The Back of the Net boys report on Holland 1-2 Germany
Holland are on the brink of elimination from Euro 2012 after a devastating defeat by bitter rivals Germany and coach Bert van Marwijk has admitted disappointment at the performances of his defence, midfield, attack, substitutes, kit manufacturer and fans.
The Dutch came into the competition amongst the favourites, with their brutal, bloodthirsty progress to the final of the 2010 World Cup still fresh in the mind. However, after squandering 450 clear chances in a 1-0 defeat to Denmark, the men in orange knew they had to triumph over their old enemy to maintain a realistic chance of progressing.
Games between Germany and Holland are renowned for their ferocity and several players on both sides, quite rightly, took the field in full body armour. UN peacekeepers stood by on the sidelines prepped to intervene should things turn nasty.
After a nervy opening, Germany started to dictate the pace and asked questions of the Dutch defence, including "Why is there a huge gap between the two centre-backs?" and "WhatÃ¢ÂÂs your capital city then: Amsterdam or The Hague?Ã¢ÂÂ, to which the Dutch had no satisfactory answers.
"Where am I? And who's he?"
There was also a lack of cohesion within the Holland team. Jonis Mathijsen had to be formally introduced to Wesley Sneijder in the 65th minute, while Arjen Robben repeatedly appealed to Jetro Willems for free-kicks, believing him to be the referee.
Germany took full advantage and a Mario Gomez double took the game away from Van MarwijkÃ¢ÂÂs men. Even a superb Robin van Persie goal couldnÃ¢ÂÂt rescue a point, leaving the Dutch boss to rue everything.
Ã¢ÂÂI have a great many regrets,Ã¢ÂÂ Van Marwijk told press. Ã¢ÂÂMy main disappointments were the defence, midfield, attack, the way our kit has these weird patches on it and the odd guttural chants our fans sang in a language that makes German seem elegant.
Ã¢ÂÂMaarten Stekelenburg is OK, though.Ã¢ÂÂ
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IRL 1-3 CRO: Ireland defeated as every chance somehow falls to Keith AndrewsSPA 1-1 ITA: Torres performance vindicates Spain decision to play with no strikers
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