The statistics do not make pleasant reading for the Netherlands – they must beat Portugal by two goals today and hope Germany overcome Denmark if they are to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.

No team has ever reached the knockout phase at a Euro after losing their first two matches. Coach Bert van Marwijk appears to face problems with several of his most important players.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart have both expressed anger at being left out of his starting line-up, while Arjen Robben reacted to his substitution in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Germany by jumping over an advertising hoarding and stalking angrily back to the dug-out.

The top scorers in qualifying with 37 goals, it took Holland 45 shots to find the net at the Euro but Robin van Persie’s 73rd-minute effort against Germany was ultimately in vain.

“I drew a lot of conclusions from our defeat against Germany,” said van Marwijk. “We defended carelessly and the service of both Ibrahim Afellay and Arjen Robben from the flanks was not good enough.”

Meanwhile, Portugal will be guaranteed to reach the last-eight if they win, unless Denmark beat Germany in the other game, which would invoke a three-way head-to-head comparison between those teams. The only disappointment for Portugal coach Paulo Bento was yet another mystifyingly poor performance in front of goal from his captain, Cristiano Ronaldo, who spurned two one-on-one chances to put Portugal 3-1 up.

Both teams would be hoping that their superstars Ronaldo and Robben would gain some much needed form and fire for their countries, after coming under a lot of criticism during the past few days.

High-flying Germans out to down Danes

After two wins already at Euro 2012, a confident Germany are aiming to beat Denmark and finish top of Group B to set up a quarter-final near their base in Gdansk.

With three goals at Euro 2012, including two against Holland and the winning header against Portugal, Bayern Munich striker Mario Gomez has finally converted his impressive club form to German colours.

“The good thing with Mario is that he needs almost zero chances and still scores,” said Bastian Schweinsteiger. “We can approach the game against Denmark with a lot of self-confidence. We definitely want to win against Denmark.”

Danish winger Dennis Rommedahl will miss the game against Germany while midfielder Niki Zimling is a doubt after the pair suffered muscle injures in the 3-2 defeat to Portugal.

“We are left with the number of points we had hoped for after the first two matches,” said Danish coach Morten Olsen. “The scenario of our dreams would be to have one more point. That could have been the case, but you don’t always have it your way in football.”


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