HAMBURG Nov 16 Germany coach Joachim Loew
is confident his team have not peaked too soon before Euro 2012
after trouncing the Netherlands 3-0 in an international friendly
on Tuesday, capping a superb year with nine victories against a
With their sights set on winning a first title for 16 years,
Germany overwhelmed the 2010 World Cup runners-up and contender
for next year's finals with a quick-passing, attacking style
that evoked memories of Dutch 'Total Football' in the 1970s.
"A lot can happen in the next half year," Loew warned after
watching his team beat Netherlands for the first time since 1996
to finish 2011 with nine wins and three draws against a lone 2-1
loss to Australia.
"If we had to play the Euro tomorrow we'd be in excellent
shape," Loew said after his team, ranked third by FIFA, crushed
the world's second ranked side in front of a sell-out crowd of
51,500 on a frosty night in the port city of Hamburg.
"This good run we've had isn't uncanny for me at all," he
told a news conference, referring to an 18-month streak that has
included wins over England (4-1), Argentina (4-0), Brazil (3-2)
and now Netherlands.
"We've worked for years to get to this level and our goal
was to improve a bit every year," he said of his team's
fast-paced style similar to that of World and European champions
Germany also won all 10 of their Euro 2012 qualifiers to
ease into the tournament being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
"The developments from 2010 have been very good," he added
after the win that Germany's top-selling newspaper Bild called
"the most beautiful victory of 2011".
Loew said: "I'm very pleased with the consistency we've been
able to build up."
Germany, winners of three World Cups and three European
championships, were once regarded as "tournament specialists"
after they often seemed to peak at just the right moment
following mediocre results in the run-up to major events.
But after taking third place at the last two World Cups and
losing to Spain in the Euro 2008 final, Germany are more intent
than ever to win a first title since Euro 96 in England.
"Two or three years ago we couldn't always win the big
matches," Loew said. "But now we've achieved that. I'm very
pleased that we're consistently able to come up with this high
level of performance."
Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk said he was impressed
with how quickly Germany shifted from converting a Dutch attack
into a scoring chance at the other end.
"They were so fast," he said. "They're playing super right
now. I'd say Germany is a top favourite (for Euro 2012) along
"They've got so much potential. They've got so many good
players. Even if you look over at their bench, they have so many
creative players sitting there."
Van Marwijk said his team might have had a better chance
against Germany if first-choice forwards Robin van Persie, Arjen
Robben and Rafael van der Vaart had not been missing through
He said Netherlands, along with England, Italy and Portugal
were also contenders. "We're also among the favourites if we go
there without a lot of injured players," he said.
(Additional reporting by Tom Wagner; Editing by John O'Brien)