Mertesacker – I can’t wait to face Van Persie
By Chris Harris
Per Mertesacker is relishing the prospect of facing Robin van Persie at Euro 2012.
Old rivals Germany and Holland have been drawn in arguably the strongest group at next summer’s tournament alongside Portugal and Denmark.
Mertesacker’s team kick off their campaign against Portugal and he could lock horns with his club captain in Kharkiv on June 13. According to the Arsenal defender, the friendly war of words has already begun.
“He said he would be happy to see me next summer!” Mertesacker told Arsenal Player. “That was the first thing he said after the draw.
“This is not a friendly though, it’s a tough game and therefore both of us want to go through the group stage.
“It will be very tough to stop Robin. [Sometimes he plays on the right for Holland but] I think his best position is in the front, in the middle. There he can use his unbelievable skills. He is so reliable in scoring goals it is incredible.
“It’s a good group, obviously it’s one of the best at the Euros. I’m looking forward to playing those big teams and players like Robin.”
Holland were second only to Spain at last year’s World Cup but Germany – beaten semi-finalists in South Africa – have been widely tipped to go all the way in Poland and Ukraine. Mertesacker believes they have improved.
“I think the last year with the 100 per cent qualification means we have had consistency in our game,” he said. “That’s the whole point of the new Germany and the way we play, especially in the last 10 qualification matches.
“Some players in my age group have more than 80 games and that is good experience. But we also have players who are 19, 20, 21 – that’s an age to be in good shape and that’s what we need next summer.
“We have had many chances in the last three big tournaments. We went to two semi-finals and one final and that’s good for us but if you get that far it’s better to get the title. I think that’s the main point for the next tournament.”
I think it will be a good test for Per, since he is a good defender- he must be able to stop a great player such as RvP. But whosoever wins that battle, I hope Germany and Holland (with Holland #1 Group) will go through to the next round =D