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Netherlands, Germany settle for draw

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Holland and Germany played out a low-key goalless draw in their friendly at the Amsterdam ArenA on Wednesday night, with both sides missing a number of key players due to injury.

Mesut Ozil, Mario Gomez and Bastian Schweinsteiger were among the big names missing for Germany, who showed seven changes to side that blew a four-goal lead to draw 4-4 against Sweden last month.

Meanwhile the Dutch were without injured duo Robin van Persie and Wesley Sneijder, with coach Louis van Gaal's experimental line-up including a debut for Kenneth Vermeer of Ajax in goal.

But hopes the hosts might claim revenge for their 2-1 group stage defeat at Euro 2012 quickly dimmed in a poor first period which the Germans shaded, with Vermeer denying Marco Reus an early opportunity.

Dutch captain Dirk Kuyt brought a comfortable save out of German goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the 20th minute in what passed for the hosts' first chance, but chances remained few and far between Van Gaal's men.

Reus fired wide in the 39th minute when he should have done better, and five minutes later Germany's Ilkay Gundogan came closest when his shot beat Vermeer but was cleared off the line by Johnny Heitinga.

Van Gaal made three changes at the break, with Heitinga and Arjen Robben replaced, and the home side enjoyed a marginally better second period although their spells of pressure came to nothing.

Substitute Darryl Janmaat almost broke the deadlock in the 76th minute when he brought an excellent save out of Neuer, who stretched to tip his powerful 20-yard effort around the post.

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Eljero Elia blazed over the bar for the Dutch moments later as the Dutch continued to have the better of the action, but Germany should have won it in injury time when Reus blazed wide from the middle of the box.

The result is unlikely to have made things much clearer for Van Gaal, who next takes his side into another friendly against Italy in early February, before resuming their World Cup qualifying campaign at home to Estonia.

Meanwhile Germany, who like the Dutch currently sit at the top of their group, take on France in a friendly in February, before undertaking the long trip to Kazakhstan the following month.

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