Monday, July 15, 2024

Germany advance to quarterfinals


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Dortmund, June 30: Let that patriotic fervour soar. Host nation Germany is headed to the quarterfinals at the European Championship after a wet and wild win over Denmark.
“We’re going to Berlin,” sang the jubilant Germany fans who were first battered by rain and hail after a thunderstorm that stopped play for 25 minutes, then saw their team benefit from back-to-back video review calls that helped to set up a 2-0 victory in Dortmund.
Two more wins will take Germany to the capital for the July 14 final, in what could yet turn into a summer fairy tale for a nation whose soccer team is coming out of a sorry run of performances in major tournaments.
It could have been so different against the Danes, though.The host-nation buzz was burst when, with the score at 0-0, Denmark defender Joachim Andersen swept home a close-range finish that looked to have put his team ahead in the 50th minute.The Video Assistant Referee spotted an offside in the buildup, a free kick was awarded and the ball was played downfield immediately, leading to a cross by David Raum hitting the outstretched right arm of – who else? – Andersen.The VAR got involved again and a penalty was awarded. Kai Havertz converted the spot kick and Jamal Musiala added a second goal – his third of the tournament, which is tied for the most with Georgia’s Georges Mikautadze – in the 68th.“We played a super game – we had crazy fans again today,” Germany defender Nico Schlotterbeck said.
“We’re playing with euphoria, we’re playing with fun, and that’s what the most beautiful thing about football is.” It was Germany’s first win in the knockout stage of a major tournament since 2016, since when the national team has failed to advance from the group stage at back-to-back World Cups and lost in the last 16 of the last Euros in 2021 to England.
Germany will play Spain or Georgia next and became the second team to advance from the round of 16, after Switzerland beat defending champion Italy 2-0 earlier Saturday.Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann told German broadcaster ZDF that he used the rain delay to show his players incidents from the first half-hour of the game which his team dominated, playing the most soccer of the tournament, in his opinion.Indeed, the players were able to head into the confines of the locker room while thunder, lightning and torrential rain struck, leaving spectators in the front rows particularly exposed as they scrambled higher in the stands.
Many used black-yellow-and-red flags they had waved before the match, to welcome the players onto the field, as makeshift umbrellas.
“Oh, how lovely it is,” some sang, and a few Danish supporters danced in waterfalls in the stands.
There was about a 20-minute delay before the rain relented and players re-emerged, undertaking warmups before play resumed a few minutes later. (AP)


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