The group of death has lived up to the hype, for the dramatic results, and even more dramatic permutations and combinations possible. Yes the quality of football wasn’t of the highest order, but Portugal did give the favourites a run for their money in a closely contested match. Denmark did their bit, in providing the first major upset of the tournament, beating the Dutch. This matchup, revives memories of the topsy-turvy qualifying campaign, both teams had, winning one game each. Denmark eventually finished top of the group, and Portugal had to negotiate a tricky playoff tie against Bosnia.

DENMARK

v

PORTUGAL

Arena Lviv, Ukraine

June 13, 2012

***

Euro 2012

Denmark are on an absolute high, and Olsen’s men would like to add to their giant-killing status by notching up a win. They sit comfortably on top of Group B, fully aware of how little is expected of them. They had a bout of injuries leading to the tournament, but have now put that behind them. Andersen will start in goal again, with an unchanged backline in front of him, who together as a defensive unit were excellent in the first game, apart from the initial few minutes.

Euro 2012

Though their defeat to Germany didn’t come as much of a surprise, the doubters have sharpened their swords already. The match revolves around the impact of Ronaldo, and if he can emulate his heroics at club level, at the international stage. Often he has been criticised for being too selfish, often for being not responsible enough. In short, whatever the outcome, there will be no shortage of vitriol. He had a decent game against Germany, having found himself behind the defence on a couple of occasions as well. He will be up against Jacobsen, who kept a good check on Afellay the other day. Not the quickest players around, Ronaldo can take him on a foot race, and cause heavy damage down the left-wing. To add to that, the overlapping runs of Coentrao had Boateng all over the place, and Jacobsen could have a similar fate. This mismatch can be taken care if Olsen chooses to put Kvist sitting deep on the right side of midfield. This might leave open spaces in the middle for Merieles and Veloso to exploit, but Zimling can provide sufficient cover to the defence.

Kjaer and Agger had perhaps the match of their lives against a punishing Holland attacking quartet. They would Ai??have to deal with the threat of Postiga, who doesn’t have great movement and could get in all sorts of trouble. Ronaldo and Nani would always be a nuisance for any defence, drawing out the defenders to allow Postiga space. Thus, assigning roles to different players, along with marking out Ronaldo, could be their best chance.

In attack, Denmark rely heavily on Rommedahl and Krohn-Dehli, who are expected to feed Bendtner. Nicklas on his own can bully defenders, and holds up play well. Despite this, the lynchpin of the team is Eriksen. Bento recognises the threat of the Ajax midfielder and expect Veloso to be all over him. Krohn-Dehli isn’t the most inventive player, but he is always on the move and never shy of shooting.

Nani has completely recovered from his injury, but Hugo Almeida missed Sunday’s training session, and is a slight doubt for the game. Apart from that, Bento has a near full squad to pick from. Though rumours of Oliviera starting are doing the rounds, expect an unchanged starting lineup.

Key PlayersAi??ai??i?? Daniel Agger (Denmark), Miguel Veloso (Portugal)

PredictionAi??ai??i?? Denmark 1-1 Portugal

___

 

NETHERLANDS

v

GERMANY

Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv, Ukraine

June 13, 2012

***

Euro 2012

Ever since the draw was made in Kiev, in early December, football fans have been licking their lips in anticipation of this explosive matchup. The 3rd and 4th best teams in the world, as per FIFA world rankings, clash in Kharkiv in their second group game. Despite this, the stakes are extremely high, with the Dutch facing elimination from the tournament and the Germans looking forward to a place in the quarters. An exit in the group stages, would be the first for the Oranje army at a major tournament since the European championships in 1980.

Germany come into this game after narrowly edging out Portugal in the opener. Despite of not being at their flowing best, they found enough resolve to score from the only substantial chance they created. Germany have everyone fit, and Joachim Low is looking to make a few changes to the team. The German boss, opted for Hummels and Gomez, ahead of the more experienced Mertesacker and Klose. Hummels impressed with a storming display, and might have made a strong case for his inclusion here. Gomez showed good movement early on, but slowly faded out of the game, only to pop up with the winner in the 71st minute. Despite, having an average game, he would be relishing the chance of playing against Mathijsen and Heitinga. The German defence had problems of their own, having been cut open more than once. They escaped with a clean sheet thanks to the ever impressive Neuer, and the incompetent finishing skills of Varela and Pepe. This time around they would be facing the supposedly more clinical Dutch strikers, who missed glorious opportunities themselves, against the Danes. Although Van Persie had a forgetful game, yet the Arsenal man is the favourite to start on Wednesday night.

The right hand side of the pitch brings together the Bayern pair of Robben and Lahm face to face. With question marks over his team work doing the rounds, Robben would love to prove his critics wrong. Lahm on the other hand had a quiet game by his standards, and would look to counter the threat of his Dutch compatriot.

Euro 2012

The midfield battles could decide the fate of the match, as Ozil faces Van Bommel and De Jong, while Sneijder has to deal with Basti and Khedira. Ozil didn’t have the kind of game we have come to expect from him, that has to be credited to the compact Portuguese midfieldAi??of Veloso and Moutinho. De Jong and Van Bommel would like do to do the same, nullifying the supply from the Madrid man. Sneijder on the other hand was one of the few bright spots for the Oranje, as he delivered some exceptional passes, and was involved in most of the build up play. Khedira will have his work cut out, as Sneijder isn’t the easiest to mark. He will drop deep and move forward almost at will. If allowed to much space in the middle or time on the ball, he alone can leave the Germans ragged.

The good news for Netherlands is that they have Mathijsen back to beef up their leaky defence. Willems is expected to start at left back again, having impressed Marwijk against Denmark. There were noises of a revolt within the camp, earlier in the week. But such suggestions have since gone cold, as the Netherlands prepare to battle out the favourites for their survival in Pokraine.

Key PlayersAi??ai??i?? Ai??Sneijder (Netherlands), Lahm (Germany)

PredictionAi??ai??i?? Netherlands 2-1 Germany

___

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10 Responses to “Euro 2012 Group B Preview ai??i?? Ronaldo And Van Persie Face Early Exits, As Denmark And Germany Look To Progress”

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  1. abhijeet says:

    lahm can play on both sides of pitch…they have to make the decision about wether to play him against robben or afellay..i think he can easily check afellay and robben is too busy eying a solo goal…..dutch have their problems at the back……rooting for germany though…i think dutch go out tomorrow

  2. abhijeet says:

    one more thing …huntelaar has to start …if possible along with persie

  3. Prayag says:

    imo kuyt may get a run-in in place if afellay!
    and bring on vdv/huntellar early….around hour mark if struggling to create chances!!

    Prediction: Germany 3 – Holland 2 😉

    • Debarshee Mitra says:

      Can’t see the Germans scoring more than 1. And Kuyt/VdV have a chance of starting, but I think Merwijk might be forced to play both RVP and Huntelaar, and it could work too.

      • Prayag says:

        while……i am expecting a very open game with dutch committing players forward and with both sides having a pacy attack plus creative midfielders……hoping for a goalfest! fingers crossed!

  4. abhijeet says:

    how do they stop mesut ozil….biggest question…he can carve the dutch defense out