Denmark 1 Germany 2: Bender winner sends Olsen’s men home
Lars Bender's goal 10 minutes from time maintains Germany's 100 per cent record at Euro 2012 as Denmark are eliminated
Lars Bender netted the vital winner for Germany as Joachim Low’s side extended their 100 per cent record and ended Denmark’s hopes of a quarter-final spot.
Michael Krohn-Dehli had cancelled out Lukas Podolski’s opener but Bender scored 10 minutes from time to send Germany into the last eight as Group B winners.
The first opportunity fell to Germany inside two minutes as Thomas Muller blasted his left-foot strike over the bar from Sami Khedira’s cross.
Muller was continuing to prove a threat and wasted a golden opportunity to give his side the lead moments later. After Podolski’s cross into the box, goalkeeper Stephan Andersen kept out the winger’s weak shot.
After exerting all of the early pressure, Low’s side took the lead after 18 minutes.
Following Muller’s dangerous cross, a mis-kicked effort from Mario Gomez found its way to Podolski, and the Arsenal-bound forward made no mistake with a composed finish from 12 yards.
The goal meant that the 27-year-old, who was making his 100th international appearance, took his tally of goals at European championships to four, just one behind Jurgen Klinsmann.
Denmark had lost 13 of the 14 previous European championship clashes in which they have fallen behind but they managed to draw level six minutes later.
A deep corner found the head of Nicklas Bendtner and after he comfortably out-jumped Bender, Krohn-Dehli latched onto the flick and nodded past Manuel Neuer.
The Germans had a good chance to re-take the lead on 41 minutes but Khedira, making a rare foray into the opposition penalty area, poked wide.
With just five minutes gone in the second half, Denmark had a great chance to take the lead.
After a lung-busting forward run from Simon Poulsen, Bendtner held up the cross before finding Jakob Poulsen, but the latter’s side-footed strike agonisingly grazed the outside of the post.
Chances were few and far between in this encounter but substitute Andre Schurrle forced a superb save from Andersen, as he nearly capitalised on some slack defending.
Germany looked to have booked their place in the quarter-finals when they re-took the lead with just 10 minutes left.
As the Danes desperately searched for a goal that would take them through, full-back Poulsen slipped in possession, giving Low’s team the chance to attack.
They took advantage in typically ruthless fashion, with the ball eventually finding the run of Bender, who slotted past the despairing dive of the Danish goalkeeper.
Germany will now place Greece for a semi-final spot, while Group B runner-up Portugal will face the Czech Republic in the last eight.
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