The DFB squad had a relatively decent 2-1 win against a plucky Danish side in the final match of the Group stage at Euro 2012. There were a few moments of nervousness late in the game with the match 1-1, and news filtering that Portugal was winning their match. In that case, a Danish goal could have sent the Germans out. But only a few minutes later the Germans sealed the win to win the group and advance to the quarterfinals against the once again surprising upstart Greece.
Joachim Löw brought out the same squad that had won both previous matches, although Leverksuen’s Lars Bender got the start at RB, since Jerome Boateng was “yellowed”. This would prove to be a fortuitous move, since Bender had an excellent match. (Not that Boateng hadn’t played well, but Löw has had trouble figuring out what to do the the right side). Germany started brightly, possessing the ball and pressuring the Danes. There seemed to be a bit nore urgency to finish this one off right from the start. Lukas Podolski crowned the effort as he hammered in a deflection off Mario Gomez. His 44th goal in 100th cap, the youngest german every to reach that mark. (Of course these days, there are a lot more opportunities).
If one had expected the Danes to give up, you’d have been wrong. Only a few minutes later Niklas Bendtner (whom EPL followers might think of as somewhat of a wanker, but actually had a good tournament) out jumped Badstuber to head back a corner towards the middle, and Krohn-Dejli headed home for the equalizer. The match continued with Germany having the edge, but the Danes remained dangerous on the counters.
The second half was largely a repeat of the first, with Germany dominating the ball and probing the Danish defense, but not being able to get the breakthrough. As the clock ticked on, there was perhaps a rising fear that a Danish goal might steal a win, and it certainly could have come through when Portugal took the lead against Holland. However, despite some decent chances on both sides, the German side didn’t panic, and on a breakaway Lars Bender slotted home to ensure Germany’s group win…btw, the first time in the Euros that Germany won all 3 matches in the Groups stage. (For that matter, 10 straight wins in the qualifiers too).
Overall, this was a pretty decent match for Germany. They seemed to have it under control, although one might wish for more of a killer instinct to knock out their opponent. They seem to being doing just enough to get the win. A courageous effort by Denmark, a good tournament, very positive football. If the Dutch hadn’t phoned in the whole tournament, they might have snuck into the next round.
Germany faces Greece in the quarters, which Löw’s squad will be heavily favored. But the Greeks will definitely be motivated and have been underestimated in all their matches so far. Perhaps we could raise the stakes and suggest that if Germany wins, Greece gets kicked out of the euro (aside from the Euro), and if the Greeks win, German taxpayers stop whining and fork over that bailout money, hehehe…
Denmark - Germany 1:2 (1:1) Attendance: 32,990 (Lvov) 0:1 Podolski (19., Gomez) 1:1 Krohn-Dehli (24., Bendtner) 1:2 L. Bender (80., Özil) DENMARK: Andersen Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, Simon Poulsen Kvist Eriksen, Jakob Poulsen (82. Mikkelsen) , Zimling (79. Christian Poulsen), Krohn-Dehli Bendtner GERMANY: Neuer L. Bender, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm Khedira, Schweinsteiger Th. Müller (84. Kroos), Özil, Podolski (64. Schürrle) Gomez (74. Klose)