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Germany beat Denmark 2-0 to advance to Euro 2024 quarter-finals after storm halts play

Germany beat Denmark 2-0 to advance to Euro 2024 quarter-finals after storm halts play
Germany beat Denmark 2-0 to advance to Euro 2024 quarter-finals after storm halts play

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Bring on the patriotic passion. Host nation Germany advance to the quarter-finals of the European Championship after a wet and wild victory over Denmark on Saturday.

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Bring on the patriotic passion. Host nation Germany advance to the quarter-finals of the European Championship after a wet and wild victory over Denmark on Saturday.

“We’re going to Berlin,” sang the jubilant German fans who were first battered by rain and hail after a thunderstorm halted play for 25 minutes, only to see their team benefit from back-to-back video review calls that helped secure a 2-0 victory in Dortmund.

Two more victories will take Germany to the capital for the July 14 final in what could yet prove to be a summer fairytale for a nation whose football team is coming off a poor run of major tournament performances.

However, against the Danes it could have been so different.

The hosts’ buzz was heightened when, with the score locked at 0-0, Danish defender Joachim Andersen slammed home a close-range finish that appeared to put his team ahead in the 50th minute. The Video Assistant Referee spotted an offside in the build-up, a free kick was awarded and the ball was immediately played downfield, leading to a cross from David Raum that struck the outstretched right arm of—who else?—Andersen.

VAR interfered again and a penalty was awarded. Kai Havertz converted the penalty and Jamal Musiala added a second goal — his third of the tournament, equaling Georgia’s Georges Mikautadze’s highest goal tally — in the 68th.

“We played a great match – we had crazy fans again today,” said German defender Nico Schlotterbeck. “We play with euphoria, we play with joy, and that is the best thing about football.”

It was Germany’s first win in the knockout stages of a major tournament since 2016, when the national team failed to reach the group stages at consecutive World Cups and lost to England in the last 16 of the last European Championships in 2021.

Germany next plays against Spain or Georgia and is the second team to advance to the round of 16, after Switzerland won 2-0 against reigning champions Italy earlier on Saturday.

German coach Julian Nagelsmann told German broadcaster ZDF that he had used the rain delay to show his players what had happened in the first half hour of the match. According to him, his team dominated the match and played the most games of the tournament.

The players were even able to enter the confines of the dressing room as the thunder, lightning and heavy rain struck, leaving spectators in the front rows extremely visible as they clambered higher into the stands. Many used the black-yellow-red flags they had waved before the match to welcome the players onto the field, as makeshift umbrellas.

“Oh, how beautiful it is,” some sang, and a few Danish supporters danced in waterfalls in the stands.

There was a delay of about 20 minutes before the rain stopped and the players emerged and warmed up before play resumed a few minutes later. The field held up well considering the circumstances.

Danish national coach Kasper Hjulmand had to rue those crucial few minutes when the big VAR decisions were made.

“I have the picture here,” he said as he pulled out his phone at the post-match press conference. “It was one centimeter (offside). In terms of statistics and data it doesn’t make sense. This is not the way we should be using VAR.

“And I am so tired of the ridiculous handball rule. Joachim ran normally. It is a normal situation.”

Nagelsmann sympathized with Hjulmand and said: “I would also be annoyed if it were the other way around.”

However, Denmark goes home on Friday and Germany travels to Stuttgart.

“It was a wild game all the way,” Nagelsmann said.

“We got through adversity in those seconds where it was: ‘Was it a goal or no goal?’ and ‘Was it handball or not handball?’ That makes me proud. The team deserves it and hopefully we will get rid of the old memory stick and understand how good we really are.”

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

Steve Douglas, The Associated Press