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Ronaldo misses but Portugal wins; Germans down Dutch
by Samuel Charles, June 14th, 2012 2:39AM
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[EURO 2012 WRAP] The "Group of Death" came to life on Day 2 in Ukraine, with eight quality goals. Portugal beat Denmark 3-2, and Germany looked impressive beating the Netherlands 2-1.

One of Portugal’s other Real Madrid stars opened the scoring at the Arena Lvivi in the game of the tournament thus far. Pepe headed home a corner in the 24th minute, and Helder Postiga doubled Portugal’s advantage in the 36th. Five minutes later Niklas Bendtner’s header from a Michael Krohn-Dehli layoff made it 2-1 at halftime.

Denmark was the better team for much of the second half, apart from two gift-wrapped chances Cristiano Ronaldo squandered. Bendtner rewarded their efforts in the 80th minute, as his second header equalized. Portugal rallied furiously, needing to win, and 84th minute sub Varela scored three minutes after entering to give Portugal a thrilling 3-2 victory.
 
After a bright start by the Dutch in the late game at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv, Bastian Schweinsteiger set up Mario Gomez twice, and the Germans took a two-goal lead.

The striker’s beautiful turn and finish between two defenders in the 24th minute, and his well-struck goal in the 38th, seemed an answer to critics who claim, “all he does is bang them in.”

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael Van der Vaart were inserted at halftime for the Netherlands, but Germany looked comfortable even after Robin Van Persie’s right-footed strike in the 73rd minute, and it finished 2-1. This performance saw the Netherlands leave the field dejected, and the Germans reclaiming their favored status. But, all four teams are still alive, and the Germans are not yet assured a place in the quarters.
 
DID YOU KNOW ...
... Varela only scored 3 goals all season for Porto.

... Gomez now has four shots on goal in the tournament, and three goals.

... Germany has never won all three of their group matches at the Euros.



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