Poland euphoric after Group A draw with Russia, and Germany bids farewell to Holland before the game has even kicked off
No prizes for guessing who is on the front page of every Polish newspaper this morning. Jakub Blaszczykowski – affectionally known as "Kuba" or, as the Polish edition of Metro dubs him on Wednesday, Kuba "The Divine" Blaszczykowski – dominates the newsstands, with the photo of his gaping-mouth joy at his spectacular equaliser against Russia seemingly capturing the country's mood as perfectly as his left foot caught the ball in the 57th minute.
"Kuba! Goool!!!" headlines Gazeta Pomorska, getting straight to the point, while Dziennik Zachodni goes with "Kuba, Thanks!" and Gazeta Krakowska screams "Yeeeess!". In the midst of all the jubilation, Dziennik Baltycki trumpets a sobering note, its headline reminding readers that Kuba's wonder goal merely secured a draw and "Now we must win!"
Euphoria was absent from Russian reports, with Gazeta fretting that Dick Advocaat's team, despite playing very well in patches, were "not as fresh as the hosts at the end", concluding that "unfortunately the myth of our invincibility has been dispelled", though that myth was hardly widespread to begin with.
Meanwhile, the myth of German invincibility seems to be alive and well in the pages of the country's loudest tabloid, Bild. It blares on Wednesday "sorry, Holland, it's all over for you, today Germany goes to the quarter-finals and sends your team home!" The Dutch defender Gregory van der Wiel is not buying such cant, telling Het Parool that it is "typical tabloid arrogance" and suggesting "I don't think the Germans are really sleeping so easy".
Joachim Löw is certainly not complacent, as Bild well knows, since its back page shrieks news of the manager "raging at his stars", breathlessly recounting how Löw "interrupted training yesterday with a loud whistle before bringing the players together … and roaring '80% is not enough! You must play like you did in Hamburg!'." That, of course, is a reference to Germany's 3-0 friendly victory over Holland.
"Now Holland is trembling," says Kicker. It also devotes space to "der zoff" between striker Mario Gomez and the former Bayern Munich schemer Mehmet Scholl, who works as a pundit and suggested after Germany's laboured win over Portugal in the first match that Gomez needs to modify the way he plays. "For what reasons should I change? There are no reasons!" replied the striker.
In Denmark, readers of Ekstra Bladet are displaying Bild-esque levels of confidence, with a survey showing that 83% expect the country to oust Portugal. It fell to the paper to add a hopeful tone to the optimism, as it pleaded: "Come on Nicklas [Bendtner], give us another goal!"
The Portuguese, meanwhile, hardly dare express hope in their striker, O Jogo merely announcing what is at stake by headlining "Bento banks on Postiga", while A Bola blathers about a titanic battle with Vikings.