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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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UEFA Euro 2012 Poland & Ukraine - Friendlies
Van Marwijk looking for certainties

30-5-2012

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.

Now that the squad is complete with the arrival of Ibrahim Afellay from Barcelona the manager can start working towards his ideal formation; something Wesley Sneijder emphasized as much on Monday: "Now we must work towards a certain basis on which we can enter the tournament. We have both feet firmly on the ground, but perhaps that makes us even sharper. You can count on us being ready when it starts. All will be all right."

Oranje got some harsh criticism after Saturday's mishap in the Amsterdam Arena. Both Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit put some question marks over the choices of Van Marwijk as did Johan Cruijff.

The 60-year-old manager never pays much attention to the opinions of others and sticks to his own views. Yet it is to be expected that the contours of the team Van Marwijk has in mind will be a bit more visible tonight.

Maarten Stekelenburg will probably return on goal and at left back Stijn Schaars will probably get a chance. Schaars is competing with Jetro Willems for the spot that became available after Erik Pieters pulled out with an injury. In central defense Van Marwijk will play either Wilfred Bouma or Feyenoord captain Ron Vlaar now that Joris Mathijsen is out with a strained hamstring.

There is no doubt about the holding span in midfield (Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong), but for the four positions up front the battle is still on. Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben are of crucial importance for Oranje and seem certain to start.

The big question is whether Robin van Persie is still number 1 for the center forward position, as Klaas-Jan Huntelaar started against Bulgaria and - like Van Persie in England - had an outstanding season at Shalke 04. If the shirt number (9 for Huntelaar, 16 for Van Persie) is any indication Van Marwijk seems to lean towards Huntelaar. For Van Persie that would mean he would be out on the wing, but Van Marwijk could also opt for either Dirk Kuyt or Ibrahim Afellay on that position.

Euro 2012 campaign - Results, schedule, standings

Holland at European Championships

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