Group B, aka the obligatory Group of Death, kicks off this evening. I’ll be here to bring you all the news, incidents and sarcastic comments you need to stay up to date. First up, it’s the Netherlands v Denmark and that’s followed by Germany v Portugal. Feel free to chat via the comments section.
By Aidan Elder | Chief Sports Writer
RESULT: Germany 1 – 0 Portugal
RESULT: Netherlands 0 – 1 Denmark
9.42pm: FULL TIME Germany win without being utterly convincing. It’s almost like you shouldn’t dismiss them out of hand, even if they aren’t playing particularly well. They go to the top of the Group of Death and Portugal suddenly have very little margin error.
That’s about all from me. Thank you and good night.
9.38pm: Bruno Alves puts a header over the bar and lays Schweinsteiger out with an aerial clothesline. The Ultimate Warrior would have been proud of that.
9.37pm: Great chance for Nani, blocked by Badstuber. Bender comes on for Germany with Mooooller going out to pasture.
9.34pm: Three minutes of added time.
9.32pm: Great chance for Varela to equalise, but he hits it right at Neuer’s nuts and the keeper makes the save. Two minutes remaining. Germany are 1/18 to hold for victory.
9.27pm: Portugal are giving it a good lash now. Nani hits the crossbar with a bad cross he’ll claim was a good shot.
9.25pm: Neuer keeps out a Ronaldo shot. I’m not sure how, but he managed it.
9.24pm: Raul Merieles goes off for Portugal and to replace his dodgy haircut, they put in Sylvester Varela.
9.23pm: Gomez goes off and the birthday boy, Miroslav Klose comes on. He doesn’t look like any Back To The Future characters.
9.20pm: Gomez comes within a 1950s fringe of getting on the end of a low cross and making it 2-0. Germany looking strong with about 12 minutes to go.
9.16pm: GOAL!! GERMANY Wow! Marty’s dad couldn’t do that! Gomez gets on the end of a deflected cross and sticks a firm header beyond Rui Patricio. Lovely finish.
9.13pm: Postiga off, Nelson Oliveira on for Portugal. Before that, Jerome Boateng got booked. Not his first caution of the week.
9.12pm: He said Mooooller again. I don’t know why.
9.08pm: Nice football from Portugal, but Jerome Boateng gets in a great last ditch tackle to deny Ronaldo.
9.04pm: Yellow card for Contreao. He protests for some reason, but it was a fair cop.
8.54pm: Ronaldo is exerting more and more influence on the game. The game will be wearing excessive hair gel in no time.
8.51pm: Nice skill from Nani on the right hand side. Corner to Portugal which comes to nothing courtesy of a Neuer fist.
8.50pm: Germany apply some pressure and have a couple of shots blocked. They get a corner from which a header bounces harmlessly wide.
8.49pm: Germany kick off the second half. If it is the Group of Death, let’s hope it’s not caused by chronic boredom.
8.35pm: Time for a look at the live betting. It’s 7/5 Germany, 11/8 the draw and 3/1 Portugal which doesn’t sound like a bad bet with the way they finished the first half.
8.32pm: The half time whistle goes and it’s scoreless. I’d call it a ‘Cat Deely’ – pretty, but a bit dull.
8.30pm: A great bit of play from Pepe. He hits the crossbar, the ball bounces on the line and squirms away. They would have given it at Wembley in 1966.
8.28pm: Yellow card for Badstuber after Nani finally remembers to fall several seconds after the tackle took place.
8.25pm: There’s a bit of pinball in the Portugal penalty area. It’s nothing to write a blog home about normally, but in this game it counts as thrilling.
8.22pm: I mean you have to be very unlucky to get 36 minutes into a game without Pepe maiming someone.
8.21pm: This has been, well not bad per se, but not very interesting. Like The One Show.
8.18pm: I’m still here. It’s just nothing has happened.
8.12pm: The commentator calls Germany’s right midfielder ‘Thomas Mooooller’. I’m not sure if the cow pun is intentional. If he compliments his ‘great moooovement off the ball’ we’ll know.
8.10pm: Podolski hits the free-kick. Right into his team-mates ass. Amusing as it is, it’s a waste of a promising position for the Germans.
8.09pm: Germany get the ball into the back of the net, but the fact the whistle went about 20 seconds prior to it somewhat ruins the fun. They do get a free-kick just outside the penalty area.
8.03pm: Nice from Ronaldo. He puts a good ball into the six yard box, but Germany cut it out at the expense of a corner and increasing smugness from Ronaldo.
7.58pm: Helder Postiga is on target. Sadly that target is Manuel Neuer’s shin. The German goalie has to scramble a clearance and a sliding Postiga catches him. The striker earns himself a yellow card.
7.56pm: Pepe does well in defence. He clears the ball and manages to avoid a charge of GBH.
7.55pm: The clapping stops courtesy of a good first time strike from Podolski. Rui Patricio spills it, but not in the Rob Green style and picks it up at the second attempt.
7.53pm: The fans are already slow-clapping. That tells you pretty much all you need to know about the start to this game. #yawn
7.48pm: There’s a lot of rubbish on the pitch. No, the Wolves squad haven’t turned up. The fans are pelting Portugal’s players with all sorts of refuse for some reason.
7.47pm: Good header and even better hair from Mario Gomez. Rui Patricio makes a good solid save.
7.46pm: Portugal kick off. That may be the only time Ronaldo passes to someone else in the entire game.
7.42pm: A lot of the German players look like they’re close to tears during the national anthem. Except Podolski who looks like he’s close to mugging you.
7.40pm: The teams are out on the pitch in Lviv and mumbling away to their national anthems.
7.30pm: People call Portugal a one man team, but that’s harsh. Helder Postiga is an incredible striker. It’s incredible that anyone can miss from ZERO yards out: (I recommend turning the sound off)
7.10pm: TEAM NEWS
Germany are without Per Mertesacker who picked up a knock in training on Thursday. That’s probably no bad thing. Portugal start Nani which gives him a great chance to stare longingly at link up with Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Muller, Ozil, Podolski, Gomez
Rui Patricio, Joao Pereira, Bruno Alves, Pepe, Fabio Coentrao, Meireles, Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Nani, Postiga, Ronaldo
7.08pm: Looking ahead to tomorrow, Giovanni Trapattoni earlier named the Ireland team to play Croatia tomorrow night. There are no surprises and despite doubts about his fitness, Shay Given starts. Despite his impressive ability to get his foot above his head, Stephen Hunt has to make do with a place on the bench.
Ireland team to play Croatia: Given, O’Shea, Dunne, St Ledger, Ward, Duff, Andrews, Whelan, McGeady, Keane, Doyle
7pm: The post-snoretem (I know what I typed) is underway. There’s about 45 minutes to go until the next game. If you need to bone up on your knowledge, then check out our amsuing, but not especially informative, Bluffer’s guide to Germany and Bluffer’s guide to Portugal
6.51pm: FULL TIME! Denmark pull off a sensational surprise win! In the Group of Death, it’s the Netherlands who have an ominous dose of the sniffles. With Germany and Portugal to come, they’ve got a huge job to even qualify. Denmark defended well, but this was mainly a tale of terrible finishing. Agger and Kjaer were excellent, but the wastefulness of van Persie and Robben was astonishing.
6.49pm: Great marking from the Netherlands. Sadly they’re the ones attacking. Two Oranje get in each others’ way and a good chance is ruined. Replays show that they probably should have got a penalty for that handball.
6.47pm: Penalty shout for the Netherlands. They appeal for handball. Three minutes of stoppage time.
6.44pm: 4 minutes plus added time to go. It’s 7/2 the draw.
6.42pm: Denmark bring on Mikkelsen. Rommedahl gets the hook. The Netherlands’ last roll of the dice is to bring on auxiliary right back, Dirk Kuyt. Van der Wiel goes off.
6.39pm William Kvist gets booked for the most obvious handball you’re likely to see this side of Paris. Yes, I’m still doing Thierry Henry gags.
6.38pm: One of the Danes is booked for time-wasting. I didn’t see who.
6.33pm: More nice build up play from the Netherlands, but again some bad finishing. Huntelaar is the villain this time, but in fairness Andersen in goal did well to throw himself in the way.
6.31pm: Denmark make a change. Lasse Schone comes on form Eriksen.
6.30pm: Bert van Marwijk decides the Netherlands need more ‘flaky’ if they’re going to get out of this. He brings on Rafael van der Vaart for Nigel de Jong and Huntelaar for Afellay.
6.28pm: Another good shot from Krohn-Delhi which Stekelenburg parries at the cost of a corner.
6.25pm: Yellow card for Mark van Bommel. The ref probably saved time by scribbling it in his notebook before leaving the dressing room.
6.21pm: Another wasted chance for the Dutch! Robben with a poor header than wasn’t all that surprising.
6.19pm: Half an hour to go. I’ve got a funny feeling Denmark will score again. Although it might be that red lemonade.
6.13pm: As good as they look in attack, the Netherlands are poor at the back. I know they’re known as footballing innovators, but their tactic of standing pretty much motionless as the Danes run around them is pretty dangerous.
6.11pm: The Netherlands have had a lot of shots recently. Too many to write about. If you know the name of a Dutch player, just assume he’s missed a shot at goal.
6.09pm Van Bommel with a good shot from about 20 yards out. Andersen gets hands to it.
6.08pm: Van Persie misses two chances in close succession, one less embarrassing than the other.
6.06pm: The Netherlands start the half well, but as we saw in the first half, that doesn’t mean much.
6.03pm: Denmark start the second half.
6pm: There’s just enough time for a glass of sugar-filled red lemonade before the second half begins. Ah! You know it’s good when you can feel it eroding the enamel.
5.53pm: Lee Dixon seems to be under the impression that Wesley Sneijder’s ‘withdrawn striker’ role is some kind of footballing voodoo. ‘Sometimes he’s in midfield, sometimes he’s up front. It’s amazing!’ he pretty much says.
5.50pm: The live betting for the game is pretty interesting. The Netherlands are 3/1 to turn it around. Considering the chances they created in the first half, I think that’s a great price. Then again, opinions like that are probably why I’m writing a blog on tonight’s football and not sipping a Pina Colada on a beach in Barbados right now.
5.48pm: HALF TIME. The Netherlands trail, despite playing some nice football. They’re really bad at the back. Now it’s time for 15 minutes of what we really watch football for – Gary Lineker’s smugness.
5.43pm: Another chance butchered by the Dutch. Van Persie is played in by Sneijder, but he ruins it with a terrible first touch. He gets the shot away, but Andersen gets his body in the way.
5.42pm: Denmark create a their own ‘shoulda done better’ chance. Didn’t see who it was, but he kind of shinned it towards the goal and Heitinga cleared.
5.40pm: Afellay does well to create space for a shot, but then ruins it with the shot. It’s a decent hit, but it’s well over.
5.37pm: WOODWORK! A terrible clearance from the goalkeeper is ceased upon by the Dutch. Robben curls a delightful ball to the far corner. He beats the keeper, but not the post. Unlucky.
5.35pm: Now it’s Denmark playing the nice football. Strangely it hasn’t involved much giving the ball to Nicklas Bendtner.
5.30pm: The Netherlands waste another good chance. It’s a header, unmarked, six yards out from Vlaar – classic ‘should have done better’ stuff. The Dutch are looking frustrated and it’s only a matter of time before they start kicking people.
5.25pm: GOAL! DENMARK They’ve been dominated so far, but Denmark take the lead. Michael Krohn-Delhi slides the ball through Maarten Stekeleburg’s legs who looks like he’s doing a [INSERT THE NAME OF PROMISCUOUS FEMALE CELEBRITY] impression.
5.23pm: The Dutch create another good opening, but the effort goes to waste as Robin van Persie rolls a delightful ball through to no-one.
5.19pm: Oh dear Arjen Robben! Robben does brilliantly to get into a great position, but just when you’re urging him to stick his foot through the ball, he tries to lay it off to a team-mate. That’s weaker than UEFA’s response to racism.
5.17pm: It’s trademark Arjen Robben. The trademark that doesn’t involve throwing himself on the ground under minimal contact. He cuts in from the wing and then has a trademark lame shot which Andersen saves easily.
5.14pm: Van Persie whacks a free-kick into the Danish wall. Netherlands end up with a corner, but that turns out to be as useful as a chocolate teapot thanks to poor delivery.
5.12pm: It’s Wesley Sneijder’s turn to waste a good chance. Van Persie puts a lovely ball onto his head, but he can’t direct anywhere near the goal. That was poor. Bendtner poor.
5.10pm: Crap free-kick from Eriksen. It’s a waste of a good position, unless he actually intended to whack a Dutchman in the belly.
5.08pm: Great chance for Robin van Persie. It falls to him 10 yards out on his preferred left foot, but he puts it about two feet to the left of Andersen’s goal.
5.06pm: The Dutch are already are starting to take control and Afellay gets a tame shot in that the crowd get far too excited about.
5.01pm: There’s widespread shock as it takes 45 seconds before a Dutch player commits a foul. They’ve cleaned up their act. Stekelenburg is forced into a simple save and Trevor Steven rewards him by calling him Stelenburg, which I think is a brand of beer in Lidl.
4.59pm: The captains, Daniel Agger and Mark van Bommel exchange giant banners they don’t really want and it’s about to begin. The Netherlands will kick off.
4.55pm: It’s time to mumble through the anthems and first up it’s Denmark who adopt a giant man-hug along the line for its duration. The Netherlands adopt the same man-hug, but look far less comfortable with it.
4.50pm: The pre-match formalities are almost under way and that means a quick look at the two teams. The Netherlands name a strong side with van Persie operating as lone striker and Robben, Sneijder and Afellay providing the support.
I don’t know much about Denmark, but their team looks pretty much how you’d expect a Danish team to look.
Stekelenburg, Van Der Wiel, Heitinga, Vlaar, Willems, Van Bommel, Nigel De Jong, Robben, Sneijder, Afellay, van Persie
Andersen, Jacobsen, Kjaer, Agger, Simon Poulsen, Kvist Jorgensen, Zimling, Rommedahl, Eriksen, Krohn-Delhi, Bendtner