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Germany recover from early setback to sink Netherlands

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 26 Mar 2024

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Niclas Fullkrug snatched a scrappy winner as Germany defeated the Netherlands 2-1 to complete a promising international break for Julian Nagelsmann’s side.

Having seen off France 2-0 on Saturday, the Euro 2024 hosts added another notch on their belt in Frankfurt.

They had to come from behind to take out Ronald Koeman’s men, who took a fourth-minute lead through Joey Veerman. Maximilian Mittelstadt responded with a sweetly-struck effort from a corner routine and both teams had chances to take the lead before Germany snatched the win five minutes from time.

It was far from a clean finish, substitute Fullkrug steering the ball towards the far post and marginally over the line as Bart Verbruggen scrambled to make a save rendered moot by VAR.

The visitors grabbed the lead with their first meaningful break into opposition territory, Memphis Depay spotting the chance to open the door.

He spotted Veerman’s run and picked his pass, with the PSV Eindhoven collecting the ball and slotting home carefully for his first international goal.

The early setback could have knocked the home side off course but instead they got themselves back on level terms in quick time. Mittelstadt, fresh from an encouraging debut against Les Bleus, showed no trace of reticence as he collected a short corner from Toni Kroos and bent an ambitious strike handsomely into the top corner.

Having restored parity, Germany soon looked the sharper side but when Ilkay Gundogan and Robert Andrich took the chance to pull the trigger their efforts failed to worry Verbruggen.

Netherlands’ Wout Weghorst, left, celebrates with his team-mate Joey (Peter Dejong/AP)

The Dutch absorbed plenty of pressure before going close at the other end, Mathias de Ligt glancing Daley Blind’s ball across goal as Donyell Malen failed to apply the finishing touch.

Germany had controlled most of the first half but looked vulnerable again five minutes into the second, Malen this time getting a solid connection but still unable to beat Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Koeman’s side continued to grow, winning a handy free-kick that Blind squandered and then working Tijani Reijinders into a good position which came to nothing as he cleared the crossbar.

The game was open enough for either side to make a decisive move but chances continued to come and go. With an hour gone Depay missed from close range after a smart recovery from Malen and Mittelstadt’s hopes of adding a second were ended by Verbruggen’s near-post stop.

As the substitutes began to flow, Chris Fuhrich stood out from the crowd with a dashing run through the visiting defence and a through-ball that just escaped Kai Havertz.

Jamal Musiala and Thomas Muller kept the Netherlands pinned back with efforts on goal and Verbruggen’s resistance was finally ended when they Germans won it in scrappy fashion.

With five minutes remaining Fullkrug rose to meet Kroos’ corner, bundling the cross goalwards from 10 yards and just squeezing the ball over the line despite the goalkeeper clawing it back on the dive.

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