The Netherlands is one of the most sophisticated and complete football teams around the world. Their head coach, Bert van Marwijk has worked day and night to mould this team into worthy contenders for the coveted championship. They team is not only adept in playing an adventurous style of football but can also play a highly physical game. Nick-named “The Oranje” in honour of House of Orange-Nassau, the team would very much want to paint Europe orange this time around.
Route to qualification
Qualification for the finals was only a formality for the Oranje and they completed it in style. Euro qualification began in September 2010 and the Dutch emphatically breezed past San Marino in their first game. Huntelaar’s double early on in their game against Finland clinched them their second victory in as many games. Their next game against Moldova proved to be a difficult encounter and it was again down to Huntelaar, whose only goal ensured full points. Sweden, probably their toughest opponents in the group were brushed aside 4-1. After a break of six months, the Dutch resumed their campaign with a well-deserved 4-0 victory over Hungary. In their next game, they feasted on the poor boys from San Marino and netted 11 goals while conceding none. They emerged on top of Finland 2-0 and Moldova 1-0, albeit in a less convincing fashion. Comfortably perched on top of the group, the men in Orange became complacent in their last game and lost 2-3 to Sweden.
European Championship history
The only moment of Dutch glory was in 1988, when Netherlands beat the erstwhile Soviet Union 2-0 in the final and emerged champions. However, they performed consistently at the European level and never finished outside the top eight since 1988. In-fact they progressed to the semi-final stage thrice- in 1992, 2000 and 2004.
Despite being one of the best teams in the world, Holland cannot expect to easy progress to the knock-out stages. They are placed alongside Germany, Portugal and Denmark in Group B, which is widely known as the “Group of Death” of Euro 2012. They face Denmark at the Metalist stadium in Kharkiv on June 9, 2012. Their next game against Germany is one of the most anticipated clashes of the tournament. Their final group game is on the 17th of June against Portugal, led by the exceptional Cristiano Ronaldo.
Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg, Michel Vorm, Tim Krul
Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Ron Vlaar, Wilfred Bouma, Gregory van der Wiel, Jetro Willems
Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay, Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong, Stijn Schaars, Wesley Sneijder, Kevin Strootman, Rafael van der Vaart
Forwards: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Luuk de Jong, Dirk Kuyt, Luciano Narsingh, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben
The Dutch team boasts of one of the finest players in the world. Bert van Marwijk is spoilt for choices in the attack department. While Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was the team’s top-scorer in the qualifiers, RvP has been in exquisite form and regularly among the goals. He was the highest scorer in the premier league last season and was awarded the “PFA Player of the season”. He has continued his fine form for his country as well and netted a couple of goals in the recent international friendlies. Arjen Robben, the flying Dutchman, can take the beautiful game to the highest standards. Not only can he skillfully weave past defenders but he can precisely link up with team-mates, thereby being a constant threat to opponents.
About the Author (Author Profile)
Gokul is a software professional from Chennai, India. An avid sports fan, he is a keen follower of Cricket, Football, Hockey, Tennis and Formula One. He styles his articles as razor-edge analyses of all the hot and happening events in the field of sports.