Low not taking Greece lightly

21 June 2012 07:49

Germany coach Joachim Low expects a tough challenge from Greece in Friday's Euro 2012 quarter-final, but has played down talk Fernando Santos' side could prove to be "the Chelsea of the Mediterranean".

It has been suggested by the German media that Greece will provide a test similar to the one Bayern Munich faced in last month's Champions League final, when Roberto di Matteo's Blues prevailed on penalties at the Allianz Arena.

Low was not giving much credence to such comparisons, and said: "I have heard a few times that they are the Chelsea of the Mediterranean, but it is not that way. Greece play good combination football. Their defence is strong, they are strong in the tackle and defending and countering is in their blood."

He added: "They have been playing that way for years. It was similar or practically the same in 2004 [when they became European champions in Portugal]. They get written off sometimes, but then they are always there. But anyway, Chelsea play a different football to what we saw in the final or semi-finals of the Champions League."

Bayern succumbed to the Blues on spot-kicks after spending much of the 120 minutes camped in their opponents' half in the Munich final.

Low expects it to be a similar story in Gdansk, although he is confident there will be a more positive outcome from a German perspective, saying: "Logically we are favourites, but we can deal with that. But remember - knockout games have their own character so it won't be the case that the favourite automatically reaches the next round.

Greece coach Santos is not ignoring that fact either, but he says nothing can be taken for granted in football.

"If we see it as a David and Goliath task, then this is good for us because we all know that Goliath lost," he said. "They are a big team and usually get to the semi-finals and we are talking about a very consistent nation. But I am willing to accept the role of David, just as long as history repeats itself."

Greece provided arguably the biggest shock of Euro 2012 so far by jumping from the foot of their group to second with a 1-0 win over Russia in their final pool game, and their unexpected title triumph at Euro 2004 is another indication of how dangerous the Greeks can be.

Santos added: "I would like to seize this opportunity to say what an inspiration for us the 2004 success is. We showed great resolution and strength and we were written off before that tournament, but we still reached the final and won the cup. That should be a source of inspiration for us this time."