Germany's Loew wary of wounded Dutch

AFP, Sunday 10 Jun 2012

Germany coach Joachim Loew has said he is wary of Holland in their next Euro 2012 match on Wednesday following the Netherlands' shock defeat to Denmark

Joachim Loew
Germany's coach Joachim Loew gestures at the end of their Group B Euro 2012 soccer match against Portugal at the new stadium in Lviv (Photo: Reuters)

A second-half header from striker Mario Gomez was enough to give Germany a 1-0 win over Portugal in their opening Group B match in Lviv, Ukraine, on Saturday.

But after World Cup finalists Holland were earlier shocked 1-0 by Denmark, Loew is wary of Bert van Marwijk's Holland team, who have to beat Germany in Kharkiv, Ukraine, on Wednesday if they are to progress.

"I would have preferred it if they had drawn (against Denmark), a strong Holland team has to win now," said the 52-year-old Loew.

"The Dutch had a huge amount of chances, I am surprised they didn't score a goal, it is all or nothing for them now.

"It will make it all the more difficult, but exciting, for us."

Having suffered a shock 5-3 defeat to Switzerland in Basel last month and laboured to a 2-0 win over Israel at the end of May, Loew said his team had produced a tight defensive display to thwart the Portuguese attack.

Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo was tightly marked throughout, but the Germans had a lucky let off as Pepe's strike at the end of the first-half hit the crossbar and bounced on the goal-line before being cleared.

"It was a really close game," said Loew, "but it has given us a good start.

"We did well in defence, we worked hard which wasn't always the case in our warm-up games.

"We have work to do up front with the tempo, it was there in phases, but we have to be more consistent.

"We are taking on a team who are very motivated in the next game and we'll have to work hard again."

Loew opted to start with Gomez as his lone striker, rather than Lazio veteran Miroslav Klose, who turned 34 on Saturday, and said he was happy with the way his team opened their campaign.

"This is the start of an European championships, it's like a Formula One race without a warm-up, you have to be ready to go straight away," he said.

"Every team is very strong, it's not like a World Cup where you can acclimatise, you have to chase the game and get the three points.

"Both teams were quite tense, especially after the Holland defeat.

"Tactically, both teams were good in defence, a lot of players were right behind the ball straight away.

"We were much more compact and disciplined, of course we could have attacked a little better, but the main thing is we won and got the points."

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