Germany bamboozle dismal Dutch
13 Jun, Euro 2012 (Group B): Holland 1, Germany 2 (Kharkiv)
Rarely before has a failure in a tournament proved to be such a blessing in disguise. In Euro 2000, the Germans led by Oliver Bierhoff and containing a 39-year-old Lothar Matthaus failed miserably in the group stages with defeats to England and Portugal and a draw with Romania.
After this tournament, it was decided that youth was the way forward and that all the efforts would be put into the German youth system … and, my, how it is now paying off. The likes of Schweinsteiger, Muller and Gomez are coming of age now and you can just tell from their performances that the players know each other inside out and respect each other so much so that they would run through a brick wall for each other.
You look at Holland and, as a spectator, it makes you angry to see the arrogance and the self-righteousness that most of the players show. Look at Arjen Robben. He gets substituted, takes his shirt off and walks past the Dutch fans as if to say “it’s not my fault, it’s theirs”.
Holland really should be firing on all cylinders with the players they have and I really fancied them last night but, yet again, their own attitude has been their downfall. They now require a minor miracle to qualify and I can see the Germans resting a few against Denmark because they are as good as through and they wouldn’t want the Dutch going through because, sooner or later, they surely will pick up.
Germany are really playing the beautiful game the way the Dutch used to and the Dutch are now playing the way the Germans used to. The big difference is that the Germans can do it and the Dutch can’t. Germany would steam-roller teams in years gone by bullying them with the immense Matthaus running the show.
Holland kick it long frequently and they don’t have the players to do that. They have more musicians than water carriers and that makes for tricky play when you play the tactics they are. They are so static, it’s amazing when you look at the freedom these players play with at their clubs. They are rigid with no imagination and that’s something that is never associated with the Dutch.
Then look at Germany. They have their target man in Mario Gomez but he ends up linking play very well while Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil and the likes roam around interchanging positions completely and this bamboozled a static Dutch 4-4-2 formation that had no answer.
Germany are firing in all cylinders and I would go as far to say that whoever beats them will be winning the tournament. The Dutch still haven’t learnt. It’s not a typical Dutch mentality so that can’t be used as an excuse. I have played with many Dutch players and, let me tell you, they are a pleasure to have in your team and, by and large, would do anything for their team-mates.
It just seems that there are too many egos in this team and that’s a real shame but, hey ho, that’s something that they will have to address eventually if they are to become anything more than also-rans.
Match rating (out of five): ***
Also in Group B: Denmark 2, Portugal 3 (Lviv)
This was much better from Portugal although they nearly threw it away at the end. Cristiano Ronaldo missed some great opportunities but at least he was there to miss them and it didn’t alter the result. He will not miss next time. Going forward, the Portuguese are a match for anyone, but at the back they are suspect at best. Danish willpower got them back level but Portugal’s superior skill got them their deserved winner.
Match rating: ***