Monday, 18 June 2012

Group B Review

Group B came to a conclusion last night with Germany & Portugal progressing to the last 8. For Denmark & Holland it's time to look ahead to the 2014 World Cup Qualifiers.

Germany managed to maintain their 100% record with a hard fought 2-1 win over Denmark.

At one stage Germany were just one goal away from going out & could even consider themselves fortunate that the referee waved away Danish appeals for a penalty when Bendtner was clearly brought down in the box.

Just minutes later the ball fell kindly to Lars Bender who was able to score the goal which sends Germany into the last 8 as Group B winners.

Germany meet Greece in the Quarter-Finals in a tie which they will be hot favourites to win.

The Germans look well balanced & will be many people's favourites to claim their 4th European Championship. Manager, Joachim Loew seems to have a settled line-up which he has faith in & so far has only changed it when he had to due to a suspension for Jerome Boateng.

I fully expect Germany to get past Greece in the Quarter-Finals & they will then face a Semi-Final against the winners of the 4th Quarter-Final between the Group D winners & Group C runner-up. If Spain win Group C as expected, then I'd be surprised to see any of the other possible opponents defeat the Germans.

Portugal beat Holland last night to set up a Quarter-Final with Group A winners, Czech Rep.

Portugal hadn't looked great in their first two games & star player Cristiano Ronaldo was struggling. Last night Cristiano Ronaldo came back to form with a bang & Portugal looked like a serious threat in the competition.

When in top form Ronaldo is unplayable & he is in my opinion the best player in this competition. If he plays well Portugal can compete with any team in the tournament.

From now on it's win or go home & Portugal will always have a chance as long as they have Cristiano Ronaldo.

Denmark missed out on the Quarter-Finals after a 2-1 defeat to Germany and as I have already mentioned they can consider themselves unlucky not to have got the chance to take the lead late on after Bendtner was hauled to the ground by Badstuber. However, the referee did not give it & it wasn't to be for Denmark.

The Danes can take a lot of positives from their campaign. 3rd place is a good achievement in a group that included Germany, Portugal & Holland.

Many people thought Denmark were there to make up the numbers in Group B but with 10 minutes left they were still in a position to qualify.

The Danes can take a lot of pride in their performance.

Pride is one thing the Dutch cannot take home from Euro 2012. They came into the tournament as one of the favourites after finishing 2nd in the 2010 World Cup. 3 defeats later and they go home with a lot more questions than answers.

How can a team that include as many World Class individuals as Holland go home after the Group Stage with 3 defeats under their belt?

Sneijder, Robben & Van Persie would all be considered in a discussion about the best players in their positions in the world. There are plenty of other top performers in that side but when it came down to it they quite simply could not play together as a team.

Whether it was too many egos or bad preparation was to blame is a question only they and soon to be ex, coach Bert van Marwijk can answer.

Either way it will take a strong character to get the Dutch back on track in time for a successful World Cup 2014.

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