Germany have progressed through to the quarter-finals of Euro2012 after topping Group B courtesy of a 2-1 win over Denmark in a relatively uneventful contest in Lviv tonight.
The tournament second favourites produced the victory they required to get through the group stage with a 100% record, setting up a final eight meeting with Euro2004 winners Greece in Gdansk on Friday.
But it wasn’t all smooth sailing for Joachim Low’s men who scored first before Mortern Olsen’s Danes equalized and then had a few chances to perhaps sneak a win which may have seen Die Mannschaft eliminated.
Germany looked menacing early and inside 20 minutes they took the lead as Lukas Podolski, in his 100th appearance for his country, hammered home from close range on his right foot. The ball was screwed to the top of the six-yard box from Thomas Muller on the right with a slight deflection off Mario Gomez putting it into the path of the Arsenal new boy who did the rest despite Stephan Andersen’s best efforts.
Less than five minutes later, however, Denmark had a leveller when a corner was headed deep into the area by Nicklas Bendtner from the back post for Michael Krohn-Dehli to fire home with his head straight over the gloves of Manuel Neuer for 1-1 and his second goal of the tournament.
Germany were in cruise control and there was no real urgency about their game during the second half even though Denmark could have knocked them out if they had scored but luckily right-back Lars Bender netted his first international goal to secure their route to the final eight in the 80th minute. The Germans attacked on the counter with Andre Schurrle feeding a low pass for the advancing Bender to easily slot past Andersen to give his side maximum points.
Earlier, Germany should have been ahead in the 6th minute when Podolski’s bobbled cross from the left fell to an unmarked Thomas Muller at the back post but he missed a gift, hitting his side-footed effort straight at Andersen.
The 41st minute saw Sami Khedira stab a good chance wide when Gomez’s ball was poorly dealt with by William Kvist and ten minutes later, Denmark had a stunning opportunity to go ahead early in the second half when Simon Poulsen made a strong run down the left to cut back for Bendtner who found an advancing Jakob Poulsen but his low curling effort whizzed just by Neuer’s right post.
In the 67th minute, Danish gloveman Andersen was on hand to deny German substitute Schurrle’s angled attempt low to his left before Bendtner’s clever flick from Daniel Agger’s 76th minute free-kick almost found its way over Neuer but it appeared that Holger Badstuber was pulling the Danish strikers shirt.
But in the end, it was a processional evening for Germany who came and did what they needed to do to set up an extremely winnable quarter-final fixture with a Greece side very lucky to get out of their group.
Euro2012 – Group B
Lviv Arena, Lviv
Yellow cards: DEN - nil
GER - nil