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Rediff.com  » Sports » Photos: Calm Germany, Portugal book quarter-final berths

Photos: Calm Germany, Portugal book quarter-final berths

Last updated on: June 18, 2012 10:10 IST

PHOTOS: Germany, Portugal seal spot in quarters

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Cool-headed Germany extended their Euro 2012 winning streak to reach the last eight with a solid 2-1 victory over Denmark on Sunday as two goals from an inspired Cristiano Ronaldo put Portugal through and sent the Dutch packing.

Lukas Podolski marked his 100th appearance for Germany with a 19th-minute goal in Lviv, before Michael Krohn-Dehli levelled for Denmark five minutes later.

Conceding an equaliser briefly threatened the Germans with a shock elimination depending on the outcome of the other Group B decider but defender Lars Bender scored a clinical late goal to set up a quarter-final clash with Greece.



Image: Germany's Lars Bender (left) celebrates with Miroslav Klose after scoring against Denmark
Photographs: Darren Staples / Reuters

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Denmark did precious little to challenge German defenders

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Bender, replacing the suspended Jerome Boateng in the starting line-up, benefited from poor Danish defending to run on to a pass from Mesut Ozil and calmly slot home from close range in the 80th minute.

Denmark did little else to threaten the German goal and could easily have lost had Podolski, Thomas Mueller and in particular Sami Khedira converted presentable first-half chances.

The Danes, who needed to win to go through, could have taken the lead in the 51st minute but Jakob Poulsen shaved the post from 10 metres after great set-up play from Bendtner, who was one of Denmark's best players in the tournament.

Man-of-the-match Podolski, 27, became the youngest European player to win 100 caps for his country.

Image: Denmark's Michael Krohn-Dehli (2nd from left) heads to score against Germany
Photographs: Alexander Demianchuk / Reuters

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'There were positive spirits out there tonight'

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"There were positive spirits out there tonight. We were focused on getting a goal. It was a bit of luck that the ball came to me but you don't think a lot about it, you just shoot it in," Bender said.

Germany completed the European Championship group stage with a perfect record for the first time after Joachim Loew's team had set a German record in qualifying, winning all 10 games.

Germany now face Greece, who pulled off the biggest upset of the tournament when they beat Russia 1-0 and sent Dick Advocaat's side home.

Striker Fernando Torres called Russia's surprise elimination a "wake-up call" for defending champions Spain who play their last group match against Croatia on Monday.

Image: Denmark's Nicklas Bendtner (left) and teammates wear a sullen look after their loss to Germany
Photographs: Darren Staples / Reuters

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Dutch 'not good enough' to thwart Portugal challenge

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In Kharkiv, Portugal eliminated the Netherlands to the dismay of their thousands of orange-clad fans who had made their team's three group games in the city virtual home matches.

Ronaldo cancelled out Rafael van der Vaart's sweet early goal for the Dutch with a 28th-minute equaliser and the world's most expensive player lashed in the winner 16 minutes from time.

Portugal next face the Czech Republic on Thursday in Warsaw.

"This tournament we were just not good enough to reach the knockout phase," Van der Vaart told Dutch TV.

The Netherlands, runners-up in the 2010 World Cup, lost all three group games, the first to Denmark and the second to bitter rivals Germany.

Image: Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates after scoring against Netherlands
Photographs: Michael Buholzer / Reuters

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'Our confidence was gone since the opening match'

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"Our confidence was gone since the opening match and now we just have to start all over again," said Van der Vaart.

Portugal captain Ronaldo, criticised for his performances in their opening two matches, was outstanding and could have easily scored four as his side dominated their listless opponents.

The early part of the first half was dominated by the Dutch. They scored after 11 minutes through Van der Vaart who superbly curled his left-foot shot just inside the post beyond the reach of Rui Patricio for his

The Dutch were on top for the next 15 minutes but man of the match Ronaldo gave a warning of what was to come when he hit the outside of Maarten Stekelenburg's right-hand post in the 16th.

Image: A Netherlands fan reacts after the Dutch lost to Portugal
Photographs: Yves Herman / Reuters

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The Dutch upped the tempo later but couldn't find the winner

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But the winger made no mistake just before the half hour mark when Dutch left-back Jetro Willems gave the ball away cheaply to Miguel Veloso who started the move that led to the equaliser.

The final ball from Joao Pereira was weighted perfectly for Ronaldo who timed his run to beat the offside trap and score in characteristic style to become the first Portuguese player to find the net in five major tournaments.

Portugal dominated the rest of the half and Ronaldo went close to giving them the lead after 34 minutes with a header that went just wide.

The Dutch upped the tempo in the second half but couldn't find that winner.

However, after Helder Postiga had a goal disallowed for offside, Ronaldo wrapped up the victory after a superb break 16 minutes from time and even had time to hit the post late on.

Image: Portugal's Raul Meireles (left) and Netherlands' Nigel de Jong vie for possession
Photographs: Yves Herman / Reuters

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