Saturday, June 9, 2012

Euro 2012 : Sneak Preview - 2nd Day's matches

Tonight there are two big games coming up from Group B, touted as the Group of Death - Netherlands vs Denmark & then Germany vs Portugal.......both a must watch for any soccer fan.

Netherlands vs Denmark :
At the last world cup in South Africa two years back, the Dutch had started their campaign against Denmark with a 2-0 result & had gone on to reach the finals, which they lost to Spain. Here again, the Orange revolution is gearing up for a similar start to their Euro campaign, a trophy they had won last 24 years back, in 1988, ......the golden era of  the trio -Gulitt, Basten & Riikard.
This team has it all in terms of talent....Captain midfielder, Bommel has resources like Heitinga, Wiel, Bouma in the defence, de Jong, Sneijder, Robben, Strootman, Rafael van der Vaart, Afellay in the midfield & Dirk Kyut, Huntelaar, Robin van Persie, Narsingh in the forward line.......a dream line up for any national team. The team has reached here with nine wins out of ten matches in the qualifying round, scoring 37 goals, looking rather lethal in their Total Football attacking free flowing football, which was initiated by the legendary Johan Cryuff.  On their day, this team can decimate the best in the world, completely mesmerize the crowd & the opponents into submission....its always been a wonder, why a team with such classy talent, always stumbles at the final bend.....If they can settle their backroom ego issues & in team fighting at crucial stages, this team should certainly book into the last four.
Denmark on the other hand are no pushovers.....the Danish Dynamites have earned respect amongst their rivals with some extremely pressing football game....Champions of 1992, the Danes have Nicklas Bendtner, Christian Erikson, Daniel Agger, Simon Kjaer in their ranks, who have the capability to change the course of any game. Probably the least fancied team in this Group of Death, the Danish Dynamites should play freely which comes naturally to them & that should be a cause of concern for the top teams here. As a unit they certainly are capable of a few surprises.
The Dutch are a brilliant bunch of players, & unless they get into a self destruction mode or get to play selfish individual game, they should cruise ahead. I expect Netherlands to win the game today, on sheer talent & current form, though it should be a tight entertaining match to watch.

Germany vs Portugal :
The two heavyweights of the tournament clash in a mouth watering opener for them today. While the 3 times Euro Champions, Germany, having won all their ten matches in the qualifying round, look ominous as a team......under the coaching of Joachim Loe. The team is spoilt for riches, is young in age & hence would last the distance in endurance, has a attacking, pressing game, a far cry from their traditional water tight defence & counterattack. This team has all that needs to go the distance & win the cup.....probably their best chance in many years. What probably would be tested, is their ability to counter attack & not crumble under pressure in crucial moments, as was seen in the Champions Cup finals recently, when Bayern Munich lost to Chelsea, a game that they should have won at ease.....a game where Schweinsteiger missed a penalty simply caging into pressure of expectations. However, that was club football, & this is national pride at stake. He along with Muller, Gomez, Podolski, Ozil, Khedira, Lahm, Neuer have enough in them to bulldoze past any opponent.
Portugal on the other hand is extremely dependent on their mercurial player Christiano Ronaldo...whose electrifying runs down the flank, can cause sleepless nights to the best of the defenders in the world today. However, in my humble opinion, he has not done enough for his national colours till date to sit back & notice. he has the potential, the calibre, the game, but seems to get frustrated quite easily & give up. They have Pepe, as a brilliant overlapping defender, Nani upfront along with Ronaldo to strike deep into the opponents. Players like Coentrao, Meireles, Bruno Alves, Almeida would also need to contribute substantially, if Portugal has to move beyond group levels.
I would however believe that the Germans have more than enough firepower & will to win this contest tonight, & get a perfect start to their campaign.