In the second of our four part series, we are going to discuss Group B, also known as the “Group of Death.” With a title like that, you can be guaranteed there are going to be some good games happening in this group. According to FIFA, every team in this group is ranked in the top 10 of the world. Germany are second, Netherlands are fourth, Portugal is fifth, and Denmark is ninth in the world. Every team has quality players, and every game within this group should be tightly contested and extremely entertaining.
The men in the Netherlands jerseys had an extremely successful qualifying campaign, scoring goals at will. Out of the 10 games they played, they won nine, drew none, and lost once. In the course of these 10 games, the Netherlands scored 37 goals, while conceding only eight. With players like Robben, Van Persie and Sneijder, it is no surprise that the team is scoring a large amount of goals. We can only hope their strike rate continues and we see plenty of great goals from the Netherlands in this tournament, like the Van Bronckhorst goal in the 2010 World Cup.
Denmark also had a relatively good qualifying campaign for Euro 2012. They played eight games, winning six, drawing one and losing one. They were not as prolific in front of goal as the Netherlands, though, scoring only 15 times. Denmark has won this tournament before in 1992, but it will definitely be a struggle to make it through this group.
The most spectacular team to qualify from this group was Germany. Germany won all 10 of their qualifying matches. To go along with their undefeated record through qualifying, they also scored 34 goals and conceded seven. No matter how individual players play throughout the season for their respective club teams, once they put that Germany jersey on, they begin to play beautifully. They have won this tournament three times in their history, twice as West Germany (1972, 1980), and once more in 1996. With playmakers like Ozil, anything is possible and the Germans could once again be crowned champions of Europe.
The last team in this group is Portugal. Cristiano Ronaldo is one of the best players in the world and has played pretty well in a Portugal jersey . However, even he cannot carry a team on his own. This was evident in Portugal’s qualifying campaign. Ronaldo scored seven of the teams 21 goals in qualifying and they still had to make it past Bosnia-Herzegovina in a playoff match in order to make it to Euro 2012. Portugal has never won this tournament and I do not expect this to change, even with one of the best players in the world playing for them.
All of these games have the opportunity to be great. This group features some of the best players, such as Ronaldo, Robben, Van Persie, Sneijder and Ozil. All of these players have the potential to change a game with a moment of brilliance and it will be fun to see who steps up for each team. Even though all these teams are good, I expect the Netherlands and Germany to advance past the group stage. These two teams have too much quality and experience to fail to make it out of the group stage. This group should be highly entertaining. I expect some free flowing soccer to be played between all these teams, and hopefully some high scoring affairs that will have fans cheering.
Written By: Eric Stoyanov, Contributing Writer, soccerprose.com
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