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Former champions the Netherlands, Denmark and Germany have been pitted against 2004 runners-up Portugal in UEFA EURO 2012 Group B, and unsurprisingly all four coaches agree that it is probably the toughest of the four sections.
Bert van Marwijk, Netherlands coach
It's the toughest group, everyone agrees on that. I have met all the coaches and none of them looked happy. There's a lot of respect for each other, I think. All the countries know each other well – quite recently we lost against Germany. It's a huge challenge, this group. There will be beautiful matches, and the advantage is that you actually already want to play now, because you're already sharp now, the players as well.
I don't think about [the Germany match] at all. I only look at the first match – for me the first match is the most important. At the World Cup, it was similar: we also played the first match against Denmark, and now we will again. So that will be exactly the same. We just have to win it; I mean, if you want to play a role of importance, you need to win the first match. Everything should be focused on that from now on.
Morten Olsen, Denmark coach
It doesn't only look it, I think it IS a very difficult group. I mean, from my point of view, I think two of the favourites, the Netherlands and Germany, are in our group. And we have played Portugal in our qualifying group – we beat them, but we know they are a very good team too.
Obviously, we will have to be at our best and we need to have all of our key players fit for the ten days. On top of that, we will need a good deal of luck in order to succeed. That said, it is not an easy group for the other teams, and I did not really see any happy faces on any of my colleagues from those countries.
Joachim Löw, Germany coach
It was an exciting draw, as usual. I think this is possibly the strongest group. When I look at it, it is the most exciting, maybe the most even group. The EURO is always a great tournament where there are no easy opponents.
All teams are good in a EURO, no matter who you play. They all have their strengths. Portugal, the Netherlands – they are the most technical teams in the world, and Denmark are strong as a team. So we need to take it as it is. [Playing the Netherlands] is always something special and we're looking forward to it.
Paulo Bento, Portugal coach
The draw is like this. We don't set priorities. We have to accept it as it is. It's a very difficult group, the strongest one of the four. But it's a very balanced group taking into count the quality of the teams and their record.
Denmark finished above us in the last two qualification campaigns, the Netherlands were almost perfect in qualifying and they were World Cup finalists. Germany are the team with the most European titles.
It's going to be tough. There will be hard work ahead of us as we try to reach our goal of going through the knockout stages.
Group B schedule
Saturday 9 June
NED v DEN, 18.00CET, Kharkiv
GER v POR, 20.45CET, Lviv
Wednesday 13 June
DEN v POR, 18.00CET, Lviv
NED v GER, 20.45CET, Kharkiv
Sunday 17 June 2012
POR v NED, 20.45CET, Kharkiv
DEN v GER, 20.45CET, Lviv
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