Denmark hit back after keeper howler to stun eight-time champions Germany
Women’s Euro 2017 quarter-final, Sparta Stadion - Germany 1 (Kerschowski 3') Denmark 2 (Nadim 49;, Nielson 83')
In a thrilling, end-to-end contest, Denmark came from a goal down to reach the semi-finals of the Women's European Championships, eliminating eight-time winners Germany in the process.
Denmark started confidently enough, but then on three minutes Isabel Kerschowski curled a speculative shot goalwards and Sine Lykke Petersen opted to punch instead of catch, misjudging her attempt and seeing the ball skid off her knuckles into the net.
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Germany dominated for a time thereafter, quicker in possession than in the group stages and looking intent on asserting their superiority. Denmark, though, worked their way back into things, and Katrine Veje ought to have equalised on 39 minutes when the ball broke to her inside the box, but she played too safe and hit a shot straight at Almuth Schult.
Inspired by Nadia Nadim, Denmark remained a threat in the second half, and after Veje had missed an even easier chance, Nadim equalised with a strong header at the back post. Both sides then looked to find the clinching goal, and with seven minutes remaining it arrived, Theresa Nielsen starting and finishing a fine move; for the first time ever, Germany had failed to reach the competition's last four.
Denmark now meet either Austria or Spain on Thursday; if they show similar enterprise and resolve, they have every chance of moving on to the final.
Were Germany overconfident? "We can only beat ourselves," said Steffi Jones of her Germany side, and when they the lead early on they looked set for the semis. But when Denmark refused to wilt, they looked ill-prepared for the kind of fight in which they found themselves, and were deservedly eliminated.
MAN OF THE MATCH
Nadio Nadim (Denmark) Her intelligent movement on and off the ball gave her side impetus, and her excellent equaliser showed her team-mates what was possible.
Denmark: Petersen 7, Nielsen 8, Sorensen 6, Larsen 7, Roddik 6, Jensen 7, Kildemoes 5, Troelsgaard 6, Veje 5, Nadim 9, Harder 7. Subs: Thogersen 8, Sandvej 6.
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Germany: Schult 6, Blässe 6, Goessling 6, Peter 6, Kerschowski 6, Demann 6, Doorsoun 5, Dabritz 6, Marozsan 6, Mittag 5, Dallmann 5. Subs: Magull 6, Islacker 6, Petermann 6.
3’ - GOAL! 3’ - Germany 1-0 Denmark (Kerschowski) Oh dear, dear, dear. Jensen takes possession on the left and cuts inside, stealing a yard off Troelsgaard before unleashing a curler. But it's headed straight down the throat of Petersen, not a problem ... until she opts to punch rather than catch, and the ball skims off her knuckles and into the net. They don't come much worse than that.
38’ - Oh I say! Schuit gets herself into a right pickle as Troelsgaard's corner curls back in towards goal, leaving her line and flapping behind her as the ball slides just past the far post.
39’ - Denmark are building momentum, Jensen breaking at inside-right and snapping inside for Harder; Peter gets there first, but the ball breaks to Veje, alone inside the box! She's got time to compose, but instead of picking a spot or applying the hammer, she carefully sidefoots straight at Schult. She bottled that, I'm afraid.
Members of the German team react after scoring during the quarter-final UEFA Women's Euro 2017 football match between Germany and Denmark at Stadium Sparta Rotterdam in Rotterdam on July 30, 2017. /Getty Images
49’ - GOAL! Germany 1-1 Denmark (Nadim) Well! Larsen shakes off Marozsan down the right and Marozsan - Kerschowski too - stop when the flag goes up. But Larsen powers on and stands up a cross to the far post, which Nadim powers home inside the near post. That's a very good header, given she needed to supply all the power herself.
57’ - This is now a very good game, and Nadim again finds space, this time down the right, arcing a low cross into the middle which Harder just misses ... but the ball runs to Veje! She could blow this in! But instead she slices over the top!
61’ - Great save! Dallman finds space on the left of the box and absolutely diddles Nielsen, feinting outside and swaying inside. And her shot is decent too, but Petersen manages to save with her legs after diving the wrong way!
83’ - WHAT A GOAL! Germany 1-2 Denmark Nielsen into Nadim, who sends a pass out wide to Thogersen. She snaps her toes into a cross, AND THERE'S NIELSEN WHO'S CONTINUED RUNNING TO HEAD DOWN AND INTO THE NET! THE FAVOURITES ARE TOTTERING!