Group B has been dubbed the Group of Death for this 2012 Euro Cup and today showed why. Holland, one of the pre-tournament favorites was in poor form today and was “upset” by a very good Danish side. With one day under way, what can be expected over the next two days?
Germany and Denmark have their leads atop this group, though neither side has secured a spot in moving on. However, both Holland and Portugal have a lot of work to do. With both teams losing today, it looks as if only one of them will have a chance to advance. Both sides will need at least a draw in the their next matches to at least keep their hopes alive. A loss will surely eliminate them.
Best of the Day: Michael Krohn-Dehli’s fantastic finish put the Danish up 1-0, a lead they would never surrender. It was a great day to be a Dane, as many had written this group off as good, but good enough to advance into the knockout stage. With a win in their next match versus Portugal, they will find themselves in a great position to advance to the knockout stage.
Worst of the Day: As terrible as the Dutch defense was today, it was even more shocking how out of form they appeared to be offensively. The normally wonderful Robin van Persie has a myriad of bismal touches which cost him potentially two goals. Arjen Robben was his normal, shooting, selfish self, which never helped his side.
Lucky Man of the Day: Manuel Neuer of Germany has be thankful that he was able to shut out a very focused Portugal side today when the crossbar became his best friend today. On a strike by Portuguese defender Pepe hit a strike that ricocheted off the cross bar, onto the goal line, and then back out into the field of play.
So after quite a day, what do we know and what can be expected moving forward?
Germany and Denmark Are in the Best Position: One of these teams were expected to be in this position, but not the other. Germany would have been happy with a draw against Portugal, but securing all three points is even better. Denmark must be very pleased that they were able to take down a Netherlands side which is seeking to break through and win a major tournament. No game is guaranteed, but with a two goal differential and three points, these two teams have to like where they are.
Holland Has Work To Do: I said it last week and I’ll say it again, I don’t see Netherlands advancing out of the group. Did I expect them to lose to Denmark? No way. But I saw a lot of the same mistakes defensively that I did in a friendly match against Bayern Munich a few weeks ago. Poor marks and poor positioning allowed the goal to be scored. Offensively, no one could have guessed they were going to be so poor from around the goal. Had someone said they would hold a 32-8 shot advantage a lose 1-0, I think many would have laughed about it.
Looking ahead to the games Wednesday, Portugal and Holland are in must draw situations. A loss will surely eliminate either of them. Holland will have the tougher matchup, going up against a German juggernaut that even on an off day was still able to squeak out a 1-0 victory. Portugal must be wary of Denmark, but they will find chances offensively, but the question is, can they take advantage of them?
With Group B’s first day in the books, it was quite a day. Personally, I’d say much better than day one. But with a lot of games left to be played, things can still get much better.