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Euro 2012: Agger Shines for Denmark, Looking to Matchday Three


Saturday didn't quite bring as many batshit crazy moments as the first two matches, but with narrow victories and a defensive masterclass from Daniel Agger, it had its own share of watchable moments. There's plenty to look forward to today as well, even if the only Liverpool player involved will be doing nothing other than spectating.

Holland 0, Denmark 1
DEN: Krohn-Dehli 17'

The Dutch were heavily favored and opened the stronger side, but they proved incapable of dealing with a resolute Danish defense and could climb back from an early deficit. Denmark pieced together the opener via a fortunate deflection down the left flank, which Michael Krohn-Dehli latched onto and dragged into space, allowing him to slot through Maarten Stekelenburg's legs for the lead. The Netherlands had a handful of chances that arguably should have been taken during the rest of the first half, but a combination of stout Danish defending---mostly through Daniel Agger and Simon Kjaer---and wastefulness from the Dutch forwards left the scoreline unchanged at the half. From there it was only going to be a Denmark victory, with Holland completely checking out and resigning themselves to defeat in a match most expected them to win. Disappointing stuff from one of the teams expected to run deep in the tournament, and while they're certainly still capable, things are going to need to look very different.

Germany 1, Portugal
GER: Gomez 72'

It's probably fair to say that Germany were underwhelming despite getting the victory, and Portugal were encouraging enough despite taking the loss. The Germans did most of the pressuring with little to show for it, and it took a perfectly-placed header from Mario Gomez to separate the sides. Portugal just couldn't find a way through, and their lone threatening chance came just before the half when Pepe curled one off the crossbar and straight down after a a deflection and decent touch left him alone ten yards from goal. Both squads can leave the match feeling positive---Germany won in a match during which they weren't at their best, and the Portuguese very well could have taken something from the match despite failing to threaten Germany's goal with any sort of regularity.

For today's matches:

Spain v. Italy
5:00PM BST/12:00PM EST

Depending on who you ask, Spain are either favorites to defend their title or destined to disappoint. It's possible that both are true, and we'll probably have a pretty good litmus test to draw upon when they face Italy today. There's not much expectation for the Italians, who haven't been able to recapture their success from a decade ago and enter the competition with a relatively young and inexperienced squad. The biggest rumored shake-up in terms of personnel comes for the Italians, who might be have Daniele De Rossi deputizing in central. It'll be interesting to see how Vicente Del Bosque makes his choices as well, with plenty of talented names in the midfield and attack.

Ireland v. Croatia
7:45PM BST/2:45PM EST

For the first time in 24 years Ireland are back in the Euros, and there's plenty of positivity surrounding their chances of progression. The points won't come easy, though, with Croatia ostensibly the "easiest" opponent in Group C, and matches against Spain and Italy on the horizon. Slaven Bilić will have a seasoned squad to call upon, with Luka Modric the key in a talented midfield and Nikica Jelavic, who was terrific for Everton after joining in January from Rangers, one of the central figures in attack. Bilić cut a humble figure when asked about his opposite number, and he hasn't been alone in praising Giovanni Trapattoni ahead of the tournament. I think it's a big ask for Ireland to qualify for the knockout round, but they're plenty confident and are capable of finding their way through.

See you around throughout the day, most of which you can spend watching Daniel Agger highlights. Just because.

Video by Mostar

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