Netherlands can hurt any team – Kroos cautious of Dutch ahead of latest meeting

Toni Kroos was part of the Germany side that beat Netherlands 3-2 earlier this year and is anticipating another tight encounter on Friday.

Published : Sep 05, 2019 22:29 IST

Netherlands' players celebrate against Germany after beating Die Mannschaft in the UEFA Nations League.
Netherlands' players celebrate against Germany after beating Die Mannschaft in the UEFA Nations League.

Netherlands' players celebrate against Germany after beating Die Mannschaft in the UEFA Nations League.

Germany midfielder Toni Kroos talked up Netherlands' improvement over the past two years and expects another tough test when the sides meet in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Four-time world champion Germany has won all three qualifiers ahead of Friday's home match with Netherlands, which it beat 3-2 in its opening Group C match in March.

The Dutch got the better of their rival in the UEFA Nations League last year, however, and Kroos believes Ronald Koeman's men have gone from strength to strength since failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

"They have improved so much in the last two years," he said at Thursday's pre-match news conference. 

"Our games have always been tight and high quality. I'm expecting another tough match.

"With the amount of changes we've gone through, we've certainly not reached our limit yet. Netherlands can hurt any team. Our job is to stop them."

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Germany followed up its victory over Netherlands in Amsterdam with a 2-0 win away to Belarus and an 8-0 thumping of Estonia to leave it three points behind leader Northern Ireland, who they face next week.

Joachim Low has used a front three in each of those games but will be without injured duo Leroy Sane and Leon Goretzka, who started the reverse fixture with Netherlands, for Friday's clash at Volksparkstadion.

"Leon had a bit of a bruise after training yesterday," Low told reporters. "It's very important for a young team to gain familiarity, but we will still go into the game with a spring in our step despite the missing players.

"We want to keep playing with a front three. We can set up in a 4-3-3 or a 5-2-3, though. The team are very capable of doing both.

"Everyone is capable of showing their individual quality, but our unity and positional structure is our foundation.

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Germany is also without Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer and Antonio Rudiger for its qualifying double-header and Low wants others to step up, such as three-cap midfielder Kai Havertz.

"He has real quality and can be a star player over the next few years," he said of the Bayer Leverkusen youngster. 

"He still needs to develop and improve, though. He's shown his class so far and I'm sure that he will establish himself."

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