Rob Soria is the Edmonton Oilers' correspondent for OurHometown.ca. Rob was born and raised in Edmonton and is the author of the Edmonton Oilers blog - OilDrop.ca. He has been a dedicated follower of the game and its history for years but his focus remains on his hometown Edmonton Oilers. If you have questions or wish to contact Rob, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Euro 2012 Preview - Group B
With Euro 2012 set to kick off on Friday, June 8th, we will be previewing all four groups and schedules, leading up to the opening match between Poland and Greece. Today the focus is on Group B, which is this year’s “Group of Death”. Denmark is the tournament’s big loser, as they have been grouped with three powerhouses, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands. You can catch every second of every match over on TSN and TSN2.
Edmonton - June 5, 2012 - There is always a powerhouse group in this type of tournament, which always leaves one team in way over their heads. At Euro 2012, that distinction goes to Denmark. The hard working side find themselves in the “Group of Death” with Germany, the Netherlands and Portugal. Not exactly the easiest road for any of the four teams but one that the Danes will have little hope of staying in. They will be led upfront by the trio of Nicklas Bendtner, Dennis Rommedahl and Ajax midfielder Christian Eriksen but Denmark will be hard pressed to win a game in the group stages.
Germany headed in to Euro 2012 as not only the favourites in Group B but also one of the front runners to take home the championship. However, with the depth of this group being what it is, any sort of slip up could see them not even make it into the knockout stages…though that seems very unlikely.
The Germans do you have it all. They have one of the premier goalkeepers in the world, in Manuel Neuer and a solid backend that is anchored by captain Philipp Lahm. Their midfield features the likes of Thomas Mueller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira, Mesut Ozil and Lukas Podolski which would leave them behind Spain, when it comes to quality in the middle of the pitch. Add the finishing abilities of Mario Gomez and the clutch goal scoring of Miroslav Klose to the equation and the three time winners will be handful for any side to deal with.
As usual, the Netherlands come into the Euros as one of the teams to beat and were finalists at the 2010 World Cup. The Dutch are still fuelled by the play of Wesley Seijder and Rafael van der Vaart in the middle and the high end games of Robin van Persie, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Arjen Robben upfront. Like Germany, it would be a major shock if the Netherlands were to fail to make it out of the group stages.
In any other group, Portugal would be one of the favourites to make it out through the first ten days of play but that will not be the case in the “Group of Death”. The Portuguese are led by Cristiano Ronaldo but if they hope to compete with the likes of the Germans and Dutch, they will need production from other areas in their lineup. Make no mistake, Ronaldo will need to be superb for Portugal to have any chance but they will also need something from both Hélder Postiga and Nani. Another must for the Portuguese, will be a strong tournament from both Pepe and Bruno Alves on the backend.
Group B – Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal
06/09/12 – Netherlands vs Denmark
06/09/12 – Germany vs Portugal
06/13/12 – Denmark vs Portugal
06/13/12 – Netherlands vs Germany
06/17/12 – Portugal vs Netherlands
06/17/12 – Denmark vs Germany
Goalkeepers: Stephan Andersen (Evian), Anders Lindegaard (Manchester United), Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester)
Defenders: Lars Jacobsen (FC Copenhagen), Michael Silberbauer (BSC Young Boys), Simon Busk Poulsen (AZ Alkmaar), Daniel Wass (Evian), Simon Kjaer (Roma), Daniel Agger (Liverpool), Andreas Bjelland (FC Nordsjaelland), Jores Okore (FC Nordsjaelland)
Midfielders: William Kvist (Stuttgart), Christian Poulsen (Evian), Niki Zimling (Brugge), Jakob Poulsen (FC Midtjylland), Lasse Schone (Nijmegen), Christian Eriksen (Ajax)
Forwards: Dennis Rommedahl (Brondby), Tobias Mikkelsen (FC Nordsjaelland), Michael Krohn-Dehli (Brondby), Thomas Kahlenberg (Evian), Nicklas Bendtner (Sunderland), Nicklas Pedersen (Groningen)
Goalkeepers: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen), Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover)
Midfielders: Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), Mario Goetze (Borussia Dortmund), Ilkay Guendogan (Borussia Dortmund), Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), Mesut Oezil (Real Madrid), Lukas Podolski (Cologne), Marco Reus (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Andre Schuerrle (Bayer Leverkusen), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)
Forwards: Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), Miroslav Klose (Lazio)
Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (Roma), Michel Vorm (Swansea), Tim Krul (Newcastle)
Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz (Stuttgart), John Heitinga (Everton), Joris Mathijsen (Malaga), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Wilfred Bouma (PSV Eindhoven), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax), Jetro Willems (PSV Eindhoven)
Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), Mark van Bommel (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Stijn Schaars (Sporting Lisbon), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Kevin Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham)
Forwards: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Luuk de Jong (FC Twente), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Luciano Narsingh (Heerenveen), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)