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  Results & Reviews: Match 08


Better late than never
Van Nistelrooy spoils German celebration with late equalizer

Ruud van Nistelrooy rescued the Netherlands with an acrobatic goal nine minutes from the end on Tuesday to give his team a 1-1 draw with archrival Germany in their opening Euro 2004 Group D match.

Andy van der Meyde won the ball near the right corner and sent a perfect cross into the box, where Van Nistelrooy, with his back to goal, connected with his right foot to put the ball behind German 'keeper Oliver Kahn.

Germany took a 1-0 lead in the 30th on Torsten Frings' angled free kick, which flew through the six-meter box and went in off the post.

"When you are up for so long, the draw is frustrating, especially since we played very well in the first half and had the Dutch under control," said Germany coach Rudi Voeller, whose team kept its record perfect of never losing an opening match in the European championship.
« Summary »

Group D 15 June 2004 1945 CET

Dragão, Oporto Attendance 46,636


Frings 30

van Nistelrooy 81
Germany (4-5-1) Kahn (c); Friedrich, Woerns, Nowotny, Lahm; Schneider (Schweinsteiger 68), Baumann, Hamann, Ballack, Frings (Ernst 79); Kuranyi (Bobic 85).
Netherlands (4-3-3) van der Sar; Heitinga (van Hooijdonk 74), Bouma, Stam, van Bronckhorst; Davids (Sneijder 46), Cocu (c), van der Vaart, Zenden (Overmars 46); van der Meyde, van Nistelrooy.
Referee Anders Frisk (SWE)

"We retreated a little bit too far back in the second half. But I must compliment my team, this is the stuff a tournament team is made of. We came out with a lot of confidence and in the end all that was missing was another goal."

The Czech Republic rallied to defeat Latvia 2-1 in Tuesday's other Group D match to go top of the group.

Frings' goal -- an angled 30-meter (yard) free kick -- bounced off the ground in front of Dutch 'keeper Edwin van der Sar and went into the net off the far post. Van der Sar seemed to lose sight of the curling shot as Dutch and German players rushed into the area.

The free kick was set up when Dutch captain Phillip Cocu was shown a yellow card for needlessly upending Germany's Philipp Lahm.

The Netherlands had a chance to win the game in the 86th through Cocu's powerful header from a corner but Kahn punched it away.

The Dutch comeback in the final 10 minutes went contrary to the other 80 in which Germany -- a three-time European champion -- was almost always in control following a spotty series of results leading up to the championship.

Substitute Fabian Ernst, shortly after coming on, carelessly allowed himself to be robbed of the ball, leading to the Dutch goal.

"It was an unlucky loss of possession in the corner. Van Nistelrooy made a super shot," said Kahn, who turned 35 on Tuesday.

"In the first half, it was our best game in a long time. We can be happy with our performance as team. Only a second goal was missing."

The Germans came out aggressively, using a crowded midfield to stifle the Dutch game, and produced the kind of performance that allowed them to reach the final of the 2002 World Cup.

The teams shared possession in the first 20 minutes, an open spell in which neither side threatened the other's goal.

Germany looked most threatening in the 23rd when Kuranyi drove a shot from 25 meters (yards) that van der Sar leaped high to tip over the crossbar. Seconds later, defender Christian Woerns bounced a close-in header off the turf and over the bar.

Germany was taking the play from the Dutch midway through the half, and the goal seemed to give it even more confidence. Kahn had little to do in the first half.

The best chance for the Netherlands came in the 42nd minute when Rafael van der Vaart turned and sent a low, left-footed shot just inches wide of the far post after collecting a through ball from Edgar Davids.

The Dutch opened with two changes in the second half -- Wesley Sneijder for Edgar Davids and Marc Overmars for Boudewijn Zenden.

They tried to spread play out, particularly from the left side with Overmars. He got off a blistering shot from 20 meters (yards) in the 74th that Kahn punched away. The shot came as the Dutch sent on striker Pierre van Hooijdonk for extra punch and his size and power in the air shook the German defense late in the game. It was Hooijdonk who forced Ernst into the error before the Dutch scored.

"The mistake ruined our game," said German striker Kevin Kuranyi.
- AP



 « Group Standings »

Group D

P W D L F A Pt
Czech Rep. 1 1 0 0 2 1 3
Germany 1 0 1 0 1 1 1
Netherlands 1 0 1 0 1 1 1
Latvia 1 0 0 1 1 2 0


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 « Match Stats »

1 Goals 1
1 Halftime 0
5 Corners 7
0 Offsides 0
16 Fouls 18
2 Yellow cards 2
0 Red cards 0
18 Free kicks 16
9 Shots off target 8
0 Woodwork 0
5 Saves 4
0 GL Clearances 0
- Possession -



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