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Wednesday 23 April  
Holland stars sing national anthem ahead of qualifier against San Marino
Theo Tamis's picture
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Kyiv, Ukraine
Kyiv, Ukraine

Euro 2012: Holland in group of death

Published on : 2 December 2011 - 9:35pm | By Theo Tamis (Photo: RNW)
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The draw for the final stages of next year’s European football championship has pitted Holland against Denmark, Portugal and Germany in a very tough group B.

Holland striker Arjen Robben remained upbeat. He tweeted: "It's a tough group for us, but in order to become European champions, you'll have to be able to beat everyone and that's what we aim to do."

UEFA Euro 2012 draw results

Group A

Poland (29,66) *
Greece (8,14)
Russia (6,12)
Czech Republic (13,33)

Group B

Netherlands (2,2)
Denmark (11,11)
Portugal (9,7)
Germany (3,3) 

Group C

Spain (1,1)
Italy (4,9)
Republic of Ireland (14,21)
Croatia (7,8)

Group D

Ukraine (15,55)
Sweden (10,18)
France (12,15)
England (5,5)

The 14 qualifiers from the UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying tournament joined hosts Ukraine and Poland in the final stages. The 16 qualifiers were split into four groups of four teams.

* Numbers refer to positions on the UEFA coefficient ranking and the FIFA Coca-Cola World Ranking at the time of the draw.

"I looked at all the coaches of our group and I didn't see any happy faces," Holland manager Bert van Marwijk commented. "It's clear to all that this is the heaviest group. The upside is that the players and me are already motivated. Besides, we know our opponents well."

Van Marwijk's words were echoed by his German counterpart Joachim Löw, who said "This is probably the toughest group, but also the most interesting and most balanced."

Creating history
Conducted under the theme of "Creating History Together" and attended by such football legends as Zinédine Zidane, Gianni Rivera and Marco van Basten, the draw ceremony was held in the Palace of Arts in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv and broadcast live in many participating nations.

It was Marco van Basten who drew his countrymen first as the top-seed in Group B. That means Holland will play the first three matches in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv, a slight disappointment for the Dutch fans given the distance involved. Van Basten made matters worse by drawing Holland's arch-rivals Germany from pot 2.

Denmark

The first match will be against Denmark on 9 June. Ranking 11th on both the UEFA and FIFA lists, the Danes may be the weakest side in Group B, but they've recently shown great form. The Red and Whites finished top of their Euro 2012 qualifying group, beating Portugal 2-1 at home in their last match, and then went on to beat their Scandinavian rivals Sweden and Finland in two friendlies last month.
 
Nicknamed Danish Dynamite or the Olsen gang, the Danes have continuously been visible as a solidly competitive side since the early 1980s. Their triumph in the 1992 European Championships in Sweden was their most prominent victory, beating the European champions Holland in the semi-final, and world champions Germany in the final.

The man to watch is Nicklas Bendtner (Sunderland, on loan from Arsenal), who has been on an impressive scoring run this year. 
 
Plenty of Danes know Dutch football inside out, including manager Morten Olsen, who once famously stated that Holland would never be world champion. At least five players have Dutch Premier League experience: Christian Eriksen, Nicolai Boilesen, Dennis Rommedahl (PSV, Ajax, NEC), Mads Junker (RODA JC Kerkrade), Lasse Schöne (NEC Nijmegen). 
 
Portugal 
Holland won’t particularly be looking forward to meeting Portugal. Featuring mega-star Christiano Ronaldo, the team are one of Europe’s strongest in Van Marwijk’s eyes. An encounter with the Portuguese would evoke memories of one of the ugliest fixtures in football history: their 2006 World Cup match was marred by a record four red cards and 16 yellows.

Holland versus Portugal means a clash of two giants: Cristiano Ronaldo and his former Real Madrid teammate Wesley Sneijder, two technically skilled and passionate players of quite different calibre. Apart from Ronaldo, Portugal have plenty of pedigree: Nani, Ricardo Quaresma and Helder Postiga, to name just a few. The match is scheduled for 17 June.
 
Germany
Finally, in a rather dramatic quirk of the draw, Holland face their old foes Germany, who always perform well at major tournaments. And this time, the Euro 2008 finalist Germany look set to be in excellent shape.
 
One of the top favourites to win next year’s title, die Mannschaft have a tactical magician, “Jogi” Löw, lording over a young and talented side, with Mesut Özil, Toni Kroos and Mario Götze poised to become the key star attractions of Euro 2012. Having romped through their qualifying group with a perfect qualifying record, they obliterated the Netherlands 3-0 in a prestige friendly last month. 
 
Of course, the Dutch will be gunning for revenge in Kharkiv on 13 June. "The match in Hamburg presented a wake-up call," Holland captain Mark van Bommel told the press:
 
"In Kharkiv, we can show that we're a match for Germany. It's clear to all of us what we have to do. Obviously, these are fantastic fixtures, for us football players, but for fans to. Despite this being a tough group, I have every confidence that, with the support of our loyal fans and the quality of our squad, we'll be able to go through to the next round."
 
The competition begins in the Polish capital Warsaw on 8 June with the final in Kyiv on 1 July.

 

Discussion

jamuna 17 May 2012 - 1:23am

if holland can beat brazil .we can come out of this group up oranje

Arjen 22 February 2012 - 2:31am / USA

I fear for this Euro cup. Denmark has a very strong team and seem to be growing. Portugal has always been a pain in the ass for Holland and hold the upper hand in important games won - check out the history between both teams. And then I haven't even touched on a growing German team that's getting stronger and stronger each match they plan. Then, when I look at our Dutch team... eh, not a lot of guess playing at the moment. Nobody seems to be having that fantastic season they had two years ago, besides the incredibly van Persie and his competition Huntelaar of course. There's a huge list of Dutch players that are spending more time on the bench then playing at the moment. Robben, Sneijder, Kuyt, Elia, Afellay, de Jong, Mathijssen even van der Vaart. None of these guys are peaking at the right moment. Well at least they'll all be well rested I guess. I have serious doubts about the Dutch team at this time and can see them go down like Italy or France did in 2008. I pray to god that won't happen but I'm very, very fearful it might

Anonymous 3 December 2011 - 6:14pm / England

I honestly believe that people need to reconsider who they feel will pass this group. Denmark, Netherlands and Germany I think have the challenge and fight to overcome the group,Portugal even though a lot of you think they are better than Denmark, they are not, they will end up with 0 points or 1 maybe. I think the Danes could take second place, with Germany even though right now they look to be the best team in the world, they fell out in the group stages before and quite possibly might do it again.

I think the Group could end like this:

Netherlands:5
Denmark:5
Germany:5
Portugal:0

I really think Portugal will struggle. I think the other 3 teams are very competitive, and will fight it out between them. Netherlands all round are Naturally talented team. Germany are strong attacking threat. Denmark have a tight and armoured Defence. Therefore, Denmark, not much of an attacking team, can smash and grab 1-0 wins.

jasmin 3 December 2011 - 5:17am

It is indeed a tough group-and that is the best challenge for Oranje-to beat them all to qualify for the next round. Past is past, they should focus on strengthening themselves-physically and mentally-mental fitness is more important here-getting scared of the strengths of the opponents is not a good funda-finding their Achilles' heel and striking is-and Bert Van Marwijk knows it well.Hope June 2012 brings lots of cheer for Oranje and their fans. Wishing all the best-Valiant conquer Death!

MR.PARITOSH CHATTOPADHYAY 3 December 2011 - 3:47am / INDIA

Once again I am with the Holland team! They must overcome the tough group and may be the Champion!
May God bless Holland team!
-paritosh chattopadhyay/murshidabad/wb/india

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