Germany to face Denmark for a spot in the quarterfinals
Germany are on a roll, but Bastian Schweinsteiger is not taking anything for granted as they prepare to wrap up the group stage with a win over Denmark on Sunday.
Last night's 2-1 win over Holland means Germany need only a point from their final group game against Denmark to qualify for the last eight, but FC Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger knows there is still plenty of work to be done.
While Schweinsteiger is pleased that Germany are living up to their reputation of being a tournament side, he has urged caution ahead of Sunday's decider. "I think in recent years we always played good games whenever we needed to. When we have not played so well, those have normally been friendly matches. For years, we have always been in-form when needed."
Victory over Denmark or even a draw would clinch top spot in Group B and earn Germany the advantage of playing their quarter-final in Gdansk, just a stone's throw away from their base for the tournament. Given their struggles in returning from Kharkiv last night - the team only arrived back in their hotel at 4am - that is something the FC Bayern Munich midfielder Schweinsteiger is not taking lightly. "The most important thing is that we beat Denmark and play a good game,” he said. "We are going to have to defend well, be patient and take our chances in attack, but it is certainly an advantage if we do not have such a long journey.”
Comforting words for Dutch
Schweinsteiger consoled his former Bayern team mate Mark van Bommel after the final whistle in Kharkiv last night and promised him a favour against Denmark. The Dutch need to pray that Germany beat the Danes and that they defeat Portugal by several goals to still sneak into second place in the group and Schweinsteiger has vowed that Germany will be taking their final group game deadly serious. "If we have to be evil, then we will be evil,” he said. "Everybody has to be a bit evil at times.”
"All I said to Mark was that we will try all we can to beat Denmark so they still have a chance if they beat Portugal. Of course he was disappointed, but I am confident that Holland will beat Portugal.”
When asked why Germany have yet to be as spectacular at EURO 2012 as they were on their way to the semi-finals of the 2010 World Cup, Schweinsteiger said that playing pretty football does not always go hand in hand with success. "I think in a tournament like this, the team who has the most solid defence goes the longest way,” he said. "It is vitally important that the forwards help out at the back too and, if there are openings, we need to take them like yesterday, but the important thing is that we are solid in defence and stand like a wall.”