Group B: Can Holland pull off the ‘Great Escape’?
Posted on June 17, 2012 by Andrew Younger
Group B will come to a climax on Sunday, with the tournaments group of death certainly living up to its billing so far. Shock results, world class football and of course, the inevitability of one of the tournaments powerhouses going home early.
Before the tournament it was widely thought that team would be Portugal, with the Netherlands and Germany many peoples tips to go all the way. As they say though, football is not played on paper and their has been drama right from the off in this years Group of Death.
Nobody would have predicted the other, often forgotten about team in this group Denmark, to be in contention for qualification to the quarter finals going into the final round of games, but after their opening round heroics against the Dutch they are right in the hunt for second place.
Denmark’s gain has very much been Holland’s loss, as a second defeat to group leaders Germany has left them rock bottom without a point on the board. There is still slight hope that Van Marwijk’s side can reach the last 8 but their fortunes are part reliant on how Denmark do against Germany.
Of course, they must play their part and beat Portugal to have any chance of qualifying, but should Denmark again upset the odds and pick up at least a point against Germany, Van Persie and co will be coming home early.
It is not all doom and gloom for the Dutch though as the story behind their campaign is not as black and white as played 2, lost 2. Against Denmark they were incredibly unlucky not to find the net at least once, before running into a top side in Germany.
There is evidence to suggest then that the Netherlands can pull it off, but they must provide more of a cutting edge going forward if they are to achieve the two goal swing required for them to qualify. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is tipped as the man to give them it as he looks likely to partner Robin Van Persie upfront to maximise Holland’s attacking threat.
Over 500 predictions have been placed on Oddslife’s Euro 2012 Predictor for this game, with 47% backing Holland to win. Given the urgency that they will have to inject into their play, I’m also backing an improved Netherlands attack to put the Portuguese defence to the sword and win the game.
Morten Olsen’s Denmark side will look to summon the spirit of the Euro ’92 winning team who beat Germany in the final. Their chances of causing a similar upset have been dashed by losing flying winger Denis Rommedahl to injury. Their main hopes of getting a result lie with the so far underwhelming Christian Eriksen and goal hero Nicklas Bendtner.
Germany’s firepower, though, is daunting and despite them not really getting into top gear, they have already disposed of both Porugal and the Netherlands. 473 people are backing the favourites on Oddslife’s Euro 2012 Predictor, and I suspect Germany will want to use this game as a warning to the rest of the competition and truly make their mark. I think they and in particular Mario Gomez will continue to flourish with Germany completing a comfortable win.