Huntelaar set for Netherlands start against Germany as Van Marwijk bows to pressure

The Schalke striker played alongside Robin van Persie in both training sessions ahead of Wednesday's crucial Group B match against Joachim Low's side in Kharkiv
Greg Stobart
 In Kharkiv
Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk looks set to give in to pressure from within his own squad and hand striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar a start in Wednesday’s crunch Euro 2012 clash against rivals Germany.

The Dutch slumped to a 1-0 defeat against Denmark in their Group B opener and another loss at the Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv could seal their exit from the tournament at the first hurdle.

Van Marwijk has faced a backlash in Netherlands following the defeat and he is now understood to be leaning towards starting with Huntelaar, the Schalke forward who scored 29 Bundesliga goals last season.

Robin van Persie, who missed a number of chances against the Danes, will likely keep his place in the side and utilised as a withdrawn striker. In both of the Oranje training sessions on Tuesday, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben played in the wide positions to make up an attacking quartet.

 Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink
 Euro 2012 Columnist
Van Marwijk is, however, expected to continue to play two defensive midfielders - Nigel de Jong and captain Mark van Bommel - despite calls for Rafael van der Vaart to feature as a deep-lying playmaker to add more creativity to the team.

Van der Vaart and Huntelaar are at the


Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Schaars
N. De Jong, Van Bommel
Robben, Van Persie, Kuyt

forefront of a group of players, which isalso believed to include De Jong and Sneijder, unhappy with Van Marwijk’s team selection and tactics.

With the Dutch camp split in two between those who support Van der Vaart and Huntelaar and a faction led by Van Bommel - who is also Van Marwijk’s son-in-law - the Oranje coach has been in combative mood ahead of the game against Germany.

“Look, sometimes I have to laugh,” he said on Tuesday. “After you lose a big game of course it‘s going to be tense - here and in Netherlands people are going to be critical of us.
“I’m used to these stories after a loss. If these are the questions, we’re going to be finished quite soon.

8/1 Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is 8/1 to score the first goal when Netherlands take on Germany with William Hill
“Complaints about me are part of the job but I don’t feel it too much. I’m confident about the game against Germany.

“I don’t know what the atmosphere is like in Netherlands, we’re based in Poland and playing in Ukraine. We’re looking forward to the game.”

Sneijder tried to make light of suggestions that he has a poor relationship with Van Marwijk.

“Yes, it’s time to put our egos aside and focus on an exciting match against one of the world’s top teams. And I’m looking forward to it," the Inter playmaker said, before joking, "I’ve also heard that I’m at loggerheads with the manager so I suggest we fight it out now downstairs.”

Netherlands' Group B clash with Germany on Wednesday kicks off at 20:45CET.