The men in orange reached the World Cup final in 2010, losing to a brilliant Spain side. The Dutch media were not happy though, firing criticism at the team for abandoning their traditional attacking style of Total Football. Following that disappointment, they have adapted their approach – becoming the one of the most exciting attacking sides in Europe, and scoring more times than any other team in qualification. As tends to be the way, their attacking approach means that they can sometimes be shaky in defence.
Key men: Robin Van Persie – What is there to say about Robin Van Persie that hasn’t been said? The best striker in the Premier League. A class act. Could be one of the stars of Euro 2012. Wesley Sneijder – He was one of the best players at the World Cup in South Africa, and still has the ability to unlock any defence.
Outlook: Should easily make the semi-finals.
Germany: boring and efficient, right? Wrong. The Germans are playing the most attractive soccer in Europe – playing the kind of game Barcelona would be proud of. With a mix of experienced pros and exciting young talent, they could be set to win their fourth European Championship.
Key men: Mesut Ozil – Brilliant on the ball, incredible vision, and he can score too. The Real Madrid midfielder is the chief creative spark in a team of creative players. Thomas Muller – Quick, hard working, a great passer of the ball, and always seems to appear at the right place at the right time. A classy player.
This squad seems to have been around forever, which is either a great thing – they’ve got plenty of experience – or a nightmare…because they’ve not managed to win a thing, and aren’t getting any younger. Of course, one thing they do have in their favour is a guy by the name of Cristiano Ronaldo. With him in the side, anything can happen. If he fails to get going, they’re in big trouble.
Key man: Cristiano Ronaldo – Who else. His arch nemesis, Leo Messi, isn’t around to steal the spotlight – will CR7 step up and lead his team to glory?
Outlook: An early exit could be on the cards.
You might be thinking that these guys have no chance in this group, but don’t sleep on the Danes. They’ve got one of the most exciting young talents in world soccer running the show (more on him in a second), and in Nicklas Bendtner, an unpredictable frontman for him to feed.
Key man: Christian Eriksen – So, back to the exciting young talent. This guy is quick, tricky, and possesses great vision. This could be his opportunity to announce himself on the world stage.
Outlook: It looks unlikely that they’ll progress, but you never know what can happen at the Euros.