Recaps and game analysis to follow one or two hours after each match.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Group E: Netherlands

Eight straight wins in qualification, undefeated in world cup warm-up matches, it is easy to see why Oranje are one of the favorites to win the tournament. Due to years of total football, when the Dutch have always had a strong squad, the team has surprised many when they look at their history and notice a single finals victory, the 1988 European Championship

This is the statistic that has always plagued the Netherlands, they show up to a finals and progress through the knockout stages only to be beaten prematurely.  In a sense, they are just like England, and like England, many journalists believe this year will be different.

Notorious for locker room rows, the Dutch have apparently calmed down, and are playing more like a cohesive unit. Total football is even back, with the defenders randomly becoming attackers, and the attackers tracking back to defend. Although their defense is their weakest link, their midfield and forwards rank on top of the worlds elite.  Dubbed the fantastic four (pictured), Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, and Rafael van der Vaart form the core of the team. They can score, take free kicks, run till their legs run off, stagger defenders,  and physically challenge for the ball. However, there could be a problem, Arjen Robben just injured himself, which isn't a big surprise, he is always hurt. As a result, Dirk Kuyt could take his starting spot, forming a strike partnership with van Persie.

Provided the team ceases all the typical in-fighting, then this could be a spectacular time in history for all soccer fans.

My Prediction: Runners-Up

Photo taken from: , show your support to his wonderful Netherlands blog.

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