Resur­gent Dutch stun Ger­many

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

Coach Joachim Loew made his­tory twice yes­ter­day – he led Ger­many for a record 168th time be­fore see­ing his team lose to the Nether­lands in their Na­tions League Group 1 match by a three­goal mar­gin for the first time.

The 3-0 de­feat – even if the score slightly flat­tered the Dutch – will pile more pres­sure on Loew, who opted to stay in the job af­ter the 2014 world cham­pi­ons crashed out of the Rus­sia 2018 Fifa World Cup at the group stage.

While the Dutch re­dis­cov­ered their scor­ing touch at the Jo­han Cruyff Arena in Am­s­ter­dam, the Ger­mans lost their way in front of goal, squan­der­ing chances in what was mostly a tight game.

Loew’s team is now goal­less in its last three com­pet­i­tive matches.

"We are lack­ing con­fi­dence,’’ Loew said. ‘‘We are not in form and we were miss­ing a num­ber of in­jured play­ers.’’

Stars in­clud­ing Marco Reus and Ilkay Gun­do­gan were un­fit for the match in Am­s­ter­dam.

But, Loew said, ‘‘our big­gest prob­lem is that we are not tak­ing our chances. If we had scored 1-0 it would have given the team con­fi­dence.’’

Ger­many’s woes were per­son­i­fied by Loew’s de­ci­sion to play Mark Uth as a lone striker de­spite the 27-year-old Schalke striker not scor­ing a goal yet this sea­son. Uth rarely threat­ened and was sub­sti­tuted in the sec­ond half.

Loew brought on Leroy Sane and the Manch­ester City for­ward looked dan­ger­ous at­tack­ing the Dutch on the left, but he also missed a clear chance to equalise in the 64th minute, fir­ing wide when he had only goal­keeper Jasper Cil­lessen to beat.

‘‘The young play­ers were a breath of fresh air, but they missed a cou­ple of good chances maybe be­cause of their in­ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ Loew said.

Ronald Koe­man’s young Dutch team lost 2-1 to France in its open­ing Na­tions League match thanks to a goal by Kylian Mbappe and a stun­ning win­ner by Olivier Giroud. The Nether­lands is sec­ond in the three-team group be­hind France, who drew 0-0 with Ger­many.

‘‘Of course I’m proud,’’ Koe­man said. ‘‘This is a fan­tas­tic re­sult that we’ve been wait­ing for for a long time.’’

Koe­man is re­build­ing the Nether­lands af­ter they failed to qual­ify for the last World Cup and Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship. The coun­try’s only ma­jor tro­phy is the 1988 Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship.

The Dutch have reached three World Cup fi­nals and lost them all. So Koe­man was still keen to im­prove even af­ter yes­ter­day’s vic­tory.

‘‘We have to look at the mo­ments that we can do bet­ter,’’ said Koe­man, who started with two debu­tants and brought on a third as a sub­sti­tute dur­ing the match.

Cap­tain Vir­gil van Dijk scored only his sec­ond in­ter­na­tional goal on the half hour and an­chored a solid Dutch de­fence that held out Ger­many, while Mem­phis De­pay and Ge­orginio Wi­j­nal­dum struck late to achieve the win.

The com­pre­hen­sive de­feat left Ger­many bot­tom of the group days be­fore they head to Paris to take on group lead­ers France.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.