The joy of beating Greece 4-2 to advance to the semifinals of Euro 2012 quickly turned to confusion for Germany as they questioned how it was possible that they faced a team so much worse than anyone they played in the group stage.
"The entire first half I couldn't help but feel we had accidentally been placed in a consolation tournament," said German captain and first-half goal scorer Philipp Lahm. "Then they equalized and I thought 'OK, maybe they're not that bad.' But then we scored three more times in the next 20 minutes even though I'm pretty sure most of us had our eyes closed the whole time and I was just like, 'huh?' Even against the Netherlands we had to try a little bit."
Germany controlled possession throughout the majority of the game on their way to scoring just one less goal than they did in the entire group stage. Though Germany won all three of their matches in the "Group of Death," Greece advanced with just one win in their final "Group of Life" match against Russia.
"We will definitely be protesting UEFA over this charade," said furious German manager Jogi Low. "Forcing us to go backwards like this is just not right. Do Spain have to play Poland next? Of course not."
Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, meanwhile, was far more concerned with a different matter. Curled up in the fetal position in the shower, he could be heard quietly repeating, "I can't believe Georgios Samaras scored against me."