Euro 2012 Group B Preview

The second of our Euro 2012 preview pieces casts the spotlight on to Group B. We’ll be taking a look at the chances of Denmark, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands, in a bid to prepare you as well as possible for your Euro 2012 betting, ahead of the tournament’s opening game on June 8th 2012.

Euro 2012 Group B
Denmark
Germany
Netherlands
Portugal

Euro 2012 Group B Fixture List
(All times listed are UK – British Summer Time)

June 9 – 5pm
Netherlands vs Denmark
Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv

June 9 – 7.45pm
Germany vs Portugal
Arena Lviv, Lviv

June 13 – 5pm
Denmark vs Portugal
Arena Lviv, Lviv

June 13 – 7.45pm
Netherlands vs Germany
Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv

June 17 – 7.45pm
Portugal vs Netherlands
Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv

June 17 – 7.45pm
Denmark vs Germany
Arena Lviv, Lviv

The Teams

Denmark
To win Euro 2012: 101.00 (BetVictor, Ladbrokes, William Hill)
To win Group B: 21.00 (BetVictor)
Current FIFA Rank: 11
Best performance: Winners (1992)
Euro 2012 Qualifying: 1st, Group H

Coach: Morten Olsen
62 year old Morten Olsen has been in charge of the Danish national setup since 2000, where he has led his team to two World Cups and a European Championships. Starting out in coaching back in 1990, Olsen led Brøndby two two league titles and a UEFA Cup Semi-Final, before a stint in Germany and the Netherlands, where he led Ajax to a league and Cup double. There’s not much Olsen has left to do in football – he’s the only man in football to reach 100 games for his country as both a player and a coach – and his vast experience will prove vital to Denmark’s Euro 2012 campaign.

Key Player: Thomas Sørensen
Denmark’s squad is distinctly lacking in attacking firepower, with Nicklas Bendtner’s record of 17 goals in 46 caps the standout goal tally, so if Denmark are to have any chance of escaping a tricky group and making the Knockout stages of Euro 2012, they’re going to have to be extremely tight at the back. Stoke City goalkeeper Thomas Sørensen has bags of experience, having collected 100 caps in his twelve year career, and he gives the Danes a solid platform to build on.

Denmark topped Group H in the Euro 2012 Qualification stages, winning six of their eight matches and keeping four clean sheets in the process. Their only defeat came away to Portugal – no shame there – and they probably didn’t get the credit that they deserved for such an impressive campaign. They also come into Euro 2012 with some genuine young talent in the squad, notably the likes of Simon Kjaer and Christian Eriksen, but equally, there are plenty of players on their way out of the International game, notably Dennis Rommedahl. One can’t help but feel they are destined to finish bottom of what looks a very strong Group B, a fact reflected in BetVictor‘s odds of 7.00 to qualify and 21.00 to win the group.

Germany
To win Euro 2012: 4.50 (Paddy Power, Ladbrokes, Coral)
To win Group B: 2.25 (Stan James, Ladbrokes)
Current FIFA Rank: 3
Best performance: Winners (1996); Winners as West Germany (1972, 1980)
Euro 2012 Qualifying: 1st, Group A

Coach: Joachim Löw
Joachim Löw is a colorful character, who has been in charge of Germany since the Summer of 2006 after stepping up from the position of Assistant. Löw, whose mop of thick black hair and sharp dress sense have attracted all kind of rumours, from use of a wig to homosexuality, guided the Germans to third place in the 2010 World Cup and the final of the 2008 European Championships, where they eventually succumbed to Spain. Löw has his side playing an attractive brand of football and has nurtured a deep squad of talented individuals.

Key Player: Philipp Lahm
The German squad has an incredible strength in depth and even the younger players are relatively experienced. Bastian Schweinsteiger will turn 28 this Summer and he already has 90 caps; Lukas Podolski will turn 27 and he has 95 caps! A whole host of talented youngsters are coming through the ranks and many of them have already accumulated 15 to 30 caps. It’s tough to pick a stand out player from the German squad, but if there is one player who is going to be influential in making this squad gel during Euro 2012, it must be captain Philipp Lahm.

Germany always perform on the big stage and look a sure fire bet to qualify from Group B of Euro 2012. They breezed through their Qualification group, winning all ten of their games and scoring 34 goals in the process, conceding just seven times. However, a recent defeat in a friendly against France has drawn criticism from German football fans, particularly aimed at the defence. If Joachim Löw can prove that this was just a blip, Germany are sure to put together a deep Euro 2012 run.

Netherlands
To win Euro 2012: 8.50 (Bet365, BoyleSports, Paddy Power)
To win Group B: 3.00 (BoyleSports)
Current FIFA Rank: 2
Best performance: Winners (1988)
Euro 2012 Qualifying: 1st, Group E

Coach: Bert van Marwijk
Bert van Marwijk will be 60 years old by the time Euro 2012 kicks off and what a wealth of experience the Dutchman brings to the job. Having won the UEFA Cup in his first spell as boss of Feyenoord, van Marwijk has also spent time coaching in Germany and of course, recently guided his country to the World Cup final, where he came within minutes of a penalty shoot-out before a late Andrés Iniesta strike sealed victory for Spain. He has been in charge since 2008.

Key Player: Robin van Persie
Arsenal’s talismanic striker is in terrific form of late, having scored 35 goals in the calendar year for 2011 – one short of a Premier League record – and having already notched 12 times in 2012. Van Persie may not be the most prolific on the International stage, but his record of 25 goals in 62 caps is still not to be sniffed at and he brings much more to the team than just his goals. Vision, range of passing and top notch set pieces, the form of van Persie will be crucial if the Netherlands are to progress to the latter stages of Euro 2012.

The Euro 2012 Qualification campaign was a successful one for the Dutch, having lost only their final game away to Sweden once qualification for Euro 2012 was already mathematically guaranteed. They scored an impressive 37 goals in their 10 qualifying matches – the lethal Klaas-Jan Huntelaar bagging twelve of those on his own – including a record 11-0 win over San Marino. It will be a real shock if they fail to qualify from Euro 2012′s Group B and a best price of 3.00 (BoyleSports) to win the group could be a shade of value.

Portugal
To win Euro 2012: 26.00 (Coral)
To win Group B: 5.00 (Bet365, Paddy Power, Coral)
Current FIFA Rank: 7
Best performance: Semi-Finals (1984, 2000)
Euro 2012 Qualifying: 2nd, Group H (Play-Offs)

Coach: Paulo Bento
After the sacking of former Portugal coach Carlos Queiroz, due to a poor start in the Euro 2012 Qualification campaign, Paulo Bento took on the job in September 2010, getting off to the perfect start by beating eventual Group H winners Denmark 3-1. Soon after, Portugal thumped reigning World Champions Spain 4-0 in a friendly game in Lisbon, Spain’s biggest defeat since 1963. Bento’s managerial career started in 2005 with Sporting Lisbon, where had had success: two Portuguese Cups and regular Champions League football, including guiding Sporting to the Knockout Stages for the first time in their history.

Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo
Who else? The most experienced player around the Portuguese Euro 2012 squad with 88 caps, Portugal’s captain has been in blistering form for Real Madrid in recent times, reaching 100 La Liga goals in just three seasons and averaging more than a goal a game. But for Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo would surely be accepted as the best player in the world on current form.

One thing is certain; Portugal will entertain us during Euro 2012. They scored 21 goals in their eight match Group H Qualification campaign, before smashing another six past Bosnia in the Play-Offs. In Cristiano Ronaldo, they have a player capable of winning a match on his own and a rich source of goals (especially from from set pieces), while the likes of Nani and Hélder Postiga bring still more attacking flair. Their main weakness comes in defence; against weaker sides, the “we’ll score one more than you” attitude may work just fine, but against sides like Germany and the Netherlands, Portugal may come unstuck. Most punters won’t look beyond those two teams, but Portugal will certainly have something to say about that once Euro 2012 is under way.

Verdict
Portugal’s best price of 2.40 (BoyleSports) to qualify from Euro 2012 Group B looks tempting, but it’s very tough to see past Germany and the Netherlands, who are two of the best sides in the world at present. Germany always do the business at major football tournaments, while the Dutch are World Cup finalists and have a particularly strong pedigree in the European Championships.

An interesting bet may be the 5.00 offered by Bet365 about the Group B straight forecast, Netherlands / Germany. The winner of Group B will probably be decided when the two teams meet and I fancy that the Dutch could pinch a win. Even if the match is a draw, I would fancy the Netherlands to outscore the Germans and possibly top Group B on goal difference.