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Euro 2012 Preview: Germany gets edge in Group B
by Paul Kennedy, June 7th, 2012 1:33PM

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TAGS:  denmark, european championship, germany, netherlands, portugal

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GROUP B PREDICTION. 1. Germany, 2. Netherlands, 3. Portugal, 4. Denmark.

NAME YOU KNOW. Mesut Ozil is the most stylish player on a German team loaded with young talent.

Only 23, Ozil has already completed his second season at Real Madrid, where he was one of the key players in its run to La Liga title. He has drawn comparisons to a former Real Madrid player, French star Zinedine Zidane, who now works for the Merengues in their front office.

"I never compare myself with him," Ozil told Madrid sports daily AS. "I am proud to be at such a big club like Madrid, but Zidane is at another level. He was a player with worldwide success. I am still missing that. I still have to prove myself."

Ozil will play in the center of midfield between Thomas Mueller and Lukas Podolski in Germany's 4-2-3-1 formation.
 
NAME YOU'LL KNOW. The Dutch aren't afraid to start their players out young. When projected starting left back Erik Pieters was injured, Oranje coach Bert van Marwijk elected to call up 18-year-old Jetro Willems, who should start when the Netherlands opens against Denmark on Saturday.

Willems, the youngest player at Euro 2012, was only 16 when he debuted for Sparta Rotterdam and was part of the Dutch team that won the 2011 European Under-17 Championship. He is excellent going forward and should give the talented Dutch another attacking option.

Willems moved to PSV last season but has already attracted the attention of Manchester United.

TABLOID FODDER. Sometimes you can't win for losing. The Portuguese sports paper Record published a letter from a man who said Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo refused to sign an autograph for his 10-year-old daughter because she was wearing a Barcelona shirt.

The girl had worn the Barca shirt to her team's practice, which was canceled because the Portuguese national team was training for Euro 2012. She decided to stay to watch Ronaldo, who plays for Barca's archrival, Real Madrid, and the rest of the Portugal team.

"When I went to pick her up, I did not find the happy and cheerful girl that I expected, but a sad one," Robert Filipe wrote. "When I asked her what was going on, she simply shrugged and said: 'Cristiano did not want to sign me an autograph because I am wearing Barcelona's shirt.'"

M*A*S*H REPORT. Miroslav Klose, who is aiming for the great Gerd Mueller's German scoring record, insists he'll be fit for Euro 2012 despite missing five weeks toward the end of the Italian season with Lazio because of a thigh injury.

"I'm right on schedule and I am pain-free," he said.

The 33-year-old Klose needs five more goals to tie Mueller's German record of 68 international goals.

TWITTER, YES OR NO? Morten Olsen was the first coach to come out against the players using social media during Euro 2012 -- and he didn't like the reaction from Danish culture minister Uffe Elbaek, who questioned whether barring players from posting on Twitter and Facebook was a violation of freedom of speech.

"He thought he had to say something about it,'' Olsen told AP. "He doesn't have to say anything about it. Because he doesn't understand how to make a soccer team.''

Olsen, a former Danish star, has coached Denmark to two World Cups and two European Championships but has a reputation for being gruff.

"We have to have some rules,'' he says. "I'm not in a job where I have to please everyone.''
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GROUP B SCHEDULE:
June 9 in Kharkiv
Netherlands vs. Denmark, ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, 12 p.m. ET
June 9 in Lviv
Germany vs. Portugal, ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, 2:45 p.m. ET
June 13 in Lviv
Denmark vs. Portugal, ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, 12 p.m. ET
June 13 in Kharkiv
Netherlands vs. Germany, ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, 2:45 p.m. ET
June 17 in Kharkiv
Portugal vs. Netherlands, ESPN, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes, 2:45 p.m. ET
June 17 in Lviv
Denmark vs. Germany, ESPN2, ESPN3, 2:30 p.m. ET (ESPN Deportes, 5:30 pm ET)
------------------------------------------------------------------
GROUP B ROSTERS:
Denmark
Goalkeepers:
1-Stephan Andersen (Evian), 16-Anders Lindegaard (Man.United), 22-Kasper Schmeichel (Leicester City)
Defenders:
6-Lars Jacobsen (FC Copenhagen), 5-Simon Poulsen (AZ), 18-Daniel Wass (Evian), 3-Simon Kjaer (Roma), 4-Daniel Agger (Liverpool), 12-Andreas Bjelland (FC Nordsjaelland), 13-Jores Okore (FC Nordsjaelland)
Midfielders:
7-William Kvist (VfB Stuttgart), 2-Christian Poulsen (Evian), 21-Niki Zimling (Club Bruges), 19-Jakob Poulsen (FC Midtjylland), 14-Lasse Schone (NEC), 23-Tobias Mikkelsen (FC Nordsjaelland), 9-Michael Krohn-Dehli (Brondby), 20-Thomas Kahlenberg (Evian), 15-Michael Silberbauer (Young Boys)
Forwards:
8-Christian Eriksen (Ajax), 17-Nicklas Pedersen (Groningen), 11-Nicklas Bendtner (Arsenal), 10-Dennis Rommedahl (Brondby)

Germany
Goalkeepers:
1-Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), 12-Tim Wiese (Werder Bremen), 22-Ron-Robert Zieler (Hannover 96)
Defenders:
14-Holger Badstuber (Bayern Munich), 20-Jerome Boateng (Bayern Munich), 4-Benedikt Hoewedes (Schalke 04), 5-Mats Hummels (Bor. Dortmund), 16-Philipp Lahm (Bayern Munich), 17-Per Mertesacker (Arsenal), 3-Marcel Schmelzer (Bor. Dortmund)
Midfielders:
15-Lars Bender (Bayer Leverkusen), 19-Mario Goetze (Bor. Dortmund), 2-Ilkay Guendogan (Bor. Dortmund), 6-Sami Khedira (Real Madrid), 18-Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich), 13-Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich), 8-Mesut Ozil (Real Madrid), 21-Marco Reus (Bor. M'Gladbach), 9-Andre Schuerrle (Bayer Leverkusen), 7-Bastian Schweinsteiger (Bayern Munich)
Forwards:
23-Mario Gomez (Bayern Munich), 11-Miroslav Klose (Lazio), 10-Lukas Podolski (Arsenal)

Netherlands
Goalkeepers:
1-Maarten Stekelenburg (Roma), 22-Tim Krul (Newcastle United), 12-Michel Vorm (Swansea City)
Defenders:
21-Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart), 5-Wilfred Bouma (PSV), 3-John Heitinga (Everton), 4-Joris Mathijsen (Malaga), 13-Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), 2-Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax), 15-Jetro Willems (PSV)
Midfielders:
20-Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), 6-Mark van Bommel (PSV), 8-Nigel de Jong (Man. City), 14-Stijn Schaars (Sporting), 10-Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), 17-Kevin Strootman (PSV), 23-Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham)
Forwards:
9-Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), 18-Luuk de Jong (FC Twente), 7-Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), 19-Luciano Narsingh (Heerenveen), 16-Robin van Persie (Arsenal), 11-Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)

Portugal
Goalkeepers:
12-Rui Patricio (Sporting), 1-Eduardo (Benfica), 22-Beto (CFR Cluj)
Defenders: 21-Joao Pereira (Sporting), 2-Bruno Alves (Zenit St. Petersburg), 5-Fabio Coentrao (Real Madrid), 3-Pepe (Real Madrid), 13-Ricardo Costa (Valencia), 14-Rolando (Porto), 19-Miguel Lopes (Braga)
Midfielders:
8-Joao Moutinho (Porto), 4-Miguel Veloso (Genoa), 16-Raul Meireles (Chelsea), 15-Ruben Micael (Real Zaragoza), 6-Custodio (Braga), 20-Hugo Viana (Braga)
Forwards:
7-Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), 9-Hugo Almeida (Besiktas), 23-Helder Postiga (Real Zaragoza), 17-Nani (Man. United), 11-Nelson Oliveira (Benfica), 10-Ricardo Quaresma (Besiktas), 18-Silvestre Varela (Porto).



1 comment
  1. Amos Annan
    commented on: June 7, 2012 at 6:01 p.m.
    Cristiano has every right to refuse to sign autographs for someone stupid enough to show up in his rivals jersey! Even if they are only 10 they should know better.


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