German spot-kick kings eager to avoid penalties
Germany may be the tournament spot-kick kings, but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer has insisted he would rather avoid a penalty shoot-out against Greece in Friday's Euro 2012 quarter-final.
The Germans have an incredible record when it comes to penalty shoot-outs at major tournaments, while Greece have failed to convert all three of their most recent spot-kicks.
Germany last lost a spot-kick contest in the 1976 European championships final when they were beaten by Czechoslovakia in a penalty shoot-out decider.
Since then they have won five straight spot-kick contests at major tournaments.
Few English fans will need reminding of their semi-final shoot-out defeat at Wembley to Germany at Euro 96, while the Germans have vanquished in all four penalty shoot-outs at World Cups - though Neuer said he would prefer no penalties
"We wouldn't want penalties, we want to decide the game over 90 minutes. Everything is possible, including penalties and we'll do our best," said Neuer, with memories of the Champions League final loss no doubt fresh for several Germans.
The 26-year-old was in goal when Bayern Munich lost to Chelsea last month at the Allianz Arena when Blues veteran Didier Drogba fired home the winning spot-kick past Neuer on a miserable night in Munich for the Germans.
Germany vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger, who is fit to face Greece after an ankle strain, was the Bavarians' fall guy as his spot-kick hit the post against Chelsea which set up the Blues victory.
Greece coach Fernando Santos has said his team will be ready for a penalty shoot-out, despite their lack of luck when it comes to penalties recently.
Greek captain Giorgos Karagounis missed a penalty as their Euro 2012 opener ended in a 1-1 draw with Poland, which was Greece's third straight penalty failure after they missed two in a warm-up match against Armenia.
But Santos said his team are ready to go toe-to-toe with the Germans if their quarter-finals is decided on penalties.
"Things are really simple, if we have a penalty shoot-out, we will have five players ready and a goalkeeper who will be ready to save from the Germans," said the 57-year-old.
"We haven't been that good at penalties lately, but we saw the Chelsea and Bayern Munich final, some players make it, some don't.
"There is a great deal of luck needed in a shoot out and we will need a bit of that."