It's never a good idea to put too much stock in international friendly days. The head coaches might be trying out new formations and tactics, the substitution patterns are different, the players might not be as motivated, and it just generally isn't as serious as a real competition. This is especially true today, with many national sides not yet at full strength.
Nonetheless, there are probably a few things we can learn from today's slate of games. Dive in with us as we analyze some friendly results and see if there's anything that will carry over to this summer's all-important European Championships.
Switzerland 5 - 3 Germany
Well, the main thing we learned here is that Die Nationalelf are pretty much worthless with no Bayern players. Sure, some guys were playing out of position, and Switzerland probably put a lot more stock into this match than Germany did. But still - 5 goals to the Swiss, including a hat trick by Derdiyok?
Without Lahm, Boateng or Badstuber, Loew was forced to shuffle a bit, with Benedikt Hoewedes playing fullback and Mesut Oezil in a defensive midfield spot. Well, the results were about as encouraging as you might have feared, with some shaky positioning and slow reactions by both Hoewedes and Mertesacker (not sure what his excuse is). ter Stegen doesn't deserve all the blame, as he was under fire from the first few minutes as the German defense allowed Switzerland to basically unload on him; still, 5 goals is not what he was looking for in one of his few chances to impress Loew.
I don't want to put too much stock in this game; if anything it will give the side more motivation in training. But with the final 23-man roster due this week, some guys might have put themselves in trouble. Specifically, I don't see why Mertesacker needs to be on the team, but we can get into that next week.
Brazil 3 - 1 Denmark
A tough match-up for the Danes, although it's worth noting that Brazil had a young and mostly unproven roster and still controlled the game. No Kaka, no Pato, no Julio Cesar, no Gustavo, and yet they played most of the first half in Denmark's area and kept up the pressure.
Bendtner did have a goal for the Danes, and they created more in the second half. Thomas Sorensen, of Stoke City, was their starting GK for the day, but he got yanked after 25 minutes and 2 goals allowed (one an own goal). This might have been just a planned rotation in a match with unlimited subs, but that can't be doing wonders for his confidence.
Poland 1 - 0 Slovakia
Couldn't find any highlights here, although I see that Lewandowski, Kuba and Piszczek all started and no one got hurt. I'm tellin' you guys, this Poland team is for real.
England 1 - 0 Norway
Of course, I also told you that this England team would suck, and they might be ready to prove me wrong. Three Lions fans don't seem too excited about the performance, and England didn't look good in the second half, but a win is a win over a decent opponent (Norway is not great, but solid enough). I note also that Robert Green is back between the sticks ... interesting.
Ireland 1 - 0 Bosnia-Herzegovina
One of the most important results of the day - this has to be a huge confidence builder for Ireland. Bosnia-Herzegovina is a good side, possibly the best European national team that didn't make the competition. Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic both played the full 90, and yet Ireland kept them out of the net and won it on a Shane Long header. The Irish had a few other chances, too, with Jonathan Walters looking sharp. It would be great to see these guys get past their group, especially because it would mean that Spain or Croatia didn't make it.
I also spent some time today wondering whether it would be possible to bring Miralem Pjanic to Bayern. Probably not - we really don't have anywhere to put him. I really like that kid, though.
Portgual 0 - 0 Macedonia
Couldn't find any highlights or detailed information here, but man, that's not going to do wonders for Portugal's confidence. They fielded a full squad (CR, Nani, Coentrao, Bruno Alves, Meireles) and still couldn't get anything on the board vs. a Macedonia side that, frankly, is a level below in talent. I guess it's up in the air who played crappier, Portugal or Germany, but they had a mostly full squad.
Spain comfortably beat Serbia despite the absence of any Barca players ... Netherlands lost to Bulgaria despite playing at home and fielding a strong side ... Czech Republic beat Israel with a late winner in a very close match ... Greece let in a late goal to draw 1-1 vs. Slovenia, although the Greeks outplayed them when the two were at equal strength (a red card reduced Greece to 10 men).
I didn't watch any of these ^ last games, so if you have any insight, by all means let us hear it. I don't want to put too much stock in these games, because we've all seen teams look awful in pre-tournament friendlies and then play great once the competition starts. Still, it's fair to say Germany really needs those Bayern players, and also interesting to note the Portuguese seem to be struggling to put anything together. Thanks for reading.