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Sports

Sloppy Germany thwarted by Denmark in friendly

In their first game since placing third in the World Cup, the German national soccer team blew a two-goal lead over Denmark. The friendly match in Copenhagen finished up a tie, after the hosts drew level late on.

Denmark's Thomas Enevoldsen and Germany's Christian Träsch vie for ball

Germany appeared to have control for most of the game

After spending most of the game behind, Denmark snatched a 2-2 draw with Germany in a friendly football match at Parken Stadium in Copenhagen on Wednesday.

Germany's Mario Gomez gave his team the lead in the 19th minute after stand-in captain Thomas Hitzlsperger faked a shot and passed through the Danish defense to set up the Bayern Munich striker.

The visitors extended their lead in the 73rd minute when Christian Gentner put substitute Patrick Helmes through on goal. The Bayer Leverkusen frontman coolly side-footed the ball into the bottom corner.

But the Danes, who failed to advance past the World Cup group stages for the first time in the country's history in South Africa this summer, were right back into the match just 90 seconds after the Germans' second goal.

Veteran Dennis Rommedahl intercepted a bad pass from German defender Serdar Tasci and shot past goalkeeper Tim Wiese, marking his 100th international appearance with his 18th goal for Denmark.

The equalizer came just three minutes from time, when an indecisive Wiese could only chest the ball down on the edge of his penalty area, fearing that he would be penalized for using his hands outside the box. It dropped for Danish substitute Mads Junker, who easily put the ball past Wiese and into an empty net, making the final score 2-2.

The goal arrived just seconds after Gomez spurned a golden opportunity to put the result beyond any doubt at the other end of the pitch.

World Cup hangover

"On the whole, it was acceptable," Germany coach Joachim Loew reflected afterwards. "I saw several points on which we can build. I could really not expect much more."

In an effort to appease club coaches just 10 days before the start of the Bundesliga season, Loew took few of his star players to Copenhagen. Manchester City defender Jerome Boateng was the one survivor from Germany’s last game, the 3-2 victory over Uruguay which secured a third-place finish at the World Cup.

Germany players Thomas Hitzlsperger and Mario Gomez celebrate after Gomez scored the opening goal in a friendly against Denmark

Both captain Hitzlsperger (l) and goalscorer Gomez (r) had rewarding evenings

Wolfsburg full-back Sascha Riether made his debut for the national side as a second-half substitute, while Loew handed the captain's armband to the recalled Hitzlsperger. The former Stuttgart midfielder, who will play in the English Premier League for West Ham United in the coming season, was left out of the World Cup squad.

Speculation over the captaincy for the long-term looks set to continue for several more weeks at least, with Michael Ballack only just returning to training at Leverkusen and Philipp Lahm among the Bayern players rested for the Denmark friendly.

Germany begin their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign with an away game against Belgium on September 3, before hosting Azerbaijan in Cologne four days later.

Author: Andrew Bowen, Thomas Sheldrick (AFP/dpa)
Editor: Mark Hallam

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