Resurgent Dutch stun Germany
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.