It wasn’t quite the ending of Group A, but the so-called Group of Death (featuring four teams in the top ten of the FIFA rankings), most likely the last of its kind at a major tournament. Holland were the high profile casualty of Group B, along with 1992 winners, Denmark.
3 wins out of 3, Germany topped Group B with 9 points (and will be the only side to take a perfect record into the quarter-finals). Despite that, we have yet to see what this German squad are really made of, they were the best team in Group B but not playing at a level they are capable of. Germany face Greece in the quarter-finals on Friday. The question is, can Jogi Loew’s side go all the way to the final and win it?
Ronaldo finds his feet
Portugal, progressed to the knock-out stages after 2-1 victory over Holland, featuring an emphatic performance from captain and talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo who had pervious come in for criticism, scored their two goals. Not doing it on the main stage has been a regular criticism of Ronaldo, but last night he showed why he is one of the world’s best player. His all round play was wonderful to watch. Paulo Bento’s side continued their impressive record of never having bowed out of a European Championship at the group stages.
Holland: from finalists to failures?
Just two years ago, Holland suffered a late defeat against Spain in the World Cup final, and were tipped to potentially reach the final of this tournament also. Instead, the Dutch have become the big casualties of the group stage. Three defeats, 0 points, 2 goals scored and 5 conceded, a far cry from the Dutch side that were top scorers in qualifying. For all the talk about the amount of goals Robin Van Persie and Klass Jan Huntelaar have scored this season, fitting them into the side proved to be Bert van Marwijk’s downfall, similarly playing two defensive midfielders in the form of Nigel De Jong and Mark van Bommel.
It was Denmark who caused the first shock of Euro 2012 when they beat Holland in the opening game of Group B, but bowed out after defeats in that thrilling game against Portugal and last night against Germany. If anything, Denmark finished better than many would have predicted by finishing third ahead of Holland. They can go home with their heads held high and that they gave a good account of themselves. Nicklas Bendtner was impressive as was Michael Krohn-Delhi, but the Danes lacked grinding out the second win they needed to qualify.