Euro 2012 preview: Netherlands v Germany

Group B, Kharkiv, kick-off 7.45pm (coverage starts 7pm BBC1)

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Decades of needle nestle spikily behind this game, with some Dutch fans still hating the German football team because of the Second World War (imagine that!), and many Germans unwilling to forget the infamous stramash at Italia ’90, when Frank Rijkaard spat in Rudi Voller’s hair. Twice.

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The Dutch employed a mixture of kung fu, shirt-pulling and 1970s shin-gouging to reach the final of the 2010 World Cup, but seemed to have calmed down in their opening Euro 2012 game against Denmark, when the clever movement and weighted through balls of Wesley Sneijder helped to create a glut of chances for Robin van Persie to scuff wide.

Germany seem unlikely to get involved in a punch-up at the Metalist Stadium (Alan Partridge’s favourite Euro 2012 venue), staffed as they are by willowy, twinkle-toed geniuses like Mesut Ozil. They displayed no obvious weakness against Portugal and their hair is generally too short to satisfactorily lodge a flobber in. They could more or less put the Dutch out here.

STRUCK OFF: Mario Gomez got the Germans their winner against Portugal, but had been ineffective up to then and was about to be subbed when he headed in. Joachim Löw might ask wily Miroslav Klose to unsettle the dodgy Dutch back line instead. And the Dutch might push the Premier League’s top striker, Robin van Persie, out wide in favour of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

TRICK SHOT: Uefa haven’t made an official announcement, but we assume that if Wesley Sneijder does this during the match, it’ll count for two goals:

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PREDICTION: The Dutch pour forward but the Germans coolly pick them off. 1-3.