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Sunday, June 01, 2008

Euro 2008: Netherlands Squad

Netherlands is one of the big powers of world football. Though they never won any world cup title, Netherlands is famous in the world football because of their invention of ‘Total Football’, one of the most fanciful styles of football ever created in the football world. However, Netherlands has success in European championship and their triumph in Euro 1988 has become the only major success in the history of Netherlands football.

In 1970s, Netherlands impressed the football world with their classic style of total football in which all the players went up while attacking, and came back in the own half while defending. Thanks to the playmaker Johan Cruijff and some other players, and coach Rinus Michel, Netherlands reached the final of World Cup in two consecutive tournaments in 1974 and 1978, on both occasions Netherlands failed to win the title, being defeated to West Germany and Argentina in 1974 and 1978 respectively. However, their performance did not excel in European Championship during that period, except winning the third place in Euro 1976. Actually, it was in 1988 when Holland clinched their first and only major football title in European championship. Current coach Marco van Basten was one of the stars of that tournament and scored one of the finest goals ever seen in European Championships in the final against Soviet Union. Now, Marco van Basten is back to Euro once again, but this time as a coach. Though Netherlands did not play very well in 2006 World Cup under Basten, the team impressed a lot under the coaching of Marco van Basten since he took over the Holland coach after Euro 2004. Netherlands has been pretty much consistent in terms of performance.

For the last few Euro tournaments, Netherlands has been playing consistently well with reaching the semi final in the previous two tournaments. Now, this time Marco van Basten will definitely try to replicate their Euro 1988 success in Austria and Switzerland, the two joint organizers of Euro 2008 competition. Euro 2008 kicks off from 7 June 2008. Holland finished second in Group G of qualifying round behind Romania. So, you can see that qualifying round performance might not have impressed the fans, because they failed to become group champion in the group. Now, in the final tournament of Euro 2008, Netherlands has been drawn into Group C, which has been termed as a ‘group of death’, in the presence of Italy, Romania and France. Italy is the current world cup champion, while France became runner up in the last world cup. Romania may not be a big power in world football, but taking their recent form in evidence, they have a good chance to cause upset in Group C. So, Marco van Basten has got to cope up with a critical situation from the beginning of the tournament. Netherlands begins their campaign with the match against Italy on 9 June, followed by matches against France and Romania on the 13th and 17th of June.

Date

Competing Teams

Venue

9June 2008

Monday

Netherlands vs Italy

Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf, Berne

13June 2008

Friday

Netherlands vs France

Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf, Berne

17 June 2008

Tuesday

Netherlands vs Romania

Stade de Suisse, Wankdorf, Berne

Marco van Basten recently named its final 23-mans quad. However, there is a bad news for the Netherlands football fans ahead of the tournament. Winger Ryan Babel has been ruled out of the tournament with an injury. Coach Marco van Basten is now looking for his replacement. Here, I am giving the full Netherlands squad for Euro 2008 from uk.eurosport:

Goalkeepers: Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United), Henk Timmer (Feyenoord), Martin Stekelenburg (Ajax);

Defenders: Andre Ooijer (Blackburn Rovers), Johnny Heitinga (Ajax), Joris Mathijsen (Hamburg), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), Mario Melchiot (Wigan Athletic), Wilfred Bouma (Aston Villa), Tim de Cler (Feyenoord), Ibrahim Afellay (PSV Eindhoven), Khalid Boulahrouz (Sevilla);

Midfielders: Demy de Zeeuw (AZ Alkmaar), Orlando Engelaar (Twente); Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg), Wesley Sneijder (Real Madrid), Nigel de Jong (Hamburg);

Forwards: Arjen Robben (Real Madrid); Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Ajax), Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (Celtic)

After talking to the key players last December, Coach Marco van Bastens switched to 4-2-3-1 format from their traditional 4-3-3 format. Goal keeper Edwin van der Sar will lead Netherlands in the tournament and after helping Manchester United to win the Champions League just about two weeks ago, Marco van Basten may not find someone better to give the goal keeping gloves at this moment.

Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Rafael van der Vaart are like to be in the midfield to assist Ruud van Nistelrooy in the up front. For the back four, Marco van Basten could chose from Joris Mathijsen, André Ooijer, John Heitinga, Mario Melchiot, Wilfred Bouma,Tim de Cler and Giovanni van Bronckhorst. I think, Holland has a balanceds squad with the combination of experience and youth. So, they have a balanced squad for Euro 2008 competition and the other teams of Group C would found it very difficult to stave off the challenge of Netherlands in the group stage.

Related articles:

ogpaper

Wikipedia

Euro 2008

uk.eurosport

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