Group B Matchday 3 Germany-Denmark 20:45 CET Portugal-The Netherlands 20:45 CET
Germany will try and bring some semblance of normalcy to a tournament that has seen things which in no way can be described as commonplace. From the deluge in Donetsk, which probably hurt the hosts more than the fleet-footed French, to the fisticufs on a bridge in Warsaw between hard-headed Poles and the only hooligans with harder heads, the Russians, the European Championships 2012 have certainly not been lacking in drama. And yet, though Germany has looked the class of their group and perhaps even a favourite in the tourney, nothing has been decided and there is a real chance Germany may even fail to advance to the knockout phase. Though they have won their first two matches rather convincingly, if they lose and a few things fall into place, they are gone. Such is football, and that is what makes the tournament compelling. See here for all the scenarios, though be warned, they are very confusing! And even more miraculously, the Netherlands, who play Portugal, are still in it if they can do something that has eluded them so far, namely, putting the ball in the old onion sack. A few things must also fall their way (one of them being their fiercest rivals, Germany, must win against Denmark), but a spate of goals is first and foremost from the Dutch themselves.
The odds are certainly in Germany's favour to continue along to the quarterfinals. There they would meet the one team that they probably would least like to see, Greece, who would be playing for more than a result on the pitch. They shocked Russia and knocked out a very dangerous side. They have given their country a much needed boost. If they played Germany, it would be so much more than a game, and the Greeks could very well have most of Europe on their side. Though the players would say all the right things, there is little doubt that they would see the ramifications of their fixture.
Germany's opponents, the Danes, are ranked by FIFA higher (10) than most people would imagine, and are the team that makes an already very good group even more competitive, establishing the group as the so-called 'group of death". They are organised and opportunistic, defend well and have much to play for. The Danes style is plodding and except for purists, ugly, while the Germans are known for a more flowing and graceful approach. Der Mannschaft cannot take them lightly and had better bring their absolute 'A' game, or they might be caught watching the scoreboard from the other match. An unenviable position, for a team that by many people's estimates, should be playing for the whole kit and kaboodle come July 1st, in Kyiv. Also, the Danes beat Germany in the finals of Euro 1992, and fewer things would give them more pleasure than to do it again.
When asked, Germany's Manager Joachim Löw dismissed the idea of resting any players or playing for anything but a resounding victory. "We have not qualified yet," he said emphatically. "It will be a tight, difficult match as Denmark too have hopes of reaching the last eight. Those who saw Denmark as outsiders before the tournament were wrong; we always knew they would be a threat as they're compact and dangerous on the break. We will not underestimate them and I'll not be letting anyone have a day off. If I make changes it will be because it's beneficial for the team."
This writer predicts a taut match, with a result of 1-1.