The four teams that make up the dreaded Group of Death at Euro 2012 all took to the pitch against one another in Day 2, and it didn’t take long for the first upset to happen.
Considered as the “weakest” team in Group B, opportunistic Denmark served notice that they’re more than just push-overs, shutting out the Netherlands with a 1-0 win over one of the pre-tournament favorites.
Danish midfielder Michael Krohn-Dehli put the Red and Whites ahead in the 24th minute, beating the Netherlands’ goalie Maarten Stekelenburg after scooping up a loose ball close the Dutch penalty area and converting what would end up being the only goal of the match.
Despite boasting of one of the best offensive attacks in the tournament, the Oranje couldn’t get past Dutch goalkeeper Stephan Andersen. The Évian net minder was in top form throughout the match, refusing to allow the Dutch to get on the board despite taking a total of 28 shots (eight on goal) compared to only seven shots (all on goal) from Denmark.
For Denmark, this upset puts them in a favorable position in a group that’s considered as the hardest to get out of.
The other Group B match between Portugal and Germany was equally dramatic, thanks to a 72th minute goal from Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez off of a deflected cross from Sami Khedira, sending the Germans to a 1-0 win over Portugal. The latter had multiple chances to equalize late in the match, including a Nani strike that hit the crossbar.
Germany dominated both the possession time and the scoring chances but did little with all their opportunities until “Super” Mario rescued them with a goal that came within seconds of him getting substituted out of the game in favor of returning striker Miroslav Klose. Better late than never, right?
Portugal superstar Christiano Ronaldo was a non-factor for pretty much the entire match, extending what has been a long struggle for the Real Madrid striker when he trades in his La Liga kit in favor of his national colors. While we certainly don’t expect Ronaldo to continue on this path to mediocrity, it would certainly help Portugal if he reverts to his Real Madrid form. You know, the one that scored goals about as often as he scores with the fairer sex. Just sayin’.
With their respective wins, Denmark and Germany both find themselves on top of the Group of Death standings, leaving the Netherlands and Portugal with lots of catching up to do if both want to make it out of the group stages.