Euro 2012: Group of Death climax
- 17 June 2012 21:40
- Posted by Mark Booth
Nigel de Jong kept his place in the Holland XI as Bert Van Marwijk opted for a more attacking line-up in their ill-fated Group B showdown with Portugal.
Holland 1-2 Portugal
The Oranje knew that only a two goal win over Portugal and a Germany win over Denmark would be enough to seal an unlikely place in the last eight of Euro 2012 but Holland failed to capitalise on their early goal, succumbing to a 2-1 defeat courtesy of a Cristiano Ronaldo brace.
It was a bitterly disappointing tournament for Bert van Marwijk’s men, as they failed to gain a single point and scored just the solitary goal.
Holland looked top-loaded on the night - too brittle at the back to support their attacking line-up and they were picked off on the counter-attack by an impressive Portugal team.
It had all looked so bright for Holland when Tottenham midfielder Van der Vaart gave Holland the lead in the 11th minute, making the most of his side’s spell of dominance to curl a beautiful effort around Rui Patricio in the Portugal goal.
The goal seemed like the catalyst for Portugal and they carved out a flurry of chances which were all squandered - that was until the 28th minute when 18-year old PSV full-back Jetro Willems capped a miserable tournament for himself.
Willems misplaced a pass which eventually broke to Cristiano Ronaldo to break his Euro 2012 duck with a neat finish from a Joao Pereira flick. The Netherlands never seemed to recover.
Portugal continued to dominate after the break and after 74 minutes a quick-fire burst of intricate passes in midfield saw the ball fall to Nani who fed Cristiano Ronaldo and the Real Madrid man made no mistake, cutting inside and slotting it past Stekelenburg.
If it weren’t for the woodwork, the world's most expensive player could have had a hat-trick as he put aside his disappointing performance against Denmark last time out with a showing of the highest quality in Kharkiv.
City Eurowatch: Nigel de Jong
Nigel went close to doubling his international goal tally with two headers either side of half-time but it was a disappointing tournament for the City midfielder.
Against Portugal, Nigel was badly let-down by the system as the gap between him and Holland's advanced quartet of Van der Vaart, Van Persie, Huntelaar and Robben was far too great for the 27-year old to plug on his own. He will now enjoy a month off before pre-season training begins and City head off to the Far East on tour.
Germany 2-1 Denmark
Meanwhile in Lviv, Germany looked to be on their way to a comfortable night’s work after taking the lead through Lukas Podolski on 19 minutes but Denmark’s match-winner against Holland, Lars Krohn-Dehli hit back with a header to level matters just six-minutes later.
It stayed that way until the 80th minute when Lars Bender popped up with a side-footed finish to put Germany through to the last eight with maximum points and to send Denmark home.
Jogi Low’s side will meet Greece in the quarter-final on Friday night, while Portugal will face Czech Republic on Thursday.
In the next helping of Euro 2012 action, we’ll bring you all of the news and reaction from Day 11 when Mario Balotelli’s Italy and David Silva’s Spain are playing in Group C with more last-eight places up for grabs.