Group B Reaches Climax

Day 9 at Euro 2012 brought the concluding round of games in Group B, ‘The Group of Death’.

Germany had won their first 2 games and looked certain to go through but will have been wary after seeing Russia go out the previous night.

Denmark and Portugal both had 3 points each, the Portuguese looked the more likely to go through with a better head to head record after a late 3-2 win over the Danes.

Incredibly one of the pre-tournament favourites Holland hadn’t yet to register a single point after an awful tournament so far.

Holland coach Bert Van Marwijk showed his attacking intent with 5 forwards in his starting lineup. The gamble paid off initially, Rafael Van Der Vaart’s sumptuous left footed curler gave the Oranje a first half lead.

The Dutch couldn’t sit on their lead, they needed 2 goals to go through and continued to press. The attacking lineup Van Marwijk had started with was now being overrun in the midfield and Portugal equalised through Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portugal captain latched on to a defence splitting through ball to cooly slot home.

Only Nigel De Jong offered any protection in the Holland midfield and the defence were clearly under a huge amount of pressure. Ronaldo scored a second in a lightning quick Portuguese counterattack following the breakdown of a Holland attack.

2 goals, no points and out of the tournament. The 2010 World Cup runners up had become a major casualty of Group B.

The Danes were had been hoping for Holland to do them a favour and if they could steal a point against Germany they would be through.

Podolski put Germany ahead in his 100th game for his country and it looked inevitable the Germans would maintain their 100% record.

Conceding only inspired Denmark, they were not beaten yet. Krohn-Deli headed home from close range to level the scores and put Germany at fear of going home if they conceded another.

Jacobsen hit the post and Bendtner claimed a penalty but it all ended with Lars Bender putting Germany 2-1 up and through to the next round.

Holland will surely hold an inquest in to their poor showing over the 3 games while Denmark can hold their heads high with 3 fine performances.

The well oiled German machine rolls on to play Greece and Portugal, inspired by captain Ronaldo, face the Czech Republic.

Sam Jewell

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