Euro 2012: Group B Preview
Posted on June 13, 2012 by Chris Lowe
Right from the moment the draw was made Group B was the one everyone was looking forward to. Featuring two of the top four in the FIFA world rankings; Germany and the Netherlands, and Denmark and Portugal also in the top ten it was inevitably handed the often arduous title of the “group of death” (although I’m not sure anyone has ever actually died as a result in the past).
The first round of fixtures did little to whet the appetite however, only two goals were scored instead of the total football promised. Denmark produced the perceived upset of the tournament so far by beating the Dutch 1-0 (I’m not sure how much of an upset that it though, remember Denmark qualified ahead of Portugal and are ninth in the world), while Germany were efficiently mediocre in beating Cristiano Ronaldo and co also by one goal to nil.
Two big Dutch talking points emerged from opening day defeat; firstly, Huntelaar and/or Van Persie? Van Persie was uncharacteristically useless against Denmark and you can’t argue with Huntelaar’s superior form and international record. Secondly, does Van Marwijk stick with De Jong AND Van Bommel? A lot of people would like to see Kevin Strootman come in to speed the play up and get the Dutch playing something resembling total football again. They’ll need to get there quickly with most people’s favourites and arch rivals Germany next up.
Prediction: Netherlands 1-2 Germany
Joachim Low will be feeling confident going into the game though; his Germany side won all ten qualifying matches and conquered the Dutch 3-0 in a friendly back in November. The only noteworthy aspect of their victory over Portugal was just how boring it was for large parts; neither side wanted to lose and nothing was really learnt. Ruthless, stereotypical German proficiency eventually told and Mario Gomez scored his sixth goal in his last six matches in qualifiers and finals.
Portugal did create chances though, and if it wasn’t for a great Neuer save the game would have ended in a draw, but defeat to Denmark in Lviv would all but eliminate them with a game to spare. In match one the Dane’s starved the Netherlands midfield of space and a similar pressing performance could easily undo Portugal’s creative centre.
One thing’s for sure though, with still no real indication of who’ll go through, this group is definitely living up to it’s billing. Place your FREE Match Predictions today – you could win yourself £1,500, a Samsung TV or Macbook Air!