Germans save face with goalless draw against Dutch

BERLIN Thu Nov 15, 2012 3:32pm IST

Dirk Kuyt (R) of the Netherlands fights for the ball with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Germany during their international friendly soccer match in Amsterdam November 14, 2012. REUTERS/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photo

Dirk Kuyt (R) of the Netherlands fights for the ball with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer of Germany during their international friendly soccer match in Amsterdam November 14, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Toussaint Kluiters/United Photo

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra, daughter of Congress party chief Sonia Gandhi, adjusts her flower garlands as she campaigns for her mother during an election meeting at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh April 22, 2014. REUTERS/Pawan Kumar

Election 2014

More than 814 million people — a number larger than the population of Europe — are eligible to vote in the world’s biggest democratic exercise.  Full Coverage 

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's goalless draw against rivals Netherlands in Amsterdam on Wednesday would have raised eyebrows for its lack of action a few years back but the visitors can breathe a sigh of relief after a tumultuous season.

Germany coach Joachim Loew, under growing fire following a semi-final exit at Euro 2012 and a 4-4 draw against Sweden last month after leading 4-0, made sure his team ended the year on a moderate high.

The Germans are top of their World Cup qualifying group and despite failing to end their 16-year wait for a major trophy in the Euros in Poland and Ukraine in June, the abundance of talent in the team bodes well for the future.

The Germans were missing nine players on Wednesday through illness or injury, including Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mesut Ozil and Sami Khedira, but still managed to keep a clean sheet and carve out a handful of scoring chances in the first half.

A lack of forwards, due to the absence of Miroslav Klose and Mario Gomez, meant 20-year-old midfielder Mario Goetze was thrust forward in a makeshift attack against their bitter rivals.

The Borussia Dortmund playmaker could have capped a decent performance with a goal were it not for Dutch defender John Heitinga who twice came to the rescue.

In the absence of Holger Badstuber, Jerome Boateng and Marcel Schmelzer, Loew's defence was also quickly cobbled together, shifting captain Philipp Lahm to the left, bringing in Benedikt Hoewedes on the right and playing with Mats Hummels and Per Mertesacker as central defenders.

"This was a positive game for me," said the 52-year-old Loew, who has had to endure accusations he was not tough enough with his players and that his team was missing that one "alpha male" who could help them win a title.

"We had a team with lots of changes, a lot of key players missing but we stuck to our positions, we had discipline and worked very well in defence," Loew said.

"This was the most important thing for us after the Sweden game. We were courageous in the first half, going forward. It was more balanced in the second half but what is important is that we did not allow the Dutch many chances."

A loss would have been bad news for Loew as he seeks to instill a sense of optimism among success-starved German fans ahead of the World Cup in Brazil in less than two years time.

Defeat would have been even harder to swallow if it came against the Dutch, whom Germany beat 3-0 in a friendly last year and beat again, with a 2-1 victory in Kharkiv, in the group stage of the European champiopnships.

"You could see that no team was prepared to make that one mistake," said Germany keeper Manuel Neuer, who saw the return to the squad of Rene Adler, the first choice keeper before an injury prior to the 2010 World Cup installed Neuer.

Neuer has kept the spot ever since and his fine save midway through the second half should have won him some more points in their fight for the No.1 shirt.

"We were good at the back and neither team wanted to lose this game so it looked a bit rough. We wanted to go back with a positive result and the 0-0 is fine," Neuer said.

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann)

Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

REUTERS SHOWCASE

Urging Optimism

Urging Optimism

Be optimistic about Brazil, says Blatter.  Full Article 

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge Hopeful

Sturridge hopeful of returning against Chelsea.  Full Article 

Phelps Sceptical

Phelps Sceptical

'Grandfather' Phelps plays down Rio prospects.  Full Article 

On Trial

On Trial

Formula One boss Ecclestone goes on trial in Germany.  Full Article 

Premier League

Premier League

Preview - Liverpool seek to land knockout blow on Chelsea.  Full Article 

Time at United

Time at United

Sacked Moyes thanks Ferguson for Man Utd opportunity.  Full Article 

Praise For Real

Praise For Real

Ancelotti happy as Real thrive without much from Ronaldo, Bale.  Full Article 

Coach Sacked

Coach Sacked

Struggling Nuremberg sack coach Verbeek.  Full Article 

Ferrer Out

Ferrer Out

Ferrer suffers early defeat in Barcelona.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage