The Germans will have to beat hosts and favourite Holland, backed by their vociferous fans, in their Group B match on Friday if they want to progress to the semi-finals of the World Cup at The Hague. - SS KANESAN/ The Star
THE HAGUE: Olympic champions Germany have their backs against the wall when they face one of their toughest opponents – Holland – in a Group B match on Friday.
The clash at the Kyocera Stadium here is crucial for the Germans as they need the points to get back on track for the World Cup semi-finals.
Germany started off impressively, whipping South Africa 4-0. But lost their way in their second match, finding Pan-American champions Argentina too hot to handle and went down 1-0.
With Holland in good form on their home ground, Germany will have their work cut out for them as they seek to get back to winning ways.
Germany coach Markus Wiese was far from pleased with his team’s performance against Argentina as he felt that that they did not create enough chances to get the goals.
“Against Argentina, we deserved to lose. We couldn’t create, no corners, nothing. Our build-up was poor. We couldn’t threaten Argentina’s goal. Lots of things were missing and it wasn’t much of a game,” he said on Thursday.
“If you don’t create more chances, you will not score. The Dutch team played a convincing game against Argentina and are probably the top team here.”
Germany skipper Maximilian Muller agrees with his coach.
“The players only gave 87% against Argentina ... we will not win if we do not give 100%. Holland are a good team and strong. We have to start winning again,” he said.
Germany have qualified for the semi-finals in all the 12 World Cups they have taken part in. They were finalists in three World Cups, winning twice – in 2002 (Kuala Lumpur) and 2006 (Mochengladbach). In 2010, Australia denied them a third title.
Germany also defeated Holland in the final of the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
The Germans and the Dutch have been touted as the two teams likely to make the last four from Group B.
But it’s New Zealand who are leading the group with six points. They have a better goal difference to Holland, who also have six points.
With Argentina winning on Tuesday, the semi-final race in the group is very much an open affair.
The Germans still have to play against the Kiwis, who themselves still have Holland and Argentina to tackle.
So the Oceania team will have a major hurdle to clear.
With Holland bent on booking their semi-final berth as early as possible, Friday’s match-up against Germany is set to bear all the hallmarks of a classic clash.