Mario Gomez was the hero for Germany as they managed to pull through a very tough and physical fixture with Portugal, coming away as the 1-0 winners, while Denmark joined them as the surprise leaders in group B with Michael Krohn-Delhi delivering a stunning goal to beat the Netherlands 1-0. Joachim Low disgusted everyone by eating what he picked from his nose.
Netherlands 0 Denmark 1
Michael Krohn-Dehli shuffled the card deck everyone thought was pointing at the Netherlands and Germany as the favorite to qualify from the group, as potential tournament winners. But Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben were wasteful as ever, while Denmark showed an organized game with good defending and when attacking, more than just 4 players involved.
Germany 1 Portugal 0
The game that promised the most from the first two days delivered the least, standing as a stark contrast to the wonderful Brazil – Argentina match going on at the same time. Germany weren’t so much the better side, but the team intent on winning for more time. Portugal came out with the intentions of stealing a goal, but found Manuel Neuer and Patrick Hummels in superb form.
On the other side, Lukas Podolski and Mesut Ozil found it hard to deliver any meaningful touches, while Mario Gomez and Thomas Muller were simply out of focus. A Khedira cross got the right kind of bounce off a Portuguese arm to give Mario Gomez a brilliant opportunity at a header that he simply couldn’t miss. Slivestre Varela, with a perfect chance on the other side in the closing minutes, did.
Joachim Low Special
Joachim Low, the German head coach, did feel bored during the match. We all did. So he picked his nose, like many coaches and footballers do, being caught green handed on camera. What was worst is that Low ATE what came out of his nostrils.
Group B Table
1. Denmark, 3 Points (1-0)
-. Germany, 3 Points (1-0)
3. Netherlands, 0 Points (0-1)
-. Portugal, 0 Points (0-1)
1. Alan Dzagoev (Russia) – 2 Goals
2. Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Dimitris Salpigidis (Greece), Roman Shirokov, Roman Pavlyuchenko (Russia), Vaclav Pilar (Czech Republic), Michael Krohn-Dehli (Denmark), Mario Gomez (Germany) – 1 Goal.
What We’ve Learned
Netherlands – What worked so well in the qualifying stages, as the Dutch scored more goals than any other team in Europe, fell apart against Denmark. Not enough players joining the front four, who simply played as four individuals instead of a team. Bert van Marwijk will have to find a more dynamic formation, with at least one more attacking player thrown in.
Denmark – Not what we expected in terms of how strong and organized their defending game was. Andersen was a pleasant surprise at goal while Kjaer and Agger did a wonderful job as centre backs. Their midfield, with Kvist especially, caused a lot of problems and will do in their future matches.
Germany – Seem to be overwhelmed by the pressure of being the tournament favorites, especially on key players like Mesut Ozil and Bastian Schweinsteiger. They didn’t get too many looks from Portugal, but Mario Gomez is good enough in the air to take advantage of what’s in front of him. Should look better in the next two matches.
Portugal – Cristiano Ronaldo was closed by two players at all times, simply not managing to find himself enough of an opening to create more than one long range shot and one decent cross into the box. Nani will have to step up, while it might be wiser for Paulo Bento to use something more speedy than Helder Postiga up front, and encourage another midfielder to join the attacking front.
Spain vs Italy – Another huge match in terms of the teams involved, although you never know with Italy, who might be there just to ruin it for Spain and everyone else. Spain should be the better side, but they also know that a first match loss isn’t the end of the world, which might ease the pressure off.
Ireland vs Croatia – The Croatian players do have more experience in this sort of tournament, but still, not too much between these two teams in one of the hardest games to predict in this tournament.