Germany midfielder Toni Kroos talked up Netherlands’ improvement over the past two years and expects another tough test when the sides meet in Euro 2020 qualifying.
Four-time world champions Germany have won all three qualifiers ahead of today’s home match with Netherlands, who they beat 3-2 in their opening Group C match in March.
The Dutch got the better of their rivals in the UEFA Nations League last year however, and Kroos believes Ronald Koeman’s men have gone from strength to strength since failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.
“They have improved so much in the last two years,” he said at yesterday’s pre-match news conference.
“Our games have always been tight and high quality. I’m expecting another tough match.
“With the amount of changes we’ve gone through, we’ve certainly not reached our limit yet. Netherlands can hurt any team. Our job is to stop them.”
Germany followed up their victory over Netherlands in Amsterdam with a 2-0 win away to Belarus and an 8-0 thumping of Estonia to leave them three points behind leaders Northern Ireland, who they face next week.
Joachim Low has used a front three in each of those games but will be without injured duo Leroy Sane and Leon Goretzka, who started the reverse fixture with Netherlands, for today’s clash at Volksparkstadion.
“Leon had a bit of a bruise after training yesterday,” Low told reporters. “It’s very important for a young team to gain familiarity, but we will still go into the game with a spring in our step despite the missing players.
“We want to keep playing with a front three. We can set up in a 4-3-3 or a 5-2-3, though. The team is very capable of doing both.
“Everyone is capable of showing their individual quality, but our unity and positional structure is our foundation.
Germany is also without Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer and Antonio Rudiger for their qualifying double-header and Low wants others to step up, such as three-cap midfielder Kai Havertz.
CAF Confed Cup: ‘I knew I Was Going To Score’
Striker Martins Usule has said he was sure of scoring after he came off the bench to net the winner as Enyimba pipped Ivorian side, San Pedro 1-0 last Sunday in Aba in continuation of the CAF Confederation Cup group phase.
His effort on 64 minutes, after he came on for Samson Obi early in the second half, ensured the two-time African champions bounced back to reckoning in the competition following their Match Day 1 loss to Morocco’s Hassania Agadir away from home, a week earlier.
Speaking after the win against San Pedro in the former Katsina United star, which has now scored three goals in the CAF Confederation Cup this term, could not hide his excitement.
“Yeah, the victory makes me feel so happy because we went for a continental game; we lost in Morocco, coming back home and with the performance, I was very, very touched when I was on the bench when the game was not going on well,” he said. “But after the game, the victory.
“And coming out of the bench to score the goal, it was a joyous thing for me.
“Before I came on, I had it in mind that whether I start the match or come in from the bench, I was going to score a goal.”
Usule’s solitary strike against San Pedro powered Enyimba to second place in Group D of the competition with 3 points from two matches, behind leaders Hassania Agadir, who have a perfect two wins from as many matches.
Reactions Trail Joshua’s Win Against Ruiz
Anthony Joshua reclaiming his world boxing titles, as he beat Andy Ruiz Jr in their second leg fight of the heavyweight champion last Saturday at Saudi Arabia has continued to get more reactions.
In his reactions, former Rivers State heavyweight champion, John Senibo, popularly known as “Big John” described Joshua as a game changer.
According to him, he knew Joshua was going to win the fight because knowing the mistakes he made in the first fight he was going to do something to correct them.
“ We told him what to do because we knew he was going to fight with boiler. We told him to fight from outside range and he did,” Senibo said.
He noted that a lot of people thought he would lose the fight, but those who watched the first fight knew that Joshua would carry the day.
Anthony Joshua lost to Ruiz in June this year, but reclaimed his titles with a unanimous points decision win.
The win saw Joshua reclaim the IBF, WBA and WBO titles, which made him two times world heavyweight champion.
The former state heavyweight champion urged Joshua to be focused if he wanted to be the modern day Muhammed Ali.
Also the head coach of Diobu United Boxing Club, Jasper Indakeme expressed happiness over Anthony Joshua victory saying that he has made Nigerians proud.
“I am delighted finally he has reclaimed his tittles back. He is a very good fighter and mentally strong,” Indakeme said.
According to him, he suspected that Joshua trained very hard knowing what is at stake if he loses the second fight.
Also reacting, the former Rivers State middle weight champion (75kg), Comrade Wapaemi Willie Jos commended Joshua for winning in unanimous decisions.
“He should concentrate on how to do more in the game of professional boxing. I am so happy that he reclaimed his titles. He is a proud Nigerian, “he explained.
By: Kiadum Edookor
Enyimba’s Midfielder Praises Teammates For Victory
Enyimba’s midfielder, Austine Oladapo, has heaped praises on the team after their hard fought win over San Pedro in Sunday’s CAF Confederations Cup.
The Nigerian Champions laboured to a 1-0 win over their visitors at the Aba township stadium , courtesy of late goal from Martin Usule
Enyimba slumped to a 2-0 defeat to Morrocan side, Hassania Agadir, in their first group stage game , but the victory over San Pedro has put them in healthy position in the group.
In a exclusive interview with Tidesport source, Oladapo said the boys were pleased to get the much needed win.
“We are happy with the three points, that’s the important thing , because a draw at home would have been a disaster,”
He added that: “San Pedro are good side, they gave us alot of problems, but thank God that we find solutions to every question they ask”, Oladapo said.
The former Gombe United player concluded that , the aim of the club is to win the competition for Nigerians.
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