Group B returns on Wednesday with a monumental clash between Netherlands and Germany following the opening game between Portugal and Denmark. With Holland and the Iberian nation losing their first games, this group may well be sown up by the end of play.
Denmark vs Portugal
The Danes performed wonderfully well to beat Netherlands 1-0 in their opening game, with Michael Krohn-Delhi getting the goal to seal a memorable victory. Morten Olsen’s men can now complete a surprise qualification from the group of death if they beat Portugal.
The Scandinavians played an enterprising style of football in their first game, looking to get the ball down and keep possession. This may be a wise move against Portugal to starve their opponents of the ball, but it must be in the right areas of the pitch.
A solid defensive effort kept the Dutch out, and Danish fans will hope that Daniel Agger and his back four can frustrate the Portuguese this time round.
Portugal give a plucky account of themselves against group favourites Germany in the first game, with a Mario Gomez goal stopping them getting anything from the game in a 1-0 defeat. Despite poor pre-tournament form, Paulo Bento’s men looked dangerous and focussed, and were unlucky not to get something from the game.
Denmark beat Portugal in competition qualifying and as such the Iberian nation will look to exact revenge. Cristiano Ronaldo has not been at his best for his country of late, and needs to improve if Portugal are to get through.
Netherlands vs Germany
Netherlands, despite all their attacking quality, are on the verge of an early competition elimination. A surprise 1-0 defeat to Denmark came as a shock to the fans, and the side’s poor finishing even more so. Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben in particular were guilty of wasting opportunities, and Bert van Marwijk may be tempted to use Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and/or Rafael van der Vaart from the start this time round.
A defeat would compound Holland to a premature exit, whilst a draw just keeps their chances alive. However, the Dutch will go out to win the game and as such this should be an exciting and enthralling game. Due to the nation’s footballing rivalry with Germany, the Oranje fans will be in despair should they go out at the hands of their close neighbours.
Germany have been many people’s favourites for the tournament, and although they did win their first game, they were not overly convincing in a 1-0 victory over Portugal. Joachim Low’s men were lucky to escape a number of Portuguese chances, and the likes of Mats Hummels will have to solidify the team’s rearguard against the Dutch offence.
In attack Gomez got the nod ahead of Miroslav Klose, and will most likely do so again, whilst exciting youngsters such as Mario Gotze and Marco Reus had to make do with a place on the bench. Germany will be motivated to win to ensure a place in the knockout rounds, and simultaneously knock out one of their main rivals for glory.