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Netherlands sweep past Germany in Nations League
Germany’s slumping fortunes continued on Saturday night when they lost 3-0 to a resurgent Netherlands in the Uefa Nations League. The defeat at the Johan Cruijff Arena in Amsterdam leaves the Germans bottom of League A Group 1 with one point from two games.
Joachim Loew’s men have a chance to redeem themselves on 16 October when they play against the world champions France who lead the group with four points from two games.
Following the debacle at the World Cup in Russia where they became the first German squad not to advance from the group stages for 80 years, the Nations League offered the side the chance to suggest the performances in the summer were a bizarre inefficiency.
Loew’s side held a full strength France side to a 0-0 draw in Munich in September but against Ronald Koeman’s revitalised Dutchmen, Germany were their World Cup selves: imperiously impotent.
Virgil van Dijk made them pay the price after 30 minutes when he prodded the ball home after Ryan Babel’s header hit the crossbar and left the Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer stranded.
Memphis Depay ended the contest three minutes from time and Georgino Wijnaldum rubbed salt into the wounds with the third in stoppage time.
“We created some chances and we could have taken the lead early on,” said Neuer. “But once they were ahead we were more open at the back as we tried to get back into the game so we conceded the second. There will be lots of criticism back home but things could have ended differently.”
Elsewhere the Czech Republic relaunched their campaign in League B Group 1 with a 2-1 win in Slovakia. Michael Krmencik and Patrik Schick scored the visitors’ goals either side of a strike from Marek Hamsik.
The victory leaves the Czechs three points behind pacesetters Ukraine who will be their next opponents on 16 October.