• Sunday, 10 June 2012

    Yesterday at the Euros #2

    Day two saw the proverbial gruppo della muerte kick off. Never has there been a more deathly group of death with all four sides ranked in the world's top ten.

    Hence it's difficult to fathom why so many people are shocked by Denmark's win over the Netherlands. Frankly, the Dutch were poor. No pace to their passing and movement and stymied by the deployment of the two holding midfielders in front of that flaky back four, the most notable contribution of which was Ron Vlaar taking out Ibrahim Afellay with his granite forehead. With van Bommel and de Jong holding station in midfield, it's incumbent on the full-backs to push on and they didn't. As such, despite ceding possession in huge quantities, the Danes were largely untroubled and content to play on the break. One of those break brought the goal, Michael Krohn-Dehli slipping one through Maarten Stekelenburg's legs. 1-0 it remained to the end and Denmark can get better when they get Christian Eriksen more involved. Holland are in bother already, Denmark and their super-coach Morten Olsen deserve all the credit that's coming their way.

    In the other game, Germany were too good for Portugal. Germany's two deep-lying midfielders aren't just spoilers as the Dutch ones are, rather a platform from which to launch attacks and Sami Khedira was particularly impressive in that role. The back four, over which there were question marks, dealt with everything with relative ease. Portugal still can't get the best out of Ronnie Cristialdo, but at least Raul Meireles has finally completed his haircut. Mario Gomez was as Gomez as ever, but did plant his mighty forehead on one cross and that was the difference, ultimately.

    The next round of fixtures in this group sees Germany play Holland and Denmark against Portugal. It could all be over after those.

    Today, it's Spain against Italy and Ireland v Croatia.

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