scoring for Germany and still look the team to beat. Next Thursday they are up against either Italy or England in their fourth successive  major semi-final in The National Stadium in Warsaw.

        The city is home of the Lenin Shipyards and the birthplace of the Polish Revolutionin in 1980 when the workers went on strike against their communist masters, and the Solidarity Movement, led by Lech Walensa began. He became President of a free Poland and the Gdansk airport is named in his honour.   

        The richest and poorest members of the 17 nation monetary Eurozone played a one sided match. In the best seats were Chancellor Angela Merkel and DFB's President Wolfgang Neirsbach bouncing up and down with joy. Next to them was UEFA President Michel Platini who had to diplomatically sit still.

       He is ensconced in the same first floor suite at the Grand Hotel in the suburb of Sopot, overlooking the Baltic, where in 1939 Adolf Hitler opened the doors and strolled onto the balcony to watch his Nazi fleet and Luftwaffe destroy the Polish fleet in half a day.

      Greece had scored in each of their group matches and after Lahm had scored in the 39th minute the Greeks suprised everyone by equalizing through Giorgos Samarasa goals after 55 minutes in front of their blue and white painted fans. Then we had three glorious goals from Joaquim Low's men. Sami Khedira, Miroslav Klose and Marco Reis within a 10 minute period. In one second half minute Die Mannschaft had 25 continuous passes to shouts of Ole! Ole! Ole! from their 40,000 fans who had swarmed over the nearby border for the day.

      The Slovenian referee awarded a very soft penalty in the 89th minute when the ball hit the arm of defender Jerome Boateng and it finished 4-2  when goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was beaten from the spot by Dimitris Salpingidis. Man of the Match in my opinion was third generation Turkish-German, 23 year old Mesut Ozil of Real Madrid, who had many magic moments and gave a class display.

      Germany are the team to beat, as I said from Day One.