Holland 0 Germany 0: Bore draw as clash of the titans fails to live up to expectations
00:04 GMT, 15 November 2012
It's supposed to be one of the biggest rivalries in world football.
But Holland versus Germany turned out to be a 90 minute snoozefest in Amsterdam last night as they played out an uninspiring goalless draw.
Maybe both sets of players had their weekend domestic fixtures on their minds – but if ever there was a clear illustration of why so many feel international friendliest are pointless exercises, this was it.
Bore draw: Per Mertesacker and Arjen Robben do battle
Germany tried to impose their smooth passing style on the hosts – who honoured former internationals Edgar Davids, Michael Reiziger, Patrick Kluivert and Ruud van Nistelrooy before kick off.
In particular, Borussia Dortmund wonderkid Mario Goetze, the man Arsene Wenger dreams of signing, was enjoying plenty of the ball in the opening 15 minutes.
Tough going: Rafael van der Vaart (left) tries to inspire Holland
However, despite the wealth of
attacking talent on show at the Amsterdam Arena, former Liverpool
forward Dirk Kuyt mustered up the first opportunity of any real note
with a tame sliding effort in the 20th minute.
Everton defender John Heitinga did well to keep the shackles on Goetze a minute later as the 20-year-old tried to conjure up a yard of space to unleash an effort on goal deep inside the Dutch box before blocking Lewis Holtby's low goalbound effort from Benedikt Howedes' excellent cut-back soon after.
Heads: Mats Hummels and Dirk Kuyt
Arjen Robben wasted a golden opportunity to give Holland a 30th minute lead when he was sent clear through by Ibrahim Afellay – but the former Chelsea winger failed to squeeze his shot in after rounding German keeper Manuel Neuer.
Howedes and Marxo Reus both had chances to put Joachim Low's side ahead before Heitinga was forced into a superb goalline clearance from Ilkay Gundogan's low shot with the final kick of the opening half.
The second half started with the same pedestrian pace as the first, with neither side eager to impose themselves.
And no amount of encouragement from supporters spark any sort of tempo or urgency to this drabbest of matches.
In fact the first worthy attempt on goal in the second half came in the 77th minute when Neuer produced a brilliant stop low to his left, denying Dutch substitute Daryl Janmaat's low effort from the edge of the box after Kuyt's lay-off.
Eljero Elia flashed an angled effort from 16 yards wide moments later as Holland finally showed signs of life.
But it was merely a flash of entertainment as the clash ended goalless.