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Dec 5, 2012 1:09am
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The Group of Death lived up to its name on Day 2 of Euro 2012, as the powerhouse
Netherlands fell 1-0 to underdogs Denmark in the opening game of Group B. Jerricho Cotchery Jersey . Truth be told, the
Dutch had only themselves to blame. Wasteful finishing and some slack defending
saw the Netherlands lose a game that they dominated in the early stages. Despite
creating a number of goal-scoring opportunities in the first half, the Dutch
never really troubled Danish goalkeeper Stefan Andersen. Arjen Robben and Robin
van Persie both wasted good chances to put the Netherlands in the lead, and they
were made to pay for it at the other end of the pitch. John Heitinga dove into a
challenge on Michael Krohn-Dehli on the edge of the Dutch penalty area, allowing
the Danish midfielder to skip past him unopposed. From there, Krohn-Dehli rifled
a low shot through the legs of Maarten Stekelenburg into the Dutch goal, giving
the Danes a lead that they would not relinquish. For the Netherlands, it was a
shocking wake-up call that their fragile defence will need to improve – vastly –
if it is to make its way into the knockout phase of the tournament. The Dutch
have an array of attacking options that are a handful for even the best
defenders. But unless they tighten things up defensively and stop conceding
preventable goals, the Netherlands will be heading home early once the group
stage is complete. In the second game of the day, Portugal frustrated the Group
B favourites Germany for long stretches of their game. Portugal coach Paolo
Bento set his team out in a 4-3-3 formation, with Cristiano Ronaldo, Helder
Postiga and Nani as his attacking three. In reality, Portugal spent most of the
game in a 4-5-1 formation, as both Ronaldo and Nani tracked back into midfield
to deny the Germans time and space in which to play. It very nearly worked for
Bento and his charges, as it wasnt until the 72nd minute that a deflected cross
was expertly dispatched by German striker Mario Gomez. His header, back across
Rui Patricios goal, was all that separated the two sides when the final whistle
blew. German coach Joachim Loew will not be happy with his teams performance,
though, as they failed to trouble a stubborn Portuguese team whom set out their
stall to defend in numbers. Given the strength of the German midfield, teams
will view Portugals strategy as an option against one of the tournament
favourites. Deny time and space in the midfield by congesting the area in front
of your back four, and perhaps you can sneak a goal on the break or from a set
piece. It is a difficult strategy to pull off, though, as the German midfield is
balanced to perfection. Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira work like
pistons in front of the back four when Germany is in possession of the ball.
When one goes forward to support the attack, the other drops back to protect
against the counter attack in case possession is conceded. They often combine in
midfield when in possession, which allows Podolski, Ozil and Muller to push
further up the pitch in support of Gomez. At the World Cup in 2010, the
interaction of these five players was breathtaking to watch, as they moved the
ball with speed and precision. Today, against Portugal, their play was far too
deliberate and predictable. If Germany is to reach the final - and lift the
trophy – their midfield needs to increase the tempo at which it moves the ball.
Then we will see the true strength of this German team, rather than the lukewarm
performance we saw today. Jack Butler Jersey . All exhibition games for
the Winnipeg Jets played at the MTS Centre will begin at 7pm ct. The Jets will
open the seven-game exhibition schedule with a first-ever visit to Rexall Place
in Edmonton to face the Edmonton Oilers on Monday, Sept. Mike Wallace Womens Jersey . The
six-foot-three, 192-pound Swede is due to become a free agent this summer. The
27-year-old goalie known as the Monster played in 42 games for the Leafs last
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. Thursdays draw for the group stage pitched the holders against a Juventus side
that stormed to the Serie A title and was unbeaten in all competitions last
season apart from the Italian Cup final. Kevin Greene Steelers Jersey . —
Dustin Penner scored 17:42 into overtime and the Los Angeles Kings are headed to
the Stanley Cup Final for the second time as a franchise after beating the
Phoenix Coyotes with a 4-3 win in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final Tuesday
night. Rashard Mendenhall Jersey . Pinch hitter
Corey Browns single drove in Ian Desmond with the winning run in the bottom of
the 10th inning Saturday, lifting the Nationals to a 7-6 victory. After
Adam LaRoche singled off Chad Guadin (3-2) to open the inning, Desmond singled
him to third and Danny Espinosa was intentionally walked to load the bases.GREEN
BAY, Wis. —Eliminating major mistakes was the top priority for Cleveland
Browns rookie quarterback Brandon Weeden. The big plays, presumably, will come
in time. Weeden showed improvement in his second preseason game, avoiding some
of the trouble he found last week as the Cleveland Browns beat the Green Bay
Packers 35-10 at Lambeau Field on Thursday night. Weeden said hes making
progress. “I think so,” Weeden said. “Youve got to keep in mind last week was my
first-ever start in the NFL and its just like a true freshman going into college
and its an even bigger jump coming up here. I didnt get down on myself about the
way things went last week and I just want to go out and get better and I did
that.” Aaron Rodgers looked sharp in limited action, but backup quarterback
Graham Harrell was shaky for the Packers. Packers coach Mike McCarthy wasnt
thrilled with an 0-2 start in the preseason—especially as he watched his team
turn over the ball. “Its something that needs to stop,” McCarthy said. “Theres
no excuse for that.” Weeden, a first-round pick out of Oklahoma State who
already has been chosen the Browns starter, played the first half and was 12 of
20 for 118 yards. Browns coach Pat Shurmur said the Packers defensive pressure
was a good test for Weeden after he faced mostly a four-man rush against
Detroit. “Today we played against a lot of pressure. So those are two different
feels of the way the game goes, and I think Brandon got a chance to go through
that.” Browns kicker Phil Dawson hit three field goals, including a pair from
50-plus yards. Dawson missed a 56-yarder just before halftime for Cleveland (No.
30 in the AP Pro32). Rodgers threw a 20-yard touchdown to Jordy Nelson on his
first series for the Packers (No. 1). The reigning NFL MVP stayed in for two
more series, completing 6 of 11 passes for 59 yards. He also had a 21-yard
scramble and took a hard hit on another rushing attempt. Rodgers said he was
happy with the protection he got from the offensive line, which welcomed back
left tackle Marshall Newhouse this week after an extended absence because of a
concussion. But with the Packers short-handed at running back, Rodgers didnt
like seeing he and Harrell as the teams leading rushers. “We need to run the
ball a little bit better,” Rodgers said. Harrell took over early in the second
quarter and struggled, completing 12 of 24 passes for 100 yards with two
interceptions.. Ernie Stautner Jersey. . Harrell, the Packers
No. 3 quarterback last year, is trying to prove he can become Rodgers primary
backup after Matt Flynn signed with Seattle in the off-season. “Weve got a lot
of confidence in Graham,” Rodgers said. “Were not worried about him.” He threw
an interception that was returned for a touchdown by safety David Sims in the
third quarter, although a receiver fell down on the play as Harrell threw the
ball under pressure. With Sims touchdown, the Browns led 23-7. Harrells other
interception was on a desperation attempt at the end of the first half, and
Rodgers referred to both interceptions as “hard luck.” “For one reason or
another, just couldnt finish drives,” Harrell said. “Its unfortunate. Weve got
to be more consistent and finish drives when we have the opportunities to. I
think thats kind of how it went.” Former Packers running back Brandon Jackson
added a 1-yard touchdown in the third period, putting the Browns up 30-7.
Harrell then was called for intentional grounding in the end zone early in the
fourth quarter, a safety that put the Browns up 32-7. The Packers have been
beset by injuries early in the preseason. Already having potentially lost inside
linebacker Desmond Bishop for the season because of a hamstring injury, they
ruled 18 players out for Thursdays game. That included Greg Jennings, still
recovering from a concussion sustained in an Aug. 3 scrimmage. The Packers
new-look defence got off to a strong start when Charles Woodson stripped the
ball from running back Montario Hardesty on the first play from scrimmage.
Casey Hayward recovered to give the ball back to the Packers on the Cleveland
23-yard line. As expected, Woodson saw time at safety, moving to cover the slot
receiver on passing downs. Rodgers overthrew Nelson on the Packers first play.
But he found Nelson on a similar route two plays later, as Nelson leaped over
cornerback Joe Haden and hauled down the ball. Notes: Late in the second
quarter, Weeden took a big shot from cornerback Brandian Ross, who came in
unblocked on a blitz. Weeden got up slowly but stayed in. ... Cedric Benson
didnt play after joining the Packers earlier in the week. ... McCarthy was
flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct when he threw a replay challenge flag after
a turnover. McCarthy said the call was correct, but seemed to be hoping for
better communication with the replacement referee crew. ’ ’ ’ 

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