2012 European Championships : Germany 2 – Denmark 1


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Germany makeshift right back LARS BENDER (15) of Bayer Leverkusen, a versatile prospect who is normally deployed in midfield by his Bundesliga paymasters, shields the ball from Denmark winger MICHAEL KROHN-DELHI (9) of FC Broendby Copenhagen during the decisive border battle on the final day of Group B play at the 2012 UEFA European Championships co-hosted by Poland and the Ukraine.
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A match-winner ten minutes from time finally allowed for some anxious nerves to settle as competent GERMANY defeated typically-stubborn northern neighbor DENMARK 2-1 for a third consecutive Group B triumph in as many matches at the 2012 UEFA European Championships.

The mood, of course, had become somewhat tense in the second half at the Arena Lviv after the news that Portugal had scored to break their deadlock with winless Holland in the other group match at Kharkiv — this situation meant that the Danes would need to beat the Germans outright in order to advance to the quarterfinal round of this competition.

Germany, who entered the contest with Denmark knowing a draw would do no matter what transpired elsewhere, seized the initiative a little less than twenty minutes in. Bayern Munich winger THOMAS MUELLER, who might have struck much earlier but scufted a sweeping shot at close range which Denmark goalkeeper STEPHEN ANDERSEN of French Ligue 1 side FC Evian Gaillard smothered well, cut the ball back into the box after yet another run down the right flank. Bundesliga teammate MARIO GOMEZ, the 26-year-old striker who has already scored three goals at Euro ’12, realized the pass was behind him but deftly steered the service into the path of 1.FC Koeln winger LUKAS PODOLSKI all alone in front.

A grateful Podolski drilled an absolute rocket past the defenseless Andersen and, in doing so, marked his 100th international appearance with a 44th goal for Deutschland.

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Germany left winger LUKAS PODOLSKI (10), the 27-year-old soon-to-be London-based, FC Arsenal legionnaire who registered three goals in qualification matches for Euro ’12 and already ranks as seventh of the all-time goal-scoring chart for Deutschland, focuses on the ball in front of Denmark (6) defender LARS JACOBSEN (6) of FC Copenhagen during the closely-contested Group B match at the Arena Lviv in the Ukraine.
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The pesky Danes did not stay down for long, however, and hit back exactly five minutes later to give their supporters sincere hope. Winger CHRISTIAN ERIKSEN of traditional Dutch giant Ajax Amsterdam flighted a corner kick and lethal striker NICOLAS BENDTNER of English Premier League FC Sunderland rose at the edge of the box to redirect a header to the front of goal. Six yards out and completely unmarked, winger MICHAEL KROHN-DELHI of FC Broendby Copenhagen was happy to snap his header right over Germany goalkeeper MANUEL NEUER of Bayern Munich and bring Denmark to level terms.

And Denmark might have even gone to the lead not so long after the restart, as well, but a dangerous, low drive from midfielder JAKOB POULSEN of FC Midtylland grazed off the outside of Neuer’s right hand post. The Germans, in response, began to eat up larger and larger blocks of time in possession as the match wore on even if trainer Juergen Loew’s charges could not land a knockout punch. Germany benefitted from the introduction of Bayer Leverkusen winger ANDRE SCHUERRLE, who forced the Danish custodian Andersen to get down fast with his very first touch.

It was a most unlikely hero who arrived at the back post to doom Denmark once and for all, then. Real Madrid maestro MESUT OEZIL, always a menace in the central attacking midfielder’s role for Germany, played a ball into the area that was a bit too far in front of substitute striker MIROSLAV KLOSE of SS Lazio Rome, the 34-year-old Italian Serie A legionnaire who is, at present, Deutschland’s second-best ever having shot 63 international goals. Not so, however, in the case of the overlapping right back LARS BENDER of Bayer Leverkusen, who had already had a standout night after being surpringsly tapped by Loew to replace suspeneded Bayern Munich defender JEROME BOATENG.

A very cool, side-footed finish belied the 22-year-old’s lack of experience at this level and marked a first-ever goal for Germany by the encouraging youngster at a most opportune moment, indeed.

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GERMANY
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goal — Manuel NEUER (Bayern Munich / 29 caps )

defense — Lars BENDER (Bayer Leverkusen / 9 caps, 1 go), Mats HUMMELS (Borussia Dortmund / 17 caps, 1 go), Holger BADSTUBER (Bayern Munich / 23 caps, 1 go), Philipp LAHM (Bayern Munich / 89 caps, 4 go)

def midfield — Sami KHEDIRA (Real Madrid – Spa / 30 caps, 1 go), Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER (Bayern Munich / 93 caps, 23 go)

att midfield — Thomas MUELLER (Bayern Munich / 30 caps, 10 go), Mesut OEZIL (Real Madrid – Spa / 36 caps, 8 go), Lukas PODOLSKI (1.FC Koeln / 100 caps, 44 go)

attack — Mario GOMEZ (Bayern Munich / 55 caps, 25 go)

substitutes
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MF – Andre SCHUERRLE (Bayer Leverkusen / 15 caps, 7 go)
for Podolski – 64th min
FW – Miroslav KLOSE (SS Lazio Rome – Ita / 119 caps, 63 go)
for Gomez – 74th min
MF – Toni KROOS (Bayern Munich / 29 caps, 2 go)
for Mueller – 84th min

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DENMARK
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goal — Stephan ANDERSEN (FC Evian Gaillard – Fra / 13 caps)

defense — Lars JACOBSEN (FC Copenhagen / 53 caps, 1 go), Simon KJAER (AS Roma – Ita / 27 caps, 0 go), Daniel AGGER (FC Liverpool – Eng / 49 caps, 6 go), Simon POULSEN (AZ 67 Alkmaar – Hol / 21 caps, 0 go)

def midfield — William KVIST (Vfb Stuttgart – Ger / 31 caps, 0 go)

midfield — Christain ERIKSEN (Ajax Amsterdam – Hol / 26 caps, 2 go), Jakob POULSEN (FC Midtylland / 24 caps, 1 go), Niki ZIMLING (Club Brugge – Bel / 14 caps, 0 go), Michael KROHN-DELHI (FC Broendby Copenhagen / 24 caps, 6 go)

attack — Nicolas BENDTNER (FC Sunderland – Eng / 51 caps, 20 go)

substitutes
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MF – Christian POULSEN (FC Evian Gaillard / 92 caps, 6 go)
for Zimling – 79th min
MF – Tobias MIKKELSEN (FC Nordsjaelland / 6 caps, 0 go)
for J. Poulsen – 82nd min

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