Germany set up Greece date
Maximum points sees Germans through as Denmark crash out
By Jamie Casey. Last Updated: 18/06/12 8:56am
Lars Bender: Celebrates his winner which saw Germany take maximum points
Germany confirmed their passage to the quarter-finals of Euro 2012 after taking maximum points in Group B following a hard-fought 2-1 win over Denmark.
The Germans will now face Group A runners-up Greece and were up and running on 19 minutes when Lukas Podolski thumped home an emphatic opener.
Michael Krohn-Dehli levelled for Denmark within six minutes though, following some suspect defending from a Germany side that is very much one of the favourites to win the tournament.
With the sides still deadlocked as the final 10 minutes approached, a winner for Denmark would have dropped Germany to third in the group.
However, Lars Bender eased German nerves, steering past Stephan Anderson for his first international goal.
Germany coach Joachim Low made his first change of the tournament, replacing the suspended Jerome Boateng with Bender, but he resisted the temptation to make further alterations to his winning side.
Niki Zimling was passed fit to play by Denmark coach Morten Olsen, while the injured Dennis Rommedahl's place was taken by Jakob Poulsen.
Low's side began with authority and the diligent Thomas Muller went close twice early on, but Stephan Andersen showed lightning reactions to deny his second attempt in the sixth minute.
Germany remained camped in the Denmark half, playing a patient yet expressive game which led to Podolski marking his 100th Germany appearance with a goal in the 19th minute.
Muller provided a low cross from the right-hand side of the penalty area which Mario Gomez flicked intelligently back to Podolski, who left nothing to chance with a powerful shot from seven yards out.
Germany's lead lasted only five minutes, though, before Krohn-Dehli's second goal of the tournament brought the Danes level.
He diverted Nicklas Bendtner's header past Manuel Neuer from six yards out from a well-worked corner after a positive reaction from the Danes to falling behind.
Towards the end of the first half, Podolski blazed a free-kick over the bar from the edge of the penalty area and Sami Khedira prodded a shot wide from 10 yards out as Denmark were again forced to defend.
Jakob Poulsen went within inches of putting Denmark in front five minutes into the second half when his shot grazed the outside of the left-hand post with Neuer beaten.
Low sent Schurrle on for Podolski midway through the second half and his first touch of the game brought an excellent one-handed save out of Andersen.
Neuer showed less sophistication in dealing with Zimling's distance effort in the 71st minute, conceding a corner as Denmark enjoyed another bright spell.
Five minutes later, Bendtner got in around the back and tried at full stretch to lift the ball over Neuer, but without success as he had his shirt pulled by Holger Badstuber.
One goal for Denmark was still required to send them through and send Germany home since Portugal had taken the lead against Holland, but just as Low's side were showing the first signs of tension, they regained the lead from an unlikely outlet.
Mesut Ozil's through ball was intended for Miroslav Klose, but it was too far in front of the Lazio striker but inviting for full-back Bender, who coolly took his first international goal in the 80th minute to take Germany through and knock Denmark out of Euro 2012.
|1||1st Half Goals||1|
|2||Shots on Target||4|
|5||Shots off Target||6|
|43.6||1st Half Poss.||56.4|
|35.8||2nd Half Poss.||64.2|
European Championships Group A
European Championships Group B
European Championships Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||3||0|
European Championships Group D
Denmark v Germany
Jamie Casey believes Lukas Podolski deserves his place among the Euro stars after his landmark cap.
With there still all to play for in Group B, Denmark and Germany head into the final round of fixtures looking for a win to carry them into the quarter-finals.
Germany are 8/13 with Sky Bet to secure top spot in Group B with a third successive victory against Denmark on Sunday.