deVos: Delivery is key for headed goals at Euro 2012

Jason deVos
6/13/2012 6:50:13 PM
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Five things from Day Six at Euro 2012

1. 'Group of Death'

Group B, dubbed the 'Group of Death' because it contains four teams in the top 10 in the FIFA World Rankings, is certainly living up to its name. Although Germany is on six points after winning its first two games, it still has work to do to advance to the knockout stage.

Depending on the results in the final group game, the Germans could possibly finish in a three-way tie with Denmark and Portugal on six points. Alternatively, the Danes and Portuguese could finish in a three-way tie with the Netherlands on three points. In either case, goal differential between the three teams is the first tiebreaker, with goals scored between the three teams the second tiebreaker.

2. Delivery is key

Joao Moutinho's corner kick for Portugal's opening goal - headed home by Pepe – was fantastic. An inswinging corner, delivered with pace, is very difficult to defend against because all it needs is the slightest touch and it flies past the goalkeeper.

As I mentioned on Tuesday, we've seen some wonderful delivery from set pieces so far in the tournament. Pepe's goal was the 11th of the tournament scored with a header, while Nicklas Bendtner added two headed goals for Denmark later on. If the delivery continues to be of such a high standard, it is likely we'll see plenty more headed goals at Euro 2012.

3. Manuel Neuer – the best goalkeeper in the tournament?

Germany's Manuel Neuer was in my pre-tournament all-star team, and he justified my faith in him with Wednesday's performance.

With the Netherlands down 2-0 and throwing everything they could at him to get back in the game, he made a world-class save on Robin van Persie. An early set position, an explosive push off to his right, and a strong hand kept van Persie's effort out of Neuer's net.

With Mats Hummels in fine form in front of him, it is hard to see an easy way past the German defence.

4. Ronaldo? Paging Cristiano Ronaldo...

Two games into the tournament, and Cristiano Ronaldo has yet to hit top form. Denied the opportunity to make an impact against Germany – largely due to his increased defensive responsibilities – Ronaldo struggled on multiple occasions to find the back of the net against Denmark.

Pleasantly, though, Portugal still managed to find a way to beat the Danes, with second half substitute Varela scoring the winner in the 87th minute. That has to be encouraging for Portugal fans – imagine how much better they will be if/when Ronaldo finds his shooting boots?

5. Netherlands' Achilles heel(s)

I've often referred to the Netherlands' defensive problems during the tournament, as they are one of the things stopping the Dutch from getting the results they need in Group B. Slack defending against both Denmark and Germany sees the Dutch sitting with the sum total of zero points going into their final group game against Portugal.

Of more pressing concern for head coach Bert van Marwijk is the Netherlands' traditional problem – disharmony in the dressing room.

Is there anything more predictable than Dutch egos struggling to get along in a major tournament? It must be a significant challenge – and a major headache – for van Marwijk to try to keep his team from tearing itself apart at the seams.

Jason deVos

Jason deVos

As one of Canada's most accomplished soccer players, Jason deVos spent nearly 20 years on the pitch playing competitive soccer at the highest professionallevels in Canada and around the world. After retiring from international play, deVos began his broadcasting career as a soccer analyst with the CBC and GOLTV. Most recently he provided commentary and analysis for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa for the CBC.

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