An exciting finish to yesterday's matches saw Greece and Czech Republic advance from Group A. After today, four of the eight quarter-finalists will be set. Germany battles Denmark, while Netherlands looks for their first win vs. Portugal. Both matches kick off at 8:45 local time, 2:45 Eastern, 11:45 Pacific here in the USA.
For Die Nationalelf, advancing out of the group stage is a good bet, but not a sure thing. Here is the situation:
- if Germany wins, Germany advances, regardless of anything else.
- if Germany draws vs. Denmark, Germany advances, regardless of anything else.
- if Netherlands wins, Germany advances, regardless of the Germany match.
- if Portugal and Netherlands draw, Germany advances, regardless of the Germany match.
- if Portugal beats Netherlands and Germany loses by a single goal while scoring at least 2, Germany advances.
- if Portugal beats Netherlands and Germany loses by multiple goals, Germany fails and goes home.
- if Portugal beats Netherlands and Germany loses 1-0 or 2-1, Germany fails and goes home.
After watching Russia go from group leaders to crash-and-burn losers yesterday, no one can feel assured in anything. Germany needs to get a win (or at least a draw) and not worry about what happens between the Portuguese and Dutch. Philipp Lahm says the same thing, expressing his confidence that Germany will emerge from the group with a straight 9 points. Then again, he always sounds confident right before a bad loss, doesn't he?
Defensively, I feel like Deutschland has been solid overall. Hummels and Badstuber have been good, Lahm had a rather poor game vs. Portugal but then looked better vs. Netherlands, and Neuer has had a couple good saves. Bastian and Gomez have both looked good, and I think Khedira has been solid and avoided any major mistakes. The main place where we need to pick up the game is in the attacking-midfield line: Oezil, Mueller, and Podolski have had a few good runs and haven't been terrible, but need to be more aggressive and creative. But this would be a great match for them to hit their stride.
Official line-ups haven't been announced yet that I can find. Check in with a comment if I'm wrong and you have official line-ups. As always, try to be polite and non-threatening in the comment section.