Yesterday was an exciting day for football as the Group of Death did not disappoint. First Denmark and Portugal combined to score five goals, tied for most in the European Championship. Portugal jumped to a two goal lead courtesy of Pepe's header and Helder Postiga's well placed shot in the first half but Nicklas Bendtner managed to put Denmark within one just minutes before halftime. Denmark's continued pressure on Rui Patricio's goal finally paid off ten minutes before the final whistle when Bendtner beat the keeper with a well placed header. But it wasn't meant to be for Denmark as in the 86th minute Silvestre Varela scored to secure the win for Portugal.
Later in the evening Netherlands and Germany faced off in what was basically a do or die game for the Dutch. And 90+ minutes of football later the Dutch are all but out of the competition. Mario Gomez continues to be too hard to handle as he scored twice in the first half from two shots on goal. The Netherlands lacked the fluidity they are so proud off, or at least they were in past years. Robin van Persie made the final twenty minutes interesting with a terrific solo effort and shot but Germany was able to hold on to the one goal advantage until the final whistle.
Many scenarios are still possible in this group but two things are almost certain: Germany will be moving on to the next round and the Oranje will be going home. The only way the Netherlands can save themselves is if they beat Portugal by two or more goals and Germany wins against Denmark. Germany, however, only need a point but can also advance even if they lose to Denmark.
Today Italy and Croatia kick things off with what should be a very interesting game. Italy showed they can defend very well and also posses the players to challenge any team offensively while the Croatians peppered the Irish net with shot while also remained responsible at the back. The Croatian defense did, however, at times look shaky.
In the second match of the day Spain take on the Republic of Ireland. This is the easiest opponent Spain will face in the group and it is expected of them to get three points. Ireland showed in their first game they know how to attack but they also showed they don't really know how to defend, and their defense will face a serious test today.
|Republic of Ireland||1||0||0||1||1||3||-2||0|