Photos: Euro 2012: Germany Progress, Cristiano Ronaldo Double Helps Portugal Send Holland Home
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | Jun 18, 2012 05:04 PM EDT
Euro 2012 favourites Germany beat Denmark 2-1 in their final group match to advance to the quarterfinals, while a brace from Cristiano Ronaldo helped Portugal overcome Holland by the same score to earn a spot in the last eight and send the Dutch home.
Germany progressed as winners of Group B, with Lukas Podolski marking his 100th cap by scoring the opener in Lviv. Denmark hit back soon through Michael Krohn-Dehli and after a dull second half from both sides, stand-in right back Lars Bender settled the game with a late winner to give Die Mannschaft three wins out of three group games.
Meanwhile, in Kharkiv, Rafael van der Vaart broke the deadlock early on with a contender for Goal of the Tournament - a shot that rocketed past a helpless Rui Patricio in the Portuguese goal. Aware that only a two-goal would allow them to qualify, the Dutch pressed for their second but were repeatedly caught on the break by Paulo Bento's men, who spurned several chances to level the score.
Ronaldo finally equalised, near the half-hour mark, after Joao Pereira set him up for a one-on-one against Maarten Stekelenburg. With chances falling at both ends in a competitive second half, the Real Madrid ace silenced his doubters by grabbing his double 15 minutes from time to give Portugal the victory. The Oranje crashed to a humiliating exit, with three losses out of three games - their worst performance ever in a major competition.
Germany will face Greece in the quarter-finals, while Portugal will clash with Group A winners Czech Republic.
Germany: The Germans dominated possession as expected but their usual flair and invention was not seen on Sunday. They were probably happy to sit back and see this one out.
Denmark: Martin Olsen's men defended well, with captain Daniel Agger and fellow centre-back Simon Kjaer impressing. They are a tidy outfit and work well as a team but unfortunately were not creative enough against the tournament favourites.
Portugal: They took some time to settle into the game but once they got the momentum, they became a dominant force. Portugal's strength is, predictably, their wings. Nani and Ronaldo linked up well against Holland and caused all sorts of problems. Bento might be a little concerned about the team's finishing though.
Holland: The Dutch scored a stunning goal through van der Vaart but ran out of steam soon after. The Oranje looked like a group of individuals more than a team, something which has often been said about them and something they will need to address if they wish to win a major tournament.
Lukas Podolski made his 100th Germany cap a game to remember, with a goal against DenmarkSource: Reuters Date:06/18/2012
Cristiano Ronaldo was in sublime form to guide Portugal into the quarterfinals of Euro 2012 with a 2-1 victory over HollandSource: Reuters Date:06/18/2012