We knew and expected that there was going to be a significant casualty coming out of the Euro 2012’s Group of Death. What we didn’t expect was that casualty could very well end up being the Netherlands.
One of the pre-tournament favorites suffered their second loss in as many games, falling at the hands of Germany, 2-1.
German striker Mario Gomez accounted for the two goals in the first half, the first coming the 24th minute followed by another one 13 minutes later. The Netherlands’ Robin Van Persie scored one back in the 73rd minute, but even with the Dutch attack springing to life afterwards, it was a case of being a little too late.
With the win, Germany becomes the first team to book a ticket to the quarterfinals, leaving the Netherlands in serious danger of being booted out in the knockout stage. The Oranje still has a chance to make it to the final 8, but they’re going to need a strong performance against Portugal and some help from the Germans to easily dispose of Denmark.
In the other Group of Death match, Portugal barely edged out Denmark, 3-2, thanks to a dramatic strike from forward Silvestre Varela with just three minutes remaining in the match. Valera’s heroics might have saved striker Cristiano Ronaldo from being labeled the goat of the match with an epic miss that would’ve been hard to live down had Varela not swooped in for the rescue.
Ronaldo’s struggles in the international stage reared its ugly head again after the star striker – and world’s most expensive player – missed a simple flick into an open net after beating Danish goalie Stefan Anderson. Instead of the elementary finish, Ronaldo inexplicably decided to boot it, sending it wide off the target to the disbelief of his teammates.
But thanks to the heroics of Varela, Portugal live to see another day and now have a golden opportunity to advance to the quarterfinals with either a win or a draw over the Netherlands. Meanwhile, Denmark finds itself on the same boat as the Dutch: outside looking in.
They’re going to need win against what has been a dominant German team if they have any chance of advancing. Unless something miraculous happens, though, we’re not betting against the Germans to drop this one.
Not with the way they’re playing.