Germany weather storm at Euro 2024, holders Italy knocked out

Kai Havertz scored a penalty to set host nation Germany on their way to a 2-0 win over Denmark that saw them march into the Euro 2024 quarter-finals (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)
Kai Havertz scored a penalty to set host nation Germany on their way to a 2-0 win over Denmark that saw them march into the Euro 2024 quarter-finals (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD)

Hosts Germany beat Denmark 2-0 in a storm-interrupted encounter to reach the quarter-finals of Euro 2024 on Saturday, after reigning champions Italy were knocked out of the competition by Switzerland.

Two second-half goals, one a Kai Havertz penalty and another a Jamal Musiala strike, allowed Germany to come out on top in Dortmund, where the last-16 tie was halted for 25 minutes late in the first half as a violent storm passed overhead.

English referee Michael Oliver was forced to take the two teams off the pitch due to torrential rain, hailstones, high winds, thunder and lightning, while some fans in the crowd of 60,000 found themselves caught underneath torrents of water streaming from the stadium roof.

Before that, Germany had an early Nico Schlotterbeck goal disallowed for a foul and were denied on several occasions by Danish goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel.

When play resumed, Germany thought they had fallen behind early in the second half when Joachim Andersen scored, but his effort was ruled out for offside following a VAR review, and the unfortunate Danish defender was then penalised for a handball in his own box moments later.

Havertz dispatched the spot-kick to put Germany ahead in the 53rd minute, and both he and Leroy Sane missed good opportunities before Musiala ran clear to make it 2-0 midway through the second half.

"It was a bit of a bizarre game," Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann told broadcaster Magenta.

"The first 25 minutes were our best of the tournament. Then we scored what I think was a legitimate goal, and (the referee) ruled it out which was petty.

"That kind of blocking happens at every corner. In England, where the referee is from, he would not blow the whistle for it. In the end, it was a game full of adversity. We fought well against the adversity."

Germany could even have won by a wider margin but Florian Wirtz, who started the game as a substitute, had another effort disallowed late on.

Nevertheless, a commanding victory takes the hosts through to a quarter-final next Friday in Stuttgart against either much-fancied Spain or surprise package Georgia.

"It feels very good. We were dominant from the start. This team shows good character, we can always come back, always give it our all. We still have three finals left," said defender Antonio Ruediger.

Denmark, meanwhile, go home without winning a game, having qualified from their group by drawing all three matches.

- Swiss on a roll -

Earlier, Italy's defence of their title ended in underwhelming fashion as they deservedly lost to Switzerland, going down 2-0 at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.

Ruben Vargas teed up Remo Freuler for Switzerland's 37th-minute opener before curling home superbly himself right at the start of the second half to deservedly double their lead.

Murat Yakin's supremely well-drilled side, who held Germany to a draw in the group stage, outplayed the flat two-time champions and will face England or Slovakia in the next round, next Saturday in Duesseldorf.

"There are only good sides at the Euros, we went unbeaten in the group stage and played well, and the Germany game showed we can go toe-to-toe with teams like that," Yakin told reporters.

"We sent out an important signal tonight with the game we played.

"We did not only club together and defend as a unit and sit back, we showed we could attack and dominate proceedings."

A new-look Italy, short on star power and without many of the key figures that led them to Euro 2020 glory, offered little in response to Switzerland's energetic display.

"It hurts, it really hurts," said Italy's captain and goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

"We can only say sorry to everyone, we were disappointing today and they deserved to win. We struggled all game long."

The last-16 action continues on Sunday as England take on Slovakia in Gelsenkirchen before Spain face Georgia in Cologne.