Hummels Out to Add to Dutch Misery
Germany defender Mats Hummels cannot wait for the chance to send Holland out of Euro 2012 and book a place in the quarter-finals with victory in Kharkiv on Wednesday.
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A 1-0 win over Portugal on Saturday night combined with Holland's unexpected 1-0 defeat to Denmark means Germany have both nations' fate in their hands when they meet next week.
Victory or even a draw may be enough to take Germany into the last eight while the Dutch simply must beat their neighbours to stand any chance of remaining in the competition.
"Anything but a win could mean they are out so it is one of those classic finals for them," he said.
"For us the only possible answer is that we want to win and take a big step forwards.
"It will be a really intensive game, not just because of the group situation, but also because of our history and healthy rivalry."
Hummels was a rather surprising inclusion in the Germany side on Saturday night as he was preferred over the experienced Per Mertesacker at the heart of the defence.
His solid performance was not only a thank you to coach Joachim Low for the faith shown, but as he explained in Gdansk on Sunday, it was an answer to his critics who were so quick to criticise him after Germany's 5-3 defeat to Switzerland just a fortnight ago.
"After one game, whether good or bad, you should not draw too many conclusions," he said.
"I think after one good game, you should not make everything out to be positive, and after one bad game, it is not all negative either.
"I think there needs to be a good relationship between the players and journalists so that the players feel they can say what they think, but when there are things that players don't like, then they react.
"This was my way of reacting. I did not feel there was any great need to add any words to my performance last night."
The Borussia Dortmund defender will also follow his own advice in not reading too much into his own performance.
"You have got to prove yourself over and over again," he said. "It was great to have the faith and it is important for a player that you feel you are needed, but that does not make me a starting regular."
That is particularly true given the difficulties the Germany defence had in the last 10 minutes of the game as Portugal frantically searched for an equaliser.
"We lost the ball too quickly too often and did not hold possession long or efficiently enough," added the 23-year-old.
"We were lucky and we know that. We have got to pay more attention in future, but you have also got to consider the quality of our opponents.
"When they risk more, then of course it is harder to deny them chances. We did keep them down to a few chances, like Nani's blocked shot or Manuel's (Neuer) save from Varela, but even those should not have happened."
And those final 10 minutes have given Hummels and the Germany rearguard a taste of what they can expect on Wednesday against the Dutch.
"I presume Holland will attack more than Portugal did," he predicted. "There will probably be more chances in that game, but also more for us too.
"With (Arjen) Robben , (Ibrahim) Afellay, (Wesley) Sneijder and (Robin) van Persie, they have excellent attacking players.
"And then there is (Klaas Jan) Huntelaar who has shown in the Bundesliga all season that almost every ball which came near him inside the penalty area became a goal.
"He and Van Persie are probably among the top eight in the world and we have got to make sure they don't get into position to score.
"Top players like them don't need many chances to score. We have got to get the balance right."