Danish danger in Euro 2012 'Group of Death'

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With Germany, Holland, Portugal and Denmark all paired together, Group B is without question the toughest section at the European Championships this summer, and arguably the hardest group ever assembled in international tournament history.

The stats certainly back that up. Until now, the Euro 96 'group of death' made up of Germany, Russia, Italy and the Czech Republic was deemed the most daunting of all, with an average FIFA ranking of 5.5. This year all sides are placed inside the world’s top 10, with an average European ranking of 4.75.

A major scalp is inevitable, with only two teams able to progress to the knockout stages, leaving the third and fourth placed nations exiting the competition early.

Much has been written about Germany (3rd), who have progressed to at least the semi-final stage in the previous three major tournaments, and are one of the favourites to go all the way in Poland and Ukraine this year.

Under Joachim Low, the Germans are typically well-organised, and boast a vast array of attacking talent that's brimming with youth. Their pedigree is without question.

Holland (4th) are also tipped to do well, with Bert van Marwijk's side keen to repeat their success in South Africa two years ago, which took them all the way to the 2010 World Cup final.

In Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, the Dutch possess two of the most prolific strikers in Europe at the moment, and with the creative flair of Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben behind them, will be ones to watch with caution.

Portugal (10th), meanwhile, have had their fair share of problems in the build-up to the tournament, drawing with Macedonia and losing to Turkey in their final two warm-up games.

But, having confirmed their place at Euro 2012 via the play-offs, Paulo Bento will be looking for a similar reaction to the one when he first took charge in qualifying, after leading Portugal to victory in each of their last five games. And, with Cristiano Ronaldo in their ranks, they mustn't be written off.

That just leaves Denmark (9th), who have been harshly labelled the rank outsiders to progress from the group, particularly when you consider that they topped Group H in qualifying, at the expense of Portugal, despite only scoring 15 goals.

In Morten Olsen, the Danes possess a manager that boasts 12 years of experience in international management, having been in charge of his national team since 2000. He guided the country to the knockout stages of both the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2004, but failed to qualify for either of the next two tournaments.

In South Africa in 2010, Denmark failed to advance beyond the group stages, despite a relatively easy draw, but they have made significant progress in the two years since, and now have an effective blend of youth and experience, with Christian Eriksen the stand-out performer.

The 20-year-old Ajax attacking midfielder is currently one of the brightest young prospects in all of Europe and has already been linked with a move to Manchester United. His creative spark will be instrumental if Denmark are to be successful this summer, as Eriksen attempts to live up to his billing in his homeland as the new Michael Laudrup.

The underdog tag may just work in Denmark's favour, just as it did at Euro '92. After replacing civil war-torn Yugoslavia in the competition at the last minute, the Danes went on to beat France and Holland to reach the final, where they masterminded a shock victory against Germany.

The achievement is still one of the most remarkable stories in European Championship history, and will go a long way to inspiring Denmark to defy the odds once again this summer.

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