Saturday, June 09, 2012

Jup Oranje already in trouble!

Another reason why the Euro is a great tournament, and why I am not a fan of the expansion for the next version (I liked it when it was only 8 teams, made for instant drama) - 4 games in and already we have teams in crisis!

Day 1 turned out to be not as drab as one might have thought. The Poland v Greece game ended with some controversial officiating - yellow card for going to head the ball? Really? Red card, penalty and save for ends 1-1 so both sides will fancy their chances to advance. The advantage might go to the  Greeks since they face what appears to be a sieve of a Czech team while Poland has to face the offensive minded Russians.

What is really interesting is what happened today. Denmark sprung the surprise, defeating the Dutch 1-0.  I was only able to listen to the game on satellite radio and from the high lights I saw afterwards it appears that the Dutch missed on a few opportunities while the Danes did what they do best - play steady and collective football. In the other match, Germany secured the essential 3 points of a win, but I was not impressed by the pre-tournament favorites. Then again style does not matter, the three points do. However the Germans should consider themselves fortunate that Pepe could not find the happy side of the woodwork at the end of the first half and that Varela couldn't beat Neuer late in the match. The German offense seemed slow - where was Ozil? Looking at the statistics one would think that Portugal would have at least earned a draw - 2 posts hit and 7 corner kicks (Germany had 2).

This sets up a wonderful second day for Group B. With Germany facing hated rival Holland and Denmark and Portugal squaring off. Holland has to win the game, they could be fine with only a draw but that would place a tremendous amount of pressure on them for the final game. Germany, in case of a win, would be assured to go through and could rest players for the final game. Plus both teams hate each other! Should make for a juice match. In the other match, Portugal and Denmark face off again after being in the same qualifiers where they split their matches and the Danes finished top of group. Denmark will be happy with a draw, while Portugal has to also look for a win. Much of how this group will turn out depends on the Germany v Holland match. Holland must win, so it should prove to be a charged up match! Looking forward to that!

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