Germany avoid Danish banana skin in repeat of 1992 Euro final

Germany vs Denmark
Germany vs Denmark (PC: BRFootball/X)

A controversial handball call was the pivotal moment in an engrossing Germany-Denmark encounter in the round of 16 at Euro 2024. In what was a rematch of the 1992 final that the Danes – last-minute replacements for the banned Yugoslavia – famously won 2-0, the result was reversed, with the hosts progressing to a quarter-final against either Spain or Georgia. But Joachim Anderson, in particular, will argue long and hard about the VAR-influenced decision that helped give Germany the lead.

The other main talking point was a massive storm that stopped play for nearly half an hour with 35 minutes on the clock. Michael Oliver, the referee, took the players off, and gave the captains a similar warning before the commencement of the second-half, which was thankfully unaffected by the lightning strikes and booms of thunder.

Six minutes into the second half, Anderson thought he had given Denmark the lead after a series of penalty-box deflections saw the ball land up at his feet. But with Thomas Delaney a fraction offside in the build-up, the goal was chalked off. Germany went straight up the other end, and David Raum’s cross brushed Anderson’s fingertips before looping into the six-yard box. VAR had a look and, in keeping with the modern interpretation of the law, ruled that Anderson’s arm had been in an ‘unnatural position’ away from his body.

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Ikar Gundogan
Ikar Gundogan (PC: X)

Kai Havertz tucked away the penalty, and could well have added two more either side of it when he fluffed his lines after streaking clear of the defence. But the second goal that Germany’s overall dominance probably merited duly arrived in the 68th minute when Nico Schlotterbeck’s raking pass out of defence was controlled by Jamal Musiala, who waited till Kasper Schmeichel had committed himself before passing the ball into the far corner for his third goal of the tournament.

Schlotterbeck had a headed goal ruled out in the early exchanges for overly physical play, and Schmeichel pulled off some stunning saves to deny Havertz and Joshua Kimmich. But once Denmark settled, they were more than a match for Germany, with Christian Eriksen in particular exerting his influence in midfield. Towards the end of the half, Rasmus Hojlund was sent clear only for Manuel Neuer to deny him with a brilliant stop.

Germany could have added further gloss to the scoreline after the second goal, but several glaring misses and the alertness of Schmeichel kept Denmark in it till the end. And on a night when Italy, the defending champions, were dumped out by Switzerland, Julian Nagelsmann and his side will just be relieved that their ambitions of becoming the first home team to lift the Euro trophy since France in 1984 are alive and kicking. 

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