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Greece vs. Germany: football and politics meet on the field

In a grudge match for the history books, austerity-battered Greece faces its oppressor, Germany, in a Euro 2012 elimination round.
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Giorgos Tzavelas of Greece celebrates victory and progress to the quarter finals during the UEFA Euro 2012 group A match between Greece and Russia at The National Stadium on June 16, 2012 in Warsaw, Poland. (Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Underdog Greece will face Germany Friday night during a Euro Cup elimination match that will have the spectre of European politics hanging over it.

Greece's surprising 1-0 victory over Russia has sent it to the quarter finals where the team will meet undefeated Germany.

The German team currently has a perfect record during the contest, winning all ten qualifying matches and all three of its games during the Euro Cup, defeating Holland, Portugal and Denmark, reported the New York Times.

The match will be not only be about football in the eyes of many Greek fans, but about revenge for the austerity measures imposed upon the country by Germany.

Insulted, criticized and beaten down, Greeks see this match as a repudiation of the strife that their country has gone through in the last few years.

According to AFP, one Greek newspaper even headlined "Bring us Merkel!" after the victory against Russia.

The tension will be increased by the presence of German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, at the game in Gdansk, Poland.

Merkel is seen by many Greeks as the brains behind austerity and have portrayed her as the leader of the "Fourth Reich."

The BBC reported that Germans are still bewildered by this portrayal and believe themselves to be Greece's savior, sending billions of dollars to a corrupt state.

The Greek team, which has the words "Born Fighters" written across their bus, is clearly the underdog in the match having lost to the Czech Republic (2-1), tied Poland (1-1) and defeated Russia by a goal (1-0).

“It was always our main aim to reach the quarterfinals. So now we have nothing to lose,’’ said defender Kyriakos Papadopoulos of the Greek team, reported the Associated Press.

“We are playing against one of the best teams here. All I can say is that we’ll fight."

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/world-at-play/greece-vs-germany-football-and-politics-meet-the-field