By Nate Jacobson
Netherlands is in serious danger of not advancing to the quarterfinals after a 2-1 loss to Germany on Wednesday.
Germany and Netherlands fans packed Dubliners Irish Pub, which is located near the center of Madrid, Spain. There were more Germany fans that got to the pub early to grab a seat, but as kickoff got closer the Dutch started to invade. By the start of the match, 8:45 PM local time, the pub was at full capacity.
Germany and Netherlands traded early chances, including a few efforts by Netherlands striker Robin Van Persie. However, it was Van Persie’s counterpart on Germany that scored both first half goals. Mario Gomez netted his second and third goals of the tournament. Bastian Schweinsteiger provided a pass to Gomez, who made a slick turn and beat Maarten Steklenburg for the first goal. Lukas Podolski sent a through ball to Gomez and he buried his finish in the left corner 15 minutes after his first tally.
The Germany fans celebrated and chanted while the Netherlands fans stood in shock. I asked a few Germany fans what they thought of the match, and they said they expected to beat the Netherlands and think this Germany team has what it takes to win Euro 2012. The Germany fans continued to buy beer in celebration and the Netherlands fans bought stronger drinks to ease their pain.
To start the second half Netherlands made two substitutions and changed their formation. Ibrahim Afellay and Mark Van Bommel departed the match for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael Van der Vaart. The Dutch could only get one goal back as Van Persie drilled a shot low into the corner with his non-natural right foot. The Netherlands did have more chances and looked slightly better after changing to a more attacking formation.
The match ended and Germany fans respectfully celebrated their victory. Some German fans even told Dutch fans to stay optimistic because they still have a chance. The Germans are right, but Netherlands has lost control of their own destiny. Portugal beat Denmark 3-2 in the other Group B match. The only way the Netherlands will make the quarterfinals is if they beat Portugal by more than two goals and Germany defeat Denmark.
Germany’s task is simple. At least a draw against Denmark and they win the group, and get locked into a quarterfinal match against the runner-up of Group A in Gdansk, Poland.
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