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Germany – Netherlands: revamped Mannschaft dominates, but Dutch seal group win with last-minute comeback (2-2)

More often than we fans would like to admit, the result of a game of football has very little to do with which team actually played better. This Nations League match between Germany and the Netherlands was a prime example of that. The Dutch left Gelsenkirchen with a fully undeserved, but nonetheless crucial point against permanent Angstgegner Germany.

Tactical analysis by Sam Planting.

Make no mistake about it. Dutch football was in real crisis, just last year. Consecutive failures to reach the Euro’s and World Cup, combined with an exponentially declining impact on proceedings of Eredivisie clubs in the Champions League, made Dutch football fans feel insignificant. The caveman-like tactics employed by the coaches of the national team plunged them into true despair.

The key to a short term renaissance of the Dutch national team turned out to be the hiring of a tactically astute, somewhat conservative head coach. Ronald Koeman, whose managerial career did not seem ‘on the up’ after a rough, rough stint at Everton, took over the role as ‘bondscoach’ of the Orange in February 2018.

Last Friday, the Dutch national team looked really strong for the first time since… the 2014 World Cup? While they won the previous Nations League game, against Germany at home (3-0), the win against defending world champions France (2-0) felt cathartic.

In contrast to the tactically static, lackluster, and extremely possession-oriented playing styles under the previous coaches (Guus Hiddink, Danny Blind . . .

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Sam Planting (27) writes for various Dutch media about football (VI Pro, Het Parool, Hard Gras) and does some stats stuff for television. Records ‘De Voetbalpodcast’ with his two best buds. Born and raised in Amsterdam. Former basketball player. Current aficionado of stand-up comedy and rap music. [ View all posts ]

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