Vineet Ramakrishnan/ Zeenews Sports Bureau
Here are the highlights from the Day 6 fixtures of the Euro 2012.
Portugal took on Denmark first up and Germany locked horns with Netherlands.
Varela to the rescue: Silvestre Varela scored a late goal in the 87th minute, the 3rd for Portugal to keep his side’s hope of advancing to the knockout stages alive after the Danes had equalised courtesy two headers from Bendtner.
FINAL SCORE: Portugal 3: 2 Denmark
Portugal played the aggressor in the first half as Pepe (24') and Hélder Postiga (36') scored for the Cristiano Ronaldo led side. After the Danes got an array of corner kicks early on, an inch perfect delivery from João Moutinho through a corner for Portugal to the near post was well received by Pepe as he rose high and headed the ball past Denmark goalkeeper, Anderson.
Ronaldo was lively in the middle taking the attack to the Danish defenders creating chances but desperately lacked the finishing touch. Nani on the right flank also played well and he drove a low one into the area in the 36th minute where Postiga overran his marker to slot the ball into the top right corner.
Denmark retaliated in style as Niklas Bendtner scored his first of two goals 5 minutes later from close range after Michael Krohn-Dehli had done all the hard work to present the Arsenal FC striker with the simplest of chances, and he obliged.
Marred by injury, Denmark had to make an early substitution as Niki Zimling limped off the field in the 16th minute. In the second half, veteran Dennis Rommedahl also walked off.
Cristiano Ronaldo got two huge opportunity to take the game away from Denmark but he missed on both the occasions. First one came in the 50th minute, with only the goalkeeper to beat, Ronaldo went for the far post from the left wing, but his shot was well blocked by Anderson. Second one came in the 78st minute as the Real Madrid star did well to break the off-side trap but again was denied by Anderson.
Niklas Bendtner then leveled the game two minutes later with another header courtesy a deep cross from the right by Jacobsen.
It seemed Ronaldo‘s crucial misses might as well come back to haunt Portugal, but substitute Silvestre Varela saved Ronaldo the blushes scoring the winner in the 87th minute with practically his first touch of the match. A cross by Coentrao from left wing, Varela missed the volley first up but recovered well and on the second occasion shot it on half-volley with his right foot into the back of the net to give Portugal a 3-2 victory.
Dutch slump further: Germany earned 3 more points as they topped Group B with 6 points as Netherlands were left on the verge of elimination in the second fixture of the day. 2-1 victory by the German side mean that they are virtually through to the quarters and only a miracle would help the Dutch stay in the competition. Mario Gomez grabbed the first goal for Germany in the 24th minute courtesy a sublime pass by Bastian Schweinsteiger. Netherlands had started well early on with van Persie getting two chances to score, but he failed.
FINAL SCORE: Germany 2: 1 Netherlands
The Germans were on the ascendancy throughout the match as Mario Gomez again found the net in the 38th minute when he lofted the ball over the goalie Stekelenburg’s head.
Van Persie pulled on back for the Dutch in the 73rd minute, but that was not enough to avoid defeat.