Portugal and the Netherlands were handed losses in their first group matches. Can they rebound in game two?
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Portugal: 1-2, misses elimination round.
It’s no secret Portugal’s strength lies in its attack: whether it’s Nani on the wing, Raul Meireles in the midfield or the always on fire or under fire Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal can score and create mismatches up front. Their weakness is in the backfield, where locker room unrest has led to the departure of star backs Ricardo Carvalho and José Bosingwa and has left the Portuguese side perhaps incapable of stopping a good attack in a group that is chock-full of them.
Netherlands: 2-1, advances to elimination round.
The feel-good story of the summer of 2010 was the Dutch run to the World Cup finals, signaling a revival of a once-great, now great again soccer nation. Their approach changed from sides of old, favoring a more defensive style over all-out attack, as evidenced by their only conceding one goal in the group stages of 2010. That’s not to say the Dutch lack aggression up front; striker Robin van Persie has become a star in his own right for Arsenal while Mark van Bommel, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben are all players that can create space for themselves. This club is as balanced as it is capable and has a good shot at making another deep run.
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