2012 UEFA European Soccer Championship
Friday, June 8 – Sunday, July 1, 2012
Poland and Ukraine Tournament Hosts
All Odds courtesy of Bookmaker
When the fixtures were announced for Euro 2012 in December, Group B was pegged as the infamous “Group of Death.” Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal, and Denmark will compete for only 2 spots in the knockout stage. All are all in the top 10 in the FIFA rankings. Denmark is a long shot to win this group and would be a heavy favorite to win Group A had they been drawn into that group. The other 12 teams will be relived that only 2 of these powerhouses will be alive after the group stage. All have the talent to win the whole tournament.
Here is a look at the four teams in the group and their odds to win the tournament, the group, and to advance to the knockout stage, courtesy of bookmaker.
Germany (+275 tournament, +110 to win group, -375 to advance)
The Germans are #2 in the FIFA rankings. Germany is managed by Joachim Loew. They lost to Spain in the championship at Euro 2008 and again to Spain in the semifinals at the World Cup in 2010. The Germans were 10-0 in qualifying for Euro 2012, outscoring opponents 34-7 in those match-ups.
Much like the NBA’s San Antonio Spurs went from a team built on defense and rebounding to one of the league’s top scoring teams, the Germans have transformed from defense and counterstriking to a lethal offensive team. Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose, Thomas Mueller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Mesut Oezil lead the attack.
A berth in the knockout round is likely, and the two teams from Group B should advance to the semifinals against the weaker foes from group A. It is even possible for both Group B teams to meet in the Championship game, although Spain, Italy, England and France might have something to say about that.
The Netherlands (+650 T, +175 G, -174 A)
The Dutch are #4 in the current rankings. The Netherlands are managed by Bert van Marwijk. The Dutch came in second to Spain in the 2010 World Cup. Holland was 9-1 in qualifying outscoring foes 38-7 in those games.
The Dutch offense is led by Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben, and Wesley Sneijder. Netherlands has so much talent that Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will likely be left out of the starting line-up, and he would start for almost every other team in tournament. Gregory van der Wiel and Jorith Mathijsen head up the defense.
I don’t know if the Dutch can beat Germany to win the group, but the Netherlands should be able to advance if they can earn at least a point against a tough Portugal team in the last game of the first round. If the Dutch survive the Group of death then a semifinal berth is likely.
Portugal (10/1 T, +350 G, +122 A)
Portugal is #5 in the World rankings. They are coached by Paulo Bento. Portugal has never won a major tournament before, and somehow usually ends up in the group of death. Portugal lost to Greece in the finals of Euro 2004. Portugal came in second in their qualifying group and had to beat Bosnia-Herzegovina in a playoff just to get here.
Portugal is usually the third best team in a group, as is the case this year. The Portuguese would be one of the favorites in any other group, but they have the misfortune of being in the same group as Germany and Holland.
Portugal will go as far as brilliant striker Christiano Ronaldo will take them. He is arguably the best player in the world, though fans of Messi from Argentina will disagree. Ronaldo is very talented but he is almost the whole show for Portugal. Pepe and Nani will help though.
Portugal will struggle against Germany and the Netherlands, so I don’t see them getting out of the group stage. Another disappointing early exit for the Portuguese.
Denmark (50/1 T, +1150 G, +504 A)
Denmark is #10 in the FIFA rankings. The Danish are coached by Morten Olson, and won their qualifying group to get here. They were in the same qualifying group as Portugal. Danish fans hope for a similar result as 1992 when they won the whole thing, after they were a last minute replacement for the fractured Yugoslavia. It would take a similar miracle to even advance out of this brutal group.
Christian Eriksen and Nicklas Bendtner lead the offense. Goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel will replace Thomas Sorensen, who is out with a back injury. Denmark must slow down the high powered attacks of the other teams if they have any hope at all to advance.
If the Danish were in any other group, they would be a nice dark horse pick. As it is, I see an early exit. Maybe, if the other three teams beat each other, Denmark could sneak into the knockout round.
I think Germany and the Netherlands simply have too much and should advance to the Quarterfinals and probably the semis.
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