Euro 2012, Day Two: Open Thread

My under-the-radar player: Zaragoza's Helder Postiga.

Villarreal, Racing Santander, and Sporting in mourning for Manolo Preciado. Touching tributes from around Spanish football. On we go to the openers in Group B, unquestionably the Group of Death.

Netherlands vs. Denmark, 12 noon ET

Many have the Oranje as favorites to win Euro 2012 (if not Die Mannschaft). Some have them defeating Spain to avenge South Africa 2010. The Dutch are now the "underachievers" of world football, so maybe it's time. Everything turns on Arjen Robben, my most important player in the tournament.

No expectations for Denmark, particularly in this group. Reminds you of the draw Villarreal got in the Champions League, but at least here Denmark was in Pot 4 (not Pot 2). Nicklas Bendtner will be relied on for the goals behind a less solid defense than we've come to expect. No pressure.

Germany vs. Portugal, 2:45 pm ET

The first mouthwatering tie of the tournament. Germany is the odds-on favorite, which is some disrespect to the Netherlands and Spain. Solid team all the way around, but one wonders who will start up front: old hand Miroslav Klose, inconsistent Mario Gomez, or underachiever Lukas Podolski. If the strikers put in goals, watch out.

Portugal is undoubtedly Cristiano Ronaldo + 10, but that's not a bad start. Is it time for Nani to arrive on the international stage? The seleccao will go as far as Joao Moutinho and the red-hot Helder Postiga take them, for my money. And I'm expecting that to be a long way.

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