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Germany Holds Off Netherlands, 2-1 (with Video)

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The German national team defeated the Netherlands, 2-1, seizing control in Group B. Germany's comfortable 2-0 lead got a little less comfortable after van Persie's late strike for the Dutch, and Die Nationalelf had to dig in to hold off a few late attacks. But the victory was surely deserved, with two efficient Mario Gomez strikes, solid work at the back, and a resurgent Bastian Schweinsteiger leading the way.

The defense and GK Manuel Neuer was called up early, as the Dutch put together a few good attacks and van Persie nearly had a goal in the first 15 minutes (Neuer making a quick reaction save). But after that, Germany really settled in. Gomez had two first half goals, the second one a very precise finish that he placed perfectly into the far corner.

Except for Podolski, who was mostly absent again, I thought the midfield and attack both looked sharp and made up for their mediocre performance vs. Portugal.

The Netherlands made a lively attempt over the final 20 minutes. This was to be expected, as they are still a talented side and have several dangerous players. RVP's goal came when he spun around Hummels (possible Mats' first real mistake of the tournament) and took advantage of the space to blast one past Neuer.

Germany capably held them off at the end, though, and were definitely the better side over the course of the full 90 minutes. With the result, Germany sits atop the group with 6 points. The Dutch are actually still alive, if everything else goes right. I believe the first tie-breaker is head-to-head, not goal differential, so I think Germany is already through to the next round (Netherlands can't pass us, and Portugal can only tie us - and we'd have the tie-breaker). I've been trying to avoid using "us" for Germany, but ... what can I say. I'm all in now. Back with more later.

* * * * UPDATE - actually, this ^ is not true. Germany can still miss the next round. If we lsoe to Denmark, and Portgual beats Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Portugal would all have 6. We have head-to-head win over Portugal, Portugal has it over Denmark, and the Danes have it over us. Therefore, next tie-breaker would be GD. If we lose by multiple goals, we could still fail to get out of the group. Hmmm..