HOLLAND manager Bert van Marwijk blamed his player’s conditioning after last night’s 2-0 defeat to Germany brought them to the brink of elimination from the European Championship.
Two masterful finishes from striker Mario Gomez gave Germany complete control, even after a typically-powerful strike from Arsenal’s Robin van Persie, leaving Van Marwijk’s side with a significant struggle to advance to the tournament’s quarter-finals.
Germany are now as close to the final eight as the Dutch are to an early exit. They top the group with a maximum six points while Holland, having also lost their opening fixture to Denmark, have yet to secure their first.
“We lost against a very good team and if you want to beat Germany you have to be top as a team and player,” said Van Marwijk. “We weren’t today as several players aren’t really in shape. The opening phase was okay but after that it all went wrong in our defence.”
Bastian Schweinstiger thread an exquisite through-ball beyond the static Dutch defence for Gomez to expertly turn and shoot beyond goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg for a 24th-minute opener.
Schweinstiger and Gomez again combined for the latter’s second but the striker this time had more to do, delicately curling the ball inside the far right post from the edge of the penalty area.
Van Persie’s arrowed effort gave Holland 20 minutes to equalise but they thereafter rarely threatened to do so.