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German, Holland rivalry not so fierce, says Robben

Arjen Robben, pictured on November 10

Holland’s Arjen Robben, pictured on November 10, has said the rivalry between Netherlands and Germany is no longer as fierce as it was, but while hate is no longer a factor, both teams aim to get one over their neighbours.

AMSTERDAM - Holland’s Arjen Robben has said the rivalry between Netherlands and Germany is no longer as fierce as it was, but while hate is no longer a factor, both teams aim to get one over their neighbours.

With Holland to host Germany on Wednesday in a friendly at Amsterdam Arena, tensions have run high in the past when the European powerhouses have clashed on the pitch.

Ever since World War II, the Dutch and Germans have been involved in some bad-tempered clashes, especially the 1974 World Cup final and the infamous Euro 1988 semi-final which saw both Rudi Voeller and Frank Rijkaard sent off.

“It’s still an important and very special game,” Bayern Munich star Robben told German daily Bild.

“But the hatred and aggressiveness from previous years is no longer there.

“The relationship between Netherlands and Germany is pretty good these days.

“It’s no longer as emotional as it was and the atmosphere between the two countries is more relaxed.

“It will be a good game for us, but it is also a really good test to see how far we are at the moment. This is very important for us.”

Germany are lacking eight injured first-choice players, but Robben dismissed any talk of revenge after the Germans enjoyed a 2-1 win over the Dutch in the group stages of Euro 2012 after a 3-0 hammering of Holland in last November’s friendly.

“No, I do not see it as revenge,” he told SID, an AFP subsidiary.

“These are two brand new teams, because the Germans are missing a lot of players and we have new faces.

“This is a very different game and you can’t compare a European Championship match to a friendly.”

Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has bet his Hamburg team-mate and Germany’s Rene Adler the loser of Wednesday’s match must train in the other team’s national shirt, but Robben says he has made no similar bet with his Bayern colleagues.

“No, we have so many games at Bayern that we are too busy for that,” he said.

“I haven’t got any time there to talk about the internationals.”

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