Sports journalist and Newton Aycliffe FC reporter Glen Robertson writes a regular Euro 2012 blog for Aycliffe Today…
DAY FIVE REVIEW
Greece 1-2 Czech Republic
If you didn’t manage to get out of work early, you’ll have missed the first two goals. The Czechs scored twice in the first six minutes as they put their thrashing at the hands of Russia behind them. Both goals were incredibly simple, as the Greek defence failed to turn up for the first few minutes.
But a horrible mistake from Petr Cech almost let the Greeks back in the game. Cech obviously missed Ross Turnbull’s assistance in his pre-match warm-up, as he never (well, hardly ever) makes those mistakes for Chelsea.
Poland 1-1 Russia
This game had pretty much everything. Two rival teams, a few scuffles outside the ground beforehand, an intimidating atmosphere, a giant provocative banner unfurled by the Russian fans. And then the game kicked-off.
And what a game it was. End-to-end, full of quality and, to top it all off, the goal of the tournament so far. The Polish captain Jakub Blaszczykowski fired an unstoppable left-footed shot in from the edge of the area, levelling the scores at 1-1 and sending a country into a delirious celebration.
If the Poles had managed to find a late winner, the noise would have been heard from Warsaw to West Auckland. But the Poles must now beat Czech Republic in their final game to reach the quarter-finals.
DAY SIX PREVIEW
‘The Group of Death’ returns and it could claim its victims. Wins for Germany against Netherlands (7.45pm) and Denmark over Portugal (5pm) will see the Germans and the Danes qualify for the next stage, while a point for Denmark and a defeat for Netherlands will send the Oranje packing.
Denmark’s remarkable victory over Netherlands in their opener has given them a real hope of qualifying for the next stage. They topped their qualification group ahead of Portugal, beating them 2-1 at home along the way. But Cristiano Ronaldo scored three goals against the Danes in the two games and if he does again, and Portugal defend as they did against Germany (for most of the game, anyway) then Portugal will emerge the victors.
Game of the Day – Germany vs Netherlands
A game between these two sides is always a huge occasion. There is certainly no love lost between them and every clash between the pair is always a must-win affair. This one even more so.
Germany can just about seal their place in the quarter-finals with a victory, while also possibly knocking out their great rivals. Netherlands were one of the favourites before the tournament, but now must beat Germany to have a realistic chance of progression.
When the pair met in a pre-tournament friendly (if there is such a thing between them) and Germany swept aside the Oranje 3-0. A repeat and the World Cup finalists will need a miracle to prevent an early flight back to Amsterdam.
Key Battle: Robin van Persie versus Mats Hummels
Two of the very best players in Europe over the last season go head-to-head in a mouth-watering match-up. But while the German defender brought his immense club form for Borussia Dortmund into the tournament with a sterling display against Portugal, van Persie looked a shadow of his Arsenal-self as he continually fluffed his chances. The top scorer in the Premier League was dreadful in his country’s defeat to Denmark and he’ll have to improve tenfold if he’s going to find a way past Hummels.
Bets of the Day: Cristiano Ronaldo to score at any time 11/8
Germany to beat Netherlands 2-0 9/1