* in case you are wondering, the Losers is us. World Champs is Germans.
The Press Conference before the match was not about the match. Not about line ups, players, tactics. It was about the terror attack in Paris. The Oranje Players Group made a statement. Danny Blind read it out: “We decided to want to play. As a gesture to the victims, the people left behind and the whole French nation. A message of freedom, democracy and solidarity.”
Clearly the event in Paris made a big impression on everyone and thew a big shadow over the classic of Holland vs Germany.
“The events in Paris made a huge impression on all of us. We can still not fathom what happened. Sports has a connecting power and now is the time to use sports in a positive way. What counts now is compassion and connection. It feels weird to talk to you about systems and players now, or even football related topics in general. We will turn this into a real friendly. The Germans have different words. They sometimes use Testspiel and sometimes Freundschafstsspiel. Now we will aim at freundschaft.”
Blind further emphasized everyone wanted to play. “This game…usually we play to win or to further our career… Now, the players want to play to take a stance. We will not bow down for terrorism. We want to take a stance against terrorism and for this, we need to play and show it.”
Team manager Blind turned statesman.
The Germany – Holland poster is usually the most intense poster for the Dutch. With the derby vs Belgium probably. Not unlike Brazil Argentina or Spain – Portugal.
We played massive games against the Germans and in particular when there’s somerthing to play for, it ends in high drama.
It has been 13 years since Holland won. Two friendlies (2000 and 2002) ended in wins for Holland. 2-1 in 2000 and 3-1 in 2002.
We drew in Portugal at the Euros and lost or drew ever since. With the 2011 game under Van Marwijk the biggest loss (0-3) in Hamburg, the first sign of an unraveling World Cup finalist leading up to the abysmal Euros in 2012.
In total, out of 40 matches, Holland won 10, drew 15 and lost 15. We played more games only vs Belgium (the lowlands derby was played 125 times).
The most talked about loss was obviously the 2-1 defeat in the 1974 World Cup finals. Fan favourite and tournament surprise Holland got 0-1 up in the first minute (Neeskens) but lost to a smarter Germany, while man of the match Sepp Maier kept Cruyff and Van Hanegem et al from getting back into the game.
The most talked about win was the 2-1 win in 1988, the Euros semi finals with the penalty gift to Van Basten (scored by Koeman) and the late winner by San Marco.
Other remarkable games were the 1-2 loss at the WC 1990 in the first knock out stage, where a better playing Oranje lost the game and its head, with Frank Rijkaard earning his nickname Llama when he spat on Rudi Voller.
In 2004, Holland played a tough match against Germany at the Euros and trailed 0-1 for a while, only for Van Nistelrooy to equalize late on a Van der Meyde cross and Germany was sent home.
In 1992, Holland (and Bergkamp) beat Germany in a sensational match in Sweden but got nicked by Danish Dynamite in the semi finals.
Jurgen Locadia replacing Elia
Blind will have to think about a line up, despite his honourable words at the press conference and will have to make do without Robben, Bazoer, Van Dijk and Elia. Earlier on, Ken Vermeer, Riedewald and Klaassen had to exit the squad.
It seems he will persist with his 5-3-2 / 3-4-3 system, most likely using Veltman instead of Van Dijk. I think Pieters will make his return to the orange. I think Dost and Promes will make as well, for Luuk de Jong and Wijnaldum is my guess.
I do hope he’ll give Stekelenburg a go on goal as well.
With all the media focusing on geo politics instead of football, you probably will have missed the news that Johan Cruyff has pulled out from Ajax and decided to stop his support. He also demanded that from now on the term “Plan Cruyff” will not be used by Ajax anymore.