The dust has cleared, Euro 2012 has started, and things are getting a bit clearer for spectators as to who the favorites are for this year’s competition.
Based on history and reputation, certain expectations come with teams that have entertaining, rugged or defensively oriented styles of play.
Holland are obvious favorites for this year’s competition. They just came off a World Cup runners-up appearance and based on the mixture of world-class talent at the squad’s disposal (Van Persie, Robben, Huntelaar, Van der Vaart, Sneijder), youth (Afellay, Strootman, Luuk De Jong) and a genuine attacking footballing philosophy, many fans are tipping the Dutch to take it all by the tournament’s end.
The loss to Denmark has most certainly shaken their confidence, but if history tells us anything, losing your first match in a major competition doesn’t mean you’re still out of contention to win it all.
Germany has been the most consistent team in football history. Their performances in past major competitions have been nothing short of astounding: third place in the 2010 World Cup, runners-up in the 2008 European Championship, third place in the 2006 World Cup and runners-up in the 2002 World Cup.
Compared to their 2008 Euro squad, they, like Holland, have a proper mix of experience and exuberant youthful talent that will surely take them far in this year’s competition.
Their performance against Portugal has given them the proper preparation to play against the bigger teams in their group and beyond.