After Russia moved a step closer to Euro 2012 quarter-final qualification last night, focus turns to tonight’s matches in Group B – the so-called ‘Group of Death’.
Germany are in pole position to qualify for the knockout stage of the competition, having won their opening match against Portugal thanks to striker Mario Gomez’s solitary strike.
And, following Holland’s shock defeat to Denmark in their opening match, it’s Burt Van Marwijk’s side who need a result when two of the world’s top four ranked teams meet in Kharkiv.
"I think that we have a big test against the Netherlands, a team of very high quality. This is one of the best teams, not only in Europe but also the world,” German boss Joachim Loew warned his side ahead of the match.
“It has been for many years, and it's constantly improving. But we must win to reach the quarter-finals. So our situation is as important as theirs."
Pressure continues to mount on the Dutch, with press reports back home critical of the latest performance.
However, Van Marwijk insists that the focus is on tournament life in Poland & Ukraine, and that whilst the atmosphere within the camp is tense, they are focused on getting a result.
"I do not know what kind of atmosphere exists in the Netherlands. We are in Poland, playing in Ukraine. The team atmosphere is tense."
The atmosphere within the Danish camp is anything but tense, after Michael Krohn-Dehli’s strike gave them a dream start to life in the group.
Victory over Portugal could well secure qualification to the quarter-finals, and manager Morten Olson admits they’ll be chasing victory ahead of a final game against the Germans.
“They (Portugal) have a bad result but still they have a good game and I think they will take this will into the next game against us,” admitted Olson.
“Advantage yes, it is always when you have the points but we won't try to play for one point as we used too. We are always trying to play for winning.”
As for Portugal, they know that a draw is the absolute minimum against a side who beat them to the top of qualifying groups for both this tournament and the 2010 World Cup.
Everything suggests it will be difficult for Paulo Bento’s side to break through the Danish defence, but striker Helder Postiga is in no doubt that the goals will come in Lviv.
“I think that it is certain that there will be goals, we will score. If we create opportunities of course we will score sooner or later. I am absolutely convinced by that."
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