Germany held by dogged Dutch defence

Visitors Germany had to settle for a 0-0 draw against old foes Netherlands despite dominating possession in a friendly international on Wednesday.

Mario Gotze was twice denied by Dutch defender John Heitinga midway through the first half while Marco Reus shot just wide for the Germans.

"This was a positive game for me. We had a team with lots of changes and a lot of key players missing," Germany coach Joachim Low told reporters.

"We stuck to our positions, we had discipline and worked very well in defence and that as the most important thing for us after the Sweden game."

Low was referring to the Germans' last World Cup qualifier against Sweden in October when they enjoyed a 4-0 lead after an hour only to allow four Swedish goals in the final 30 minutes to draw 4-4.

"We were courageous in the first half, going forward. It was more balanced in the second but what is important is that we did not allow the Dutch many chances," he added.

Netherlands' only good chance came in the second period when Daryl Janmaat's fine effort was blocked by goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

The Dutch also suffered a blow when Schalke 04's Ibrahim Afellay limped off injured.

"I really enjoyed how the Germans played the first half, so much control of the ball and so dominant but they took no profit out of it," said Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, previously of Bayern Munich.

"But that happened because we allowed them to play like that and I have to praise our mental strength as we regained control after the break but we were not so dominant like the Germans."

The two sides, missing several high-profile players including Robin van Persie and Miroslav Klose, are top of their respective 2014 World Cup qualifying groups.

Netherlands, the 2010 runners-up, next host Estonia in a Group D qualifier in March while big rivals Germany travel to Kazakhstan.


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