The German U-21s were left in despair on Thursday evening as Leroy Fer scored in the 90th minute to give Cor Pot’s men an opening win after Germany had pulled back a two-goal deficit in Petah Tikva.
In a game which saw two very different halves of football, Leroy Fer’s late header cancelled out goals from Holtby and Rudy to give Holland all three points.
The less than exciting German U-21 side gave themselves nothing to be proud of in the opening half of their European Championship campaign. Goals from one of our players to watch during the tournament, Adam Maher (24’), and a great solo goal from Georginio Wijnaldum (38’) put the Jong Orange in total control of the game heading towards half time.
The Germans could only improve in the second half, and they began in style. Kevin Volland did well to take the ball from Stefan De Vrij and then slip in Lewis Holtby on goal. The captain was then brought down by Dutch keeper Jeroen Zoet. Rudy confidently converted the spot kick and the next goal would be crucial as to how the game would finish.
Chance after chance came for Germany with Volland hiting the bar and Zoet making some good saves in the Dutch goal. But with nine minutes remaining they equalized through Man of the Match, Lewis Holtby. He ran across the face of the box and scored beautifully to give the Germans hope of earning at least a point. But in the final minute of the game, Leroy Fer came off the bench to win the game for the Dutch with a powerful header from a corner, leaving Germany to wonder what could’ve been in Petah Tikva.
In reflection we can’t give Germany enough credit. To come back from two goals down against one of the most complete squads in the tournament was magnificent. Lead by Holtby, the side certainly exceeded expectations of what how they could compete with Holland. Holtby is a wonderful asset for the side in this tournament. With every other team in the tournament having a full international in their ranks, it was vital that Germany could also call upon a more experienced U-21. Holtby showed his experience throughout the game and almost every attack went through the Tottenham midfielder.
Others that impressed during the game for the Germans were 1899 Hoffenheim striker Kevin Volland, who made the very talented Dutch centre-back pairing of De Vrij and Martins Indi look nervous at times and had a great impact off the bench. As well as Volland; Patrick Hermann of Borussia Mönchengladbach was a constant threat on the right-side of midfield alongside his right-sided partner, Tony Jantschke, who was an accomplished right-back in what looked like a nervous back four for Germany.
Overall Rainer Adrion’s team did well against of the most talented U-21 sides in the world all things considered, and what could have been after their disappointing first half. We know the threat that Luuk De Jong possesses, but also the likes of Wijnaldum, John and Maher were a constant threat to Bernd Leno. To be able to have brought themselves back from two goals down shows the fight and perseverance that the side has and is capable of.
Facing defending champions Spain on Sunday they will now have to show the same passion against from start to finish if they want their European adventure to continue.
Header courtesy of dpa
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