Netherlands 3-0 Germany
It may be the UEFA Nations League as opposed to a major championship. Therefore, it may not be a result that too many us fans read too much into.
However, it’s certainly a scoreline that makes people sit up and take notice.
It was a close encounter for the most part, but those who just see the score will now begin to ask further questions about Germany manager Joachim Low and his struggling nation.
Highlights of the game
As far as goals are concerned, the UEFA Nations League 2018 highlights were provided by Premier League players past and present.
First, Liverpool centre-back and skipper Virgil van Dijk headed in from close range after Ryan Babel headed against the crossbar.
Then man-of-the-match Memphis Depay, formerly of Manchester United, finished off a slick counter-attack.
And then another Liverpool man, Georginio Wijnaldum, fired home into the bottom corner to complete a memorable night for the Oranje.
Certainly, if you looked at the UEFA Nations League 2018 odds before kick-off, this wasn’t expected.
Indeed, home supporters generally expect to be patient and know it will take some time for new boss Ronald Koeman to return the Netherlands to their former status with a new look and fairly youthful side.
But they weren’t expecting this against the former world champions, even accounting for their miserable 2018 which culminated in a shock exit at the World Cup group stage.
For a side which enjoyed 60 percent of the possession, Germany naturally created chances.
They were denied what appeared to be a clear-cut penalty in the final 10 minutes when Arnaut Groeneveld tripped Matthias Ginter, only to see referee Cuneyt Cakir unmoved.
They also came closest to levelling, first through the out-of-sorts Timo Werner and Thomas Muller before the break, and then when unmarked substitute Leroy Sane dragged his shot wide from close range after being played through by playmaker Toni Kroos.
Kroos himself had earlier defended his boss Low after criticism from outspoken former captain Michael Ballack.
It was to prove costly as Depay—who also hit the crossbar—and Wijnaldum scored twice in the final five minutes to put a one-sided gloss on the scoreline in the Amsterdam Arena.
The result leaves Germany bottom of their group and in need of a positive outcome in a little over 72 hours’ time against the new world champions.
Not that it is of great consequence in the wider scheme of things, but Germany now face the real prospect of relegation from Group A1 of the UEFA Nations League.
They certainly look a pale imitation of the nation which won the 2014 World Cup and last year’s Confederations Cup.
In contrast, to quote a famous advertisement, perhaps the future is looking bright for Oranje!
Germany manager Joachim Low gestures to his players during their UEFA Nations League match against Netherlands
Low’s Germany, who won the World Cup in 2014, have now only won three of their last 12 matches.
Low has now broken the record for most matches as German national team manager. This was the 168th time he has been at the helm since succeeding Jurgen Klinsmann in the role in 2006, breaking the record previously held by Sepp Herberger.
In handing Mark Uth his Germany debut, the Schalke forward became the 100th player to earn their first Germany cap during Low’s reign.
PSV Eindhoven full-back Denzel Dumfries also made his international debut.
This was Netherlands’ first-ever victory over Germany by a three-goal margin.
Former Dutch favourites Rafael van der Vaart and Dirk Kuyt were among those watching the contest, and the crowd paid tribute to their international careers before kick-off.
Their service to the national team saw Van der Vaart win 109 caps, including 25 goals and 23 assists.
Kuyt won 104 caps, scored 24 times and notched 19 assists.
Germany have now failed to score in three successive matches for the first time in their history.
This was the first time Germany have lost to the Netherlands since 2002.
Top of Form
It’s a quick turnaround now for Germany who entertain the nation that took their world crown.
They visit France next week for a Group A1 clash in the Stade de France.
They host Russia in a friendly next month before welcoming the Netherlands for the return fixture to wrap up the group.
Netherlands take on old adversaries Belgium in a friendly, also next week.
Then it’s their turn to play the world champions in the group on November before their visit to Veltins Arena, home of Schalke.
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