The Oranje fancy themselves as one of the teams to beat in South Africa...
With the famous 'totaalvoetbal', the Netherlands impressed the world in the seventies during two World Cups. The 1974 side was probably the strongest team ever not to win the World Cup together with Hungary in 1954. No single side managed to fulfil the eternal Dutch dream of becoming World Champions, although the 1998 squad came close with a place in the semi-final.
How They Qualified
Was it a bumpy road to South Africa? On the contrary. Bert van Marwijk's team probably had the easiest qualifying session of every country, with the exception of hosts South Africa. The Dutch team comfortably won Group 9 in the European zone beating Norway, Scotland, Macedonia and Iceland. With a World Cup ticket in the bag after the sixth matchday, the Netherlands managed to beat Norway and Scotland and made their campaign perfect, winning all of their eight matches.
Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder,Weaknesses
Arjen Robben; many countries would like them in their squad. The offensive part of the Dutch team is very strong, maybe close to world class. The tecnically brilliant Van Persie, the playmaking qualities of Sneijder and the dribbling ability and pace of Robben are a big threat for every opponent. When fully fit, the trio are a dangerous weapon.
Despite have a good qualifying campaign, the defence has always been a point of discussion in the Netherlands itself. Andre Ooijer is an experienced centre-back, who is however getting a bit old.
Everton defender John Heitinga would really like to play centre-back in the Dutch team, which would leave an open spot for talented right-back Gregory van der Wiel. Joris Mathijsen has been criticised quite a bit when he started to be a regular player in defence, but his performances are improving. Giovanni van Bronckhorst is the captain of the team, but people are a bit worried about his qualities. Oiginally a midfielder, Van Bronckhorst seems to have difficulty with playing against a real winger.
Bert van Marwijk was the successor of Marco van Basten after Euro 2008. As a club coach he reached the Dutch Cup final with the modest side Fortuna Sittard in 1999. At Feyenoord he lived his finest moments, winning theStar Men
UEFA Cup in 2002 and the national Cup in 2008. Van Marwijk is a quiet, conservative coach, who is not likely to bring surprises in the WC-squad. The possibility of Edwin van der Sar and Ruud van Nistelrooy giving up their international retirement is still there, but conversations with Van Marwijk haven't taken place yet.
Robin van Persie (Arsenal)
|One of the key players of English side Arsenal. Spending his youth in the streets of Rotterdam playing 'street soccer', Van Persie created the foundation for his brilliant technique and skills. As his manager |
Wesley Sneijder (Inter)
|Real Madrid didn't need him anymore, but at Italian giants Inter, Wesley Sneijder has quickly become one of the club's key players. Sneijder, coming from the youth ranks of Ajax, has the almost unique ability to shoot and pass exceptionally well with his right and left foot. He understands how to play behind the striker of his own team and between the defence and midfield of the opponents. His positioning is very good, which provides him the opportunity to give assists and score goals from distance.|
|A very skillful and quick winger, who can drive his opponents mad. His dribbling skills and pace are absolutely great, which makes him a player who can decide matches or break the deadlock. There's only one problem: he is injury prone. Robben suffers a lot from injuries and is also known as the man of glass. If fully fit, Robben is a dangerous weapon for any top class side.|