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Netherlands take Germany down a peg in EURO 1992 Group 1

Netherlands 3-1 Germany
The holders crushed injury-ravaged Germany, but the world champions forged on regardless.

The Netherlands celebrate a goal against Germany
The Netherlands celebrate a goal against Germany Icon Sport via Getty Images

Injury-ravaged Germany could not recover from an early Dutch assault in the sides' final 1992 UEFA European Championship Group B game, but Scotland's 3-0 win against the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in the section's other fixture spared Berti Vogts' side an early exit.

After just four minutes, Frank Rijkaard's looping header converted a free-kick from Ronald Koeman, who was expected to take the next one but left it to Rob Witschge, who shot all along the ground from 25 metres on the quarter-hour mark. Jürgen Klinsmann reduced the arrears after half-time, though Dennis Bergkamp restored the Netherlands' two-goal lead.

EURO 1992: All you need to know

With Guido Buchwald and Stefan Reuter injured, Andreas Brehme had to switch flanks to the right to accommodate Michael Frontzeck, and Thomas Helmer came in to cover Bergkamp's runs from deep. Two Oranje goals in the opening 15 minutes reflect that the new-look German defence did not exactly gel immediately, but as Marco van Basten hit the bar with a splendid overhead kick, it could have been worse.

Highlights: The best goals of EURO '92
Highlights: The best goals of EURO '92

Klinsmann, dynamic and irrepressible as ever, headed in Thomas Hässler's corner after the break, but Rinus Michels pulled Rijkaard back into defence to counter the aerial bombardment. The General also refreshed his ranks, sending on Aron Winter, who duly shot up the right to pull back a cross for Bergkamp to step in and score with a low header across goalkeeper Bodo Illgner.

After the match, Michels warned "we do not think we have seen the last of Germany." Indeed, many expected the final to be a repeat of this absorbing encounter – only one team would keep their end of the bargain.

EURO 1992: Team of the Tournament

Lineups

Captains Andreas Brehme  and Ruud Gullit shake hands in Gothenburg
Captains Andreas Brehme and Ruud Gullit shake hands in GothenburgIcon Sport via Getty Images

Netherlands: Van Breukelen; Wouters, Frank De Boer (Winter 61), Ronald Koeman, Van Tiggelen, Rijkaard; Witschge, Bergkamp (Bosz 87), Gullit (c); Roy, Van Basten
Substitutes: Van Aerle, Van’t Schip, Kieft, Menzo, Jonk, Viscaal
Coach: Rinus Michels

Germany: Illgner; Kohler, Binz (Sammer 46), Brehme (c); Frontzeck, Möller, Helmer, Effenberg, Hässler; Riedle (Doll 76), Klinsmann
Substitutes: Köpke, Thom, Schulz, Wörns
Coach: Berti Vogts

Referee: Pierluigi Pairetto (Italy)