Group B
Denmark 1-2 Germany



Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender rolls the ball into the back of the Danish net in the second half to give Germany another three points



By Adam Higgins
Chief Football Editor from Arena Lviv, Ukraine 

Germany convicingly booked their place in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals after edging to an uninspiring victory over Denmark which helped to knock the Danes out of the tournament.  

Their 100% record in the group stages remained intact as Lars Bender, making his first start in a more defensive role, slid the ball past Stephan Andersen with ten minutes to go to nudge the Germans over the finishing line in Group B as they topped the standings. Michael Krohn-Delhi had earlier cancelled out Lukas Podolski's opener on 19 minutes but Portugal's 2-1 victory over the Netherlands meant that the resourceful Danish, who stunned the footballing world with a 2-0 victory over Germany in the Euro 1992 final, were left to pack their bags.

Denmark boss Morten Olsen, who took charge of his 131st match in his twelfth year as coach, made just one change from the unfortunate 3-2 defeat to the Portuguese on Wednesday with former Charlton winger Dennis Rommedahl missing out with a leg muscle strain, however he did make the bench, as he was replaced by Jakob Poulsen. Fellow midfielder Niki Zimling was fit enough to take his place in the team having been withdrawn in the first half of the Portugal match with an injury concern.

There was also just one alteration made to the Germany side that triumphed against the Netherlands by Joachim Loew which was enforced as defender Jerome Boateng served a one-match ban after accruing two yellow cards in the tournament, with his place going to midfielder Lars Bender pushed into the right-back slot rather than Schalke's Benedict Howedes while Lukas Podolski made his 100th cap.

The "Group of Death" was going to claim two victims by the end of the night with all four teams competing in Group B standing a chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals while they all could mathematically go out depending on results. Germany, who won their opening two matches and have prevailed in 15 of their last 26 clashes with Denmark, knew that only a point was required to secure qualification and top spot while the Danes needed a win to be certain of progressing however a draw could also send them through if Holland beat Portugal- although they knew that a defeat would knock them out.



The defeat means that Denmark have now lost fourteen of their last fifteen matches at European championship finals when they have conceded the first goal.


The noise of the two fantastic sets of supporters reverberated around the smallest ground at Euro 2012 in Lviv as the kick-off was glissfully anticipated. The early signs were that the Germans were going to domineer with an effort lashed over in just the second minute by World Cup 2010 Young Player of the tournament and Golden Boot winner Thomas Mueller after Sami Khedira's cross was allowed to bounce to the other side of the box.

The Danes began with a 4-5-1 setup seeing Michael Krohn-Delhi ordered out to the left while the much-wanted Ajax creator Christian Eriksen was down the right hand side having not made his mark on the tournament thus far but said during the build-up that he was keen to prove his worthy against the better-fancied Germany. Mueller again should have done better with a chance after five minutes as the Germans ominously carved their opponents open early on with precision as Gomez poked the ball onto Podolski whose cross deflected off Jacobsen to the Bayern Munich man who couldn't connect cleanly with Evian goalkeeper Stephan Andersen able to keep the ball out before it crept over the line for Denmark.

Joachim Loew's men were for seeing a lot of the possession showing their willingness to wrap up their place in the next stage of Euro 2012 in a fairly routine fashion looking to avoid a repeat of Russia's predicament last night who couldn't cope with the pressure of the attached favourites tag losing to Greece. The spritely Danes still looked to have a say in what goes on in the group but they were living dangerously in the first twenty minutes as was seen by the opening goal of the game for Germany as Arsenal-bound Podolski capped his century of appearances for his country by crashing the ball into the roof of the Denmark net after Bender's throw fell to the feet of Mueller who protected the ball and span away swiftly before cutting back for the 27-year old to find the net.

It was a goal that had been coming as the Danes were left chasing the game having offered little so far. They responded well and equalised five minutes later as Eriksen's corner was poorly defended with Bendtner able to climb at the back stick to win the first header while Krohn-Delhi, who scored the winner against Holland in their first game, was able to get away from Schweinsteiger to head into the net past Neuer himself. That momentarily put the Danes in second place but Portugal's goal against Holland ensured the two swapped places once more as the scenario changed all the time.

Morten Olsen's side occasionally burst forward although had now fully settled into the game after a sluggish beginning but the Germans were back on the goal trail with Gomez, who has netted three times so far at Poland & Ukraine, fluffing his lines on 33 minutes as Podolski knocked the ball into the six yard box from the left and the former Stuttgart player had pulled away from Agger but swung too early as the ball hit his standing leg and went behind as the tide swayed the Germans way.



Germany were the only team at the tournament to win their opening two group stages matches.


Podolski himself smashed a free-kick over from Ozil's lay-off on the other side of the eighteen-yard line after a clumsy Simon Kjaer foul on Mueller had given them a shooting opportunity while they almost got themselves back into the lead shortly before the interval after some positive build-up play looked to have petered out when Podolski and Khedira couldn't link-up but William Kvist got his legs in a tangle allowing the ball to trickle back towards an off-balance Khedira who stabbed narrowly wide of the post.

There was a more organised look to Denmark in the second half dealing with everything that their opponents threw at them while they created their best chance from open play through Jakub Poulsen's shot as he was fed by an expert reverse pass from Bendtner on the edge of the box with it whistling a couple of inches wide of the left post. It was a tight match with the Germans looking a little lacklustre introducing Bayer Leverkusen's Andre Schurrle for goalscorer Podolski in the hope of finding some rhythm or a piece of magic to ignite the game. The Danish were finding it comfortable to keep the Germans at arms length who increasingy seemed happy to hold what they have.

The recently arrived substitute Schurrle almost found his way to goal when Ozil's delightful through pass inside full-back Lars Jacobsen with the midfielder opting to open his foot to sidefoot across the goalkeeper but Andersen sprawled to keep out. However with the scores level, the Danes had a case to argue that a penalty should have been given to them when Bendtner was seeking to latch onto a left wing cross and had his shirt tugged by Badstuber however the Spanish referee Carlos Velasco Carballo, who took charge of the opening tournament game between Poland and Greece, didn't flinch on 75 minutes.

Germany, who had racked up twelve competitive wins on the spin before the game, retook the lead on 80 minutes as the game admittedly looked to have been heading for a draw. A slip in the middle of the park by Simon Poulsen allowed a counter attack at breakneck speed from the Germans to gather pace as the main architect Ozil crossed low for Bender, who had bust a gut to sprint the length of the pitch to provide an option, to score his first international goal sliding it calmly past the goalkeeper despite a desperate Kjaer looking to make the block.

Cristiano Ronaldo's second goal in Kharkiv for Paulo Bento's Portugal and their 2-1 deficit combined left them three points behind in the race for finishing in the top two. The dying emblems of the game were played out with a whimper as a case of too close to comfort for the Danes kicked in. Three times winners Germany will now meet Greece in the last eight of the tournament on Friday in the quarter-final.



ANALYSIS:  Denmark 1-2 Germany
Adam Higgins- Chief Football Editor reporting from Lviv

"Germany are probably the only country at the tournament who can break from one end of the field to another like that- it was rapid and the Danes were punished for not being able to deal with it- it would have been a major travesty had they not gone through. They managed to find a winning goal in a pretty dull game to keep up their winning record so far. They have seen off all three group opponents without playing their champagne football with still a lot more to come from this young crop of players. Looking at this group beforehand, nobody had given Denmark a hope looking at the Germans, Holland and Portugal so Morten Olsen and his side deserve huge credit for just finishing third- they beat Holland and have come close to drawing in their other two games. The match had a penalty claim for the Danes which you have to say is fairly obvious although the game prinicipally was dull. They could have gone through but the other result didn't go their way and they just didn't have enough going forward." 





Sunday 17th June                    UEFA Euro 2012: Poland & Ukraine                    Group B                  Arena Lviv, Ukraine

Denmark 1-2 Germany                                          KO 7:45pm                     Live on ITV4/HD                   (HT 1-1)

Krohn-Delhi 24      Podolski 19
                                 Bender 80






1 Stephan Andersen-  7/10  Made a good stop from Mueller in a match where he was rarely tested as his number of saves was small although had more to do than his opposite number.

6 Lars Jacobsen-  6/10  A right-back with Premier League experience but he was caught out on numerous occasions when the Germans doubled up on him at times- without actually profitting from it. Iscolated- all work done in his own half.

3 Simon Kjaer-  6/10  A shaky display from a player who normally doesn't get perturbed in the importance of the occasion but gave away some soft fouls and never really looked commanding against Gomez.

4 Daniel Agger (C)-  6.5/10  The big strong centre-half had a decent match again while making a lot of clearances, broke up the German play and was reading the game well.

5 Simon Poulsen-  6/10  The left-back had a sterdy game getting up and down the flank- when getting forward in the first half, he didn't cross early enough, tried to have far too many touches.

7 William Kvist-  6.5/10  Rarely linked up with his fellow midfielders and was tasked with the job looking after Ozil and Schweinsteiger who roamed around looking for space which he didn't look upto affording them room to manouevre.

8 Christian Eriksen-  6.5/10  The Ajax man has been a disappoint-ment on the international stage not producing his club form when it mattered. Mainly doing a defensive job which he isn't used to do which told. Didn't give Jacobsen enough protection.

19 Jakob Poulsen-  7/10  Slipped for the second goal but cannot be too disheartened by his general performance. His positioning was fine throughout- knew when to press, go tight and move forward. Shot in 50th minute which could have gone in for him.

21 Niki Zimling-  6.5/10   His injury concerns over the past week took over really- couldn't carry out the hard-working and industrious role he normally performs and was eventually replaced.

9 Michael Krohn-Delhi-  7/10  Scored another goal at the tournament which lifts the interest in him but that was his only real contribution to the game- pushed out to the left hand side where he never shone.

11 Nicklas Bendtner-  7.5/10  Should have got a penalty for his team when brought down by Badstuber, his aerial threat at setpieces caused one or two problems in first half. Flicked on for Krohn-Delhi to level.

Substitutes bench:-

16 Lindegaard (GK), 22 Schmeichel (GK), 12 Bjelland, 18 Wass, 2 C Poulsen, 13 Okore, 14 Schone, 15 Silberbauer, 20 Kahlenburg, 10 Rommedahl, 17 Pedersen, 23 Mikkelsen.


Subs used:

C Poulsen (for Zimling 76-  0 mins)-  2.5/10  The former Liverpool midfielder came on for his first appearance of the tournament but you barely heard his name mentioned which in his case is a bad thing- brought on simply to prevent Zimling's injury from being aggravated.

Mikkelsen (for J Poulsen-  82 mins)-  2/10  No chance to force the issue for the Danes in the final minutes as the ball kept going in and out- a brief cameo.  


Booked:       None


Sent-off:       None




1 Manuel Neuer-  7/10  Didn't have a lot to do at all- one of those nights where he could mainly watch with the rest of us.

15 Lars Bender-  8/10  A good match for the midfielder playing out of position- scored the winning goal making an eighty-yard run showing superb determination. Not bad for his first start of Euro 2012. Man of the match for me.

5 Mats Hummels-  7.5/10  A decent game for him- wanted to stay high up the pitch where he could distribute passes to the midfield and was barely troubled by Bendtner or Krohn-Delhi.

14 Holger Badstuber-  5.5/10  Was poor in nearly every attribute of his game- didn't cover himself in glory for the goal they conceded while his positioning wasn't great and he was fortunate not to concede a penalty in the second half.

16 Phillip Lahm (C)-  7/10  Another comfortable game for the left-back who keeps churning out the ninety minutes combined with good displays and never got caught out by Eriksen.

6 Sami Khedira-  6.5/10  Could have scored near the end of the first half and quietly went about his business in midfield making runs beyond the two centre-forwards on several occasions.

7 Bastian Schweinsteiger-  7/10  Didn't impose himself as much as he did against Holland but still had an effect in quickening the speed of the play with his passing whereby he knows the option he is going to choose before the ball arrives at his feet.

13 Thomas Mueller-  7/10  Got much more involved having one or two chances within the first five minutes, put himself about a bit more and looked threatening despite lurking inside.

8 Mesut Ozil-  7.5/10  He just bosses the game every time he steps onto the pitch, his weight of passing, his control, touch, technique and awareness is second to none. Been one of the best players of the tournament so far- just missing a goal.

10 Lukas Podolski-  7.5/10  Marked his 100th cap with a finely taken goal which he probably deserved for his brilliant start, attacked Jacobsen in the first period when Germans were enjoying their best spell, later replaced by Schurrle.

23 Mario Gomez-  6/10  Wasn't on the scoresheet, fluffed his lines with one or two half-chances and didn't look like the goalscoring poacher from the final few months- an off night to say the least.

Substitutes bench:-

12 Wiese (GK), 22 Zieler (GK), 3 Schmelzer, 4 Howedes, 17 Mertesacker, 2 Gundogan, 9 Schurrle, 18 Kroos, 19 Gotze, 21 Reus, 11 Klose.


Subs used:

Schurrle (for Podolski-  64 mins)-  4.5/10  Made a slight difference to the way the Germans pressed the Danes having a chance saved by Andersen- more direct than Podolski.

Klose (for Gomez-  73 mins)-  3/10  Had no opportunity to make an impact whatsoever- barely touched the ball and was trying desperately to run around in an attempt to get in the game.  

Kroos (for Mueller-  84 mins)-  2/10  Like in the previous two games, a brief appearance for Kroos off the bench but his promising talent again failed to materialise in the short spell he spent on the pitch.


Booked:        None


Sent-off:        None


My Man of the Match:    Lars Bender (Germany)- Rating 8/10

My Poorest Performer of the Match:    Holger Badstuber (Germany)- Rating 5.5/10



Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo (Spain)- 8.5/10
Attendance: 35,000



Match Facts:

Possession: Denmark- 43%                 Germany- 57%

Shots at goal: Denmark- 9                   Germany- 12

Shots on target: Denmark- 5                   Germany- 6

Shots off target: Denmark- 4                   Germany- 6

Corners: Denmark- 5                       Germany- 3

Fouls: Denmark- 7                       Germany- 4

Offsides: Denmark- 0                      Germany- 0

Assists: Denmark- 1 (Bendtner)                      Germany- 2 (Mueller, Ozil) 




Denmark head coach Morten Olsen:  "If you need a draw, you have to defend well and we did aside from the first goal. We got an equaliser and had a chance in the second half too. We broke their triangular passes in midfield a bit as the game went on. If you are to beat teams like that you need luck, but Jakob Poulsen hit the post in the second half. A 1-1 draw would have been a good result. If you gamble too much against a team like this – dynamic, fast – then they punish you. You keep it 1-1 and then you need a bit of luck – if Poulsen's shot had gone inside the post it would have been different. It's all ifs and buts – with the Portugal game too – but this team has a future, no doubt about it. We gave the ball away too much and we were tired. Compliments to the players as they've had a great tournament – it's just an issue of a few details. You look at the Germany team and their players are in the Champions League almost the whole year round but I think some of the players waved the flag today and proved they can rub shoulders with the best. We were up against a fantastic team; for a neutral, it must be a pleasure to watch a team like that." 

Germany head coach Joachim Loew:  "The match was very difficult, as expected. In the first half, we had an opportunity to open up a good lead; we missed three or four chances to make it 2-0 or 3-0. Then, from a standard set piece, Denmark levelled. After that, it became harder. In the second half, we controlled the match, looked after the ball and played with real maturity. Three or four years ago, we wouldn't have won this. Denmark play with real calmness – they play like they don't care about winning, sitting back, and then they hit you on the break. They pass the ball back and forth. I never got the feeling they wanted to win; I felt they were happy to keep it level and hope to get a set piece and score from that. While I was aware of what could happen, I always felt we would get the second goal. Today was the first decisive game of the tournament, but we did the job and qualified with nine points – a great performance, even if there's still room for improvement. In midfield and defence, we maybe allowed too much space; we could have closed them down much earlier to avoid allowing Denmark to take the pace out of the game. Greece will be the same, so we need to tighten up. I think they've had three or four chances at this tournament and scored three goals; they're masters of efficiency. They're hard and great at the back, strong in the tackle; it's like biting into a rock.."  


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