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Netherlands cling to dream with Germany's help

Last updated on: June 15, 2012 11:16 IST

Netherlands cling to dream with Germany's help

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The Netherlands found an unexpected ally as the players sat slumped in their changing room after a dispiriting 2-1 loss to Germany on Wednesday night as their rivals promised to do their best to help them qualify.

-PHOTOS: Dutch face elimination after loss to Germany

The Dutch defeat left their Euro 2012 hopes hanging by a thread but the visit of Germany's players after the match at the Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv lifted spirits and offered hope where there seemed to be none.

Personal reassurances from the Germans convinced several leading Dutch players that, if they can beat Portugal by two goals or more, Germany will do their best to ensure their passage by crushing Denmark in their final Group B fixture.


Image: Germany's Lukas Podolski (left) and Netherlands' Mark van Bommel (right) comfort Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder
Photographs: Alessandro Bianchi/REUTERS

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'Yeah, for sure, we will be going 100 percent in that game'

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The Dutch squad's spokesman Kees Jansma said at training on Thursday: "Their players came into our changing room last night after the game and that is what they said...

"I can tell you Robin Van Persie changed shirts with Thomas Mueller and he asked him.

"He told him that 'Yeah, for sure, we will be going 100 percent in that game' and that is what everyone believes."

Wesley Sneijder and Mark van Bommel were also said to have been told the same by Germany's players.

Rated by many pundits as one of the favourites for the Euro 2012 title, the Dutch instead face elimination after defeats by Denmark and Germany.


Image: (From left) Netherlands' Rafael van der Vaart, Germany's Mesut Oezil, Thomas Mueller and Netherlands' Wesley Sneijder speak after their Euro match
Photographs: Alessandro Bianchi/REUTERS

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Tough for Netherlands to book quarter-finals berth

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Only a two-goal win, or better, in Kharkiv on Sunday will keep alive their hopes of a place in the quarter-finals, providing Germany reel off a third straight group win against Denmark in Lviv at the same time.

Germany will win the group if they draw or win their final group match and could still qualify for the last eight if they lose and definitely would if Portugal fail to beat Netherlands.

The German players visit on Wednesday night lifted the Dutch gloom as they resumed training at the Wisla stadium on Thursday.


Image: Netherlands' fans react at the end of their Group B Euro 2012 soccer match against Germany at the Metalist stadium in Kharkiv
Photographs: Alessandro Bianchi/REUTERS

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'Everyone is still determined to work to succeed'

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As the 'reserves' half of the Dutch squad, including forwards Dirk Kuyt and Ibrahim Afellay, trained late in the afternoon, Jansma tried to put a brave face on their position.

"How do you think they feel?" he responded, when asked about the mood in the camp, little more than 12 hours after the squad had arrived back at the Sheraton Hotel, after a direct flight from Kharkiv during Wednesday night.

"It is not so good, but everyone is still determined to work to succeed. And the players are going to be positive -- they know what to do."

As a day of torrential rain turned into flickering sunshine, the travails of Wednesday night seemed to evaporate.

"The others have gone to a gym near the hotel," said Jansma. "And there are no injuries. Nobody is ill. Everyone is fit, so that is good, too. We have to recover and move on now."


Image: Netherlands' fans react at the end of their Group B Euro 2012 soccer match against Germany at the Metalist stadium in Kharkiv
Photographs: Vasily Fedosenko/REUTERS

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