Rafael Van der Vaart has kicked off the war of words ahead of the Netherlands crucial Group B showdown against Germany by claiming Joachim Lowe’s side contains ‘only three outstanding’ players.
The two teams enjoy a fierce rivalry and have contested a World Cup final as well as a European Championship semi-final over the years, and they’ll meet in a competitive fixture for eighth time on Wednesday with the Dutch fighting for their lives at Euro 2012.
A 1-0 loss against Denmark in their opening fixture of the tournament means that defeat against the Germans would end their hopes of making it to the knockout stages.
Germany go into the game as one of the tournament favourites having assembled a squad most believe to be one of the finest in their history, while they secured a 1-0 win over Portugal in their opening game on Saturday.
However Van der Vaart claims that the Netherlands have the better individual players, although he concededs their opponent's sky-high confidence could have a bearing on the game.
"I can count only three outstanding players in the Germany squad: (Mesut) Ozil, (Mario) Gotze and (Bastian) Schweinsteiger," he told NUsport. "Their defence is okay, but that's all.
“I think we have more quality. But football is also about confidence, and that's what they will have now.”
Rumours after the Netherlands defeat against Denmark suggested all was not well in the Dutch camp, with Van der Vaart said to be at the heart of the discontent having been dropped for the more defensively minded Nigel De Jong on Saturday.
"The chances are small that things will change,” Van der Vaart conceded. “The coach has always had his team in his head, his preferences. It has been the same for some time, which is good if you are in the team but not so much if you are on the bench.
"I must say that it is increasingly difficult for me. One day I feel better than others, but I am very disappointed about my situation."