Portugal v Netherlands, 19:45
Holland have a fairly simple equation this evening, a win is required, and preferably a big one. For Portugal it is more complex, and the result in the other game in the group will dictate what they need to do, but a loss would certainly put them out. With that in mind we can expect a really good game this evening, providing the nerves don’t get the better of the players as they seemed to last night in Group A.
For Portugal the key is going to be finding a way play without Ronaldo, which will take the pressure off the Real Madrid forward and allow him to relax into his own football. Their play has been patchy up until now, but there are few coaches working with such a wide variety of players as Paulo Bento, in terms of the wildly differing ability in the squad.
The same is true to a lesser extent in the Dutch squad, although to some it seems as if the biggest problem could be the coach and his continuing loyalty to Mark van Bommel. Starting the first game with both the PSV veteran and Nigel de Jong made Holland look a bit conservative, and the Robin van Persie issue is an odd one. To all intents and purposes the men around him for Holland are better players than those at Arsenal, and you can understand the confusion as to why he isn’t scoring freely, but eventually the management will take the fall.
Portugal defender Miguel Lopes is set to return following a cold, meaning head coach Paulo Bento has a fully-fit squad of 23 players to choose from. Netherlands boss Bert van Marwijk has looks ready to make changes as he chases a win, with Rafael van der Vaart and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar tipped to start at the expense of Mark van Bommel and Ibrahim Afellay, most probably. Portugal are 4/1 to win the game by a 1-goal margin with Ladbrokes, which would send the Dutch packing, and probably Portugal through.
Denmark v Germany, 19:45
Denmark may not have expected to be in contention at this stage, in their hearts, but a good result against Holland has left them with a shot of emulating the Greeks and putting out a much bigger nation. Unfortunately the task ahead of them seems to be the greatest at the tournament, with Germany playing as well as anyone and seemingly not struggling with the occasion or fitness.
It seems as though the Danes won’t be able to rely on Christian Eriksen to inspire their play at this competition, and it is not surprising the young man is suffering from fatigue after a heavy schedule at Ajax, considering his tender years. They may have a few questions to answer off the pitch, in particular one dim-headed striker, but the game ahead of them is simple, and in reality Denmark know they must give it their best and hope that is enough.
Only one team has collected maximum points at this stage, and if Germany can get the win tonight that will be a very strong message to the rest of the competition. The temptation to rest a couple of players will be strong for a coach who knows they are tired but on the other hand momentum is a massive factor at tournaments like this one, and changing the line-up could have a detrimental effect in that area.
Denmark’s Dennis Rommedahl is out with a strain, while midfielder Niki Zimling is a doubt. For Germany, right-back Jerome Boateng picked up his second yellow card against the Dutch and is suspended. Mario Gomez has hit form at the perfect moment, and VictorChandler have 5/1 on him for first goalscorer.