Team Profile: Netherlands

June 5, 2012 in Euro 2012, International

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Holland surprised everyone when they reached the World Cup Final in South Africa, but they simply did what they had been threatening to do for many years at major international tournaments. With a front three consisting of Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben, you could argue this is the best attacking line up of any team in the tournament this year, especially after Holland were the highest scoring team during the qualifying (albeit with a huge help from San Marino). But, it appears that they have a few issues to address.

The first is their group. Portugal, Germany and Denmark stand in the way of progression for the Dutch side, and they could find themselves falling at the first hurdle. However, they are likely to go through, albeit in second place behind Germany.

The next worry, if they manage to escape the group, are Spain. If they’re lucky and manage to avoid Spain, they are clear favourites to become semi-finalists or potentially even better. Who are they supposed to be afraid of apart from Spain and Germany? Italy, the side that lost 3-0 to Russia a couple of days ago? Or England, the side who just narrowly beat Norway and Belgium (who didn’t even qualify) last week, and have a centre midfield trio including Jordan Henderson? What about France, after their brilliant showing at the last major tournament just two years ago? I really can’t see any of these ‘half a chance teams’ even posing a slight threat. If I was Dutch, I would be very disappointed if Holland left the competition due to any other team apart from Spain and Germany.

In Wesley Sneijder, they have one of the best attacking midfielders of the modern day, and to compliment many of the talented attackers in their team, they also have plenty of destructive talent; Mark van Bommel and De Jong will attempt to shield the vulnerable back four, while they rely heavily on their attack minded players to relieve opposing pressure.

Overall, Holland don’t seem to have the world class players in almost every position like some of the other favourites, but they are a very strong collective group that should certainly not be written off.

Key Player

Robin Van Persie - 37 goals in 47 games last season, he single handedly carried an average, mid-table Arsenal side to third. If he can score 37 goals with Theo Walcott supplying the assists, who knows what’ll happen when Robben and Sneijder are there supporting him? Yet, surprisingly, the talk amongst Dutch fans is playing RVP out of position to accommodate qualifying top scorer, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. It’s an interesting idea and if van Marwijk does get the two working together, they could be lethal.

Prediction

Semi-finals at least, but one or two dodgy results in the group stages could knock them out at the first hurdle. Portugal aren’t the weakest side in the world, it’s possible and it wouldn’t be a huge surprise for them to nick that second spot behind Germany.

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