Mesut Ozil
Germany's Mesut Ozil could be the key to opening up Greece's defense in the quarterfinals of Euro 2012. Reuters

For Greece, the mere fact they that are in the quarterfinals represents one of the stories of Euro 2012. Going into their final group game needing an improbable victory against Russia to progress from Group A, Greece produced a stunning 1-0 win courtesy of Giorgos Karagounis' strike.

It was a performance that inevitably brought back memories of Greece's run to claim Euro 2004 when a succession of 1-0 victories against more talented opposition saw arguably the most unlikely ever winners of the competition.

After a defensive performance that was all over the place as Fernando Santos' side conceded two goals in the first 10 minutes against the Czech Republic, Greece looked infinitely more resolute against a skilled Russian outfit.

Key to the improved display was the imposing partnership between Sokratis Papastathopoulos, back from suspension, and the exciting 20-year-old Kyriakos Papadopoulos. But under Santos this is a very different side than the one that German Otto Rehhagel led to glory eight years ago.

The 2012 model Greece aims to do much more than merely contain. A solid defense may have been paramount but momentum in the victory over Russia was built upon the early purpose shown. It was a far cry from their dreadful beginnings as they fell behind in the opening half against both Poland and the Czechs.

Santos' substitutions inspired second-half revivals in both those contests, but a similarly lackluster start against Germany will likely make any attempted comeback futile.

To do that Greece will have to quickly recover from the loss of influential captain Karagounis. A hero of that 2004 campaign, Karagounis' disappointment coursed through his veins as he was denied a penalty and incorrectly booked for a dive that means he sits out the quarterfinal.

Not only is Karagounis a talismanic figure in the team but he also represents a key source of creativity in the midfield.

It is in the middle of the pitch where Greece could struggle to cope with a German midfield that has been the real strength of their side in this competition.

The trio of Sami Khedira, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil has once again shown to have the ideal balance of energy, composure and creativity. For Ozil there is even perhaps room for improvement as he looks to match his sparkling form for Real Madrid.

It is a statement that could be made foe Germany as a whole. Despite winning all three games, the feeling is that there is still more to come. Their performance against the Dutch was a perfect example. The Nationalmannschaft upped the gears to produce two high-quality goals and then cruised through much of the contest, always looking comfortable of maintaining their advantage despite the Netherlands pulling a goal back.

At some stage in this completion they are likely to have to produce an intense 90 minute performance if they are to come home with the trophy, but a Germany in third gear should be enough to beat Greece.

Coach Joachim Low will be eager, however, to witness a more complete performance from his defense in Gdansk. The young partnership of Holger Baddstuber and Mats Hummels has generally looked assured but both have produced lapses that as yet have gone unpunished. Germany was particularly fortunate against Denmark as Badstuber was caught out badly with a ball over the top and resorted to tugging down Nicklas Bendtner in the box. It should have been a penalty. It should have been a red card. The referee gave neither, but on another day Germany could have been sent packing.

Against a Greece side that has not looked overly threatening going forward, Low will hope for no such dramas.

Of course, in addition to the prize of making the semi-finals, the Greek players on show will also be fighting for a fair amount of national pride. Although the country recently voted for a new pro-bailout government, there is still much unrest over what many Greeks see as unjust austerity measures pushed by Germany as a condition for aid.

An already passionate team should be even more fired up which should at least make for a competitive opening to the contest.

But Germany's class should shine through to pierce open the Greek rear guard before comfortably seeing out the victory.

Germany 2-0 Greece