Good day to you! It’s unlike us to be here on a Saturday but needs must, tournaments don’t sleep. Except for those few days between the group stages and the knockouts when it is essential. Anyway, today we’ll see Denmark and Belgium battle for superiority in Group B before we slide on over to Group C where the Dutch will be looking to get their tournament started following defeat in their first match.
Did I really say slide on over? I’ve never said that before in my life.
Denmark vs Belgium
Dave Mathieson must be rubbing his hands here. Even without Michael Laudrup, they were victorious in their opening clash with Finland. A win here and they are in the next round as Finland and Belgium have to meet in the final round of games. Jon Dahl Tomasson is back on the bench.
Ross Bell can’t quite secure qualification today but 6 points or even 4 points will almost certainly be enough for a third placed side. Anyway, rambling aside, it’s Bisconti in for Pierre.
I tell you what, these Danes are looking the part. Soren Andersen, the beneficiary of the Laudrup injury, gives his side the lead after just five minutes. There’s plenty of huff and puff from Belgium but no way through Denmark’s ridiculously named centre halves. Miklos Molnar, fresh from his hat-trick in the first game, seals the points after 70 minutes and Denmark are in the last 16.
Solid across the board from both sides really, Belgium’s defenders letting the side down.
Here’s the Group B table. Russia need to beat Denmark in the final game to try and sneak in as a third placed qualifier. Belgium will meet Finland in a shootout for the automatic berth.
Over to Group C then for the rest of today’s action.
Ukraine vs Romania
Ross Jacobs’ Ukraine got a great win last time out against Holland and a win here would give them an unlikely passage to the last 16. They’re unchanged.
Romania are unchanged despite their shock defeat to Austria in the first game.
This looked like a must win for Romania and the tactic of feeding them raw meat has paid off. Ilie, Mihali and Craioveanu make it 3-0 on 38 minutes and the points look to be heading to Bucharest. However, Liam soon finds out the problem with feeding a team raw meat – the team are sluggish and in need of a nap in the second half and Rebrov and “Seva” make it 3-2. It’s a tidal wave of Ukranian pressure but Romania hang on. Just.
Ukraine will probably want that opening half hour back but this group remains in the balance.
Over to the final game now and if Holland win, it’ll be three points for everybody.
Holland vs Austria
Ash hasn’t panicked. His side did more than enough to win that first game and he’s written it off to bad luck. It’s such a strong front 6.
Tom is also unchanged but in happier circumstances. A win here would put the outsiders through!
They say lightening never strikes twice but when a forward line is as profligate as Holland’s, those odds increase slightly. Holland batter Austria for 45 minutes but poor finishing means it is 0-0 at the break. Straight after half time, Purk sneaks in behind the defence, his shot is saved but Hasenhuttl slams in the rebound. Goodness me. The Dutch onslaught follows but Austria stand firm amidst awful finishing. I don’t believe it.
It just shouldn’t happen like this. Fair play to Austria’s defending.
Streiter gets his second man of the match in two games. I hadn’t heard of him until a few days ago!
So Austria look certain to qualify though technically can be overhauled if they lose to Ukraine and Romania beat Holland. Even then though, they would go through as a third place team. This group could get very messy if Holland beat Romania and Austria see off Ukraine, goal difference will be a huge factor.
Group C concludes on Wednesday so I’ll be looking forward to that. In the more immediate future, I’ll be back tomorrow with more from Groups D & E including England and Ireland. Bye for now!