Holland vs. Germany Euro 2012: Disappointing Dutch Must Not Give Up Hope Yet

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistJune 13, 2012

KHARKOV, UKRAINE - JUNE 13:  Robin van Persie of Netherlands celebrates scoring their first goal with Rafael van der Vaart of Netherlands during the UEFA EURO 2012 group B match between Netherlands and Germany at Metalist Stadium on June 13, 2012 in Kharkov, Ukraine.  (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)
Julian Finney/Getty Images

Believe it or not, Holland is still alive in Group B play, despite dropping its first two matches.

The chances that the squad will advance out of the Group of Death remain thin, but with hope still alive, they must not get down on themselves just yet.

They're perfectly capable of beating a Portugal team that nearly blew a two-goal lead to Denmark. Had the Dutch capitalized on multiple opportunities against Denmark or showed up defensively in the first half against Germany, they wouldn't be in this position in the first place.

The Dutch are talented enough to pull this off, and with a little bit of help and a big game against Portugal, they'll move on. Here's how this works.

If the Netherlands beat the Portuguese and Denmark loses to Germany, Germany will have nine points, and the other three countries will be knotted at three points apiece. The tiebreaker criteria is as follows:

1. Higher number of points obtained in the matches among the teams in question

2. Superior goal difference in the matches among the teams in question (if more than two teams finish equal on points)

3. Higher number of goals scored in the matches among the teams in question (if more than two teams finish equal on points)

4. Superior goal difference in all the group matches

5. Higher number of goals scored in all the group matches

6. Position in the UEFA national team coefficient ranking system

7. Fair play conduct of the teams (final tournament)

8. Drawing of lots

Yeah, it gets weird after No. 5.

Here's what this means: If the Netherlands wins by two over Portugal, and Denmark loses to Germany, the Dutch will advance since they'll be the only team with a plus-one goal differential in the matches contested between the three teams in question.

If the Netherlands only win by one, however, it will be eliminated. For one, the second criteria won't matter since the goal differential between all three teams will be zero. Thus, the third criteria kicks in.

This gets complex, but the easiest example is imagining a 1-0 Holland win.

In that situation, Portugal would have a total of three goals (three against Denmark, none against the Netherlands), Denmark would have a total of three (two against Portugal, one against the Netherlands), and the Dutch would have a total of one (one against Portugal, none against Denmark).

Even if the Netherlands beat Portugal 3-2, Portugal will still have more goals (five) than the the Dutch (three).

Here's another way of looking at it—if Portugal scores at least one goal and only loses by one goal to Holland, it will advance if Denmark loses to Germany.

Phew—got all that?

The moral of the story remains that the Dutch still have everything to play for this Euro Championship, and they better not hang their heads and start feeling sorry for themselves. The team's goal is to beat Portugal by two and pray that Germany eliminates Denmark.

It's a long shot, but stranger things have happened.


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