The Dutch team celebrates their victory.
Osaka, Japan, November 8, 2006 -- The Netherlands and Germany played a dramatic opener in Group F on Wednesday and the Dutch prevailed in a nail-biting finish.
The Netherlands won 23-25, 25-21, 25-23, 23-25, 16-14.
Germany took a slight lead into the first technical timeout, although there was little to choose between the two teams.
Things were much the same at the second TTO, when Germany led by a point, after the Netherlands stayed close and tied the scores on several occasions.
But while the Dutch could draw level, they found it hard to pull ahead until 18-18, when Christiane Furst missed her spike attempt completely.
However, that only lasted a couple of points when Chaine Staelens served wide and Angelina Grun put Germany ahead again at 22-21.
After another exchange, an excellent Alice Blom spike drew things level at 23 before Manon Flier hit a spike long, handing Germany setpoint, which they converted with a block on Dutch captain Ingrid Visser.
Germany again took a slight advantage at the start of the second set, surging from 4-3 to 7-3 behind the serving of Birgit Thumm, and then to 10-5 as the Dutch defense wobbled.
But Blom delivered some timely spikes that closed the gap at 10 and things were even again.
Two excellent blocks by Germany's Furst took Germany from a point down to a point ahead and they were two points up at the second TTO.
But some good serving by Flier gave the Netherlands the advantage again before some sloppy play allowed the Germans to get back into the game at 20-20.
Finally, the Dutch were able to put some daylight between them and the Germans, first with a good block by Blom and Visser on Christina Benecke then by some wayward spiking from Grun.
Blom rounded off the set with a firm hit as the Dutch took the set 25-21.
In the third set, the Dutch maintained their momentum and pulled out to a 5-1 lead, but Thumm fought back for the Germans, who drew level at 7-7.
Blom then delivered three telling blows that put the Dutch ahead 10-7, when German coach Giovanni Guidetti called a timeout.
But the Dutch were on a roll and oozing confidence, something that appeared to be draining away from the Germans.
The Netherlands were 16-9 ahead at the second TTO thanks again to Blom and several German errors.
Corina Ssushcke helped the Germans draw close as the Dutch started to fade slightly and a service ace by Cornelia Dumler brought Germany to 23-22.
A big crosscourt spike by Chaine Staelens gave the Dutch set point and after the Germans closed to within a point again, a Grun spike sailed long to give the Netherlands a 2-1 lead.
The third set started out even, but a poor serve by Caroline Wensink handed the initiative back to Germany and they took advantage of their good fortune to lead 8-5 at the first TTO (thanks to an ace by Thumm).
Germany stayed ahead, although only by a point at times, but another ace by Thumm gave them a three-point lead at the second TTO.
The Dutch tried to claw their way back in and managed to go a point up thanks to spikes from Staelens but back came the Germans and two errors by Flier at the end gave the set away and took the match to a tiebreak set.
In the tiebreak, the Germans rallied from a 3-1 deficit to rack up six straight points and take a 7-3 lead.
After that, they steamrollered the shaky Dutch and moved out to an 11-6 lead.
But the Dutch have learn to fight in this tournament and they roared back to level the scores at 13 and 14.
A great block by Mirjam Orsel made it matchpoint and a block by the impressive Staelens on Thumm rebounded off the German and sealed the 2 hour 10 minute match for the Netherlands.