Monday 20 November 2017

Euro 2012: Under-fire Van Marwijk expects Holland to silence their critics

Holland coach Bert van Marwijk is confident his side can bounce back from their opening Euro 2012 loss against Denmark with victory over Germany in Kharkiv tonight.

The Dutch have their backs to the wall in Group B after suffering a shock defeat against the Danes, and defeat against their historic rivals could see them make an early exit.

Van Marwijk could not hide his frustration at the treatment he and his side have received from Holland's media following their unexpected setback.

His answers at the pre-match press conference were almost monosyllabic as he paid short shrift to the critical questions.

"I am used to it by now," he quipped. "We are here preparing for one of the most important games in the last few years and so I don't want to talk about other things. The Germans are very strong, but we can beat them, but I won't tell you how we are going to do that."

He would not reveal whether Joris Mathijsen will be fit to start, other than to say that the ex-Hamburg defender "trained yesterday and will train again today, and then we will see".

The two nations met little over six months ago when Germany ran out 3-0 winners in a friendly match in Hamburg, and midfielder Wesley Sneijder is plotting revenge.

"We are here for one thing and that is the game against Germany and we have got to win it," he said.

"We learnt a lot from that game. There was a lot that went wrong in it, not just the scoreline, but we have learnt from it and it will not happen again."

Germany coach Joachim Loew hopes his side can book their place in the quarter-finals.

He knows what is at stake for both sides, but is only focusing on his own team's future in a game which is steeped in tradition.

"We have got to ensure we qualify so it plays no role what their situation is," he said. "We want to win the game and take a decisive step towards qualifying."

Changes

Low did not rule out making changes to his side, however, despite a 1-0 win over Portugal in Lviv.

"For me, the phrase 'never change a winning team' does not apply," he said. "There are always different situations in which you get the feeling that a change or two may do you good."

Bastian Schweinsteiger should take his place in the Germany engine room, although he admits he is not yet 100pc after a series of niggling injuries in recent months.

"I have been injured for a long time and it is not easy to get back to your top performance," he said.

"What is more important for me, though, is that the team works and I am a player who plays for the team and I would prefer us to win and me to play bad."

Holland v Germany,

Live, RTE2/BBC1, 7.45

Irish Independent

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