Germany vs. Netherlands: Preview and match analysis
Odds: Germany +140, Draw +240, Netherlands +200
Over/Under: Over 2.5 (-105), Under 2.5 (-118)
FIFA world ranking: No. 3
Recent results: 3-0 win vs. Netherlands (11/15/11), 1-2 loss vs. France (02/29/12), 5-3 win vs. Switzerland (05/26/12), 2-0 win vs. Israel (05/31/12), 1-0 win vs. Portugal (Match Day 1, Group B)
Germany continues to be one of, if not the most, consistent world power. The team finished second in Euro 2008, third at the 2010 World Cup, and enters this tournament with its best starting 11 since its World Cup-winning squad in 1990.
The Germans are coming off a 1-0 win against Portugal but didn’t play their best offensive football. The chances were limited and the chemistry was lacking between upfront men Lukas Podolski and Mario Gomez.
Manager Joachim Low hinted veteran striker Miroslav Klose could get the start Wednesday and told reporters he is not afraid of switching up a winning lineup. Central defender Mats Hummels was dominate and disrupted all of Portugal's best scoring chances.
The battle at midfield will be the key for Germany. Playmakers Bastian Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil need to feed the ball to attacking teammates past Holland’s physical holding midfielders.
FIFA world ranking: No. 4
Recent results: 3-2 win vs. England (02/29/12), 1-2 loss vs. Bulgaria (05/26/12), 2-0 win vs. Slovakia (05/30/12), 6-0 win vs. Northern Ireland (05/02/12), 0-1 loss vs. Denmark (Match Day 1, Group B)
The Dutch dominated Denmark in their opening Euro 2012 match but came away with a 1-0 defeat. It’s hard to believe this is the same team that played all the way to the final at South Africa before losing the World Cup to Spain.
There is an abundance of individual brilliance on the squad but no flow among the stars in orange. Robin van Persie led the English Premier League in goals last season but there are already calls for him to take the bench in place of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
It doesn’t matter who starts for Holland as the lone striker. The team will have to be more clinical with its scoring opportunities because Germany will not surrender 32 shots like Denmark did.
A loss will most likely end the Netherlands chances of advancing past the Group stage, while another German win would guarantee them a spot in the quarterfinals. That's why they call it the Group of Death, my friends.
Tactics and lineups
Germany plays a 4-2-3-1 formation with Schweinsteiger and Khedira lined up as the holding midfielders.
Projected lineup: Neur, Boateng, Hummels, Badstuber, Lahm, Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Muller, Ozil, Gotze, Klose.
Holland uses the same 4-2-3-1 with a penchant for a high pressure, attacking style.
Projected lineup: Stekelenburg, Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Willems, De Jong, van Bommel, Robben, Sneijder, Afellay, Huntelaar.
Prediction: Germany 2, Netherlands 1