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Winner caps 'wonderful day' for Bender

Published: Sunday 17 June 2012, 23.57CET
Lars Bender said he would remember Germany's final Group B encounter with Denmark "for a long, long time" after his first international goal secured a quarter-final place.

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Published: Sunday 17 June 2012, 23.57CET

Winner caps 'wonderful day' for Bender

Lars Bender said he would remember Germany's final Group B encounter with Denmark "for a long, long time" after his first international goal secured a quarter-final place.

Lars Bender said his first goal for Germany would live long in the memory after he struck to help Joachim Löw's side defeat Denmark 2-1 and progress to the quarter-finals boasting a 100% record. Lukas Podolski celebrated his 100th cap for his country with a goal, and set his sights firmly on reaching the last four.

Lars Bender, Germany midfielder
Forgetting the goal for a minute, playing in such a game for your full debut for your country is very special. It's a wonderful day for me today, a day when I scored the winning goal. We got through the group stage with maximum points, which is a wonderful achievement and I will remember this day for a long, long time.

I think we generally have great team spirit and we tried to score the second goal, to go forward and we didn't think that we would concede a goal. We were really focused on getting that second goal and I could see space opening up in their half and we counterattack well, which we saw again today. And you have to fight your way through and get that goal. Miro [Klose] slipped the ball through and it was quite lucky that I happened to be in the right place at the right time, but you don't stop to think about it, you just hit it.

It's true that I'm not used to playing in that position, but I played there in our warm-up matches for this tournament and I did well. Our manager believed in me and that's why I felt comfortable and very much at ease playing there. My feet will stay firmly on the ground. I'm glad I got the opportunity and topped off my performance with a goal, which got us the win. That's the biggest source of pleasure for me but of course, it's not certain that I'll be playing in the starting XI next week. The team is important and it's important that we succeed in the end. That's why I must play my part.

Lukas Podolski, Germany forward
The Danes were very good. It was hard for us in attack. But from a tough group, we have got nine points. We appreciate that. We now want to win the quarter-final and get through to the semis.

If it's 1-1, of course you're always a little worried, but the Danes didn't really attack. They didn't have clear-cut chances, and I got the feeling that they didn't really play to try and score a second. We have to be happy that we managed to score a second one, though, as you can always concede a goal from a set-piece.

[Quarter-final opponents] Greece are a surprise. I would have thought the Poles would have beaten the Czechs. I'm a little disappointed the Poles didn't make it in front of their own fans. 

Sami Khedira, Germany midfielder
I'm really happy. It's always easier when your opponent tries to play, too. It was clear the Danes wouldn't do that. We have made the first step, now we have to follow it up. We've been warned about Greece.

Philipp Lahm, Germany defender
All the games were difficult, but three games, three wins, we've walked through the group. We have backed up our billing for the group stage and confirmed what we've been working on in recent years. It hasn't just come of its own accord. We have a lot of quality in our squad, we've said that from the start, and we've shown that again today.

Mats Hummels, Germany defender
We should have killed it off earlier, but the game finished well. However, when the score was 1-1, if the Danish had scored a second, then we could have been out.

I'm happy especially for Lars because he is new to the team. Because he is a great guy, and he doesn't always play, and also because he is not the most dangerous player in the world. As for Podolski, that's amazing. It was important that he scored immediately after we missed two or three chances, and it is exceptional at his age to have played 100 international matches.

Last updated: 26/10/12 15.23CET

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