By Dean Wilkins
Coined the ‘group of death’, Germany, Holland, Portugal and Denmark will battle it out to reach the Euro 2012 quarter-finals.
Tournament juggernauts Germany are three-time winners of the Cup and ploughed their way through qualifying – scoring 34 goals and conceding seven.
The freewheeling attacking force of Golden Boot favourite Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose and Thomas Mueller will begin their campaign on June 9.
But with 11 under-23s in the squad the fresh legs of André Schürrle and Mario Gotze are the ones to watch along with influential captain Philipp Lahm.
World Cup 2010 finalists Holland will have a tough route to Euro 2012 victory as they look to battle out of Group B.
Star strikers Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will lead a three-pronged attack to include Champions League finalist Arjen Robben.
The Dutch fired 37 goals past opponents to reach the Euros – including 16 against San Marino – and are tournament favourites for many.
But the 1988 winners will find getting out of the ‘group of death’ problematic if Total Football falls short.
Manchester United target Wesley Sneijder could give English fans a glimpse of what can be expected next season should he finally sign on at Old Trafford.
YOUNG GUN: Denmark and Ajax playmaker Christian Eriksen
Denmark lifted the Cup in 1992 and have been written off doing the same this year with their group fixtures.
But the Danes qualified above Portugal and have experienced internationals in Christian Poulsen, Daniel Agger and star-keeper Anders Lindegaard.
A mix of artistic talent and industrial characters could prove a tough test for the rest of the group – expect the Danes to draw.
Star player is likely to be Ajax playmaker and Arsenal target Christian Eriksen – Denmark’s youngest ever goal scorer.
All eyes will be on Portugal hero Cristiano Ronaldo as they look to cause an upset and progress to the quarters.
The Real Madrid hero scored 60 goals this season but may crack under the pressure of a one-man team.
Joao Moutinho, Hugo Viana and Nani will deliver extra support as they seek their first tournament win but Holland and Germany may prove too strong.
It is the group of death but Germany have to be the favourites with Holland a close second behind them. Denmark and Portugal could surprise but they look set to battle it out for third.