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"The intellectualisation
of football has
always foundered
on a simple problem-
-the players. Doing
all your most
rewarding thinking
with your feet seems
to dull the philo-
sophical impulse.
Unless, of course,
you are Dutch.
According to legend,
Europeans played
a moronic, muscular
version of the world's
game, until Holland
proclaimed its vision
of total football in the
1974 World Cup,
and enlightenment
dawned."

From:
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
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Flat Dutch don't know what to do with 20+ chances

A surprisingly flat and lackluster Dutch side were upset by a brave Danish team that made the most of very, very poor Dutch defending. Holland had 20+ decent chances but failed to convert even a single one. Manager Bert van Marwijk will have a lot to do to get his side back on track, or else Holland could be out after Wednesday's game against the Germans. This team never made the impression that they are aware of the fact that these are the finals.

Robben: "Hard to grasp"

Arjen Robben had a hard time swallowing the 0-1 defeat against Denmark on Saturday. "I think it has hardly ever happened that a team gets so many chances and loses the game. It's hard to grasp."

Van Bommel after defeat: "I'm a little speechless"

Holland captain Mark van Bommel was speechless after their defeat against Denmark on Saturday. He too had seen how Holland squandered more than a handful of chances.

Van Marwijk: "In no mood to get negative"

It was a disappointing result and despite the many chances a lackluster performance. Holland were by far the better team against Denmark, but the team of manager Morten Olsen were the only ones to score a goal and that's what it is all about. With games against Portugal and Germany coming up the task of getting out of the group is not an easy one, but manager Bert van Marwijk is still full of confidence.

Netherlands-Denmark: lineup

There's been a lot of discussion ahead of Saturday's game against Denmark. Van Persie or Huntelaar? Willems or Schaars? Bouma or Vlaar? Or perhaps even Khalid Bouhlarouz? But Bert Van Marwijk seemed to have no such doubts during yesterday's press conference. He knows which 11 players he will field tonight in the Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv.

Joris Mathijsen recovering well

Tonight's game against Denmark comes too early for him, but the hamstring injury of Joris Mathijsen is recovering well, and manager Bert van Marwijk has not called up a replacement for him. Mathijsen traveled to Kharkiv with the squad but didn't train with the rest of the squad in the Metalist Stadium where Holland will face Denmark on Saturday.

Cruyff: "Kuyt at right back"

Gregory van der Wiel has in the eyes of some been far from impressive at right back for the Netherlands. He is picked for his offensive strength, but criticized for his defensive slip ups. It seems Johan Cruyff has seen this as well and in in an interview with Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad said that if it were up to him (which it is not) he wouldopt for Dirk Kuyt at that position. Kuyt at the moment has to settle for a place as a substitute and Cruyff thinks the Liverpool payer deserves more.

Mathijsen still uncertain - could miss entire tournament

It is still uncertain whetherdefender Joris Mathijsen will be able to play at all during the upcoming European Championships. What is certain is that he is out for Holland's opening game against Denmark on Saturday, but manager Bert van Marwijk is still hoping that he will be fit for Oranje's second game against Germany on Wednesday. Yet there is also a chance that Mathijsen will be out for the entire tournament. Van Marwijk said he will talk to the medical staff on Friday, en depending on their information he could decide to call up a replacement for Mathijsen. Ron Vlaar will replace him in Saturday's game against Denmark.

Holland and Denkmark: head-to-head

Have a look at the encounters between the Netherlands and Denmark up until now.

Van Persie seems worth the confidence

There had been a lot of discussion prior to the game about the role of the center forward. Huntelaar claimed it - and had every right to - but Van Persie got it, and tonight showed that he is worth the confidence. Holland had no trouble with the 'pub team' of Northern Ireland and could have scored a handful more: 6-0.

Van Marwijk again opts for Van Persie instead of Huntelaar

Oranje bondscoach Bert van Marwijk will again opt for Robin van Persie up front instead of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in Saturday's send-off game against Northern-Ireland.

Huntelaar: "Upset is not the right the word"

He scored in almost every single game he played for Holland in the past two years, but it has not shown to be enough for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar to be a regular in the starting lineup of Oranje. Against Slovakia Bert van Marwijk again opted for Robin van Persie up front, and it will take a landslide to change that situation before the start of the tournament for Holland on 9 June against Denmark. "To be honest, I don't know what I have to do to be first choice for Holland."

Ibi and Rafa show manager he has options

Holland beat Slovakia (2-0) tonight by an early Ibrahim Afellay goal and a second from Rafael van der Vaart 15 minutes from the end. The goals scorers were also the players who gave manager Bert van Marwijk much food for thought for the coming days as they both might be thinking they have a claim to a spot in the starting line up on 9 June.

More in a bit...

Ron Vlaar: "I know what I am capable of"

Ron Vlaar replaced Wilfred Bouma at half time of the game against Slovakia. The right footed defender took the position of the left center back and played well.

Van Marwijk: "We remained disciplined"

Oranje lost 2-1 to Bulgaria on Saturday because, thought manager Bert van Marwijk, the players lost their focus in the last half hour of the game. The bondscoach was much happier about that aspect in Wednesday's game against Slovakia (2-0).

Ibrahim Afellay Oranje's Zidane?

Looking for the ideal offensive lineup bondscoach Bert van Marwijk will have an extra option tonight. For the first time since the summer of 2011 Ibrahim Afellay as provider for the center forward. Afellay has proven that he can function in that role for Robin van Persie, and he has done it for Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as well.

Van Marwijk looking for certainties

The team will be looking for certainties in their friendly against Slovakia Wednesday night in Rotterdam. The defeat against the Bulgarians (1-2) showed that Oranje have some work to do, although Van Marwijk wasn't completely unhappy about the first hour.

Cruijff: "Not enough depth in your game is asking for trouble"

If it were up to Johan Cruijff Oranje will not play Rafael van der Vaart and Robin van Persie on the wing at Euro 2012. The Dutch legend thinks there is too little depth in the Dutch game when Holland play like that, and that allows teams like Bulgaria to survive relatively easily.

Van Persie: "Defeat at this point not a problem"

For the first time since the team has gathered Robin van Persie spoke with the press, albeit only briefly. Reflecting on the 1-2 defeat against Bulgaria he said: "Through stretches of the game we played fairly well. But it was a practice game, so it's no big deal that we lost."

Bouma: "I've gone through the desert"

Wilfred Bouma replaced the injured Joris Mathijsen in the game against Bulgaria on Saturday. It was the first time since a long time that Bouma appeared in Oranje. It was on the same day that he was informed he made the final cut for the finals. "Playing for Oranje is the best thing in the world," said the ¨PSV defender.

KNVB announces shirt numbers

Have a look at the Dutch squad for the Euro 2012 finals

Mathijsen strains muscle

Defender Joris Mathijsen has possibly strained a hamstring in the preparation game against Bulgaria on Saturday. Mathijsen was replaced in the 16th minute by Wilfred Bouma.

Bulgarians surprise Oranje

The Netherlands have suffered a surprising defeat in their first 'real' international of their run up to the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. In the Amsterdam ArenA the end result was 1-2 to the visitors. Only Robin van Persie was able to break the Bulgarian defense in the first half.

Ola Toivonen's goal sees Sweden beat Holland and qualify

Sweden came from behind to beat Holland 3-2 and book their place at Euro 2012 as the qualifying competition's best runners-up.

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar sinks Moldova

Klaas-Jan Huntelaar struck five minutes before the break as Holland scraped past Moldova 1-0 in Group E.

Oranje maintain perfection, beat Finland

The Netherlands closed in on qualification for Euro 2012 with a 2-0 win over 10-man Finland on Tuesday.

Netherlands thrash San Marino in Euro 2012 qualifier

The Netherlands booked the biggest win of 11-0 over San Marino in Euro 2012 qualifying in Eindhoven on Friday.

Kuyt kills off brave Hungary for Netherlands

Dirk Kuyt struck twice in the space of three minutes to finally turn a thrilling UEFA EURO 2012 Group E encounter in the Netherlands' favour after Hungary gave their hosts a scare.

Oranje trash Hungary

Netherlands thrashed Hungary 4-0 to maintain their 100 percent record in Euro 2012 qualifying group E on Friday with Rafael Van der Vaart opening the scoring after just eight minutes.

Sweden no match for Oranje

Before the match some Swedish players were full of confidence and Ola Toivonen even dared to state that Sweden were favorites to win it. But words are but words and worth very little out there on the pitch. Holland were all over the Swedes from the start and took the lead after only four minutes when Klaas-Jan Huntelaar finished a Van der Vaart assist.

Van Marwijk: "We left them without chance"

Bert van Marwijk was very satisfied after his team beat Sweden 4-1 in a qualification game for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. "It was more than excellent," Van Marwijk said.

Dirk Kuyt out for months

Dirk Kuyt will most likely be out for the rest of the year. The Dutch international landed awkwardly after he headed a ball. Tests in hospital revealed that he has torn off his ankle ligaments en will be out for months.

"We are prepared for all scenarios"

Holland are up for their first real test tonight. Sweden come to the Amsterdam Arena and the Scandinavians are seen as the strongest opponent in Group E of the qualifications for the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

Minimal but easy win for Holland in Moldavia

The Dutch national team have won their third qualification game in Group E as well, and maintain their perfect record under Bert van Marwijk as far as qualification games are concerned. Visiting a very defensive Moldavia Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was again the matchwinner, scoring his sixth goal of the campaign.

Van Marwijk: "We played very well"

The Netherlands beat Moldavia 0-1 on Friday night. Yet other than the result might indicate Holland manager Bert van Marwijk was happy with the way his team had performed.

Holland want result after tumultuous week

The Dutch national team resume their qualification campaign for the 2012 European Championships tonight with a game against Moldavia. A good result tonight and on Tuesday in Amsterdam against Sweden will set the team well on their way towards Poland and Ukraine.

Van der Vaart to replace De Jong

It is expected that Rafael van der Vaart will replace the suspended Nigel de Jong in tonight's Euro 2012 qualification game in Chisinau against Moldavia. The Tottenham Hotspur-player will be one of two midfielders besides captain Mark van Bommel. De Jong has been dropped from the squad by Van Marwijk for repeated misconduct on the pitch after his rough tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa last weekend.

"This case only has losers"

Right after Bert van Marwijk saw Nigel de Jong's tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa on television he knew he would drop the midfielder for the Euro 2012 qualification games against Moldavia and Sweden. "My first reaction was that with this tackle he crossed a line," van Marwijk said on Wednesday. "But this needn't be the end of his international carreer. I shall sit down and talk with him in the very near future."

Van Marwijk drops Nigel de Jong

Holland boss Bert van Marwijk has dropped Nigel de Jong for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers against Moldavia and Sweden because of his tough tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa in Saturday's match between De Jong's club Manchester City and Newcastle.

Wisgerhof replaces Maduro

Peter Wisgerhof of FC Twente is the big surprise in the Dutch squad for the upcoming Euro 2012 qualifiers against Moldavia and Sweden. Hedwiges Maduro (injured) and Wilfred Bouma were dropped by Bert van Marwijk.

Bouma back on the radar

Bondscoach Bert van Marwijk has named 24 players to his preliminary squad for the European qualifiers against Moldavia and Sweden. After Holland won their first two group games against San Marino and Finland, the runners up of the last World Cup will resume their campaign on 8 October (20h30 cet) in the Zimbru Stadium in Chisinau.

Netherlands - Finland 2-1

After the victory over San Marino on Friday Holland have won their second Group E game in the qualification campaign for the 2012 European Championships in Poland & Ukraine as well. Tonight they beat Finland 2-1 in Rotterdam. The victory was far from convincing though. The team of Bert van Marwijk took a 2-0 lead within a quarter of an hour, but then the party was over. Finland pulled one back and Holland were then very fortunate that the visitors didn't score a second.

Van Marwijk: "We were late all over the pitch"

Bondscoach Bert van Marwijk had mixed feelings after his team's victory over Finland on Tuesday. He had seen his team play well in the first 20 minutes of the game. "I was thinking this will be 4-0 at half time." But then he saw how the organization failed. "We were late all over the pitch, the spaces became too big," Van Marwijk said.

Van Bommel: "There wasn't anymore in it"

Holland would have loved to make it a nice show against Finland, Mark van Bommel said after the game against Finland (2-1). But when it turned out that that wasn't possible and the Fins came close to equalizing several times, Holland set the controls to making sure they got three points. "We would have loved to have it any other way, but there wasn't anymore in it."

Heitinga: "That can not happen"

Rarely have Holland allowed so many chances in recent years as they did on Tuesday against Finland. In the last 25 minutes of the first half the visitors had four open chances. Much to Holland's relief they squandered all, yet John Heitinga is ringing the alarm bell.

Van der Vaart unhappy with role on the side

At the start of this new qualification campaign Rafael van der Vaart hoped he would be a regular in the starting line up of the team of Bert van Marwijk. But on Friday against San Marino he was on the bench. "It's always hard to swallow when you're not in the starting lineup for Holland. Also in a game against San Marino," says the Spurs-player.

Kuyt and Boulahrouz out with injury

Dirk Kuyt and Khalid Boulahrouz are not available for tonight's Euro 2012 qualification game against Finland in Rotterdam. Both players got injured during the last training session. Especially Kuyt's injury looks serious.

"It all revolves around Jari Litmanen"

He may be 39 years of age, but in the national team of Finland everything still revolves around Jari Litmanen.

Sneijder: "Don't tinker with it"

Wesley Sneijder was one of the main players for Holland during the World Cup in South Africa. But he can charge himself up for games against San Marino and Finland as well. Turning the switch, he calls it. "That's how it is in life. We have a new goal now. We can't just replay the World Cup."

Alonso: "No hard feelings"

In an interview with Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad Alonso says he has no hard feeling towards Holland because of the rock hard final of the World Cup in Johannesburg. "The final sadly wasn't a good one, it was a hard one. But why all the fuzz? Come on, this was about the biggest prize."

Van Marwijk: "Second half was better"

According to Bert van Marwijk Holland played a decent second half, whereas in the first half they failed to "find the spare man".

San Marino-Netherlands 0-5

An easy victory with a hattrick of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Oranje: a new mission

In a scene that does not bring back any memories of the World Cup the Dutch national football team embark on their new mission tonight. The game against San Marino in the cozy Olimpico Stadium in Serravalle is the first leg of a tour that should end with Holland lifting their second European Cup at the European Championships 2012 in Poland and Ukraine.

Van Nistelrooy: "This is a reward"

Two months after the World Cup he would have loved to be part of Ruud van Nistelrooy is back with the Dutch team. He calls it "the tragedy of the moment", but he has overcome the disappointment. "This great, isn't it? I hadn't reckoned with this anymore. I'm having great fun."

Van Marwijk counters Cruyff criticism

Dutch Bondscoach Bert van Marwijk respects the opinion of Johan Cruyff, but at the same time disagrees with him. The Dutch legend on Monday wrote in his weekly column that his eyes hurt from watching Holland play, that the team doesn't master position play and that it's all wrong tactically. Cruyff also wondered whether or not Van Marwijk will continue along these lines in the Euro 2012 qualification campaign.

Kuyt: "Spanish have a lot of respect for us"

Dirk Kuyt knows there has been, and still is, a lot of criticism on the way the Dutch national team played in the final of the World Cup in South Africa this summer. But the Dutch forward says that his Spanish team mates in fact had a lot of respect for the way Holland played.

Van Nistelrooy back with a smile

Receiving a loud round of applause from his team mates Ruud van Nistelrooy stepped onto the training pitch in Katwijk yesterday. The striker laughed and put his hands in the air. So there he was, after two years, back with his beloved Oranje.

Van Marwijk: "First I talk to Van Nistelrooy"

Holland manager Bert van Marwijk will soon sit down and talk with Ruud van Nistelrooy, now that he has invited the Hamburg-striker back on the Dutch national team. The coach was happy with the way the player reacted to his selection.

Van Nistelrooy back in Dutch team

Dutch Bondscoach Bert van Marwijk has called Hamburg-striker Ruud van Nistelrooy to the training camp of the Dutch national team, where they are preparing for the first Euro 2012 qualifiers against San Marino (Friday) and Finland Tuesday).

Cruyff: "My eyes hurt from the way Oranje played"

Johan Cruyff recognizes the fact that Holland's result based football went a long way (to the final) during the World Cup in South Africa, but he also admitted that his eyes hurt from the way Holland played.

Wesley Sneijder looking forward to new faces on the team

Wesley Sneijder is looking forward to seeing some new faces in the Dutch national team, as they start their qualification campaign for the 2012 European Championships. The Inter Milan-midfielder is ready for a new chapter for Oranje after the World Cup.


 


Latest

Robben: "Hard to grasp"
Van Bommel after defeat: "I'm a little speechless"
Van Marwijk: "In no mood to get negative"
Flat Dutch don't know what to do with 20+ chances
Netherlands-Denmark: lineup
Joris Mathijsen recovering well
Cruyff: "Kuyt at right back"
Mathijsen still uncertain - could miss entire tournament
Holland and Denkmark: head-to-head
Van Persie seems worth the confidence
Van Marwijk again opts for Van Persie instead of Huntelaar
Huntelaar: "Upset is not the right the word"
Ron Vlaar: "I know what I am capable of"
Van Marwijk: "We remained disciplined"
Ibi and Rafa show manager he has options
Ibrahim Afellay Oranje's Zidane?
Van Marwijk looking for certainties
Cruijff: "Not enough depth in your game is asking for trouble"
Bouma: "I've gone through the desert"
Van Persie: "Defeat at this point not a problem"
Euro 2012 finals squad
Mathijsen strains muscle
Bulgarians surprise Oranje
Ola Toivonen's goal sees Sweden beat Holland and qualify
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar sinks Moldova
Oranje maintain perfection, beat Finland
Netherlands thrash San Marino in Euro 2012 qualifier
Kuyt kills off brave Hungary for Netherlands
Oranje trash Hungary
Sweden no match for Oranje
Van Marwijk: "We left them without chance"
Dirk Kuyt out for months
"We are prepared for all scenarios"
Minimal but easy win for Holland in Moldavia
Van Marwijk: "We played very well"
Holland want result after tumultuous week
Van der Vaart to replace De Jong
"This case only has losers"
Van Marwijk drops Nigel de Jong
Holland & Moldavia: head-to-head
Holland & Sweden: head-to-head
Wisgerhof replaces Maduro
Bouma back on the radar
Netherlands - Finland 2-1
Van Marwijk: "We were late all over the pitch"
Van Bommel: "There wasn't anymore in it"
Heitinga: "That can not happen"
Van der Vaart unhappy with role on the side
Kuyt and Boulahrouz out with injury
"It all revolves around Jari Litmanen"
Sneijder: "Don't tinker with it"
Alonso: "No hard feelings"
Van Marwijk: "Second half was better"
San Marino-Netherlands 0-5
Oranje: a new mission
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