Euro '08: Day 10 ReviewPosted on: 17 June 2008 by Gareth Hargreaves
Germany join Croatia in the quarter-finals of Euro 2008 leaving co-hosts Austria, and Poland with an early exit.
Germany booked a quarter-final against Portugal after overcoming Austria in the final Group B fixtures at Euro 2008.
The Germans were far from impressive against their neighbours and had to rely on a Michael Ballack goal to reach the last eight.
Croatia made wholesale changes to their team but they still managed to beat Poland thanks to Ivan Klasnic’s strike.
That win confirmed Croatia as Group B winners and sets up a quarter-final with Turkey, while Poland pack their bags for home.
Co-hosts Austria joined Switzerland in exiting Euro 2008 at the first hurdle, following their 1-0 defeat at the hands of old rivals Germany in Vienna.
Your one stop shop for profiles, previews and reviews on Euro 2008.
Michael Ballack’s venomous second half free-kick was enough to send the Germans into the quarter-finals at the expense of the battling Austrians.
The Chelsea midfielder stepped up to strike his 30-yard thunderbolt following a foul on Philipp Lahm, for the only goal of the game.
Germany were far from impressive and looked shaky at the back but they should have taken a lead inside the first 10 minutes.
Striker Mario Gomes arrived at Euro 2008 with a strong reputation and a £20m price tag from his club Stuttgart, but after spooning the ball over an open goal from two yards, is unlikely to be seen again in the tournament.
Austria gave it their best shot and despite troubling the poor German backline, they were unable to make the most of the chances that came their way.
Poland are also travelling home early.
With Germany only requiring a point from their game with Austria to qualify, Poland knew even a win over Group B winners Croatia wouldn’t be enough.
Poland 0-1 Croatia
Austria 0-1 Germany
Austria 1-1 Poland
Croatia 2-1 Germany
Germany 2-0 Poland
Austria 0-1 Croatia
Ivan Klasnic fired the only goal of the game for Croatia to keep their 100% record up and end Poland’s unlikely bid to reach the last eight in Klagenfurt.
Croatia rested a host of their top players but their replacements proved they're not a bad side either.
Polish goalkeeper Artur Boruc made a string of saves to deny Danijel Pranjic, Ivan Rakitic and Klasnic before the latter lashed in the winner from 12 yards, early in the second half.
Ebi Smolarek wasted late chances for Poland but the writing was already on the wall after news filtered through that Germany had beaten Austria.
Germany visit Basel to take on Portugal in the first quarter-final on Thursday evening, while Croatia now head to Vienna where they will face Group A runners-up Turkey on Friday night.
Did you see either of these matches? Should Germany still be considered favourites? How far can Croatia go? Who do you think will Euro 2008? Share your thoughts in the 50connect forums.
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