The Group of Death for Euro 2012 convenes again for the second round of matches in Group B, with Denmark and Germany heading in to their matches in a very comfortable position after 1-0 wins three days ago, while Portugal and the Netherlands are under pressure to win or find themselves, probably, out of the tournament.
Denmark – Portugal
Portugal have managed to beat Denmark only once in their last four competitive meetings, and going into this match knowing they can’t afford another loss and a draw might not be enough, the pressure is high in the Bento camp. They’ll have to take more initiative than what they did for most of the match against Germany, with Bento’s later lineup probably more suitable for an attacking, aggressive approach.
For Denmark, it’ll be mostly finding how to limit Cristiano Ronaldo while staying put with their mentality and game plan. One midfielder hangs back to help the defense, one midfielder joins Chrisitan Eriksen behind the striker during the attacks to try and surprise the Portuguese defense. What they can expect is a faster, quicker Portugal offense in comparison to the complacent Dutch.
Netherlands – Germany
The Dutch can rely on this stat line – Germany haven’t beaten the Netherlands in a Finals’ tournament since the 1990 World Cup, when they were still a split nation. Since then it’s been one win for the Dutch (Euro 1992) and one draw (Euro 2004). However, Germany did win 3-0 in their last friendly back in November.
Like Portugal, the Netherlands have their backs against the wall. Not enough team and too much emphasis on individual ability didn’t look good against Denmark, although they did deserve at least a goal in that match. While Bert Van Marwijk tries to decide if he should stick with Van Persie, sub him for Huntelaar or simply play both of them, his players remain, towards the outside and media, rather confident.
We can and should win. If that happens, everything is good. Says Arjen Robben. They only have three players of real class, said Rafael van der Vaart, trying to get under Joachim Low’s skin, semi-succeeding. But Germany know they didn’t play a very good and entertaining match against Portugal, giving them enough motivation as it ease to play better against the Dutch, who probably won’t play as tight and defensively as Portugal did. They can’t afford to.
Predictions – Portugal won’t beat Denmark. There’s just something wrong with the way Cristiano Ronaldo, by purpose or by chance, obliterates any chance of someone else stepping up, which makes them very predictable. A Draw or win for Denmark. Germany and the Netherlands can really go either way, but the Germans have the better side and will take advantage of the Dutch desperateness to hit them on the counter. Germany win.
Game Times – Denmark take on Portugal in Lviv at 18:00; Germany clash with the Dutch in THE match of the group stage matches in Kharkiv at 20:45.