Stage set for Germany-Holland clash

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Germany-Holland football encounters are all about a rivalry where no team can afford to lose.

Updated: February 25, 2007 10:07 IST
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Germany-Holland football encounters are all about a rivalry where no team can afford to lose. German goalkeeper Oliver Kahn, who will celebrate his 35th birthday on Tuesday, is confident his team can put their recent poor form behind them. The team takes on Holland on Tuesday, in their opening encounter in Group D. It's a feeling echoed by his coach Rudi Voeller, who admitted that his side would have to improve defensively to have a decent campaign in Portugal. But insisted his players were up to the task and would prove tough opponents for anyone. "We don't fear the Dutch, we respect them. Holland has a world-class team now that they are in our group we will do our best to keep up with them. It's a fact that Holland has four world class forwards, but it's also a fact that only two will play and that's a positive thing," said Rudi Voller, coach, Germany. The Dutch on the other hand have been tipped by many to go all the way this time, having lost on penalties to Italy in the semi-finals four years ago. The Dutch also have a pretty good record against the Germans, the last time they lost to them was way back in 1996 and that was a friendly. And the last time the Germans beat the Dutch in an international competition was 12 years ago. The big concern for authorities in Portugal will be both sets of fans that have a notorious reputation. So far things have gone off well with the English fans behaving themselves, but the Portuguese authorities are expected to deploy extra security just for this particular game.

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