Euro 2012 – Day 2, As It Happened
By: Henry Whitfield
After fireworks on day one, it was a lacklustre pair of matches on Day 2 that lead to just two goals being scored in the first matches of the so called Group of Death.
Denmark ran out surprise winners 1-0 over a Netherlands team that were unable to convert their superior possession into goals, and tournament favourites Germany were able to manufacture a 1-0 win over an uninspiring Portuguese team.
Both results leave Group D wide open and leave the Netherlands desperate for results against Portugal and Germany, while Denmark will be celebrating a famous victory.
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Denmark 1 – 0 Netherlands
In a remarkable game, it was the Danes that shook the tournament knocking off the Netherlands and leaving the Dutch with a tough path to the quarterfinals.
Despite heavy pressure to open the match and a number of near misses from the men in Orange, it was Denmark who opened the scoring against the run of play. Michael Krohn-Dehli picked up the ball from Simon Poulson and slotted through Martin Stekelenburg’s legs, sending their fans into delirium.
The Dutch continued to put the pressure on and dominate possession, finishing the game with 28 shots but a meagre six efforts ending up on target.
The Danish defensive play of Captain Daniel Agger was heroic, as he managed to turn away wave after wave of Dutch attackers, holding on dearly to the slim lead.
Supporters may look to a number of questionable handball claims turned away by Damir Skomina, including a very late handball by defender Lars Jacobson. However, the game was lost in the final third on poor finishing. Their best effort coming off a curled shot by Arjen Robben who clanged his shot off the woodworks, wasting a golden change to draw the match.
The loss puts the Netherlands under pressure to qualify, with both Portugal and Germany still to play, while Dane’s will celebrate a famous upset and a dream start to their tournament.
Man of the Match: Daniel Agger
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Germany 1 – 0 Portugal
While dominating the stat line, the Germans were unable to dominate the score board and were saved an embarrassing start to the tournament when Mario Gomez found the back of the net with a splendid header late in the second half.
The game started slowly as both teams attempted to poke and prod, getting familiar with each other as the Germans slowly took control.
62% of the possession at half-time was the story for the Germans as they were continually frustrated by a sturdy Portuguese defence, with the biggest chance falling to Portuguese Defender Pepe, who fired a shot off the underside of the crossbar but it bounced off the line. The close call averted more calls for goalie technology and the Germans were able to avert an embarrassing end to the first half.
The tightly contested football continued into the second half, with the Germans outplaying the Portuguese and enjoying much of the possession and finally found a way to break through.
Mario Gomez was the man of the hour, heading the go-ahead goal in the 72nd minute off a cross from Sami Khedira, a chance that Gomez took without question.
Despite being a highly touted matchup, the two teams failed to excite fans and their talents essentially negated each other resulting in a chess-like battle in the midfield.
Man of the Match: Mario Gomez
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