Netherlands coach Bert van Marwijk refused to admit defeat in his side's battle to reach the Euro 2012 knockout stages despite moving to the brink of elimination thanks to a 2-1 defeat to Germany.
The second consecutive loss for the Dutch leaves them pointless at the bottom of Group B but still with a glimmer of hope if they beat Portugal by at least two goals and Germany beat Denmark in their final match.
Van Marwijk clearly expects the impressive Germans to keep their side of the bargain and he insisted: ``We cannot imagine that it is over when we are at this level.''
However van Marwijk was damning in his verdict of his side's performance and admitted the threat from his wide men was "too little'' - partly a reference to Arjen Robben, who stomped off petulantly after being replaced by Dirt Kuyt in the 83rd minute.
Van Marwijk added: "We defended moderately and the co-operation between our central midfielders and defence was poor. I thought we played very well in the first 20 minutes and had a few decent chances, but you have to take them against Germany. In the final minutes we tried to force things but you have to be daring to get the second goal.''
Germany coach Joachim Low expressed delighted at his side's performance and challenged them to go on and beat the Danes in their final match to ensure they emerge as group winners.
Low said: "The group winner would be important because we can stay in Gdansk and that would probably be to our advantage in the quarter-finals.
"The temperatures were extreme and the game was competitive and intense. There were times when both teams lacked momentum. But we were determined to take the step towards the quarter-finals.''
Goalscorer Mario Gomez revealed the emotional roller-coaster he faced after Robin Van Persie had breathed new hope into the Netherlands challenge.
Gomez, 27, scored a first-half brace to make life comfortable for the German side, in a match that they controlled from the early stages with Mesut Ozil influential throughout.
It was Gomez, though, who made the difference with his two smart finishes. However, he was forced to suffer like the supporters, having been withdrawn for Miroslav Klose early in the second half.
“It is incredible how slow time passed in the last few minutes. In the first half we played very well, but the final minutes have been very exhausting," Gomez told the official UEFA site. "But if you have Manuel Neuer in goal, you can stand such pressure. Nevertheless it was very nerve racking.”
Defender Holger Badstuber was quick to praise his striker's clinical finishing: "We were ice cold in front of goal. We were aggressive in the first half and passed the ball around well. There was less of that in the second half but the intense heat was the main factor behind that."
One of Germany's key players was Bastian Schweinsteiger, who put in an influential performance in midfield. Having had a quiet game against Portugal, by his high standards, the deep-lying playmaker was happy with his improved performance.
“It was not easy to win against Portugal," he told ZDF. "We played well there as well, even if it wasn't so impressive going forward. The victory against Netherlands was connected with a lot of work, and I think we did well. I was also there in the match against Portugal, but I was more attached to the defence then. Today I had more space going forward. Portugal was good, but today was better.”© ESPN