Germany have made it two wins from two outings at Euro2012 courtesy of a 2-1 victory over Holland in Kharkiv, leaving the World Cup runners-up in danger of crashing out early.
Mario Gomez netted a double for Die Mannschaft who looked in complete control for long periods before the Oranje, who are yet to record a point, got back in the contest via a brilliant Robin van Persie strike.
Holland were the brighter of the two sides in the opening 20 or so minutes but found themselves a goal behind in the 24th minute when Mario Gomez scored with a superb first touch and then neat finish past Maarten Stekelenburg. The scorer of Germany’s goal in their 1-0 win over Portugal received a brilliant through ball from Bastian Schweinsteiger, flicked it into his path whilst turning, and then slid it into the back of the net with a slight deflection off the Dutch keeper.
Just over 15 minutes later, the Germans were two ahead when the same pair combined to great effect for Joachim Low’s side. A long punt from goalkeeper Manuel Neuer ended with Schweinsteiger slipping a lovely ball through for Gomez who whipped it over Stekelenburg and inside the far post from the right side of the area for his third goal of the tournament.
With just under 20 minutes remaining, Robin van Persie gave Holland a lifeline when he received the ball in midfield before advancing to the top of the ‘D’ before punching a sweet right-footer past Neuer to make it 2-1 and get the Oranje supporters up and about.
The Arsenal ace had some chances early when he latched onto the end of Mark van Bommel’s lofted pass in the seventh minute but put his side-footed volley straight at Neuer when perhaps he could have taken a touch moments before Mesut Ozil struck the bottom of the upright with his left-footed volley down the other end with the ball sticking in the palms of a thankful Stekelenburg.
In the 37th minute, Holger Badstuber had a free header from Ozil’s free-kick but put it straight at Stekelenburg who then made a huge save when he tipped over a massive deflection off Arjen Robben from Schweinsteiger’s rightwing free-kick on the stroke of half-time.
Mats Hummels forced two good saves from Stekelenburg early in the second half when he parted the Dutch defence before shooting on target from outside the area and then produced a follow-up effort but the Dutch keeper produced an even better second stop to knock the ball to safety.
Just prior to the hour-mark, Neuer was at his absolute best to deny van Persie whose first-time effort from outside the area was bound for the bottom right corner of his net and it was that sort of save that in the end helped win the game for the Germans who put in a solid defensive display when the Dutch came at them.
It leaves Germany on top of Group B with six points from two matches and all they need now to progress to the next phase is a point against Denmark whilst Holland needs to beat Portugal and hope that the Danes are beaten in the final group stage fixtures on June 17.
Euro2012 – Group B
Holland: 1 (Robin van Persie 73’)
Germany: 2 (Mario Gomez 24’/38’)
Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv