Holland, a pre-tournament favorite of many for Euro 2012, were shocked in the opening game of Group B, falling 1-0 to Denmark. Holland, who lost to Spain at the 2010 World Cup in the finals, was hoping to make some more noise in Group B and make a run deep into the tournament. With that loss to Denmark, however, things are looking very bleak.
A loss to Germany and a draw or win by Denmark against Portugal will mathematically eliminate the Dutch, something not many people saw coming, though which I have said from the beginning. However, I think it will be Portugal and not the Danish that will be moving on. Regardless, Holland needs to secure at least a draw versus a talented German side to stay alive. To do so, their back four must play a fantastic game. Gregory van de Wiel, John Heitinga, Ron Vlaar, and Jetro Williams will be busy all game long trying to keep the Germans at bay.
Mario Gomez or Miroslav Klose, coupled with a fantastic midfield and forwards Lukas Podolski, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira, Mesut Özil, Thomas Müller and Toni Kroos will be giving headaches all game long to the Dutch back four in front of goalie Maarten Stekelenburg. The Dutch’s best defense might be their offense, with Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie up front creating nightmares for a less than stellar German defense. If the Dutch can control the ball, more chances will open up as the Germans will be focusing on stopping Robben and van Persie, leaving the likes of Wesley Sneidjer, Nigel de Jong, Mark van Bommel, and other teammates with some scoring opportunities.
The biggest matchup might be where Germany coach Joachim Löw puts captain Phillip Lahm. Will he be tasked to handle FC Bayern München teammate Robben, or that be left to their other teammate, Jérôme Boateng? Regardless of who is tasked with defending who, both teams are going to get plenty of chances on net. Stekelenburg and Germany goalie Manuel Neuer will have to be in top form to keep their sides in front or level.
The Germans could live with a draw, and could still finish first in the group still with seven points, depending on the outcome of the Denmark Portugal game. But a Holland loss will surely have the critics out in full force.