Top teams flop show in Euro 2012

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Top teams flop show in Euro 2012
Theso-called 'favourites' tag has been more of a curse for some teams in UEFA Euro 2012. With a side brimming with world class players, nobody can judge the performance and value of a particular team while the competitive nature of the tournament has left a few former champions struggling to cross the first round.

With the Group stage coming to a close, sides like Netherlands and Italy have been staring at the exit door for not playing to their potential, while 'smaller' teams have used this platform to beat the best in Europe.

The Dutch, European Champions back in 1988 and the 2010 World Cup runners-up, were tipped favourites along side neighbors and rivals Germany in 'The Group of Death'. Denmark, who are also in Group B including Portugal, beat the Oranje 1-0 in their Group opener.

Coach Bert van Marjiwk had to choose between Robin van Persie for his brilliant show in the Premier League last season and Klass Jan Huntelaar, who scored 12 goals in Holland's qualifiers.

Denmark proved nothing is impossible while the Dutch failed to fightback after conceding a goal in the first half. The likes of Arjen Robben, Wesley Sniejder, Ibrahim Afelley failed to deliver the goods when their side needed it the most.

Despite playing in one of their best season at club level most players failed to carry their form into Euro 2012, but unlike other teams, none of the Dutch players belong to the same club.

Former Champions Italy showed their class and experience against reigning World and European Champions Spain, managing a 1-1 draw. But despite going ahead against Croatia, the Azzurri couldn't prevent the Croats from getting an equaliser. Cesar Prandelli's side have to win in their last Group encounter against Ireland, who were eliminated after a 4-0 loss to Spain.

Italy's formation (3-5-2) helps them dominate midfield but three at the back gives the opposition a chance to exploit from wide areas, which is exactly what Croatia did in their previous clash. A side packed with veterans like Andrea Pirlo and Antonio Di Natale failed to live up to their fans expectations.

Having lost the first two matches, the Dutch are under serious threat of elimination if they fail to win against Portugal in their last Group encounter.

Champions of Europe in 2004, Greece find themselves at the bottom of Group A who face leaders Russia in their final group match. The Greeks should play for nothing less than a win but face a bigger challenge while battling the in-form Russian side.

Co-hosts Poland and Ukraine are on third position in their respective groups but need a win to progress to the quarter-finals. The Polish clash against the Czechs while the Ukrainians have to seal three points against England.

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