17 June 2012

Group Of Death Nears Thrilling Conclusion

Four of Europe's biggest footballing nations meet again today, but for two of them it will be their last involvement at these championships. Portugal are the only side in Group B without a Euro title, although they have an array of footballing talent in their current squad. A win today against the Netherlands would seal qualification and eliminate their opponents. For the 1988 champions victory against Portugal, coupled with a Germany win over Denmark would see them progress despite losing their first two matches. All three-time winners Germany need is a point against their Scandinavian rivals, while a Danish win would see them go through. The only way the 2008 runners-up can be eliminated is if they lose to Denmark and Portugal beat the Netherlands. If this happens it would come down to goal difference in matches between these three teams. 

Germany have won a record three European Championships and reached a record six finals. Their last win was in England in 1996 when they beat the Czech Republic in the final, adding to previous wins in 1972 and 1980. As Europe's most successful team and in good recent form they are one of the favourites for this tournament. They have sealed two very good wins against Portugal and Holland so far with all three goals scored by striker Mario Gomez, underlying their status as one of the championships's biggest threats. However all their good work could be undone today with a shock defeat to Denmark, who have already sprung a surprise in beating 2010 World Cup runners-up The Netherlands. 

The Oranje were hoping to bring 'sexy' football and flair to this year's Championships and to evoke memories of Marco van Basten's famous strike that sealed Euro glory back in 1988. That year they beat West Germany to reach the final and the Soviet Union 2-0 in that famous encounter. This month they arrived in Ukraine with high hopes of repeating that success, ranked number four in the FIFA World rankings and with some of the world's most celebrated players. However they have struggled to find the goals required to win games and have looked shaky at the back. Despite this other results have worked in their favour and with nothing to lose they can go out tonight and really attack Portugal from the off in an attempt to save their campaign. Rafael van der Vaart could start as well as Eredivisie's top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in an attempt to blow the Portuguese away. 

Although they are the only side in this group to have never won the European Championships, Portugal have one of the most feared sides in the world. Two-time World Player of the Year winner Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to set the tournament alight but everyone knows what he is capable of and could well be the man to make the difference when it matters most. Manchester United winger Nani always looks a threat and they have strength at the back in Pepe and Jose Bosingwa. After the dramatic 3-2 win over Denmark in their last game Portugal will be confident of qualification needing only a point providing Germany dispose of Denmark. 

However Denmark will have plenty to say about that. The shock 1992 winners are ranked at nine in the FIFA rankings and have a good squad that are always difficult to beat without lacking in quality. Striker Nicklas Bendtner scored twice as they came back from 2-0 down against Portugal and veteran winger Denis Rommedahl has always been capable of something out of the ordinary. Captain Daniel Agger is one of the world's top defenders and was immense in their opening 1-0 win over Holland. They will go all out to make life difficult for the Germans tonight as they need just a point to qualify if the Dutch beat Portugal. The Scandinavians should not be written off and could well go deep into the knock-out stages.

This evening should prove to be a footballing feast as all four teams hold realistic hopes of claiming a quarter-final spot. Last night's action could be tough to follow but this group's conclusion is sure to be a great spectacle with plenty of the world's best players going head-to-head. 


  1. The wins Germany had wins against Portugal and Holland came against teams that play similar - open style football. Germany will become undone against a team that plays differently, and you know who I mean...

  2. This could well be true, the Danes are sure to give absolutely nothing away against Germany, although I can see that match ending in a draw with both teams qualifying for the last eight. Denmark will be hoping for a Netherlands win as then they will need just a point.

  3. I meant the Greeks :)

  4. haha ok, well, i think the same goes for Greece as well as Denmark. They must try to stifle the Germans and not let them play their game. However, Greece may not even be playing Germany, I think Greece would have a good chance of beating Portugal though.