A crucial fixture in Group B headlines Tuesday’s action at Euro 2012. Longtime antagonists Germany and Holland will converge in Kharkiv in what will be a tense match.
The Germans opened their Euro account with a 1-0 victory over Portugal. However, coach Joachim Low, was not completely satisfied with his team’s performance and is keen on seeing better from his club.
The Dutch were shocked by Denmark in their opening match, so this is a vital game for Clockwork Orange. A loss could very well eliminate Holland, which would be disastrous for a side that went to the World Cup Final, a mere 2 years previous.
Don’t expect changes in the German starting eleven. Low will still employ a 4-2-3-1 formation which if favoured in German football. Mario Gomez will be the lone striker up front. The Bayern Munich star, notched the only goal in the match against Portugal, and is expected to find the back of the net, multiple times in the tournament.
Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, and Lukas Podolski are expected to start as the attacking midfielders. Muller and Podolski will be used as wingers, while Ozil is the talismanic figure in the middle. Ozil was terrific in the match against Portugal, as he was named man of the match in the victory.
Bastian Schweinsteiger and Sami Khedira should be the holding midfielders. Schweinsteiger’s fitness is still a concern so there is a chance Toni Kroos may step in. However, Germany is expecting a physical match against Holland, and Schweinsteiger is a strong, physical midfielder. Expect the Bayern Munich midfielder to start for Germany.
The back four should remain the same. Philipp Lahm is a fixture at left back. Jerome Boateng had a superb match at right back against Portugal, as he shut down Cristiano Ronaldo. Boateng will have to do the same against Arjen Robben in this encounter. Holger Badstuber and Mats Hummels are expected to patrol the centre of the backfield.
Manuel Neuer should be the starting keeper for Germany. Neuer wasn’t tested that much against Portugal, but did make a couple of key saves to preserve the German win.
The Dutch haven’t decided on their starting eleven as of yet, but are expected to make some changes to their lineup, after the loss to Denmark on Saturday.
Holland also employed a 4-2-3-1 formation, but could go with a standard 4-2-2, or even a 4-3-3 if they so desire. Robin Van Persie should start for Holland up front. The question is, will Klaas-Jan Huntelaar join him? The Schalke 04 striker came on as a substitute in the Denmark match, and many Dutch supporters feel that “The Hunter” should start to provide a more attacking flair for Holland. If the Dutch go to a 4-3-3, Dirk Kuyt could be on the team sheet as a winger. Kuyt brings pace on the right side and could cause problems in the German backfield. Arjen Robben could also move up from midfield to forward as part of a 4-3-3. Robben plays his club football at Bayern Munich, and is very familiar with this German squad. He should be in the starting lineup, but has to be better than he was against Denmark.
The midfield could also see some changes. If Robben moves up to forward, it’s then possible to see Rafael van der Vaart on the team sheet as a midfielder. The Tottenham midfielder could be used as a winger, or in the centre of the pitch. Wesley Sneijder should be on the team sheet, but his fitness remains a concern for Holland. If Holland use a standard 4-2-2 or stay with the 4-2-3-1, Nigel De Jong and Mark van Bommel will remain on the starting lineup. De Jong was abysmal in the Denmark match, and must straighten himself out against the organized Germans. Both are rigid players who play with a thorn on their side, which could come in handy against the stern Germans.
The back four will most likely stay the same but they did have issues against Denmark. Gregory van der Wiel in particular looked wayward and confused in the opening fixture, and needs to be more focused and stringent against the Germans. John Heitinga, Ron Vlaar, and Jetro Willems should resume their places in the starting eleven, however it would not be a total shock to see either Wilfred Bouma or Khalid Boulahrouz make their way onto the team sheet, or come in as substitutes.
Maarten Stekelenburg should return as the starting keeper, despite conceding the only goal against Denmark. The Roma keeper is a solid last line of defence, and the blame for the defeat should not rest on his shoulders.
Prediction: Expect a physical, even nasty quarrel between these two sides. The Dutch, however have many questions to answer and answering those questions against Germany is never an easy thing to do. The Germans are organized and know they can play better than they did against Portugal. The Dutch will be better as well, but Germany as more quality. Germany win this 2-1.
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