Eurozone: Picking Over Oranje Bones
If there’s one positive that Holland can take from the Euros, it’s that the Dutch media are a little less brutal than their English counterparts.
But that is about as far as the positives stretch for the much fancied Oranje. Their brief Euro campaign was all too similar to England’s World Cup campaign; plenty of expectation, far too much hype but very little quality. Flat, ragged and vulnerable at the back, the Dutch quite simply didn’t ever arrive in Eastern Europe.
As an attacking force on paper, they looked to have every box ticked; a red-hot goal-scorer in Robin Van Persie, an ever-present wide threat in Arjen Robben and a masterful conductor in Wesley Sneider.
Unfortunately for Holland, this tournament wasn’t played on paper and from their fans point of view it wasn’t played on the pitch either.
RVP was SVP (so very poor), Robben was rubbish and Sneider’s orchestra failed to hit the right notes. All in all, the flying Dutchmen crashed to the ground and powers that be must now delve through the ruins in the search for answers.
Although the defensive line-up lacked the same world-class quality as the attack, there were few that could have foreseen the farcical vulnerability that Holland displayed. The opener against Denmark was an early demonstration of their problems and the defeat to Germany was a large nail in the defensive coffin. In fact, the last time Holland defended the that badly against the Germans, they lost their country for five years.
Three defeats from three is unforgivable, especially from a side of Holland’s stature. To put it in perspective, The Republic of Ireland also finished with zero points. It may have been the ‘group of death,’ but Holland are a huge force in world football. Anything less than qualification should be deemed unacceptable, and it has been.
The post-mortem is certain to be violent and unforgiving, as it should be. But this isn’t the end of the Dutch as force in international football. The Euros must be written off and learned from, but the Oranje will be back. With a young and exciting pool of players, there is much more to come from the Dutch.