Another chapter in Dutch-German rivalry

SIMON EVANS
Last updated 07:46 13/06/2012

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Germany and Netherlands, who face each other in Euro 2012 Group B, have had some passionate and occasionally heated encounters in the past but both teams say the long-standing rivalry between the two teams has mellowed.

The encounters began in earnest with the emergence of the Dutch as a global football powerhouse in the 1970s, particularly after Germany's 2-1 final victory at the 1974 World Cup.

The 1990 World Cup round-of-16 win for the West Germans included an infamous incident where Dutch defender Frank Rijkaard spat at Rudi Voeller and both were sent off.

While the fans may still feel the resonance of clashes from the past between the two neighbours, the current crop of players said Wednesday's game at the Metalist Stadium is just about three points.

"The games, especially in tournaments, were legendary, great games and some of the most interesting and some of the best matches of last 20-30 years," Germany coach Joachim Loew told reporters on Tuesday.

"It will be very intense and technical game. (But) it's nothing more than a (typical) big rivalry.

"These things that happened in the past are part of history, what happened with Rijkaard and Voeller for example.

"Now there are a lot of Dutch players playing in Germany - they feel comfortable in the stadiums and with their clubs."

Germany midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger said that as far as he was concerned there was no real grudge between the teams to speak of.

"I don't feel any rivalry, I just feel we are playing a game against a very good team. I don't think there is any situation from the past that plays any role for us," he said.

Netherlands midfielder Wesley Sneijder agreed there was nothing adding an extra edge to Wednesday's game.

"No, it's the same like playing against any other big team. They are among the favourites, so are we and it doesn't matter if against Germany or another big team. There is a lot at stake and it's a big game," he said.

Whether or not the tone on both sides will be the same after Wednesday's clash remains to be seen with the Dutch desperate for a win after losing their opener 1-0 to Denmark.

Germany beat Portugal by the same score.

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- Reuters

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