Germany survived a late comeback to put themselves on the brink of the Euro 2012 quarter-finals with a 2-1 victory over the Netherlands in Kharkiv.

Exposing some lapse Dutch defending, Mario Gomez scored twice in the first half to give Germany six points from two games in Group B, despite Robin van Persie's fine strike 19 minutes from time.

A point against Denmark on Sunday will be enough to guarantee their place in the last eight. The Dutch, meanwhile, must now beat Portugal to have any chance of progressing through the group.

Looking to recover from their opening defeat to Denmark, the Netherlands started on the front foot and eager to get an early advantage. And they came close to getting it seven minutes in. Mark van Bommel lofted the ball over the top of the German defense to find the run of Robin van Persie. But the forward continued where he left off against the Danes, putting his volley on the stretch straight at Neuer.

Despite the Netherlands' early dominance, Germany provided an early warning of their attacking threat. A simple long throw was headed away only as far as Mesut Ozil on the edge of the box, who executed a volley with exemplary technique that bounced back off the post and into the grateful arms of Manuel Neuer.

While the Dutch had the obvious incentive to go forward, Germany were consistently counter attacking in numbers, meaning there was plenty of space in midfield.

Unfortunately for the Dutch it was that space which proved their downfall. Clearly preoccupied with the threat posed by Ozii, despite having two shielding midfielders, Bastian Schweinsteiger twice found himself in acres of room to pierce through the Dutch rearguard and their fans' hearts.

Midway through the first period, Thomas Muller drifted in far too easily from the right before laying a simple ball to Schweinsteiger, who had all the time in the world to pick out the run of Gomez with a clever ball through the defense. With Dutch defenders desperately appealing for an offside flag that was never going to come, the Bayern Munich striker executed a fine turn before calmly stroking the ball into the back of the net off the legs of Neuer.

While the ability of Germany made the goal look effortless, Van Marwijk must have been cursing the lack of any pressure on the ball from his side.

Particularly exposed was 18-year-old left back Jetro Willems. Minutes after the goal, Muller was played in behind a badly out of position Willems and his low cross only just failed to connect with Gomez in the center.

The Netherlands may have had much of the ball, but it was Germany that looked increasingly the more composed and cohesive side. It was also they who were not creating all the chances. It took a fine save from Stekelenburg to prevent Holger Badstuber from heading in at the far post from Ozil's pin-point free-kick.

But the Germans did not have to wait long to grab a second. Schweinsteiger again picked up a pass from the right in far too much space and he played a one-touch pass to find Gomez down the right of the area, exposing Willems once more. In contrast to his profligacy in the final of the Champions League, Gomez once more finished like a man at the peak of confidence, as he fired the ball past Stekelenburg and into the far side of the net. But as good as the finish was from the tight angle, Stekelenburg will be bitterly disappointed at his effort, having hit the turf before the ball had even left Gomez's boot.

The damage was almost complete right on the stroke of half time. Schweinsteiger's free kick deflected up off Robben and Stekelenburg needed to be on alert to stop the ball dropping in the top corner.

Van Marwijk had resisted pressure to bring in both Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Rafael van der Vaart from the start, but 2-0 down, the coach finally made the attacking switches at the break.

Of course those changes did little to help the Netherlands' ability to close down their opponents going forward. Mats Hummels encapsulated that weakness as he breezed through the midfield before twice being denied by Stekelenburg.

The Dutch were beginning to find their range going forward and began to test the German rear guard as the half moved on. Van Persie looked to have come to life as he received Robben's ball on the edge of the box, firing a low first-time effort that took a fine save from Neuer at full-stretch to prevent from finding the net.

And it was the Arsenal man who finally provided the Dutch with their first goal of the competition. After having marked his appearance in the finals thus far with a series of unconvincing misses, Van Perise finally showed his true class as he turned Hummels before unleashing an unstoppable drive on his weaker right foot past Neuer from the edge of the area.

There was to be no late onslaught, though, as Germany always looked to have the game within their control. It was an expertly efficient performance from Joachim Low's side. After a largely lackluster outing against Portugal, Germany were a level better against the Dutch and look to be moving ominously into form ready to peak in the latter rounds.


Netherlands vs Germany 1-2 Full Match Highlights... by footy2014