Germany vs. Holland Euro 2012: 5 Reasons Why the Dutch Will Win
After their shock defeat to Denmark, Holland face the grim reality of being on the brink of an unexpected early exit from the Euros.
But despite the uphill battle against two of the tournament's favorites, there are still 180 minutes left for the Oranje to play, 180 minutes for Wesley Sneijder and co. to save their tournament and Bert van Marwijk's job.
That starts today against Germany, 2008's runners-up and the team with one of the tournament's biggest favorite tags. Despite the enormity of their challenge, here are five reasons why Dutch fans should not worry about the clash with their German rivals.
The Dutch are no strangers to being in the so called "Group of Death." Euro 2004, Euro 2008 and the 2006 World Cup arguably saw the Dutch given the hardest group of each tournament, and on each occasion the Oranje have survived and made the next round.
Since 2006, nothing much has changed about this Netherlands team, with a lot of the same players in the current Dutch squad.
2008 saw the Dutch up against Italy and France in Group B, with the two World Cup finalists and then the best two teams in the world. Holland had their best matches against France and Italy, beating 4-1 and 3-0, respectively.
This time, an arguably better Dutch team than the 2008 one face Germany, who are ranked third in the world. If Sneijder & co. can replicate the same kind of form they showed four years ago in Austria-Switzerland and use their experience, they should have no problem against Germany.
In Germany, the Oranje will face familiar opposition. Six of the squad's players, Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong, Arjen Robben, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Joris Mathijsen and Khalid Boulahrouz have played in Germany at one point in their career; apart from Boulahrouz, all are crucial players in the Holland lineup.
With Robben, Huntelaar and Boulahrouz still playing in the German league, these players will provide useful information to van Marwijk on how to deal with a German team that has 19 of its players from the Bundesliga.
With a Dutch team that is scattered amongst various European leagues, Joachim Low won't have the same kind of advantage.
Holland go into today's match with the strongest attack in Europe. Two of their strikers, van Persie and Huntelaar, have both scored a combined total of 85 goals last season, which is already more than all of Germany's attackers combined.
If you bring Luuk de Jong into the picture, that number would be almost tripled. With players like van der Vaart, Sneijder, Robben, Affelay and Kuyt all providing support, it's hard to imagine this Dutch side not scoring.
In other words, when Holland attack, they attack, and not fluff about like they did against Denmark. If van Marwijk can just get that usual Dutch fluidity back into his team's game, they can, like they showed in 2008 and 2010, beat anyone.
Against Denmark, Holland missed their defensive talisman, Joris Mathijsen, who with 80 caps to his name brings crucial experience to the weakest part of Holland's game.
Considering that Germany's attack has the likes of Ozil and Gomez leading it, van Marwijk will need all the experience he can get to deal with the Germans. With Mathijsen now fit from a hamstring injury, his inclusion is essential as the Dutch missed him against the Danes.
Despite his performance against Denmark drawing much criticism, Arjen Robben still remains one of Holland's most important players. At his best, his dazzling runs and rocket-fueled shots can blow any defense to bits, even if they play at the same club as him.
Additionally, there is an added incentive for the Bayern Munich star to defeat his fellow teammates today. After his penalty miss in the Champions League final, Robben has been subject to much booing and jeers from German fans as this friendly against Bayern Munich showed.
So in the face of German adversary, Robben will be determined to prove all his doubters wrong.
If Robben's determination and drive works, Germany, like any side, will struggle to deal with the Dutch winger. Hopefully Robben also watches the telly and will learn from the selfishness that he showed against Denmark; his contribution can make or break Holland's Euro aspirations.
Agree? Disagree? Let me know, and here's to a brilliant match.