Two of the tournament favorites will be taking the field today at the European Championships. World Cup finalist Holland will take on upstarts
Denmark in Kharkiv, while pre tournament favorites Germany start their tournament against Ronaldo led Portugal. On paper the two favorites look certain to win their matches, but on the field things could possible turn out differently.
Holland is facing some difficulties on their defensive line. Pieters is out for injury and Mathijsen’s presence is uncertain. However, Coach Van
Marwijk will be able to count on superstars Robin Van Persie from Arsenal, Wesley Sneijder of Inter, Arjen Robben of Bayern Munich, and Klass Huntelaar top scorer of the Bundesliga.
Few teams can boast this kind of firepower. In all probability the Dutch will present Stekelenburg in goal, Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathisjen, Schaars in defense, Van Bommel and De Jong as defensive midfielder. Wesley Sneijder will be the genius leading the orchestra, and Kuyt, Van Persie and Robben the finishers. Huntelaar and Afellay of Barcelona will be two excellent substitutes that could come into the game if Holland doesn’t score.
This is the team that came in second in the world only to Spain and few opponents can match their player for player talent. Coach Morten Olsen, will try to take away one all important point from this game. Denmark is a very solid if not exactly exciting team that boast a star 23 year old striker in Nicklas Bendtner, a very clever midfield conductor in Christian Ericksen of Ajax, and a defensive rock in veteran Andreas Bjelland.
They will play a defensive game, hoping to stifle the Dutch Orange machine and come out with a draw. The talent of Dutch however should prove decisive in winning this first encounter and putting them on top of the group.
Germany also marches into this first game heavily favored to win. Although coach Joachim Lowe, will have to deal with reenergizing many of his Bayern Munich players, after their devastating loss to Chelsea in the Champions League final at home. Players like Muller, Schweinsteiger, Gomez, Lahm and Neuer will want to erase the humiliating loss with a win in the European Championship.
Look to see Neuer in goal, captain Lahm, Hummels, Badstuber, and Schmelzer in defense. The very talented Ozil and Khedira of Real Madrid
in midfielder, Schweinsteiger holding the right midfield position, and the World Cup revelation Muller, Gomez and new Arsenal player Podolski up front. Lazio striker Klose will either start or substitute.
Germany won every game in the qualification to this European Championship. They are playing in Poland, close to home, and justly are favored to win this championship with Spain and Holland. Portugal on the other hand, barely won a qualification playoff to get to the tournament. They recently were booed at home, losing to Turkey. This despite having the best player on the planet in Cristiano Ronaldo. As good as he is with Real Madrid; he often seems frustrated on the national level, as if he was surrounded by players, who did little to assist him.
Coach Pablo Bento has arguably one of the weakest sides in this tournament. He will start Rui Patricio in goal, Pereira, Pepe, Bruno Alves and Coentrao in defense. His midfield is weak with Moutinho, Veloso, Chelseas' Meireles, and Nani from Manchester United. Up front Ronaldo and Almeida will alternate, but only Ronaldo is the actual threat. If the Germans can stop Ronaldo, marking him with 2 or 3 players, they can also stop Portugal's only offensive threat.
Portugal on the other hand, has to stop Muller, Gomez, and Podolski. Its simple math, but still one can always expect a spark of genius from a player of Cristiano Ronaldo's ability. The truth though is that Germany should win this match comfortably and join Holland at the head of Group B.
Professional Management Group