Euro 2012 Group B preview
Published: 09.06.12 / Written by: Hakon Hoyland
Group B is the most intriguing of all the Euro 2012 groups due to its strength and unpredictability.
Old foes Germany face the Netherlands and will revive memories of past classics between the two in knock out competition. In 1974, Germany beat the Netherlands in the World Cup final on home soil, despite being outplayed, and the Dutch have never forgotten that day.
Netherlands have also experienced the joy of knocking out Germany in the Euros in 1988, which some say they celebrated more than the subsequent win over the Soviet Union in the final of that competition – the country’s only trophy to date.
It will be a difficult game to predict between the two as well. Germany boast an attacking force the envy of Europe. Marco Reus, Mario Gotze, Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose are aided by Mesut Ozil and Lukasz Podolski. It will take a lot to beat them.
The team has been moulded well by Joachim Low and they are rightfully one of the strong favourites for the whole tournament. With Spain missing key players in David Villa and Carles Puyol, Germany could well walk away with the trophy too. They have a tough defence and the team spirit and know how to cause everyone serious problems. They have experience too, having reached the semi finals of every tournament bar Euro 2004 since 2002. And with narrow defeats to Spain in the semis of the World Cup and the final of the last Euros, it would not be a shock if they were to make it third time lucky.
Germany can expect to be favourites but if they are profligate going forward, they can be punished. The Dutch have the most lethal striker in the tournament in some people’s eyes in Robin van Persie, and Klass Jan Huntelaar is not bad either. With Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and a strong central midfield, they will be a difficult team to break through for anyone.
Denmark are a team to watch in this section though. They are a promising team who under Morten Olsen have gone from strength to strength on the back of an impressive qualifying campaign. They finished above Portugal, and the two will resume their rivalry in this group. With good wingers, a skilful midfield with Christian Erikson a potential star of the Euros, they have the creativity to harm their group rivals. And Germany certainly won’t underestimate them after the shock 2-0 defeat in the final of Euro 1992.
Portugal though are a difficult one to assess. Most assume they will go home early, but they have arguably the best European player, Cristiano Ronaldo. With Nani on the other wing and a host of talent, they have the skill and ability to test anyone on their day. But their defence could be susceptible and without a top class forward, they may lack what it takes to really punish their rivals.
1 – Germany
2 – Denmark
3 – Netherlands
4 - Portugal