DENMARK (1) vs GERMANY (2)
GERMANY coach Joachim Low last night predicted that Greece will prove a tough nut to crack, after his team set up a quarter-final against the 2004 winners scheduled for Friday.
Low’s men finished top of Euro 2012’s Group B on maximum points thanks to a late winner from Lars Bender. But for much of the game the Danes held out, after Lukas Podolski’s first-half opener was matched by an equaliser from Michael Krohn-Dehli.
“Against Greece, it will be a completely different match. Nevertheless, they play a very similar game to the Danes. They are very dangerous in attack and strong in defence,” Low warned.
Germany got off to a good start last night, however. On 19 minutes Thomas Muller received possession deep inside the box and turned to pull the ball back across goal where it skimmed off Mario Gomez’s boot and found the oncoming Podolski, who drilled in from eight yards.
The new Arsenal signing reeled away, celebrating a goal that also marked his 100th international appearance for Germany. He became the youngest European to reach a century of caps.
Yet the plucky Danes refused to give up, and just six minutes later drew level from a well-drilled set piece.
Full-back Lars Jacobsen took a corner from the right hand side which found another Arsenal forward – Nicklas Bendtner – who had pulled away from the pack. Bendtner headed back across goal for his diminutive strike partner Krohn-Dehli to nod in from close range.
And Bendtner could have had a penalty thirty minutes into the second half, when his shirt was tugged by centre back Holger Badstuber, as he tried to latch onto a high ball into the box. But referee Carlos Velasco Carballo waved play on, and four minutes later the Danes were behind.
The energetic Bender ran onto the end of a loose diagonal pass and rolled the ball beyond Stephan Andersen to grab all three points for Germany.