Two matches today will see the Netherlands take on Denmark, while Germany will face Portugal in the other game. Potentially both look to be exciting matches so what can we expect?
- Denmark to prove that they are not here to make up the numbers. This side finished above Portugal in qualifying and in any other group they would be confident of making the knock-out stage. They have a talented playmaker in Christian Eriksen and much will rely on him. Up front Nicklas Bendtner will be looking to justify his supposed over-confidence in his own abilities.
- Holland to struggle defensively. They may start with two excellent holding midfielders in De Jong and Van Bommel but if those two are by passed then the defense in front of keeper Stekelenburg looks very suspect. Mathijsen is out so it looks like Bouma will start. A player who doesn’t inspire much confidence. There has been debate whether Dutch manager Van Marwijk will play a more attacking game and only use one holding midfielder, but with question marks over the defense expect him to start with two. They may not play as attacking as many would expect, despite having Robben, Sneijder and Van Persie in their team.
- Portugal will look to rely on their strength and that is their attack. A side that boasts Ronaldo and Nani but does not really have a playmaker or an outstanding striker. They have a number of midfielders who are more graft then craft. There is no heir to Rui Costa or Deco in this team and that will be their down fall. They lack cohesion as a unit and rely too much on the individual magic of Ronaldo. Their defense is ok but a player like Alves makes me very nervous. They will start brightly but fade later on.
- Germany have started the tournament as many people’s favourites (mine as well) so it will be interesting to see how they perform. Will they live up to the hype or suffer from stage fright? It could go either way. A side that has a host of attacking options they will look to keep the ball and move it around quickly to try to tier the Portuguese out. They have evolved their play since 2010 where they were a more counter attacking side. Klose may get the nod over Gomez because of his familiarity with Germany’s system. They should dominate the game after some initial Portuguese pressure.
- Also expect some sort of refereeing controversy. I can see why Carols Velasco sent off two players in the Poland v Greece match, he made a mistake with Papastathopoulos’s second yellow but the player hardly helped himself by giving away a few silly fouls before that. I think that influenced the referees decision. I think refereeing decisions get blow way out of proportion these days, mainly due the whole social media effect where everyone has twitter and facebook, everyone wants their opinion to be heard. We all forget that these things have happen through out the history of football, I don’t think it’ll ever change. Not that that comes as any comfort to the affected sides.
- If yesterdays games are anything to go by expect a side to start well in the first half but the opposition to react positively in the second. Greece played better after the break despite being a man down. The Czech Republic also started well in the second half before Russia’s superiority told.