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Euro 2012: Group B - Portugal stay alive, Germany push the Dutch to the brink
Two more goals from Germany's Mario Gomez have put the Netherlands on the verge of not making it out of the "Group of Death" at Euro 2012. The 2-0 victory puts Germany at the top of the Group B after two games and leaves the Dutch at the bottom of the table. Portugal kept their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive, thanks to a late goal from substitute Silvestre Varela, in defeating Denmark 3-2.
Edmonton - June 13, 2012 - Two more goals from Germany's Mario Gomez have put the Netherlands on the verge of not making it out of the "Group of Death" at Euro 2012. The 2-0 victory puts Germany at the top of the Group B after the first two rounds of games and leaves the Dutch at the bottom of the table. Portugal had a far better go of it, keeping their hopes of advancing to the knockout stages alive thanks to a late goal from substitute Silvestre Varela, in defeating Denmark 3-2.
The Portuguese got off to a great start, in what was a must win situation, they would jump out to an early lead. After ripping a strike off the crossbar in Portugal's opening match against Germany, Pepe would not be denied for a second straight match. The Portuguese defender sent a perfect header to the near post and just out of the reach of goalkeeper Stephan Andersen. The goal was the first of the Euro championships for his side and finally gave the Portuguese some life.
They would make it 2-0, at the thirty-seven minute mark, after an exquisite finish from Helder Postiga. The Zaragoza striker took a beautifully placed ball from Nani and depositing it under the bar from eight yards out. After creating very little against the Germans, Portugal were suddenly at their free flowing best.
However, Denmark would cut the lead to one before the end of the half, courtesy of some nice ball movement from the Danes and some dreadful defending from the Portuguese. Midfielder Jakob Poulsen found Michael Krohn-Dehliat at the far post with a very useful cross, that the Denmark attacker smartly headed back to the front of goal and an unmarked Nicklas Bendtner, who knocked the ball into the wide open net.
After Cristiano Ronaldo missed two glorious opportunities to put his side up a pair in the second half, the Danes would make the Portugal captain regret his poor finish. Two minutes after Ronaldo's final miss, Bendtner would head his second of the match off keeper Rui Patricio and into the back of the Portuguese goal. An absolutely splendid finish from Denmark's star striker...something his counterpart was unable to produce.
The Danes were back on level terms and with under ten minutes left in regulation, Portugal were on the verge of becoming the first side to be eliminated from Euro 2012. Enter Silvestre Varela. Having just entered the match in the eighty-fourth minute, the FC Porto striker wasted little time contributing. After Fabio Coentrao brilliantly won a free ball in the midfield, the Real Madrid defender sent a cross into the middle of the Danish box that Varela initially misplayed but quickly righted himself, the super sub spun and unleashed a bullet half volley past a helpless Andersen. A wonderful strike and one that keeps Portugal alive at Euro 2012.
In game two of the day, Germany continued their impressive play in picking apart the underwhelming Netherlands. Gomez continued producing in what has been a dream season for the Bayern Munich marksman. After scoring the late winner against Portugal in the opener, he topped that performance with a brace in the opening half, giving him all three of Germany's goals at Euro 2012. The twenty-six year old striker took passes from his Bayern teammate Bastian Schweinsteiger leading up to both goals, before burying the ball in the back of the Holland net on both occasions
The Netherlands appeared far more interested in bickering with one another on the pitch than actually attempting to create some sort of offence upfront. Nothing against the quality of performance from both Denmark and Germany but there is no explanation for them going three consecutive halves of play without generating much of anything...never mind a goal. Add to that the absolutely awful man marking they have displayed in both matches and their struggles should be no surprise.
After finally coming out to the pitch and playing their game to start the second half, the Dutch started to resemble the squad that is considered by many to be one of the best sides in international football. Not surprisingly, their much improved play would produce their first goal of the tournament, as a rocket off the boot of Robin van Persie hit the back of the German net at the seventy-third minute.
Finally it was game on but it was too little too late for the Netherlands. With the defeat, they sit at the bottom of Group B with no points, while Germany is at the top of the table with a full six points from their two matches. That leaves Portugal and Denmark tied for second with three points a piece and leaves the Dutch with an uphill climb to make it through to the knockout round.
Group B - Results and Schedule
06/09/12 – Denmark 1 Netherlands 0
06/09/12 – Germany 1 Portugal 0
06/13/12 – Portugal 3 Denmark 2
06/13/12 – Germany 2 Netherlands 1
06/17/12 – Portugal vs Netherlands
06/17/12 – Denmark vs Germany
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