Euro 2012 – Day 6: Sulky Dutch, silky Deutschland

Sulky Dutch, silky Deutschland

Euro 2012 coverage by Lee Hugh McGowan

Group (of Death) B

Denmark 2 – 3 Portugal
Germany 2 – 1 Netherlands

Portugal made football look easy for a wee while last night. The Danes helped obviously. They played well for the first two minutes of the first half and then slept for the next forty. Portugal took the lead, quickly doubled it and could’ve doubled it again, if Ronaldo were not so shaky on the international stage. While his La Liga neMESSIs is knocking glorious hat-ricks past the Brazillians, Jose’s golden boy can’t put a foot right. Two sitters squandered in front of goal. I could’ve scored the second myself. Maybe?

The Danes, through the epic Bendter, pegged a couple back and as much as I wanted them to continue their fairytale run, it was never going to be. Portugal could’ve, should’ve, had about fifteen. They got their third, the winner, with minutes remaining. I’ve yet to see a team throw themselves on the grass with so little reason quite as often as they do. When a Danish substitute sneezed on the bench, a Portugese striker, mistaking the brief breeze as contact with an opponent, lay down and rolled over. Shameless.

In the other game the Germans offered the Dutch a lesson. Two excellent Gomes goals – people keep saying he’s no good, but 6 goals in 7 games kinda says otherwise. Brilliant in defense, clinical in attack, the boys in white and black played most of the game like it was a Sunday morning stroll. If the Dutch looked to threaten, they simply stepped up their game. Van Persie, having returned his Mum’s slippers, managed to smash one in. He was class, for about five minutes either side of it. The rest of the Dutch team looked like they threw the towel in before kick-off. Maybe the Greeks got to the mules first after all. When Robben was substituted he climbed the board on the opposite side of the pitch and walked around the long way – as big David O’Leary insightfully noted, no message for the team-mate coming on is a clear message for everyone else.

It’s an interesting group. Germany have six points, Portugal and Denmark have three each. The Netherlands have none. If the Netherlands beat Portugal by three goals and Germany beat Denmark (they will), there is a chance the Dutch could go through, but they don’t really look like they want to. It’s breaking hearts all over the world. One of best footballing teams in the world, and they’re all in the huff with each other. Did they not tell them they were playing the Germans?

Tonight Old school Italy face the feisty Croatians – watch out for those headers, boys. And Spain will take a couple of goals off Ireland.

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