Group B: Germany 2 - 1 NetherlandsWed, Jun 13 2012
Germany defeated a poor Netherlands side by two goals to one in Kharkiv in EURO 2012 Group B . A first half brace from in-form Mario Gomez was enough to secure the deserved win for his nation, despite a late scare from Robin van Persie who netted fifteen minutes from the end.
The first chance of the game fell to Robin van Persie. A fantastic floated ball caught out Hummels and van Persie continued his run to meet the ball on the slide. His effort was weak though, and proved easy pickings for Manuel Neuer.
The irritation from the Dutch support was evident from the early stages, and Holland’s wasteful nature was highlighted with their delivery from set pieces. Four corners delivered from Wesley Sneijder in the first half all failed to find a team mate. Three were delivered to the vacant far post, and the fourth was passed directly to Sami Khedira.
Just shy of twenty five minutes, Germany broke the deadlock. Bastian Schweinsteiger seemed to have an age to pick out Mario Gomez who timed his run perfectly. Although the pass was behind him, a world class first touch enabled him to swivel and calmly finish past Stekelenburg.
Arjen Robben found himself in dangerous crossing positions time after time, but instead opted to cut in and try speculative efforts for the remainder of the first half despite support in the box from Robin van Persie and runners from midfield.
Germany should have scored once more as a clever run from Thomas Muller was picked out by Bastian Schweinsteiger. His cross for Gomez was just a yard too far in front of the frontman, and the Netherlands were let off the hook.
Moments after, Mesut Ozil delivered an inch perfect cross from a dead ball to the head of Badstuber. Completely alone in the six yard box, his header was straight at Stekelenburg, and Germany appeared to be really turning the screw.
Germany did eventually double their lead just before the half as a long kick-out from Neuer was well controlled by the Germans. Some tidy passing and a fantastic through ball established a move that Mario Gomez finished off in style. From an acute angle, the Bayern Munich striker blasted into the far corner, over Stekelenburg once more.
The game was almost ended as a contest with the last kick of the half. A free kick in a wide position was drilled in from Schweinsteiger. A deflection almost proved costly for the Dutch as Stekelenburg had to be at full stretch to push the ball over the crossbar.
The Dutch looked to change things at half time. A change in personnel was implemented as Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart were introduced.
An adventurous run from Mats Hummels resulted in him having an effort on goal from sixteen yards. His attempt was pushed away but he muscled through to stab in a second shot; also saved by Stekelenburg.
The Dutch almost found a way back into the game courtesy of the Premier League’s top scorer, Robin van Persie. A good run down the left wing from Robben looked productive. His cross found van Persie on the edge of the box and his powerful drive was superbly pushed away by Manuel Neuer.
A fantastic effort from Wesley Sneijder just past the hour mark was so close to bringing Holland to within a goal, but it seemed to curl wide of the right hand post just at the crucial second.
Robben was the next guilty party as Wesley Sneijder found him in the box from out wide. His control was first class, but his finish was second rate. The poor half volley was drilled far past the right hand post.
The German lead was halved with fifteen minutes to go. A quick turn and dribble from van Persie presented him with space. His powerful effort from twenty yards flew past Neuer and the game burst back into life.
The final fifteen minutes of the tie produced a lot of Dutch pressure without any real chances being created. Germany could have extended their lead and sealed the win just five minutes from the end as Stekelenburg delayed his clearance following a back-pass. Miroslav Klose came close to tackling the ball into net, but in the end, the ball fell narrowly wide of the post.
A superb team effort from the Germans sees them all but qualify for quarter-finals.
Germany: Manuel Neuer; Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Holgar Badstuber, Philip Lahm; Thomas Muller (Lars Bender 92), Sami Khedira, Bastian Schwiensteiger, Lukas Podolski, Mesut Ozil (Toni Kroos 81); Mario Gomez (Miroslav Klose 72).
Subs not used: Tim Wiese, Ron-Robert Zieler, Marcel Schmelzer, Benedikt Howedes, Per Mertesacker, Ilkay Gundogan, Mario Gotze, Marcus Reus, Andre Schurrle.
Netherlands: Maarten Stekelenburg; Gregory van Der Wiel, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Jetro Willems; Nigel de Jong, Mark van Bommel (Rafael van der Vaart 45); Arjen Robben (Dirk Kuyt 83), Wesley Sneijder, Ibrahim Afellay (Klaas Jan Huntelaar 45); Robin van Persie.
Subs not Used: Luciano Narsingh, Tim Krul, Luuk De Jong, Wilfred Bouma, Khalid Boulahrouz, Stijn Schaars, Kevin Strootman, Ron Vlaar, Michel Vorm.
Referee: Jonas Eriksson (Sweden)
Extratime.ie Man of the Match: Bastian Schweinsteiger.
Andrew joined Extratime for the 2010 season and covers all the on-goings down in Limerick. Having first experienced the League of Ireland in 2002, Andrew became hooked, even at such an early age. He is currently studying English and New Media at the University of Limerick. You can contact him via Twitter @Cunneen92.