Germany maintained their 100% start to Euro 2012 and are almost through to the last eight after handing the Dutch their second defeat of the tournament. The fight to qualify from Group B promises to be tense following Portugal’s win over Denmark.
Germany 2-1 Netherlands
Mario Gomez scored two first-half goals to give Germany a comfortable 2-0 lead at halftime. By then, the German fans at the Metalist Stadium in Kharkov were already singing “Aufwiedersehen, aufwiedersehen,” – the ironic chant suggesting that the Dutch team and its orange-clad fans should start packing their bags and go home.
The Dutch were more enterprising at the start of the second half after adding a second striker, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. And it did bring some result on 73d minute as Robin van Persie cut the deficit for the World Cup runners-up.
But it was too little too late for Bert van Marwijk’s side. Even the later insertion of a fourth Dutch striker, Dirk Kuyt, did not produce the equalizer.
Portugal 3-2 Denmark
In the day’s other game, Pepe and Helder Postiga gave Portugal a solid lead in the first half of their clash with Denmark. But Nicklas Bendtner, who had scored in each of the four official games he had played in against Portugal, scored twice to put his team back into the game.
It was Portugal, however, who had the last say. Late substitute Silvestre Varela scored three minutes from the end to snatch a 3-2 win and revive his team's hopes of reaching the European Championship quarter-finals.
Cristiano Ronaldo had another miserable game, squandering two clear chances in front of Denmark goalkeeper Stephan Andersen, bringing jeers from the crowd.
“We should have killed the game off earlier,” Portugal coach Paulo Bento said. “We had enough chances.”
“Conceding an equalizer so late, we showed great strength of character to keep going after the win,'' said Bento, whose team regained its winning form after a four-game winless streak, during which it found the net only once.
The loss was a setback for Denmark's ambitions after they beat the Netherlands 1-0 in their opening game. Both Portugal and Denmark now have three points in Group B, while the Netherlands still have mathematical chances of qualifying despite having lost both of their encounters in the “group of death.”