Tag Archives: VAN PERSIE

Euro 2012 Match 11: Denmark vs Portugal

Both teams will feel like they have to win.  Denmark doesn’t want to have to go into the last game against Germany on four points – defeat to Germany and a win by Portugal against Netherlands could put Denmark potentially out on goal difference.  Portugal has got to want to go into the last game knowing that a draw would put them through instead of having to win.  A loss will probably end Portugal’s tournament.

Why Denmark will win

  1. They’ve beaten Portugal in qualifying after having finished ahead of Portugal and qualified directly from their group.  They were also in the same group during World Cup 2010 qualifying – their record over these last four matches is 2-1-1.  Denmark know they can win.
  2. In Silberbauer they have someone capable of competing defensively with Cristiano Ronaldo.  He did so adequately in the group stage and will have help from Agger, Kjaer and the midfield so he’s not on an island against the best winger in the world.  It will be interesting to see if Silberbauer or Poulsen start at left back.  They may deal with Nani instead as Ronaldo usually plays on the left with Nani on the right.
  3. Denmark beat a loaded Dutch team in the first group match and controlled the second half of the game.
  4. Agger and Kjaer have looked good in the central defense.  That gives them enough confidence to deal with Portugal and their still unsolved striker position.

Why Portugal will win

  1. Denmark did give up a number of chances to Robben and van Persie.  While Robben is one of the best right wingers in the world, so is Nani.  The difference is you also have Ronaldo to deal with on the weak side when Nani has the ball – will Jacobsen at right back be able to handle Ronaldo?  Nani has scored three times against Denmark so the wing position is going to give Denmark trouble.
  2. They have to in order to have a chance at qualifying.
  3. Pepe and Bruno Alves did stifle Gomez for the most part and Bendtner shouldn’t be any different.  While Eriksen should have more space and time in the middle of the park, he will find it hard to work his magic against the work rate of Meireles and Veloso.  Chances will be few for Denmark.
  4. Ronaldo had a decent game against Germany.  However, he didn’t receive the support required to open up more space for him to operate as Portugal played defensively against Germany.  That will change against Denmark – expect Ronaldo to be unleashed and move to the middle a lot more.  He should have switched flanks with Nani in the last game and gone against the much shorter Lahm.  I believe they will be more flexible on the wings this time.

Pre-game prediction: Portugal 1 Denmark 0

Nani scores one for Portugal in a tense but offensive minded match.
  

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Netherlands vs Denmark: post-game comments

You can’t really call it an upset when the #10 team in the world beats somebody, but this was a surprise result.  The Dutch did outshoot the Danes, Robben did hit a post and Huntelaar was denied what should have been a penalty for a Danish handball late in the game, but the Dutch didn’t really play like potential champions.  Sneijder did his part (his outside of the right foot 40 yard pass to hit Huntelaar in stride in the penalty box was sheer class), but van Persie and Robben were off color and the coach should have brought van der Vaart and Huntelaar on earlier.  Nonetheless, it was a great win for Denmark and Kjaer, Poulsen and Agger did very well.

This result means that, assuming Germany performs as expected, the second team to go through in this group will be determined by how many points each of them can win off of Germany.  Head to head performances are the first tie breaker prior to checking on goal difference.  So, if we assume Germany beats Portugal next, Portugal beats Denmark in the second round and Netherlands beats Portugal in the last match – those are a lot of assumptions – all the teams will have a chance to go through if they can get at least 1 point off of Germany.  This group is thoroughly in flux and could be even more so if Portugal beats Germany shortly.

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Man Utd vs Arsenal – Post Game

Well can’t say that I was surprised.  Arsenal backline was not good and Ronaldo did exploit their lack of understanding and ability.  United were great on the counter attack and the pitch was heavier so Arsenal didn’t really get going with their slick passing.  I predicted 2-2 and it should have been 4-0.  Either way, United is through and its a shame that Fletcher got a red card that wasn’t for a  penalty that wasn’t.  I don’t know that he would start against Chelsea and probably wouldn’t have done so against Barca either as I believe Giggs and Berbatov would be on for Fletcher and Park from this lineup.  Key question is whether Scholes or Anderson starts in the final.  However, Fletcher would have been first sub should United have a lead going into the last 25 minutes for either Giggs or Scholes.  But that’s for another time.

The things that jumped out to me:

Arsenal managed one real shot on goal in the first leg and had a weak Fabregas header the first half and a straightforward van Persie blast in the second half to show for offense (apart from the non penalty).  That is unbelievable.  Adebayor didn’t have a real shot on goal!  United’s defense is good but that’s not down to the defense.

It was a waste to start van Persie.  He was obviously not fit enough.  I would have started Bendtner and pounded United with high balls to get an early goal.  It’s tough to guard Adebayor when Bendtner is in there.  It’s hindsight, but Arsene should have started Eboue instead of Nasri initially to give more cover for Song and Gibbs down the left.

That was about as dominant a two legged semifinal performance over a quality team that I have seen.

Arsene has a problem next season trying to accommodate Fabregas, Nasri and Arshavin.  This might be the time to cash in on Cesc.  Let Arshavin play his spot.  Wilshere will be ready to take over in three years anyway, just when Arshavin is done.  If you keep all three, Wilshere’s opportunities to progress faster diminish.  Use the money to buy a couple of center backs and a holding midfielder.  They will have Eduardo back next season and then the four strikers they have are good enough.

Ronaldo is easily the best player in the world for all the hype about Messi being a genius and the player of a generation.  Ronaldo showed that he can be an incredibly effective striker today.  The man is two footed, has a rocket of a right foot, takes penalties and free kicks, is lightning quick with great feet, scores in the big games, rarely misses games from injury (the operation this season notwithstanding) and is great in the air.  Till Messi shows me he can smoke a left back who is quick and experienced, he’s not the best in the world for me (more on that in my next post).

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Man United v Arsenal – Further pre game thoughts

Part of the reason Arsenal struggled in the first leg and the main reason Messi was a no show in the Chelsea game was that the pitch was waterlogged and heavy.  That took away Arsenal’s team speed and slowed their movement.   If it rains or the pitch is heavy, Arsenal have no chance.

Walcott has to get in the game else it’s going to be tough for Van Persie and Adebayor to get space.  I wouldn’t be surprised if, should Arsenal start 2 strikers, Van Persie drops in the hole to give support to the midfield and help Cesc with a number mismatch should United play 3 in midfield like they did in the first leg.

Ronaldo has to be the man today.  He didn’t massacre Santon as he should have, nor did he do the same to Gibbs in the first leg.  It’s time he taught these young left backs why he is the best in the world.  If Silvestre doesn’t start in the middle, look for Ronaldo to drift in time and again to test Djorou or Song – whoever will start in the center with Toure.

Wonder if Eboue starts.

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Holland vs France – half time

Domenech – bring on Benzema at halftime for Gouvou – you need his heading ability as Henry can’t head.  Bring on Nasri for Toulalan or Maka at the 55 minutes mark if the score is still the same.  Evra needs to overlap more down the left flank.

Van Basten – get your team to counter attack with more speed.  You have to get one more soon or it’s going to be tough at the end.  France will come forward increasingly.  Bring on Van Persie or Robben.

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Netherlands vs Italy – post match.

Shocking. Surprising. Not that the Dutch beat the Italians. But surprising that they beat them without the Italians able to even put one past what was supposed to be a suspect defense. What is shocking – there hasn’t been a match yet where both teams have scored. I thought it would end with today’s matches, but what do I know.

Man of the match for the Dutch – the entire team. If I had to pick the cream of the crop, I would suggest Wesley Sneijder, Rafael Van der Vaart, Edwin Van der Sar, Dirk Kuyt (two assists), Orlando Engelaar (for a relative newcomer to the national team, he was a giant in breaking up the Italian attacks in front of his back four. He was also great at getting the ball forward through midfield) and my choice for the main man – Gio Van Bronckhorst. A headed goal and two assists. From the left back! That’s total football for you. For the Italians, Andrea Pirlo started getting more into the game in the second half and Fabio Grosso had a decent substitute appearance, but they had no player really step up.

So now, we hear that the offside goal by Ruud Van Nistelrooy wasn’t an offside goal since Panucci was in play even though he was off the pitch. Never heard the rule interpreted that way, but okay.

I am now 3 and 3 for the tournament, but my picks still seem to hold good in the Group of Death – France and the Netherlands. Now that Van Persie played (and Robben looked okay running down the sidelines to celebrate the goals), I guess I will have to stick with the Dutch to progress 🙂 ….

Pre-game prediction: Italy 1 Netherlands 1

Result: Italy 0 Netherlands 3

Scorers: Van Nistelrooy, Sneijder, Van Bronckhorst (Netherlands)

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Group of Death – Day 1 Predictions. France vs Romania and Netherlands vs Italy

With the injuries mounting on both sides – Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie and Ryan Babel out for the Dutch and Cannavaro and possibly Panucci out for Italy – it’s going to be interesting to see if the Dutch can score and if the Italians can defend! I think it will be a bit of both but the Italians should normally score more than the Dutch if the two wingers (Babel and Robben) are out. However, since this is the first game in the group, I predict a scoring draw. Should be fun to see if Ruud van Nistelrooy and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar start up front for the Dutch and Toni and del Piero on the other side. I prefer the Italian midfield with Pirlo, De Rossi and Gattuso to Van der Vaart and Sneijder.

France will benefit from Vieira being out as it will get Ribery more of the ball. Benzema is going to clean up with Ribery and Henry (or Anelka or Gomis or Gouvou if Henry is injured) playing with him up front.  Looking forward to seeing Nasri out there at some point.  France wins.

With all the injuries, I may have to change my initial prediction on who comes out of the group. If Van Persie and Robben don’t come back by game 2, Italy and France could move on. Don’t count Romania out (Mutu is still the man at Fiorentina), but I just don’t think they will be able to surprise anyone in the group as every point counts. I’ll stick with the Dutch and French for now.

Monday, June 9, 2008
Time Home Away STAGE TV VENUE
12:00 ET Romania 1 v 2 France Group C Letzigrund Stadium
14:45 ET Netherlands 1 v 1 Italy Group C Stade de Suisse Wankdorf

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