Group B had the distinction of being the “Group of Death”, as it is made up of Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, and Denmark. Coming into Euro 2012, Netherlands was touted as one of the heavy favorites, but ended up failing to win a single match in the group stages (thanks to Arjen Robben’s incredible bad luck?). Still, credit must be given to the teams that advanced.
The German Blitzkrieg
Germany has no shortage of attacking and defensive options — and fine-looking men. These title contenders give Spain a run for their money on the hotness department. Here are some members of the Die Nationalmannschaft, who are on a mission to capture the title and women’s hearts the world over.
Manuel Neuer has been in steady form in the lead-up to Euro 2012, with his club Bayern Munich finishing as runners-up to Chelsea in the UEFA Champions League, making critical stops against Spanish giants Real Madrid along the way. The 6-foot-4 Neuer also proved he can do more than just keeping clean sheets by winning 500,000 euros for his foundation on Germany’s version of “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” back in November 2011.
Mario Gomez may have the least German-sounding of all the names in Germany’s squad, he’s definitely got the fierce German features — not to mention the crisp precision in his shots. He has scored the lone goal in Germany’s campaign versus Portugal, and twice more versus the Netherlands. With three goals in two games, there’s no doubt this striker is in strong contention for the Golden Boot.
Mats Hummels has been the anchor for Borussia Dortmund’s defense, and this centerback is considered as one of the best defenders in Europe. Hummels has been cited for his well-timed tackles, pace, and strength to frustrate opponents and regain possession. It also helps that he “does look a little bit like Zorro”, as someone on Tumblr observed.
Exploring (with) the Portuguese
Portugal will be looking to step out of the shadow of their Iberian neighbors. However, the bigger question remains — can a figure like Cristiano Ronaldo lift his team past the competition to take it all? While much debate will ensue over such a question, it is worth the time to explore the Portuguese line-up.
Cristiano Ronaldo is better known for his goal-scoring exploits with current club Real Madrid, breaking individual records in Spain’s Primera Liga. While there is no doubt that he is among one of the football greats of this generation, Cristiano has yet to replicate his club performances at the international level. Inconsistencies and frustrations aside, the man has an incredible work rate, god-like abs, and nary a single strand of hair out of place.
Fabio Coentrao has been a vital cog in Portugal’s defense, being deployed as a versatile left back and left winger. How do you spot him on the pitch? You can’t go wrong with the platinum highlights.
Joao Moutinho may have missed out on being included in the final Portugal squad for the World Cup 2010, and it is quite a blessing to have this midfielder called up on Portugal’s Euro 2012. After all, it is added bonus to have your central midfielder be quite an eye candy.