Germany 2-1 Netherlands: Fullkrug wins it late for Euro 2024 hosts

By Sports Desk March 26, 2024

Germany's preparations for Euro 2024 stepped up another gear with a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in Frankfurt.

Niclas Fullkrug was the matchwinner for Julian Nagelsmann's team, who had to come from behind following Joey Veerman's early opener.

Maximilian Mittelstadt’s error proved costly for that goal, but he responded with a stunning equaliser just seven minutes later.

That set the stage for substitute Fullkrug to write the headlines as he bundled in off his shoulder from Toni Kroos' 85th-minute corner.

The Netherlands took just four minutes to break the deadlock in the 46th chapter of their intense rivalry with Germany.

Veerman steered the visitors ahead at Deutsche Bank Park as he latched on to a superb Memphis Depay ball from the right, following the easy dispossession of a rather hapless Mittelstadt.

Instead of wallowing, Mittelstadt reacted brilliantly and on just his second cap for Die Mannschaft, struck the game's emphatic second goal, hammering in off the underside of the crossbar with a long-range strike.

Ilkay Gundogan was denied smartly by Bart Verbruggen down at the bottom left corner in the 18th minute, before Kai Havertz repeated the move in the 36th, only to be halted by the offside flag.

Donyell Malen missed a great chance to restore the Dutch's lead – Mathijs de Ligt headed down a lofted free-kick, yet in a clustered area, the Borussia Dortmund man could only nod over from six yards out.

Making just his fifth international appearance, Verbruggen made fine stops from Mittelstadt, Jamal Musiala and Thomas Muller as Germany prodded and probed throughout the second half, but the Netherlands goalkeeper was finally beaten late on.

Kroos' left-sided corner dropped on the edge of the six-yard box, where Fullkrug managed to meet it with his shoulder. Verbruggen was unable to keep the ball from crossing the line, with the Netherlands' appeals for handball waved away.

Mittelstadt finds swift redemption

Mittelstadt's second Germany appearance could hardly have got off to a poorer start when he slipped up for the Netherlands' opener.

Yet the Stuttgart man responded with a brilliant, curling left-footed strike from a Jamal Musiala lay-off, with his effort yielding a lowly expected goals value of just 0.02. 

The left-back is hoping to make a good impression and force his way into the reckoning for Euro 2024, so atoning for an error with a wondergoal should go some distance to proving he is worthy of being cut some leeway.

Complimentary Kroos matches Klinsmann

Kroos started in Frankfurt to claim his 108th international cap, equalling Jurgen Klinsmann's record tally. Impressively, only seven players have played more games for the DFB team, and Kroos was crucial in setting the tempo for his side.

Having retired after Germany's Euro 2020 exit, Kroos returned to feature in this camp, and he added a composure to the line-up that has too often been missing since he bowed out of the international picture. In the first half, he dictated the flow, completing 67 passes, with a near-perfect 97.3 percent pass completion rate.

The 34-year-old topped off his record-matching appearance with an assist for the winner.

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