Euro 2012 moves on to day 2, opening the matches in the Ukraine with the group of death (Group B) everyone’s waiting to see. Denmark will try and upset hopeful Netherlands while Germany and Portugal clash later, in Cristiano Ronaldo’s effort to show he can do it with the national team as well.
Netherlands – Denmark
Can you go into a match fully confident, knowing you’re an overwhelming underdog? Denmark are on a good run of late, and every tournament, at least in the start, feels like it’s 1992 all over again. An experiences side under a head coach who has been in this position for 12 years. A 4-2-3-1, with a lot relying on Christian Eriksen, who plays for Ajax, and his creativity. Everyone around him – Rommedahl, Krohn-Dehli and Nicklas Bendtner, rely on him to work the counter attacking efficiently and accurately for Denmark to try and sting the Dutch team.
The Netherlands are the obvious favorites going into the match, suffering some problems at the back – Joris Mathijsen is out, with Wilfried Bouma, who hasn’t played for the national side since Euro 2008, filling in for him. The Netherlands are better suited to handle team that seek for plenty of possession, unlike Denmark and yet it’s hard to think that the attacking foursome of Robben, Senijder, Van Persie and Affelay won’t be good enough to outdo whatever the Danes manage to pull off.
Prediction – Denmark are heading into this match in good form, but the quality differences between two teams similarly built should tip the scales in the favor of the Netherlands. We see a 2-0 or 3-1 win for the Dutch.
Germany vs Portugal
The first ”Big” match of the tournament in a group that has three of them, although no one is complaining about Group A anymore after the first day.
Despite all of Portugal’s talent and big names all over the pitch, there’s on name that stands out – Cristiano Ronaldo, with 32 goals in 90 caps for the national side. He needs to bring his best from Real Madrid, but it seems that despite all the attacking players around him, something doesn’t work on the international level, for him and the side, which don’t play the attractive football many expect them to. More crucial for them is for the midfield trio of Joao Moutinho, Miguel Veloso and Raul Meireles to handle the German pressure.
For Germany, it’s time to prove this side is capable of winning tournaments, and not just reach the doorstep before making the final step. They’ve got a loaded side with experience and talent and even more importantly, a lot of cohesion between the players who have been together for almost four years, playing the same lineup and the same system.
Mesut Ozil, just like Ronaldo, will try and bring his brilliant season into play, feeling more comfortable on the team he’s in. The only question is probably if Low will open with Mario Gomez, who had a better season than Miroslav Klose, a man who comes to life in the Germany uniform.
Prediction – Despite the stat that says Portugal always make it out of the group stage in a Euro, Germany are not a one man show like their rivals on the day, and should come out on top against a side that struggles to score or impress against quality opponents. Germany win 1-0.
How did we do – Well, Day 1 was pretty perfect in terms of predictions. We even got the exact result in Poland – Greece. Russia, well, everyone picked them to win, including us, but no one thought it would be by that much. Still, 2 for 2, 100%.
Game times – The Dutch play Denmark at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv on 19:00 (local time) while the main course of the evening, Germany vs Portugal, takes place in Lviv at 21:45.