Euro 2004: Germany, Netherlands draw 1-1
16 June 2004, LISBON - Traditional rivals Germany and the Netherlands fought out a 1-1 draw while the Czech Republic came from behind to scrape a hard-fought but ultimately deserved 2-1 victory over rank outsiders Latvia in Group D of the European Championships Tuesday.
16 June 2004
LISBON - Traditional rivals Germany and the Netherlands fought out a 1-1 draw while the Czech Republic came from behind to scrape a hard-fought but ultimately deserved 2-1 victory over rank outsiders Latvia in Group D of the European Championships Tuesday.
The result puts the Czechs at the top of the group ahead of a meeting against the Dutch on Thursday in Aveiro, while the Germans will be tested by Latvia in Porto.
The Netherlands came from behind to grab a 1-1 draw against Germany in a tense match in Porto in which both sides can be happy with the point.
Manchester United striker Ruud van Nistelrooy rescued the Dutch with a typical opportunist goal nine minutes from time when it looked as if the Germans would be rewarded for a fine tactical performance.
A 30th-minute Torsten Frings goal from a free-kick had put the 1996 European champions in front, but late Dutch pressure earned them a point which had looked beyond them for much of the game.
The German were in command for the first hour of the game with Dutch creative efforts smothered by a hard-working five-man midfield and a solid defence.
It was probably the best German performance since they lost to Brazil in the 2002 World Cup final.
Coach Rudi Voeller was pleased with the side's form despite the late equalizer.
"When you lead 1-0 for a long time it is, of course, annoying to concede an equalizer, especially because we played very well in the first half," he said.
"In the second half we allowed ourselves to be pushed back a bit too far but the Dutch put a lot of pressure on us.
"Nevertheless my compliments to the team. That's how a tournament team is formed. We performed with a lot of confidence."
Captain and goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said: "The goal came after we unfortunately lost the ball near the corner flag. Van Nistelrooy angled the ball into the net. That was done superbly by him.
"In the first half it was the best we had played for a long, long time. We hardly allowed the Dutch to play. As far as the team performance is concerned we can be very satisfied. What was lacking was a second goal."
Earlier in Aveiro, the Latvians, playing in their first major tournament, shocked the Czechs with a goal seconds before half-time through Maris Verpakovskis and looked to be heading for a major upset.
But the Czechs were able to equalize through Liverpool striker Milan Baros in the 73rd minute and hit the winner with five minutes remaining thanks to substitute Marek Heinz.
Czech coach Karel Bruckner said: "We did not expect an easy match, but to be frank, I suppose it was much more difficult than we expected. Latvia have a good defence, and what I would call an almost 'military' discipline."
Subject: German news