On Wednesday night Holland take on Germany as Bert van Marwijk 's side look to remain in Euro 2012 after suffering a surprise 1-0 loss to Denmark in their opening group game.
The Dutch will look to bounce back against their bitter rivals and we have enlisted the knowledge of Martin Jol to preview the game and tell us what he thinks will happen when the two sides meet.
The Fulham boss talks about the rivalry between the two European giants, tells us who he thinks needs to performa and why Arjen Robben is the best Dutch player since Johan Cruyff.
Holland play Germany in the group stages of the Euros, what sort of game are you expecting?
If you look at Joachim Löw he plays in the same style all the time and that is probably the biggest advantage. They play a 4-2-3-1, they have Podolski and Klose, he (Klose) is still a killer and he scores goals. They’ve also got Gomez who was almost the top scorer in the Bundesliga League. They’ve also got a few youngsters, for example Müller who played on the right and their biggest talent Mesut Ozil as well as Mario Götze from Dortmund. So if you look at the quality I think that they are similar to Holland.
In midfield they look pretty steady, they have got players who have been playing for years and years like Schweinsteiger, a big start player for them. And Khedira who plays for Real Madrid. They always play in the same style and that is an advantage. If you look at the Dutch team they have to change their style occasionally. In the last couple of friendly’s before the big tournament Van Der Vaart was playing on the left, Van Persie was playing on the right, they changed the style and there was a lot of criticism about this in Holland.
Of course Robben wasn’t there all the time because he and the Champions League final, which he didn’t win and that was a big disappointment. So for us it’s important to see how he is feeling, will he be on top of his game because if he is, he can make all the difference in a game. Overall I would say that Germany are settled in their system and Holland are not.
You mentioned the Arjen Robben missed that penalty in the Champions League final, a few days later he played in a friendly match, Bayern Munich verses Holland, and some of the Bayern Munich fans booed him. How difficult do you think this match against Germany is going to be for him?
In Holland they would say that what happened was almost unforgivable. After the match he couldn’t believe his own fans were booing him off the pitch. But as a professional player you have to take that on the chest and you have to go on. But it certainly was a strange feeling for him, he had just extended his contract and then his own fans were booing him. I feel that he is our best player since Johan Cruyff so I hope that he will recover from this disappointment and that he will be strong enough to show the world that he is probably one of the best players in the world.
He has been accused of not performing at his best in some of the bigger games, he missed a chance in the World Cup Final as well as the Champions League, as you say he is potentially one of the greats. How eager will he be to put that right at the Euros?
Of course he’s had his disappointments, losing in two Champions League finals, the German Cup and the World Cup against Spain. But that was all coincidence; Arjen Robben is a player that will make the difference and has made the difference for Bayern Munich in the past. I know as a sportsman he will love to put it all right and show everyone he is one of the best players in Europe.
What is the origin of the intense rivalry between Germany and Holland?
The fact that we are a smaller country and they are our big neighbours, of course maybe the war has something to do with it. They were always better than us in the early sixties but in the seventies we won the European Cup with Feyenoord and Ajax so our national team got better and better, and this was helped by our star man Johan Cruyff. The result was a final in ’74 and that was amazing, I can remember everything, I was eighteen years old in Germany with my sister who was married to a German bloke. But it was the biggest disappointment for a Dutch man in the history of our international football career.
That 1974 World Cup Final, is described as a national trauma for the Dutch, do you think that’s an accurate description?
A big disappointment is not necessarily a trauma but people still talk about it, if we play Germany all these old images will be on television. We were the better team, Taylor the English referee gave us a penalty in the first few minutes and that helped us. But after that it was so disappointing, Müller scored and they had a penalty, after that we just couldn’t get back into the match, probably because we scored to early. We had to wait till ’78 in Argentina to get our revenge, and it was a big revenge. They need a win, we needed a draw and in the end it was 2-2, Haan scored with a screamer from thirty yards. Then it was in ’88 where we played them in the semi finals in Hamburg. It was a great feeling to get to the final after beating the Germans.
“For more insight from Martin Jol and other leading managers plus all the coverage of Euro 2012 go to yahoo.eurosport.com”