Two of the best teams in Europe – the Netherlands and Germany – will face off in an international friendly in Amsterdam on Wednesday.
Amsterdam Arena will be the venue for the match and a host of big names will be in action for both sides.
The Netherlands – currently ranked seventh in the latest FIFA rankings – have included Manchester United star Robin van Persie in their squad, while Bayern Munich ace Arjen Robben has also been named and is expected to feature.
Injuries will prevent Bayern Munich trio Bastian Schweinsteiger, Toni Kroos and Jerome Boateng as well as Borussia Dortmund’s Marcel Schmelzer from playing, but German manager Joachim Loew still has plenty of talent at his disposal.
Veterans Lukas Podolski (Arsenal) and Miroslav Klose (Lazio) are expected to lead the line, while the regular names of Mesut Oezil (Real Madrid), Thomas Mueller (Bayern Munich) and Per Mertesacker (Arsenal) are all in Loew’s squad.
Competition for spots is always an issue in the German side, especially when they are in a battle to qualify directly for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil.
The Germans currently occupy top spot in their World Cup qualifying group, but have Sweden snapping at their heels and ready to pounce should they slip up when matches get underway again next year.
Sweden are only three points behind Germany and also have the luxury of a game in hand, so Loew’s side will need to continue winning if they want to book their spot in the 2014 tournament.
The Netherlands are in a better position in their World Cup group, yet to drop a point through four qualifying matches.
Louis van Gaal’s side have 12 points from four games, with Hungary (nine) and Romania (nine) their only challengers for the direct qualification position.
So while there is only bragging rights up for grabs in Amsterdam, expect both teams to want to get a positive result from the match.
And the Netherlands will have an extra incentive to triumph, given it was Germany that beat them at the European Championships in Kharkiv earlier this year that ultimately led to them not qualifying for the knockout stages of the tournament.
The Netherlands have endured some inconsistent results since that loss, but we all know they are one of the most talented teams in the world when they get it together on the pitch.
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