UEFA Euro 2012 Poland & Ukraine
Group E - Qualifications
Holland want result after tumultuous week
8 October 2010
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.
It will be interesting to see how
the team fare after the commotion of the past days.
It's the first time since Bert van Marwijk took over
from Marco van Basten in 2008 that there has been unrest
surrounding the squad. The Dutch manager started out
with a spotless campaign to qualify for the World Cup
in South Africa, winning every game up until the final.
Only in the dying minutes of extra time did the record
Holland were proud of the achievements
of the team, at least so it seemed when the squad was
cheered during a boat trip through the canals of Amsterdam.
But there was also a lot of criticism on the defensive
approach and the sometimes very aggressive style of
a team that has made a name for itself in the past with
attractive, offensive play. Last Sunday Nigel de Jong
broke the leg of Hatem Ben Arfa in a game with his club
Manchester City against Newcastle United. "A bridge
too far," Van Marwijk concluded, trying to make
peace with the public opinion. He removed the midfielder
from his squad for the upcoming games.
The absence of De Jong offers Van
Marwijk an ideal possibility to experiment on his team
and try and let it play a bit more attractive and less
predictable. Van der Vaart has shown before that he
is capable of combining his offensive qualities with
defensive skills. "I am all for it," Van der
Vaart said earlier this week. "I think it's a good
plan," Wesley Sneijder thought.
The manager will only reveal his
plans shortly before the game. "Because the players
will only hear the lineup just before the game,"
he explained. With the absence of Arjen Robben and Eljero
Elia he will also have to come up with a new name for
the left flank, where Ibrahim Afellay will probably
be picked over Urby Emanuelson.
Van Marwijk expects a difficult
game. "It's tough to win in this atmosphere,"
Holland don't only have to deal
with tough opposition that beat Finland 2-0 only last
month. There's also the terrible conditions of the pitch
that will not help Holland's passing game. Seven years
ago UEFA judged the pitches in Chisinau unfit for international
football and the teams had to move to nearby Transnistria,
a little Mafia state used for whitewash operations by
Fearful of attacks by the local
power brokers the officials of the Moldavian FA and
government stayed home and watched the game on TV. But
this time around they can watch their team live when
Holland take on the team of the poorest country in Europe.
They are hoping for an upset that would fit a very tumultuous
week of the Dutch team.
2012 campaign - Results, schedule, standings
at European Championships
time European Championships ranking