Oranje look for redemption against their old rivals Die Mannschaft
Group B: Netherlands vs.Germany
Wednesday, 13 June 2012
21:45 (local time); 14:45(EST); 00:15(IST)
Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv
After the final draw of the tournament was done this was one of the most eagerly awaited matches. It was supposed to be the match between two favourites to decide who would top the group. The match was worthy of a final. The long history between the two teams was at the forefront of the media. After the first round of matches it is a much different proposition.
The Dutch have lost their opening match against Denmark and have to get a positive result in this match. They have their back to the wall and a defeat may see them eliminated if Denmark beat Portugal in the other game. Netherlands need to be the masters of their destiny and they have the personnel to do so.
Germany overcame Portugal by a single goal in their opening match. However, their performance was far from their billing of favourites. The Germans were lucky to come away with full points against Portugal. They can be the first side to cement their place in the quarter finals with a win. German national teams always seem to rise to the occasion in big tournaments and their winning mentality is a strength.
Robben versus Lahm: Key match-up of club teammates
Netherlands dominated for long periods against Denmark and had a staggering 28 attempts on goal the highest by any team in the first round of matches. The problem was that their strikers were wasteful and did not really test the opposition goalkeeper. The team just needs to sort out their finishing and they can do that being the highest scoring team from the qualifiers.
Germany has been a breath of fresh air in that last two major tournaments abandoning their traditionally dour style of play for an attacking style. The first match was a return to their old style of play with dour defending a lot of possession against Portugal. There was none of the crisp passing, movement and pace that have become synonymous with this team. Although Portugal sat back not allowing them to play their game, Netherlands with their style of play just might give them the opportunity.
Teams & Formations
The Netherlands had a problem with their strikers in the opening match. The manager Bert Van Marwjik is supposed to be facing a revolt led by the players left on the bench for the opener namely Rafael Van der Vaart and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Robin Van Persie who started the Denmark game failed to reproduce the form that made him top scorer in the English Premier League. Huntelaar may very well start this match as the first choice forward. It is unlikely that the manager will play both strikers although the current situation of the team seems to indicate so. The good thing is that Joris Mathijsen the first choice centre back is fit. Netherlands will start with a 4-2-3-1 formation. It is to be seen if Van Marwjik plays Van der Vaart or De Jong as the second midfielder with Van Bommel. For them Sneijder and Robben will be the key to unlock the opposition defence.
Netherlands(4-2-3-1): Maarten Stekelenburg; Gregory Van der Wiel; John Heitinga; Joris Mathijsen,; Jetro Willems; Nigel de Jong; Mark Van Bommel; Arjen Robben; Wesley Sneijder; Ibrahim Afellay; Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Manager: Bert Van Marwjik
Germany did not play the way their manager Joachim Loew would have wanted them to. They dominated possession but there was a definite lack of creativity in the attacking zone. In this match they will start with their usual 4-2-3-1 formation. The Germans will play for the win which will ensure qualification. However, they have a history of losing their second group stage matches which has happened in the last two major tournaments. They will also look to a better performance from Lukas Podolski who was not his usual self missing changes, giving away the ball cheaply and Andre Schurrle may start in his place. The defensive line-up with Boateng at right-back will always remain a concern. The clash between Philipp Lahm and his club team mate Arjen Robben on the right-wing will be fascinating. Mesul Ozil and Mario Gomez will be their key players along with Lahm in defence. Germany starts as a slight favourite but only just.
Germany(4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Jerome Boateng; Mats Hummels; Philipp Lahm; Sammy Khedira; Bastien Schweinsteiger; Thomas Muller; Mesul Ozil; Lukas Podolski; Mario Gomez
Manager: Joachim Loew
“How do we beat them? Well I won’t tell you that because I’ll tell my own team that. The Germans are very strong but we can also beat them. How we do that and where we do that, I won’t tell you now.” – Bert Van Marwjik Netherlands Manager.
“They’re the most interesting and best matches of the last 20-30 years. It will be very intense, there’s a huge rivalry and technically it will be a very good, but what happened in the past is history now.” – Joachim Loew Germany Manager.