woensdag 13 juni 2012

Euro 2012 Report - Wednesday 13 Juni

Denmark 2-3 Portugal
Bendtner double not enough as Varela seals victory
Paulo Bento's men threw away a comfortable lead following a battling fightback by the Danes, but came good in the end to stay in the hunt for a place in the quarter-finals

UEFA EURO 2012 : Pepe , Denmark v Portugal

Portugal kept their chances of advancing out of Group B alive after surviving a two-goal comeback from a Nicklas Bendtner-inspired Denmark to triumph 3-2 at the Lviv Arena on Wednesday.

Pepe headed the Seleccao into the lead from a corner, before Helder Postiga put them further in control with a confident finish from close range. 

But, Bendtner, on his 50th appearance for Denmark nodded one back for his side four minutes before half-time before completing the recovery with another header nine minutes from the end.

The action was not over, however, as Silvestre Varela had the last laugh, grabbing the winner with a sublime effort in the 87th minute to put Portugal level on three points with the Danes, and take the race for a quarter-final spot into the final matchday.
Denmark started the brighter of the two sides, and forced a flurry of corners early in the game to keep the Portuguese under pressure.

Despite their lack of initial enterprise, Bento’s men threatened first, Miguel Veloso whipping in a devilish ball from a short corner that was capably punched away by Stephan Andersen.

And there was bad news for the Danes just past the quarter-hour mark when Niki Zimling was forced off through injury, with Jakob Poulsen coming on as his replacement.

Portugal improved shortly after, and slowly began to play their way back into the game. Cristiano Ronaldo, as ever, was at the heart of everything, dragging a one-two with Veloso wide before hammering a free-kick into orbit.

The Iberian nation would strike first after 24 minutes. Joao Moutinho took charge of a corner, and Pepe stole a march at the near post to plant a header past Andersen into the roof of the net.

And they made the most of their momentum, and doubled their advantage in the 37th minute. Nani found himself with time and space on the right flank, and squared low to Postiga, who ghosted ahead of Simon Kjaer to lash into the top corner.

Denmark were quick to react though, and halved the deficit within four minutes. Kvist Jorgensen clipped towards Michael Krohn-Dehli at the far post, who nodded back across the six yard box for Bendtner to head into an empty net.

Portugal almost replicated their second goal on the stroke of the interval, but this time Kjaer was able to slide ahead of Postiga to hack away another dangerous cross from Nani.

Cristiano Ronaldo then had a glorious chance to put Portugal 3-1 up four minutes into the second half when clean through on goal, but his attempted slot into the bottom corner was read well by Andersen.

The chances keep on coming for the Seleccao with Postiga gifted the opportunity to pounce after terrible giveaway from Simon Poulsen, but the striker was then flattened by Agger to snuff out the chance.

Denmark were then forced into another change on the hour mark, as Dennis Rommedahl hobbled off in obvious discomfort, with Tobias Mikkelsen coming on in his stead.

Despite the setback, the Danes were inching their way back into the match. Kvist caused a few hearts to flutter with a thunderous drive from the edge of the area that whistled inches away from the top corner.

Bendtner was next to try his luck after plucking a pass out of the air at the corner of the box, but his finish did not match his control, and was scuffed wide of the mark.

The Danes should have been dead and buried on 78 minutes, but were spared thanks to another awful miss from Cristiano Ronaldo. The 27-year-old found himself one-on-one again with Andersen, but his side-footed finish was comfortably wide of the mark.

Within three minutes, Denmark would make him pay. Lars Jakobsen lifted a cross towards the far post over the head of Pepe, where Bendtner was waiting to head home via the woodwork.

However, just when it looked like they had thrown the game away, Varela rescued all three points with a well-taken half-volley from a Fabio Coentrao cross to settle the game in Portugal’s favour.

Netherlands 1-2 Germany
Gomez double dispatches troubled Oranje
The Bayern Munich striker scored twice in the first half to better a late effort from Robin van Persie to give the Germans top spot in Group B and put the Dutch on the brink

Netherlands v Germany - Group B: UEFA EURO 2012, mesut Özil and Mario Gomez

Netherlands hopes of advancing to the Euro 2012 quarter-finals are hanging by a thread after a 2-1 loss to Germany at Metalist Stadium on Wednseday.

A labouring Dutch outfit fell two goals behind by half-time thanks to a pair of lethal finishes from Mario Gomez, who took his tournament tally up to three, with both goals set up by Bayern Munich teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Van Marwijk's men were able to improve after the break though, and pulled one back through a breathtaking strike from Robin van Persie on 73 minutes.

But despite a late surge from the Oranje, Joachim Low's men were able to hang on and take their place at the top of Group B with 6 points leaving them on the verge of qualification for the last eight.

Even if Netherlands beat Portugal in their final group game on Sunday, their fate is out of their hands, as their qualification depends on both Germany defeating Denmark and a favourable goal-difference. 
The only change for both sides from their respective tournament openers came from Van Marwijk, who replaced Ron Vlaar at the back with Joris Mathijsen.

Van Persie managed to retain his spot in the Dutch XI ahead of Klass-Jan Huntelaar, despite his profligate showing in the 1-0 loss to Denmark on Saturday.

The 28-year-old had the first opportunity of the match after six minutes, running onto Mark van Bommel’s glorious lifted pass, only to poke his finish straight at Manuel Neuer.

Germany looked to respond through Mesut Ozil, whose volley from Van Bommel’s weak clearing header rebounded off the post into the grateful arms of Maarten Stekelenburg.

There was a real ebb and flow to the match developing, and Van Persie spooned another attempt off target after latching onto a pinpoint pass from Arjen Robben.

The Arsenal striker’s woes in front of goal seemed set to continue, and were further highlighted on 24 minutes when his German counterpart Gomez gave a lesson in clinical finishing.

Schweinsteiger’s through pass perfectly picked out the run of his club teammate, whose exquisite turn allowed him the space to slot into the corner despite a slight touch by Stekelenburg.

Gomez came close to another just past the half-hour mark, but was a few inches short of connecting with Muller’s low centre from the right.

Germany were in the ascendancy, and could have doubled their lead when Ozil’s free-kick found Holger Badstuber completely unmarked, only for Stekelenburg to block the defender’s shot from point blank range.

The Mannschaft would get their second seven minutes before half-time though, with the Bayern combination working a treat once more.

Gomez still had his work cut out for him after receiving Schweinsteiger’s pass on the right side of the box, but did not let the angle faze him, and lashed over Stekelenburg into the far side of the goal.

The Dutch goalkeeper was suspect for Germany’s second, but prevented his side from falling further behind by tipping away Schweinsteiger’s free-kick with the last kick of the half.

Van Marwijk shook things up at the interval, hauling off captain Van Bommel and Ibrahim Afellay for Huntelaar and Rafael Van der Vaart to start the second-half.

However, Germany still held the upper hand. Mats Hummels surprised Netherlands with an enterprising run up the length of the pitch, before forcing Stekelenburg into a smart double save.

Robben tried to spark his side into life with a run down the left flank, teeing up Van Persie at the edge of the box for a snap-shot that was pushed away by Neuer. Wesley Sneijder was next up, bending a long-range effort inches wide of the far post.

But as the second-half wore on, Netherlands began to inch their way back towards contention. Robben sliced a close range volley off target, before Sneijder saw his shot blocked full on the face by Jerome Boateng.

With 73 minutes gone, they found a way back into the game. Van Persie took a pass on the edge of the box on the turn, and smashed an unstoppable shot with his weaker right foot past the despairing Neuer.

That sparked a late spell of pressure by the Dutch, but Germany were able to hold firm at the back, and almost scored again after a gaffe by Stekelenburg nearly left Klose with an empty net.


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