Loew dampens Euro dreams despite Dutch demolition

AFP, Wednesday 16 Nov 2011

Coach Joachim Loew warned Germany have won nothing yet, despite his side's impressive 3-0 hammering of Euro 2012 rivals the Netherlands in a friendly

Germany's coach Joachim Loew (Photo: AFP)

Veteran striker Miroslav Klose maintained his astonishing international form with a goal and two assists on Tuesday against the World Cup finalists.

The 33-year-old provided the final pass for Thomas Mueller to give the hosts an early lead against the Dutch before Klose scored his 63rd goal for Germany leaving him just five short of Gerd Muller's all-time record.

The Lazio striker then set up Real Madrid's Mesut Ozil to enjoy a simple tap in on 66 minutes as Germany laid down a marker for the Euro 2012 title.

Germany were the first team to book their Euro 2012 place through the qualifying stages in September having enjoyed a 3-2 friendly win over South American giants Brazil in August and are in fine form.

While Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk admitted the World Cup finalists had been 'embarrassed', Loew played down the growing expectations on his team with the Euro finals still more than six months away.

"Certainly, in half a year's time things can look very different," said Loew.

"The players have to keep their fitness and form.

"I'd be pretty happy if we started Euro 2012 tomorrow, but a lot can change in football between now and then."

Although they were without injured vice-captain Bastian Schweinsteiger and captain Philipp Lahm, who was rested, Germany were not lacking in leadership with Klose and Ozil orchestrating the attack.

"The whole team made the match a lot of fun to play in," said Ozil.

"We really wanted to win the game and the Dutch had no chance.

"We have shown that this young team has lots of potential and can compete for the Euro 2012 title."

This was Loew's 75th match as coach and his 52nd win as Germany finished 2011 in impressive style.

"We can be very satisfied, not only with the game, but with the whole year," said Loew.

"We played with a lot of enthusiasm and confidence, combined with which the Dutch were overwhelmed, especially in midfield, and our attack worked well.

"The Dutch hardly ever threatened us."

This was Germany's first win over their opponents since 1996.

It was also a tardy peice of revenge for their 2-1 semi-final defeat in the 1988 European Championships when Marco van Basten's late winner broke German hearts here in Hamburg.

At least one Dutch flag here, bearing the date 21-06-88, eluded to that defeat.

Van Marwijk had made four changes to the side which was held to a goalless draw by Switzerland on Friday in Amsterdam with key striker Robin van Persie rested and midfielder Rafael van der Vaart out with a thigh injury.

"That was of course an embarrassing defeat for us, to lose like this against our neighbours," admitted Van Marwijk.

"But better we lose like this now than at Euro 2012.

"Germany were very strong on the counter-attack, but we can also play a bit of football.

"We started badly and Germany scored two goals in the first half, I thought we could have got back to 2-1, but when they got the third, the game was over.

"Some of our top players were missing, we'd have been better if they had played, but that takes nothing away from the Germans."

In the match build-up, Loew had said he did not fear the Dutch and Van Marwijk returned the compliment.

"I have no fear, I just have respect for Germany.

"I think when all our players are fit then we'd have no fear at all.

"Germany belong among the top favourites for Euro 2012 alongside Spain, England, France and Italy.

"They have so many good players who are so creative, of course they deserve to be amongst the favourites."

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