Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo attends a training session for the Euro 2012 at Metalist stadium in Kharkiv, some 480 km (300 miles) east of Kiev, June 16, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Vasily Fedosenk)
My predictions were way off for Group A as Greece moved on over Russia, who was the high favorite of the Group. Czech Republic disappointed an entire host nation by eliminating the Polish. Both of these teams await the results of today’s game as they will each be heavy underdogs against any team they play against in Group B.
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The Group of B meanwhile is as complicated as it gets. Germany needs a tie or win for a quarter finals berth.
Denmark needs a win. A tie would force them to pray for a Dutch victory, because a tie would pit them in a tie breaker with Portugal. Since head to head is the first tie breaker in the UEFA Euro Cup, then Portugal will pass on virtue of a 3-2 victory over the Danes.
Portugal needs a win and a German victory. A tie in both games would also put Portugal through.
Netherlands has it most complicated of all. They need Germany to win and then need to beat Portugal by 2 or more goals. With a win and German victory Netherlands would tie Portugal and Denmark in points. The head to head matches all nullify one another as Netherlands would have beat Portugal, Portugal would have beaten Denmark, and Denmark would have beaten Netherlands. The next tie breaker would be Goal Differential and with a two goal victory, Denmark would have a 0 goal differential, Portugal would have a -1 goal differential, and Denmark would have a -1 goal differential as well.
Portugal Vs. Netherlands (Group B) 2:45 P.M., ET on ESPN
Portugal and the Netherlands reignite a rivalry that has spanned numerous World Cups. In 2006, both teams got into a battle of attrition in the Group of 16 with Portugal coming out on top. Circumstances were a tad different then as Portugal was a favorite led by the legendary Luis Figo. Now Cristiano Ronaldo is the central focus for the Portuguese, but the Dutch, led by Wesley Sneijder, Arjen Robben, and Robin Von Persie were expected to be contenders after an impressive 2-1 World Cup. The World Cup success has not translated to the Euro thus far. However, this may be this particular group of Dutch superstars' last chance to ever achieve greatness on the international stage. Van Persie, Sneijder, and Robben are all 28 and will be right on that dreaded 30 years of age line in the 2012 World Cup. Who knows how efective they will be then or how many opportunities they get to star as younger stars take over the team. Look for the Dutch to put it all on the line in this one.
The Dutch have not fared well against the Portuguese in past international matches and have the most pressure heading into this match. They must win and must win by 2 goals at least. And they must pray for a Germany win. Portugal can afford to tie if Germany ties or wins.
The player to watch will be Cristiano Ronaldo who has not performed up to expectations. He blew two golden opportunities to win the game against Denmark and his misses almost cost his team as they blew a 2-0 lead in the final 10 minutes. Fortunately his team bailed him out, but Ronaldo needs to play the way people expect him to. He is after all considered the best player in the world in many circles.
Prediction: Portugal wins 2-1. Ronaldo will finally have his moment. Final Result Here.
Germany Vs. Denmark (Group B) 2:45 P.M., ET on ESPN2
With the exception of Spain, there is no other team so highly favored as the Germans. Led by a youthful core that includes Mezut Ozil, the surprising Mario Gomez, Thomas Muller, Bastian Scweinsteiger, and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, this team has been more dominant than score lines have indicated in their first two games. Denmark has played valiantly with a 1-0 defeat of Holland and resiliently rebounded from a 2-0 deficit to tie the game in the waning minutes against Portugal. They were the heavy underdog in this group but are now just a win or tie away from moving on. Of course, a tie would be contingent on a Portuguese loss.
Denmark will need to quell the Germans’ aggressive attack because the German offense is capable of undressing any defense. They were the highest scoring team in the 2010 World Cup and when all is said and done, they might be able to do the same in this tournament.
Prediction: Germany 4-0. Denmark will likely play an open aggressive game looking for the win, but the Germans will not only contain them, but exploit them with their aggressive counterattack. Think Argentina in 2010. Final Result Here.
Group B Predictions
Germany Tops the Group with 9 points
Portugal takes second place with 6 points
Denmark takes third with just 3 points
The Netherlands becomes the most disappointing team in the tournament with 0 points.
Monday, June 18
Croatia vs. Spain (Group C): 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
Italy vs. Ireland (Group C): 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Tuesday, June 19
England vs. Ukraine (Group D): 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN
Sweden vs. France (Group D): 2:45 p.m. ET on ESPN2