2012 European Championships : Germany 2 – Holland 1


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Holland World Cup winger ARJEN ROBBEN (11) of this season’s beaten UEFA Champions League Finalist Bayern Munich runs past his Bundesiga professional colleague in Bavaria, Germany captain and left back PHILIPP LAHM (16), during the critical 2012 UEFA European Championships Group B match contested at the Metalist Stadium in the Ukranian city of Kharkiv.
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A pair of well-taken first half strikes from last season’s leading scorer in the Bundesliga held up when a second half rally quickly ran out of steam on a very hot summer night in the Ukraine as confident GERMANY defeated long-time rival and next-door-neighbor HOLLAND 2-1 on the second day of competition in Group B at the 2012 UEFA European Championships.

MARIO GOMEZ of Bayern Munich, who led the German top flight a year ago with 28 goals on the 2010/11 season, twice accepted outstanding service from Bundesliga constituent BASTIAN SCHWEINSTEIGER, a tireless engine in midfield for Deutschland all evening long, and skillfully shot past Dutch goalkeeper MAARTEN STEKELENBURG of Italian capital city club AS Roma twice within a quarter of an hour.

Super Mario opened the scoring for Germany in the 24th minute after accepting a surgical pass from Schweinsteiger and turning sharply with a spin-o-rama move the left the Dutch defense little more than an unanswered prayer for what would have been an incorrect offsides decision.

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Central defender HOLGER BADSTUBER (14) of Bayern Munich might have scored a second goal for Germany against the Netherlands in the first half even sooner but directed his close-range header right at Holland goalkeeper MAARTEN STEKELENBURG, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finalist and former Ajax Amsterdam netminder now standing between the stickings in Italy.
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Shortly after Badstuber went close, Gomez did net a second goal for the Germans with a splendid, sharp-angle shot which curled away from Stekelenburg and tucked just inside the far post. Once again it was the highly-experienced international Schweinsteiger who had delivered a wonderful, final ball to the Bayern Munich Torjaeger in the box. Spanish legionnaire MESUT OEZIL of 2012 La Liga champion Real Madrid, who had been unlucky to hit the woodwork early on in the match with the Dutch, had also been prominently involved by squaring for Schweini.

A 25th career international goal from the prolific Gomez put Germany firmly in control and prompted Dutch trainer BERT VAN MARWIJK to make two key substitutions at the halftime break. One of those sent on for Holland was none other than this season’s leading goal-scorer in the Bundesliga, striker KLAAS JAN HUNTELAAR of Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen. The other was the winger RAFAEL VAN DER VAART of English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur, the 29-year-old, one-time SV Hamburg veteran who was making his 98th career appearance for die Oranje in the match against century-old adversary Germany.

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Germany goalkeeper MANUEL NEUER of Bayern Munich, who earned his spurs for the national team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa two summers ago, was credited with five saves against Holland by the official website of the 2012 UEFA European Championships and now has registered a dozen saves while conceding just once in two games thus far.
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Holland striker ROBIN VAN PERSIE, the 28-year-old FC Arsenal striker who scored 30 goals in the English top flight this term, came into the game more after the restart and forced alert Germany goalkeeper MANUEL NEUER of Bayern Munich into a flying save with a stinging volley just before the hour. With a little less than twenty minutes remaining, van Persie finally lifted the Dutch back into genuine contention and halved the deficit with a ferocious drive that beat Neuer low to the German’s left. For a shortwhile thereafter, Holland looked as if it might capitalize on the momentum.

But an equalizer never really was on the cards as Germany began to control the ball in earnest while playing a bit of keep away to kill the clock. Holland, having taken off former Bayern Munich ball-winner MARK VAN BOMMEL at halftime, could not come up with a solution to counter that while Huntelaar, who paced the Bundesliga this season with 29 goals for Schalke 04, was well-handled by the German backline.

Germany, who improved its record to 15 wins against 10 losses with 14 ties in matches with the neighboring Dutch since first meeting the Netherlands in April of 1910, has all but assured itself of a place in the quarterfinals with a second consecutive win at Euro 2012. Holland, on the other hand, will have to defeat resurgent Portugal by at least two goals on the third and final day of play in Group B. On top of that positive result, the Dutch will also need the Germans to defeat Denmark, as well.

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GERMANY
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goal — Manuel NEUER (Bayern Munich / 28 caps)

defense — Jerome BOATENG (Bayern Munich / 23 caps, 0 go), Mats HUMMELS (Borussia Dortmund / 16 caps, 1 go), Holger BADSTUBER (Bayern Munich / 22 caps, 1 go), Philipp LAHM (Bayern Munich / 88 caps, 4 go)

def midfield — Bastian SCHWEINSTEIGER (Bayern Munich / 92 caps, 23 go), Sami KHEDIRA (Real Madrid – Spa / 29 caps, 1 go)

att midfield — Thomas MUELLER (Bayern Munich / 29 caps, 10 go), Mesut OEZIL (Real Madrid – Spa / 35 caps, 8 go), Lukas PODOLSKI (1.FC Koeln / 99 caps, 43 go)

forward — Mario GOMEZ (Bayern Munich / 54 caps, 25 go)

substitutes
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FW – Miroslav KLOSE (SS Lazio Rome – Ita / 118 caps, 63 go)
for Gomez – 72nd min
MF – Toni KROOS (Bayern Munich / 28 caps, 2 go)
for Oezil – 81st min
MF – Lars BENDER (Bayer Leverkusen / 8 caps, 0 go)
for Mueller – 90+4th min

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HOLLAND
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goal — Maarten STEKELENBURG (AS Roma – Ita / 49 caps)

defense — Gregory VAN DER WIEL (Ajax Amsterdam / 34 caps, 0 go), John HEITINGA (FC Everton – Eng / 80 caps, 7 go), Joris MATHIJSEN (FC Malaga – Spa / 81 caps, 3 go), Jetro WILLEMS (PSV Eindhoven / 4 caps, 0 go)

def midfield — Mark VAN BOMMEL (AC Milan – Ita / 79 caps, 10 go), Nigel DE JONG (Manchester City – Eng / 62 caps, 1 go)

att midfield — Arjen ROBBEN (Bayern Munich – Ger / 59 caps, 17 go), Wesley SNEIJDER (Inter Milan – Ita / 86 caps, 24 go), Ibrahim AFELLAY (FC Barcelona – Spa / 40 caps, 5 go)

forward — Robin VAN PERSIE (FC Arsenal – Eng / 66 caps, 29 go)

substitutes
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MF – Rafael VAN DER VAART (Tottenham Hotspur – Eng / 98 caps, 18 go) for van Bommel – 46th min
FW – Klaas Jan HUNTELAAR (Schalke 04 Gelsenkirchen – Ger / 55 caps, 31 go)
for Afellay – 46th min
FW – Dirk KUYT (FC Liverpool – Eng / 90 caps, 24 go)
for Robben – 83rd min

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