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Robin van Persie, Lukas Podolski
Netherlands 1-2 Germany, Group B
Wednesday, June 13
Lukas Podolski stands on the brink of the Euro 2012 knockout stages - but Robin van Persie could be heading for an early exit.
Arsenal's big-name strikers left the Metalist Stadium in very different moods on Wednesday night after Podolski's Germany beat Van Persie's Holland to maintain their 100 per cent record in Group B.
Van Persie did find the net for the Dutch - with a thunderous right-foot drive - but it was too little too late in Kharkiv.
The damage had already been done and it was largely done by Mario Gomez. The Germany striker opened the scoring in the 24th minute with an elegant first touch and a crisp finish after Bastian Schweinsteiger had opened up the Holland defence.
The same pair linked up once more in the 38th minute and Gomez produced an even better finish this time, lifting the ball over Maarten Stekelenburg and into the top corner.
Holland started the game well - with Van Persie spurning two presentable chances - but the Dutch defence could not live with Germany's pace and movement and they could have been further behind at the break after Mesut Ozil hit the post and Holger Badstuber missed from point-blank range.
Holland did improve after the break with Rafael van der Vaart on for Marc van Bommel and Van Persie hauled them back into contention with 17 minutes left. The Arsenal man turned a defender and smashed a low drive past Manuel Neuer with his supposedly weaker right foot.
The Dutch pushed for an equaliser but they remained vulnerable on the break and Germany held on to record a deserved victory - with Podolski impressing in his left-sided role. Per Mertesacker was an unused substitute.
Germany need a point against Denmark on Sunday to secure top spot in Group B while Holland must beat Portugal to stand any chance of advancing to the last eight of the tournament.13 Jun 2012