Dutch face day of destiny
13 Jun, Euro 2012 (Group B) Holland v Germany (Kharkiv, 7.45 UK)
I never thought I would be saying this but if Holland get anything less than three points in Kharkiv, it looks like it could be curtains for them. You would fancy Portugal to beat Denmark and it would make it very difficult for the Dutch to catch the Germans if they don’t beat them.
Then there could be a possible conspiracy theory resulting in Germany drawing with Denmark in their last group fixture, which could make sure that the Dutch won’t qualify. And as a major competitor, you wouldn’t bet against that occurring, with Germany coach Joachim Low resting players for future matches.
Anyway, back to the game. If Holland are to beat the well-drilled Germans, I think it’s imperative that they find room for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to partner Robin van Persie and also accommodate Rafael van der Vaart to create the chances. With this in mind, either Nigel de Jong or Mark van Bommel have to be sacrificed. I would go for withdrawing de Jong because van Bommel can do a destructive job while also creating.
Then there is the matter of getting in van der Vaart. Now, this may sound controversial but I would drop Arjen Robben. If he is having a quiet game, he might as well not be playing. So to get the best out of the Dutch, you need to provide the ammunition for Huntelaar and van Persie. I believe that if they use van der Vaart and Wesley Sneijder in midfield, then they can turn over Germany. But it will be an adventurous attacking team that is required.
As regards Germany. They are like German cars. EFFICIENT. They look a little wobbly at the back but they defend in numbers. They have no real superstars who want to grab the limelight and they work for each other. Everything bad about the Dutch is good about the Germans. They also have a knack of succeeding when their team doesn’t look great on paper. This is largely due to the tactics and brains of the team and coaching staff.
Germany will feel that they can get at a physically weak Dutch defence with the powerful Mario Gomez and they won’t be shy about getting the ball into the box. One thing that is obvious is that there will be two contrasting styles on show. The question is who will come out on top … beauty or the beast?
Prediction: Holland 2, Germany 1
Also in Group B: Denmark v Portugal (Lviv, 5pm)
Who would have thought that, coming into this game, it would be Portugal who needed the points more than Denmark. I think that the Portuguese will win this convincingly, with their attacking players coming to the party. Holland underestimated the Danes, Portugal won’t do this.
Prediction: Denmark 1, Portugal 3