Sunday, June 10, 2012

The Euro-Round-About - Group B

The European Football Championships, or the Euros, are already underway. Tonight is the beginning of play for the Group B. The Group of Death to beat all Groups-of-Death. All teams are in the FIFA Top 10 rankings for June.

Denmark - Morten Olsen's Eleven suffered a huge blow with regular starting keeper Thomas Sorensen was ruled out for the tournament with a back injury. Kasper Schmeichel from Leicester City replaced him on the roster. The family name is familiar because he is the son of Peter Schmeichel, the Danish and Manchester United legend and backstopper of the miraculous 1992 side that won the Euros. Captained by Liverpool defender Daniel Agger, they'll have to muster some superb defending and tactical counterattacking considering their opponents in the group. Joining Agger at the back four will most likely be Simon Kjaer of AS Roma, AZ Alkmaar's Simon Poulsen and Kobenhavn's Lars Jacobsen. Up front, Nicklas Bendtner will be the key man, with Dennis Rommendahl and Christian Eriksen chipping in.

Germany - The Germans are the heavy favorites to take home the trophy, their first since Euro 96. Under Joachim Loew, Die Mannschaft have at least gone all way to the semifinals in all the tournaments it has participated under his tenure as manager. The core is filled with Bayern Munich players wanting to put behind the misery of losing in the Champions League final against Chelsea, from Manuel Neuer on goal, captain Philipp Lahm and Holger Badstuber at the back line, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller at the middle and Mario Gomez up front. Also key in the 4-2-3-1 set up will be the wizardry in the midfield of Real Madrid's Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil and soon-to-be Gooner Lukas Podolski.

Netherlands - The Oranje will once again be under the stewardship of Bert van Marwijk, who guided them to the World Cup Final against eventual champions Spain. The team will be using a 4-2-3-1 set-up as well, with the sensational Robin van Persie up front. Arjen Robben also would like to make amends after the Champions League final, while providing beef and physicality in the middle will be captain Marc van Bommel and Nigel de Jong. Creativity will served from Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Dirk Kuyt. Maarten Stekelenburg of AS Roma is the starter from a deep keeper corps, as Michel Vorm and Tim Krul have been sensational in the Premiership for Swansea and Newcastle, respectively. The back line can be considered as Holland's weakness, but John Heitinga and Joris Mathijsen will make an effort to steady it.

Portugal - The Navigators' path to greatness has always been anchored to a legendary figure. Eusebio in the 1966 World Cup,  Luis Figo in the last decade. Now, it lies with Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid sensation is the captain and tasked to replicate the achievement. Under the stewardship of Paulo Bento, they will be using a defensive and counter 4-3-3. To help hold the back line are Cristiano's club teammates, Pepe and Fabio Coentrao. The midfield will have two key Premiership cogs, Raul Merieles on defense and Nani on offense.

Who advances? - Germany wins the group, the Dutch escape with the second spot.

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