The biggest match of the Group stages has finally arrived. Netherlands vs Germany, on Matchday 2, in the Group of Death, sometimes referred to as Group B (!). What makes this one especially interesting is that those pesky Danes had to go and beat the Netherlands in the first game of the tournament. That means that if Portugal avoid defeat, and Netherlands do lose, then they’re headed back home to the land of tulips and windmills. And angry football fans.
So the Dutch must win. The Germans probably don’t even do the math. The enemy must be destroyed. Plain and simple. But contrary to the stereotype, they have come to be known for a fairly entertaining brand of football, brought to their notice by their coach, Joachim Low (who cant, for some reason, seem to stop touching his nose). But back to the point, Mesut Ozil and company will look to give a somewhat shaky looking Dutch defence a tougher time than Denmark did, albeit all they had was a Bendtner. Unfortunately for the Dutch, ze Germans have a pretty strong looking back four as well, so Sneijder and his playdates might have a bit of a tough time picking out passes for van Persie to shoot into the crowd. Many claim that Huntelaar might start up front for the Oranges but that is just speculation. Or wishful thinking, however you want to put it.
The general formations of both teams on paper seems to be the same (4-2-3-1), so I’m hoping they don’t cancel each other out, with Nigel De Jong scissor kicking Ozil in half and Schweinstiger clobbering Wesley Sneijder. Germany seem to have the better full backs as well as centre backs, but if Robben, Sneijder and whoever else plays on the flank, probably Affelay or RvP if Huntelaar plays, can team up then the Dutch seem to have enough quality to get a goal or two. The central midfield battle, and a battle it will be, will probably be won by whoever gets the fewest red cards. I’m secretly hoping van Bommel gets what’s coming to him (a drop kick to the face). The key will once again be if the Dutch can put away their chances because they’re definitely not going get as many chances as they did last time.
This match seems to be suited perfectly suited to the Germans. We could have a throw back to their performances at the World Cup with them strolling into the park, chilling out for a while and BANG! Goal. After that they just chill some more, have a few beers, and then when they get the ball, BANG! Another sucker punch and your’e out of the game and possibly the tournament.
I woudn’t bet against the Germans going ahead within the first half an hour and then the Dutch coming back to grab a draw. Whether that will be good enough to stay in the tournament is anyone’s guess.
Also, it seems too long since Bastian Schweinstiger has scored. Tonight might just be it.
My prediction : 1-1.