Robin van Persie of the Netherlands celebrates his team's first goal during the international friendly match between the Netherlands and Mexico at the Badenova stadium in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. (Photo by Alex Grimm/Bongarts/Getty Images)

International Friendlies 2011: Netherlands Vs. Switzerland, Germany Vs. Ukraine, And More

The European teams who have already qualified for (or been knocked out of) Euro 2012 are playing international friendly matches during the break to work on their chemistry and make a lot of money

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9 Total Updates since November 10, 2011
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England Vs. Spain, 2011 International Friendly: Preview

England are not good. Spain certainly are good. If the visitors are in a mood, get ready for them to crush Fabio Capello's second string side like tiny little bugs.


Ukraine Vs. Germany, 2011 International Friendly: Germans Rally From Two Down, Draw 3-3

Germany rallied from a 3-1 first half deficit to draw even with Ukraine, 3-3 on Friday night. The Germans made a series of costly mistakes in the first half, and allowed the Ukrainians to three goals despite dominating the flow of the match. In the second half, the Germans seemed to cool their heads defensively, cutting off the Ukrainian's options on offense while springing lethal counter attacks. 

German coach Joachim Löw responded to his side's lackluster defending in the first half by removing defender Christian Trasch and defensive midfielder Sami Khedira during the break in favor of more attacking options in midfielders Simon Rofles and Andre Schurrle; his gamble paid off in the 65th minute, when Rofles blasted in a brilliant team effort. 

Löw also gambled by putting superstar-in-making Mario Goetze next to already-a-star-but-might-even-get-better Mesut Özil in the creative midfield; I'm still not entirely sure whether this worked out--they were both replaced in the 68th minute in favor of Lukas Podolski and Thomas Müller, the eventual goal-scorer. They seemed to work pretty well together, but seemed a bit out of sync (which makes sense, seeing as they've rarely held the creative duties together). 

Ukraine will be happy that they put on such an impressive display for their home fans, despite the result: they came out and battled with one of the best five teams in the world and grabbed a metaphorical point (though, of course, this game means nothing). Germany should take this time to analyze their first half and try to figure out where they went wrong; and, no doubt, they'll look into the Goetze-Özil partnership, as they're one of the most promising young duos in the world right now. 


Netherlands Vs. Switzerland, 2011 International Friendly: Swiss Hold Dutch To Physical 0-0 Draw

The Netherlands drew Switzerland 0-0 at home Friday evening, in a tough 0-0 draw that was very reminiscent of the Swiss' performance against Spain in the first round of last summer's World Cup. Despite a generally strong attack, the Dutch found it nearly impossible to break down a very organized Swiss defense.

Holland dominated most facets of the match, employing almost every attacking method in the book as they tried to drum up scoring opportunities--but to no avail. The Swiss defense held true for the most part, and the Dutch failed to capitalize on the few opportunities they found. Wesley Sneijder had a couple of long-range attempts blocked in the first half, while Robin van Persie challenged the Swiss back line a few times as well throughout the match; but really, the story of this match was Switzerland's defense. 

Holland is a fantastic attacking side, featuring some of the best players in the world; just like Spain, they function well in possession and on the counter-attack, a nightmarish proposition for even the best defenses. But today, Switzerland held firm, blocking attack after attack, and even breaking on the Dutch with that over-the-top style that characterizes defensive sides. 

From a Dutch perspective, this match means nothing: they didn't seem to try their hardest to win, and their hearts didn't appear to be in the game; from a Swiss perspective, this draw could speak volumes to their team's chances in the 2012 Eurocup--if they can defend like this, they should feel confident playing against any side in the world.


International Friendlies, Halftime Update: Ukraine Leads Germany 3-1; Holland, Switzerland Tied At Zero

In what will be a surprise result if it holds up, Ukraine is beating Germany 3-1 at home thanks to a few artfully taken goals, and an absolutely terrible German defensive effort. The Ukrainians scored twice after mental errors, breaking quickly on the counter attack to catch the Germans sleeping on defense. While the goals came against the run of play--Germany was dominating the match thanks to some fantastic play from young superstar center midfielders Mario Goetze and Mesut Özil--they weren't entirely undeserved, as the Germans were exceedingly vulnerable at the back.

Andriy Yarmolenko beat German keeper Ran-Robert Zieler in the 28th minute to put the Ukrainians on top; the goal came against the run of play, however, and the Germans seemed poised to equalize almost immediately afterwards. What actually followed, however, was a stunning series of events that lead to Ukraine's second goal only minutes later: first, the Germans lost an easy ball in attack, and failed to track back as Ukraine countered. Yevhen Konoplyanka pushed home the cross, past a diving Ziegler--who may have tripped--and Ukraine had a shocking 2-0 lead in the 36th minute. 

The Germans rallied, however, and found a goal only two minutes later as Toni Kroos blasted home a brilliant move in the 38th minute. However, in a genuinely stunning development, the Ukrainians scored again in stoppage time to send the Germans to the locker room losing 3-1: Serhiy Nazarenko slotted home another counter-attack in the 46th minute, sending Ziegler and company off the field in embarrassment. 

In the Netherlands, Holland and Switzerland are in the midst of a gritty 0-0 draw reminiscent of Switzerland's World Cup performance against Spain: the Dutch have missed a series of chances, while the Swiss have maintained their rigid back line. We'll have updates for you as that game wraps up. 


Mexico Vs. Serbia, 2011 International Friendly: Chepo De La Torre Looks For First Home Win

'Chepo' Jose Manuel de la Torre looks for his first win in Mexico as El Tri manager when his side host Serbia on Friday night.


Ukraine Vs. Germany, 2011 International Friendly: Germany's Loew Set To Experiment

Germany's manager Joachim Loew plans on experimenting with players and tactics in Friday's friendly with Ukraine, who are without a number of their top players.


France Vs. USA, 2011 International Friendly: Depleted Les Bleus Team Gives Americans A Chance

France is a better team than the U.S., but with Les Blues missing several top players the Americans have a chance to get a win in Paris

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