Germany and Portugal put Danes and Dutch to the sword

June 18, 2012 in Euro 2012, International

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Yesterday’s results saw Germany and Portugal enter the last eight of the competition along with the Czech Republic and Greece, after a riveting end to arguably the most exciting group of the tournament.Predictions were made before the two decisive Group B games, and after such a poor start by the competition’s third-favourites Holland, and with Denmark needing a win against hot favourites Germany, it was widely expected that Portugal would go through along with Germany. But this is football, and as proved on Saturday night with Russia crashing out, anything can happen. At the end of the first 45 minutes, it was still possible and not stupid to suggest that Portugal and Denmark would be the teams to advance.
In both games the half time score was 1-1. A neat, curling shot from outside the box from Rafael van der Vaart ended up in the bottom left corner of the Portuguese goal past Rui Patricio, but was soon matched by Cristiano Ronaldo’s first goal of the competition after Holland left-back Jetro Willems carelessly gave the ball away in his own half. Similar proceedings in the other game, as Arsenal-bound Lukas Podolski marked his 100th cap with a sweet right-footed strike, giving the Germans the lead, but unexpectedly, Michael Krohn-Deli popped up with a close range header to nod home the Danes’ equaliser before half time. If the scores had stayed as they were, Germany and Portugal were going through, exactly what was expected before a ball was kicked in either game.

The second half began, which saw a further scare to Holland’s slim survival chances with a disallowed Helder Postiga goal on the 58th minute; had that goal been legally scored, Holland were as good as out, needing three goals in half an hour. The time elapsed, 50th minute, 60th minute and the 70th minute with no change to either scoreline. Missed chances for each team, but then, Cristiano Ronaldo silenced the critics with his second goal of the game, a crisp finish from an exquisite Nani cross-field pass, and sent Holland on the plane home prematurely, a complete contrast to their World Cup final appearance two years ago. Lars Bender scored for Germany soon after a low shot into the bottom-left corner, finally settling the group. Germany first, Portugal second.

Denmark put up a good fight and should be proud of how they’ve played against some of the big boys from international football, especially after being so easily written off by many, and an impressive showing from Nicklas Bendtner throughout the competition during their three games will certainly alert Arsenal. Germany proved to be as dominant as expected, but Holland were just poor. A lack of confidence and desire to win, they deserved to go out. So, Germany and Portugal qualify and will face Greece and the Czech Republic respectively, hardly challenging opposition compared to their group, and should both progress to the semi finals.