Group B at Euro 2012 has been dubbed the ‘group of death’ since the draw back in December, but how deadly it is and exactly for whom is going to become clear on Sunday evening.
A group featuring four of the top ten sides in the FIFA world rankings was always going to be competitive and for three of the teams, that has certainly been the case.
Denmark and Portugal have three points each after two fixtures and have their destiny in their own hands, while Holland, pointless after two straight defeats, can still somehow qualify for the knock-out stages if they are able to overcome the Portuguese by two clear goals and the Danes lose.
But if you’re Germany, reports of your (group of) death have been greatly exaggerated. Two wins from two have almost certainly given Joachim Low’s side a place in the quarter-finals and the relative ease with which they beat the Dutch last time out showed a team that means business.
|World Cup Qualifiers - European Zone - Group C|
But even though six points from six have been won, qualification is not mathematically secure.
Denmark are a decent side, but they are several classes below Germany, who I view as the outstanding team and they should be trusted to make it three wins from three.
Although odds of 1/100 to qualify would suggest they are home and hosed, there is a rather far-fetched scenario that could see Joachim Low’s side eliminated – for that to occur, the first thing that would have to happen is Denmark upset the odds and beat the tournament second favourites in L’viv on Sunday.
The odds compilers at bwin seem to think it unlikely, quoting the Danes at 9/2 outsiders, with the draw at 5/2 and the Germans priced up as 67/100 odds-on shots, but is there an argument for Martin Olsen’s side upsetting the apple cart?
Denmark’s win against Holland suggests a blueprint they can follow, where they kept the Dutch at arm’s length and with a mix of resolute defending and good fortune, held on for a 1-0 win.
But their 3-2 defeat against Portugal flattered them, even if a second half rally to come from two behind was fairly impressive, and the manner in which they conceded a late winner was truly galling and could be the defining moment of their Euro 2012 campaign.
That’s because I can’t see anything other than a German victory. Denmark are a decent side, but they are several classes below Germany, who I view as the outstanding team and they should be trusted to make it three wins from three.
Odds of 67/100 are a bit on the short side, though, despite my love of the Germans. I see Denmark first and foremost setting up for a point – which could be enough for them to go through – and seeing how the game pans out.
If news filters through that Holland are beating Portugal while the scores remain level in Lviv, Germany and Denmark could then play out a draw which would suit both sides and see them both qualify, so a bit of caution is advised.
Even still, I see Germany wanting to get the job done and I think they have too much for the Danes.
But given what I’ve discussed, short odds-on isn’t something I want to get involved with. So instead, get on the 29/20 that Germany win a match that sees over 2.5 goals.
That has happened in ten of the 12 competitive matches that Germany have played since the 2010 World Cup, while 18 of their 22 games since South Africa have seen three goals or more.
At 29/20, bank on them doing so again against a side they are far superior to.
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