The 2012 Euro League play has been far from disappointing, and wildly entertaining for soccer fans excited for the World Cup.
For each team, the stakes remain high and the implications even higher. The European Championship is perhaps the most indicative way to prepare for the World Cup, and the qualifiers are intense and gritty. While teams like Russia, Germany, Croatia and the Ukraine lead the battles thus far, that does not mean that the games are done.
For many of the lower seeded teams, there are still multiple ways that which they can enter the next round of play.
After a well-fought battle against Germany, the Netherlands comes into their upcoming game with much riding in terms of World Cup implications.
While Germany’s Gomez scored twice to give the club the advantage in their most recent match, the Dutch still have real killer instincts and fight into them and must not give up yet. Despite dropping their last two matches, Holland can channel the energy that they played with in the first half as they head into their match against Portugal.
Contingent upon a Denmark loss against a strong German team, the team would be able to sneak into the qualifier. As Timothy Rapp explains, “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 goal differential of plus-one in the matches contested between the three teams in question.”
While the likelihood of the situation is low, that doesn’t mean that the Dutch have been eliminated. In fact, it means the exact opposite.
If the team can beat Portugal by two or more goals, and if Germany is able to beat Denmark, the squad will easily be able to move on in the tournament.
Group B is easily the most fluid of the groups, as many different situations can allow one or the other teams into the next round. Of those teams, Denmark is indeed one of them.
Even if Portugal defeats and effectively eliminates the Dutch, if Denmark beats Germany in a convincing enough fashion then they will move forward in the tournament.
While Demark is currently tied with Portugal at three points apiece, a defeat over Germany would be the most impressive win of the tournament from that division. With Germany basically securing a spot in the next round, it is clear that Denmark has much more to play for.
With that may also come that passion needed for a victory against the German national team. Denmark is coming off of a loss against Portugal, but their redemption game could store an incredible match.
Poland has pulled a draw in their two most recent matches. Now, they go into a game against the Czech Republic hoping to prove that they can join Russia as the other team qualifying for the next round.
In a home match against Russia, Poland was able to pull a draw. They were also able to tie Greece in their previous Euro championship match.
Most recently, Poland has beaten Andorra, Slovakia, Latvia and Hungary. They were also able to tie in a friendly in February.
The team hasn’t been impressive, but they haven’t made very many mistakes either. Their defense has been strong, and with one convincing victory over the Czech Republic, they would easily fall into the No. 2 spot from Group B.
Bryan is always interested in new opportunities and can be reached on Twitter. Click here to Follow @BryanKalbrosky.