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17 Nov, 2018 14:29

Tale of two teams: Netherlands resurgent as Germans dumped out of UEFA Nations League top tier

Tale of two teams: Netherlands resurgent as Germans dumped out of UEFA Nations League top tier

Germany suffered the embarrassment of relegation from the UEFA Nations League without even kicking a ball on Friday, after watching a resurgent Netherlands team defeat world champions France.

Germany were grouped with World Cup winners France and the Netherlands in Group A1 of the new international competition, which aims to replace international friendlies and give more credibility to non-qualifying international matches.

But Germany's inaugural UEFA Nations League campaign has proved to be a tough one, with Joachim Low's side picking up just one point from their three games played to date.

Germany kicked off their campaign with a goalless draw at home to France, but fell apart on the road.

After their 3-0 defeat at the hands of the Dutch in October, Low bemoaned his side's performance, saying they "broke apart" after suffering their sixth defeat in 10 games.


That stat extended to seven losses in 11 as France came from a goal down to defeat Germany 2-1 and leave Die Mannschaft needing results to go their way to stay in the hunt.

But the Netherlands' resounding 2-0 win over France on Friday night put the Dutch on top of the group, and relegated Germany in the process.

Now Ronald Koeman's men need only a draw in Germany on Monday to secure the top spot and progress to the semi-finals, signalling their resurgence since their failure to qualify for the World Cup in Russia this summer.  

While they suffered a narrow 2-1 defeat to France in September, they have since seen off Germany 3-0, drawn with Belgium 1-1 in a friendly, and now handed France a first defeat in 16 matches.

In stark contrast, Germany's UEFA Nations League relegation caps off a year to forget.

Die Mannschaft had a disastrous World Cup campaign, as they lost their opening game to Mexico in crashing to their first defeat in a World Cup opener since 1982.

They needed a dramatic stoppage-time winner to defeat Sweden, but that only papered over the cracks, and they were subsequently knocked out of the tournament following a 2-0 defeat to South Korea.


It was the first time Germany had exited a World Cup in the first round since 1938 and the first time they'd ever gone out at the group stages since the group format was introduced into the World Cup.

The Germans did at least enjoy a 3-0 friendly win against a depleted Russia on Thursday night, although the result was hardly something to shout abut given Low's current woes.  

READ MORE: ‘I hope he wasn’t proposing’: Bizarre pitch invader knee-slides to Neuer in Russia v Germany game

And with internal wranglings over the handling of Mesut Ozil's international retirement and his accusations of "racism and disrespect," 2018 has proved to be a year few in German football will look back on with much satisfaction.

READ MORE: 'He doesn't want to talk to us' - Germany manager Low on Ozil Arsenal snub