The Dexy Longshot Euro 2012 Preview PT 2 – Group B

by Dexy Longshot

Friday, June 8th, 2012

Hola, here’s the second of my 4 day run-down of groups and I’m putting the teams in the order I think will decide the quarterfinal matchups. I’ll also be putting in my usual Dexy’s Diamond. This is group B, quite apt when most of the managers whispered a certain B-word under their breath when they saw the final teams line-up. It is without one of the nastiest Group of Deaths I can remember and what an evil one it is. The two beaten finalists from the last Euro and World cup final plus a very underrated Denmark and a Portugal team possessing arguably the best player on the planet, lucky our boys aren’t in it. It’s a shame this will be last Euros with just 16 teams. It always gives us great group games and scenarios like this, the next tournament will feature 24 nations which for me is degrading it a little, sort it out Platini.

Group B.
Van Marwijk’s Holland or Netherlands or Dutch or whatever they call themselves will be looking to go one better than the last World Cup but I’m still in two minds. There is no doubt they have the firepower, in qualifying, they amassed a crashee 37 goals, miles in front of everyone else so if you are doing a dream team, I’d deffo get a couple of their players in attack. We all harp on about Van Persie but he is not the main goal-getter. Huntelaar scored a dozen on route to the finals and then we have Dutch master Robben who tore England apart earlier in the year. Ickle Wes Sneijder isn’t too shabby either although by his own high standards, this hasn’t been one of his big seasons. Going back towards the heartbeat of the team, we have De Jong and Van Bommel but behind them we find a defence ready to be exploited. They leaked 8 in the Euros run up and some recent matches including the 2-1 loss to Bulgaria & the Swiss have red-lighted some floppy flaws in the Dutch defence district.
Dexy’s Diamond – If Robin Van Persie can replicate his club form, Holland have a massive chance. I’m not sure how the team will set out though. Huntelaar’s form is so good at the moment that it is hard to leave him on the bench. If so, RVP may be switched from his front man berth to the sides but between them two, I still see the pair clogging up the opposition’s goalmouths, especially with bench back up from Afellay, Kuyt and young midfield Roy Keane wannabee Strootman.

I’m going to stick my more than ample neck out here from the off. GERMANY WILL WIN EURO 2012. They were Klose last time after some average displays, most notably against Croatia but then quietly sneaked back into the final. This is a new breed though, the youngsters that came of age in South Africa have spent two more years having honed their hi-tempo pressing play and I can see them reaping the rewards. A lot of them will have plenty to prove as well, with half the team coming from Bayern Munich, they will want to make amends for last months Champions League loss in Kiev on July 1st. Ze Germanz are uber strong and as we all know, a “tournament machine” as I’ve heard a 100 times already this month. In Schweinsteiger and Ozil, they have 2 potential players of tournament as well as being frontrunners in the Dexy’s Den Mr Ugly Awards. Up front, Joachim Low’s Nationalmannshaft have an embarrassment of riches with Arsenal’s new signing Podolski and his old sparring partner Miroslav Klose who is only a few goals short of Gerd Muller’s Germany record. It’s a Klose call (hoho) if he will get enough game time; Gomez has been in fine fettle in the Bundesliga and could possibly be starting in his place. At the back of the pitch, the list of quality goes on and on. Khedira will hold along Bastian although the deputies in waiting Gotze and Kroos could come in and be almost as effective. The Krauts defence is sturdy to boot but not impenetrable, they will leak a few but not enough to get beaten. The squad simply oozes quality and depth in spades and I can’t see anybody beating them for the biggest prize in European football.

Dexy’s Diamond – Mesut Ozil is on track to take Xavis crown as Europe finest midfielder, the German really does have eyes in the back of head, if you don’t believe me, just look at a photo. The Admiral Akbar ringer is like his Star Wars doppelganger in more ways than just scary surround sound eyeballs. When it comes to traps and setting up attacks, he is The Master. Winning La Liga with Real was partly down to his extremely clever play & with him serenading the ball behind the front line; I feel the German Empire will finally strike back with force. It wouldn’t surprise me if won player of the tournament (If they win of course…which they will).

In The Group Of Death, it seems to me that a lot of pundits see the Danes as the groups cannon fodder…think again, I believe they have a very real chance of upsetting the apple cart in group B. Ranked 9th in the world, this young team could well be a force in a few years dictated by the brilliant Christian Eriksen. They have a good back line led by Liverpool stopper Danny Agger and the full backs Poulsen & Jacobson (who had a spell at the Hammers recently) are very tidy on the ball. They will be hoping to feed the midfield and get it to speedy little Dennis Rommedahl to knock across to big boy Bendtner to nod home or Krohn Delhi who should be lurking just behind. I’d fancy both of them to get on the scoreboard this June.
Although a relatively young side, stalwarts like The Romm and Sorensen between the posts have almost 250 caps between them and will help the young guns keep composure in the massive group B games. These are my tip for surprise package of the tournament; they won’t bring home the Danish Bacon but could prove to be the Turkey that upset some of the odds 4 years ago.

Dexy’s Diamond – Born on Valentines Day 1992, Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen is the diamond at Denmark’s dainty core and will be a big threat to any opposition with his wizardry and through balls just behind the front 3, he really is a talent.

Young Bossman Paulo Bento has had 2 years in the managerial hot seat but still seems to struggle with the Euro 2004 bridesmaids. They scrapped through by the playoffs after drawing 0-0 with Bosnia & Herzegovina and then upping the ante with a 6-2 thrashing in the return leg. That is hardly the form of team ranked 5th in the world by FIFA with the 2nd best player on the planet. Recent results include a 3-1 loss to the tournaments surprise package last time around Turkey and a very drab 0-0 with Macedonia. It not through a lack of goals, they are a blinding going forward and netted 21 en route to the finals but also left a big fat gap at the back letting in a dozen. In a group as hard as B, they will need Ronnie’s A game and a vast improvement in defence to avoid the group’s wooden spoon. Nani will have help Ronaldo in the goal getting stakes too, they don’t have a brilliant line leader in Postiga who despite 5 in qualifying has had a ropey season at Zaragoza.

Dexy’s Diamond – Ronaldo, it can’t be anyone else, the team revolves around CR7 and will rely on him to replicate his club form (a frankly ridiculous 112 strikes in 102 games) with Portugal after years of under-achievement with the national side. He needs to dominate if this ageing squad have any chance of even getting out of the group……..I don’t think they will.

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