Germany coach Silvia Neid has confidence that the injury-depleted holders can exploit their formidable potential at UEFA Women's EURO 2013.
Shorn of six key players, Neid has had to re-think her plans, drafting in a younger generation as she plots a course towards a sixth successive European title. Though she acknowledged that an injection of youth into the line-up may have its downsides, she is in little doubt about their talent. As for her Dutch counterpart Roger Reijners, he urged his team to remain true to their football philosophy as they seek progress to the knockout stages.
Silvia Neid, Germany coach
We've analysed the Dutch very intensively. We know that we're going to play against a strong team, but we want to play as well as we can and pick up the three points.
The Dutch team are technically gifted; you mustn't leave them any space, because they will use it if you do and they are very dangerous. So we have to be highly focused throughout. The strength of the Dutch team is that they always want to try and play. They very seldom play long balls, and they always try to link up play and build from the back. This allows them to create opportunities.
I have faith in my team; they are courageous in the way they play. There's a certain airiness to their game, but we have a very young squad, so it could also work against us. The players could also make mistakes from time to time, but I know what they're capable of and it's a team with a lot of potential.
P10 W9 D1 L0 F64 A3
13 February: D3-3 v France (a, Strasbourg)
6 March: D0-0 v Denmark (Algarve Cup group, Albufeira)
8 March: W2-1 v Japan (Algarve Cup group, Parchal)
11 March: W2-0 v Norway (Algarve Cup group, Lagos)
13 March: L0-2 v United States (Algarve Cup final, Faro-Loule)
5 April: D3-3 v United States (h, Offenbach)
15 June: W3-0 v Scotland (h, Essen)
19 June: W1-0 v Canada (h, Paderborn)
29 June: W4-2 v Japan (h, Munich)
All 23 players are available for the game, but Neid revealed that she will only inform her squad of the starting XI in the morning before the match.
Roger Reijners, Netherlands coach
Two years ago, we played Germany in Aachen and lost 5-0 and had no chance to do anything in that game, but our team has developed well since.
Four years ago, we reached the semi-finals, but we want to take the next step which means having more possession and improving our attacking game. It's Germany; they're still a world-class team so we won't be able to dominate for 90 minutes – that's impossible. But we want to do it our way, which means we want to attack and play our game, but still keep in mind that we're playing against Germany. We'll see how we manage to deal with that, but it will be a difficult game against a great side.
The most important thing is to progress from the group stage. We need games against great opponents and a tournament like the European Championship to improve.
P8 W6 D1 L1 F20 A2
24 October: D1-1 v France (h, Eindhoven)
9 February: W3-2 v Belgium (a, Zulte Waregem)
6 March: D1-1 v Finland (Cyprus Cup group, Larnaca)
8 March: D1-1 v Switzerland (Cyprus Cup group, Nicosia)
11 March: L0-1 v Canada (Cyprus Cup group, Nicosia)
13 March: L0-1 v Scotland (Cyprus Cup 5th place, Nicosia)
5 April: W1-0 v Denmark (a, Silkeborg)
9 April: L1-3 v United States (h, The Hague)
29 June: W3-1 v Australia (h, Velsen-Zuid)
3 July: W3-0 Northern Ireland (h, Velsen-Zuid)
Although Reijners has a full squad available, he feels that the absence of Marlous Pieëte – who suffered a knee ligament injury in training on Monday – is likely to be felt. "She was focused on the tournament and had a special role in the team. We'll miss her," Reijners explained.
Germany have hosted the Netherlands in warm-ups before their previous two major tournaments. Prior to UEFA Women's EURO 2009 they won 6-0 in Sinsheim, and before the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup Germany prevailed 5-0 in Aachen.
Did you know?
Not only does Neid have a perfect senior coaching record against the Netherlands, but also at competitive youth level. In the 2000/01 UEFA European Women's Under-18 Championship third qualifying round, and the same stage of the new U19 tournament a year later, she oversaw two 3-0 wins.
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