Despite winning both of their matches so far, there an actual chance, although small, that Germany can find themselves out of the running in Group B, although a draw would suffice in their match against Denmark. For the other ‘early’ group of death favorites, the Netherlands, it’s only about beating Portugal, and winning big.
Portugal – Netherlands
There’s nothing the Dutch can do but attack, against a Portugal team that might opt to play a more defensive style, relying on counter attacks, knowing that a draw just might be enough to make it through. Van Marwijk, under tons of pressure from the Dutch media, has no choice but to finally open up the formation and probably let Huntelaar start. Not sure it’ll be enough for him.
Cristiano Ronaldo himself is facing quite a lot of pressure from Portugal and beyond, including Argentinian press that are there acting as the haunting spirit of Lionel Messi. Portugal won against Denmark, but Ronaldo got no praise from anyone about his huge misses. Portugal do have an edge in terms of recent results, beating the Dutch in the 2006 World Cup and the 2004 Euro. The Netherlands haven’t beaten Portugal since 1991.
Denmark vs Germany
As for recent results, despite what you might think, the Germans have failed to beat Denmark in their last three meetings, with their last win going back as far as 1996 in Munich, the same year they won the Euro. Maybe a win today, something they should achieve if everything goes to plan, is a sign about ending their unusual title drought.
Germany need a draw to secure qualification from the first spot, and although Denmark are certainly not an easy nut to crack, it’s hard to see how they surprise Germany with anything. They’ll still need to open up a bit more, as a loss takes them out and a draw might not be enough if Portugal don’t lose. The pressure will be on Christian Eriksen to finally deliver, something he has failed to do in the previous matches.
The only way Germany don’t make it out of the group is if Portugal beat the Dutch while Denmark beat Germany 1-0, 2-1 or by any higher score involving more than two goals of difference. A German loss while Portugal don’t win will mean Denmark finishes first. Denmark can still make it through if they don’t win – They need Portugal to lose to the Dutch while they draw with the Germans. For Netherlands, it’s about winning by at least two goals and for Germany to win.
Predictions – Yesterday was a mess, but what would this sport be without surprises? Germany will be too much for Denmark, while the Dutch beat Portugal, but I’m not sure if by enough to climb out of the hole their in. If I’d be forced to make a bet, I say they don’t come out of the group while Portugal join Germany.
Game Times – Both matches played at the same time (20:45). Denmark and Germany will play in Lviv while Portugal and the Netherlands do their thing in Kharkiv.