Game in a sentence
Germany produces one of the greatest overall team performances the European Championships have ever seen to completely dominate the Dutch in every facet of the game.
- Forget how close this looks with the score. The Germans, against a good Netherlands team, were absolutely magnificent. Every one of them.
- Manuel Neuer, the goalkeeper, had little to do but still produced a fantastic save on 58 minutes, denying Robin Van Persie when the Dutch tried to get back in the game.
- Jerome Boateng was brilliant at right back once again and is becoming a master at switching the ball to the left flank with his great long passes. His fellow full back Philipp Lahm spent the entire game a step ahead of Arjen Robben on the left side. In fact, his ease on his right foot and ability to comfortably go inside against Robben, playing again as an inverted winger, once again raises doubts about Robben playing on the right.
- Mats Hummels has been the tournament’s best defender so far, dominant in the air, never out of position and always keen to move forward on the ball. His partner Holger Badstuber was as solid as ever and would have scored if it wasn’t for Maarten Stekelenburg’s save, one of many he made in Kharkiv.
- Sami Khedira played the best game I’ve seen his play. He has a wonderful understanding with Bastian Schweinstieger and covers ground with superb energy and desire. Schweinsteiger, who has struggled with fitness this season, looked back to his best with penetrating runs that the Dutch simply couldn’t cover and two great passes that led to the goals. Even when the game was 2-1 and legs started to get tired, Schweinsteiger kept running and stripped Dirk Kuyt in a key moment as the game ticked towards the 90th minute mark.
- Wide men Thomas Muller and Lukas Podolski finished the game quietly but showed Bert Van Marwijk why it’s still cool to have natural wide men in the position their feet favour. Muller on the right terrorized young Jetro Willems, always looking to get in behind him, something inverted wingers, preferring to cut in, do rarely.
- Striker Mario Gomez did what he does best, score. His goals were of course helped by the fantastic, controlled play by the system but that should take nothing away from a man too many people want to class as ‘simply a goalscorer’. If that’s his issue then the German frontman is guilty as charged. His two goals were brilliantly taken and proved to be the difference on the scoresheet and reflect the team’s dominance in other areas. His first, after he was found by the brilliant Schweinsteiger, saw him control the ball, spin and calmly finish past Stekeleburg. His second came after his superb movement from the righ, whicht left Johnny Heitinga ball watching, and again saw him finish after a ball by Schweinsteiger.
- Finally, we leave the the last player analysed for a reason. Mesut Ozil is 23 and you could make a legitimate case that he is the third best player in the world now. Ozil gave his opposite number Wesley Sneijder a masterclass in movement in that position. His lateral moves were marvellous, constantly confusing Holland’s defence as he linked up with his teammates. There is a reason he rarely finishes a game. It’s because he deserves to sit still during the 90 minutes because he never stops moving when he is on the pitch.
- The Dutch were outclassed, outworked and outcoached in all areas. Bert Van Marwijk picked the same front six as he did against Denmark and it didn’t work again. He admitted so, bringing on Rafael van der Vaart and Klaas Jan Huntelaar at half time, and they did improve with Sneijder moving to the left but all-in-all they were second best by a country mile.
- Disappointment will set in for the Dutch people, who know football more than most, despite a chance they can still qualify. They will know that they are a long, long way behind this German team. Van der Wiel and Willens were poor, their central defenders are average, Robben was lazy and made some horrendous decisions with the ball and Mark Van Bommel’s international career should be over. He’s done.
- Ask anyone who watched this match to pick a starting XI in a 4-2-3-1 from the starting 22 players and you’ll be pressed to pick any more than one player from the Netherlands. The only man from Germany who might not make the side scored two goals in this game.
- All-in-all this Germany team have it all. Except a major championship victory. In 18 days time that void could very well be filled.
- Mesut Ozil
- Bastian Schweinsteiger
- Mario Gomez
Six Super Stats
- No team has reached the knockout phase of a European Championship after losing two matches.
- Since the European Championship introduced a group phase in 1980, (West) Germany have won their opening two matches on two previous occasions. Both times they went on to win the tournament (1980, 1996).
- Mario Gomez became the 10th German player to score a brace in a European Championship match. He joined Vaclav Pilar (CZE) and Alan Dzagoev (RUS) in scoring in both of their country’s first two matches at Euro 2012.
- Gomez has scored in five of his last six starts for Germany, only failing to score in the 3-3 draw against the Ukraine last November.
- It is the first time in 17 years the Netherlands have lost successive international matches (Apr-Jun 1995, when they lost to Czech Republic and Belarus).
- This was the first time ever at a World Cup or European Championship that the Netherlands were two goals behind at half-time.
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