With three time winners Germany, 1988 winners the Netherlands, modern day nearly men Portugal and Denmark, who shocked Europe by lifting the trophy in 1992, this batch of teams have quite rightly been labelled as the ‘Group of Death’.
Germany, who are second favourites behind Spain to win the championships, lead the market here with most bookmakers offering even money for them to top Group B, however it is the Netherlands who could well draw first blood in the opening round of fixtures. The World Cup runners up face Denmark in the first game of day two of the tournament, and will be keen to send out a message to their main rivals in the group, who face each other in the later kick-off.
The Dutch stormed through qualification, winning their first nine matches before a narrow defeat to Sweden in their final game when their place had already been secured. Nobody scored more through qualification – a stat that would have remained true even without their 11-0 obliteration of minnows San Marino.
Arsenal captain Robin Van Persie and Klass Jan Huntelaar will be hoping to recreate the form that saw them come third and fourth respectively in the European Golden Boot. The Netherlands are 2.88 (15/8) with Bet Victor to win the Group, a good distance ahead of Portugal who are generously priced at 5.5 (9/2) with Bodog.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the only player at the tournament who has scored more goals than the aforementioned Dutch duo, and is fresh from lifting the La Liga trophy with Real Madrid. With seven clean sheets in their last ten games, there are few defences meaner than the Portuguese, who could well get something in that opening game. Should they do so, they will give them a great chance of qualifying, possibly at the expense of the Germans.
At 19.0 (18/1), no team has a bigger price to win their group than Denmark, who despite having some promise in their squad, are unfortunate to have been drawn with three European heavyweights.
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