12th June 2012
Netherlands have made life really difficult for themselves by losing the opening game to Denmark and Oranje are now in a position that they need a victory over one of the tournament favourites. Germany may not have been at their best against Portugal, but the main goal was achieved and die Mannschaft now have a huge psychological advantage over their arch rivals.
The 2010 World Cup runners-up had high hopes before the start of the European Championship and they believed an opening victory over Denmark would give them a much needed boost, just like it had been the case in South Africa. Oranje indeed dominated the game and created a number of clear-cut chances, courtesy of brilliant Wesley Sneijder, but Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Klaas Jan Huntelaar were all wasteful in front of goal, which allowed the Danes to win the game thanks to a first-half goal by Michael Krohn-Dehli. Bert van Marwijk’s side are now in big problems, while the atmosphere in the team appears to be at an all time low, so it looks as though not even the players themselves believe they can beat the team that hammered them 3-0 in a friendly in November. The good news is that Joris Mathijsen returns to the starting line-up after recovering from injury, while it remains to be seen whether Robin van Persie will once again be preferred to Klaas Jan Huntelaar.
Germany were made to work hard for the win against Portugal as they were even on the back foot at times, but seeing that it was the opening game and that a very good team were on the other side, die Mannschaft can be perfectly happy with the narrow victory. Joachim Low’s men somewhat struggled in their build-up play, with Thomas Muller, Lukas Podolski and Bastian Schweinsteiger all well below their standard, but Mario Gomez came to the rescue and proved the doubters wrong with a brilliant header. Joachim Low could decide to freshen up his starting line-up following a pretty disappointing display, and the latest reports suggest that one of Andre Schurrle, Mario Goetze and Marco Reus could come in for either Podolski or Muller. Mario Gomez will keep his place in the side ahead of Miroslav Klose, while Philipp Lahm continues at left-back.
Netherlands are completely out of confidence after the shock defeat to Denmark and all their forwards are misfiring at the moment. Germany, too, look pretty unconvincing at the moment, with the three-point advantage giving them a chance to play a waiting game in Kharkiv. All things considered, under 2.5 goals looks a good bet here.
Verdict: Under 2.5 goals
Best Odds: 9/10
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