Germany all but sealed qualification to the quarter finals of Euro 2012 with a 2-1 victory over old rivals the Netherlands.
A first half brace from Mario Gomez was enough to secure the win for Joachim Löw’s men, despite Robin van Persie pulling a goal back in the last quarter of the game.
Both sides created chances early on: van Persie shot straight at Manuel Neuer when put through; Mesut Özil hit the post.
Like Germany’s goal against Portugal, their opener was made by Bastian Schweinsteiger, and finished with aplomb by Gomez.
Schweinsteiger strode through the middle of the park unchallenged, teeing up his teammate to turn superbly and fire past Maarten Stekelenburg.
The movement of Germany was too much for Holland to handle, with Müller, Özil, Schweinsteiger and Khedira all proving too difficult for the Oranje to pick up.
It was this that led to the first goal, and so it was for the second. Once more it was Schweinsteiger who orchestrated it, and once more it was Gomez who finished it, with another cool strike past Stekelenburg.
Bert van Marwijk changed things up at half time, going more offensive with the introduction of Rafael van der Vaart and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
They certainly looked sharper going forward, and looked more than capable of getting a goal back.
However, pulling two back – and preventing Germany from scoring again – looked beyond them. They managed the second; they could not do the first.
Germany were still hitting them on the counter-attack, perhaps sensing the need to attack in the face of a possible Dutch onslaught. Defender Mats Hummels forced a double save from Stekelenburg.
Holland did get a goal – their first of the tournament – when van Persie turned away from his man and shot through the legs of Holger Badstuber and past Neuer.
It gave them hope, briefly, but it was not enough and the Germans held on to their lead.
Joachim Löw, speaking to Uefa.com after the game, said: “With this victory I think we’ve opened the door to the quarter finals. It’s now in our hands to make everything clear on Sunday [against Denmark].
“It was a very intense game today, a very tight game. The temperatures were extreme and it was difficult to keep a high tempo for the whole match. We did really well defensively as Holland’s game is to play on the attack – they have four or five top guys up there.
“What is clear in this so-called group of death is that we’ve already got six points. There is always room for analysis after a game, though.