Meanwhile, in a parallel universe….

And it’s less than 24 hours to go before Holland and Spain kick off for the Euro 2012 finals.

A revenge game for the Dutch after their tragic loss in 2010.

But, coach Bert van Marwijk said this in the press conference after the last practice: “We already took revenge. We took in on ourselves. The fans and media never liked our gameplay at the World Cup and the whole squad plus the staff were keen to make a strong impression here. To return to Total Football. We are very hungry and have all the desire to win this finals, but if we end up losing, this Euros does feel better than the World Cup already.”

Let’s track back a bit.

1. The Preparation for this tournament
Bert kept his cards close to his chest this time around. He had some intense meetings with the key players as he realised that some players expected to have a better position in the hierarchy. Oranje did lose a couple of warm up games, but Bert didn’t care. “I wanted the boys to relax, feel good and to find their feet amongst themselves. In the meantime, I worked with Philip Cocu on the mental state of our lads.” Key in the preparation was Bert’s meeting with Klaas Jan, explaining him well before the tournament that Robin would be the key striker to start off with. And he did the same with Rafael. Van der Vaart was key in the Sweden qualification game we won and expected a starting berth as a holding midfielder. Bert flew to London in May on a mission and unbeknownst to many, he asked Frank de Boer to come along. Frank and Rafael go way back and Bert got Rafael on board for the new mission.

With Emanuelson as left back ( with Stijn Schaars as stand-in) and young Nick Viergever in the squad as central defender, Bert felt the balance was there. “I was really tempted to take Jetro Willems along, but I felt it was better to put Urby to the test. With his experience, he can handle this better than a rookie 18-year old. Willems’ time will come…” Also, Fred Bouma didn’t make the cut. Bouma: “I would have pulled out myself if Bert would have selected me. I was never really fit and for these top games in a short time span, you need to be 100%.”

Bert also added: “Mark played in a different role for AC Milan. Much more static. We want to press forward and play Dutch style football so I do fear for Mark’s fitness. I spoke to him about it and despite him being our skipper and being important off the pitch, he might have to accept a different role.”

Robin keeps on scoring

2. The Denmark Game

Within 5 minutes of play, Holland silenced the world with how they burst into the game against the poor Danes. It was Urby who found space in the first minute to push up and test the goalie from 30 yards out. Bert gave Afellay a starting position on the wing, with Van Persie centrally up front and Robben on the right. Nigel de Jong and Van Bommel played in midfield with Sneijder as the playmaker on the left side of the field. His pass to Afellay caught the Denmark defense off guard and with a typical futsol / practice goal, Van Persie opened his account. A low pass to the first post, and a clean inside foot finish did the rest. Oranje kept on swinging and a neat combination between Robben and Robin got the Bayern man into the box… Despite Sneijder and Afellay showing up for support, Robben hammered the ball in the near top corner and within 15 minutes, Denmark was down for the count: 2-0. When Heitinga found Sneijder with a long ball, he passed the ball to Van Persie, who in typical Arsenal style used his right foot to position the ball in front of the left and the goalie never even saw the ball. Van Persie’s second and Oranje’s third…

The Danes were all over the place and with 32 minutes on the clock their goalie gifted the ball to Robben – put under pressure – and again, with some team mates confusing the defense with some good runs, the Robben left did the job. Curling the ball past the goalie, inside post. Both Robin and Robben on a hattrick.

Before the Robben goal however, Denmark did benefit from a mistake in defence when Krohn Dehli found a way into the Oranje box. And while Heitinga allowed to former Ajax prospect to cut the ball away, it was Stekelenburg who couldn’t close his legs in time and Denmark got an early consolation goal…

Bert started some fresh legs in the second half. Afellay was struggling after 45 minutes ( to be expected) and Huntelaar came to join Van Persie up front. Van der Vaart came to replace Van Bommel who was starting to look less fresh as well. In the second half, the game was played already, but the team clearly wanted Huntelaar on the score sheet as well.

A tremendous outside foot pass by Sneijder reached the Schalke man who cleverly chipped the ball over the unexpecting goalie: 5-1. Van Persie and Huntelaar walked back to their own half with their arms around each other shoulders… The former Feyenoord talent finally got his hattrick when Sneijder reached him with a through pass into the box and his diagonal low shot was a perfect executed strike, with his whole body in perfect balance: 6-1.

Late in the second half, a high ball into the box for Huntelaar was handled by a Danish defender twice and the ref even joked after the game he considered giving two penalties to the Dutch. Van Persie is normally the first penalty takes in the squad but he really wanted his buddy Robben to overcome his penalty anxiety so Arjen got this hattrick as well: 7-1.

It did become a bit of a Sunday morning park game with Sneijder and Van der Vaart going for goal from every possible angle but with 7-1 the final score, Holland immediately instilled some fear into the rest of the pack at this Euro2012 tournament.

3. The Germany game

A lot can be said always about our games against Germany. For this match, the only thing the Dutch thought about was to beat so we could win the whole thing and to beat them to set the record straight of that 3-0 loss in the friendly…

Holland started very strong again and like in the 1974 finals, it took some time before the Germans actually touched the leather. Mark van Bommel started again and his early ball over the top released Van Persie who didn’t have any trouble beating Neuer with a cool inside foot placed ball in the far corner… Holland did it again! Full on attack from the word “go” and an early lead. Germany looks a bit shocked and only 5 minutes later, Van Persie – still on fire after his sensational season – is sent away again and again hits the ball in the far corner past a flabbergasted Neuer!! 2-0 in the first ten minutes!

Germany gets back into the game with an Ozil snapshot hitting the post and ten minutes later a defensive mistake by Holland allows Gomez to score the 2-1. His first touch of the game, it seems. Holland becomes a little complacent and Germany turns up the gas. Van Bommel has difficulty closing gaps and Schweinsteiger finds Gomez yet again… The Bayern striker hits it well but Stekelenburg doesn’t look sharp: 2-2.

In the second half, Huntelaar and Van der Vaart come on again ( for Narsingh, who couldn’t impress and Van Bommel who looks spent) and the game flows better. Van Persie on the right wing, Robben on the left. And it’s his cross low to Van Persie which offers the Arsenal striker a second hattrick. His low kick in the corner defeats Neuer and Holland is 3-2 up!
Germany is clearly beaten and it’s their central defender Hummels who gets the best opportunity in the second half as no one picks him up. But Stekelenburg is doing his job.

The Oranje attacks are cutting through the Germany defense and Sneijder gets a clear shot on goal after a good Robben dribble. Instead of hitting the ball first time, he cuts the ball away, allowing Boateng to slide past and Sneijder can find the best corner of the goal to place his ball. Neuer doesn’t even dive for it: 4-2!

Best of mates… The Germans are green with envy in the background…

Then Van Persie scores his fourth after what is probably one of the best little plays of the tournament so far. All one touch football. Heitinga to Van der Vaart. Vaart to Sneijder. Sneijder to van Persie. tick tick tick. And Van Persie decides to have a go at goal. Why not. He hits the ball through the legs of Hummels and Neuer does see the ball a tad late. With Robin’s right foot. 5-2 and the media are convinced. This is clearly the new Euro Champs.

Bert, after the game: “Let’s not get too excited. Germany was clearly not too strong. Ozil, Schweinsteiger, Khedira, Muller…. they don’t look fit. And their coach made some strange decisions. But when you create many chances like we do and you convert them, you win games. It’s a simple as that. Now we want to beat Portugal. We have scores to settle.”

4. The Portugal game

For this game, Bert decided to let Narsingh and Afellay on the bench ( “it’s a lot to ask of young players, to play 2 top games in four days) and started Huntelaar and Van der Vaart. Van Bommel started on the bench and Raf skippered the game.
Portugal needed a win but they couldn’t make the play even if they wanted it. Oranje bossed the game from the start and it was captain Van der Vaart scoring his goal after 20 minutes of play. The game turned a bit cagey with Oranje trying to press and create but Portugal was getting better and better on the counter. Again, it looked like we can not really kill games off if we don’t really have to. C Ronaldo scored his first goal ( too little too late) for Portugal but in the second half, Holland took the reigns again. Ron Vlaar scored his second goal for Oranje after a precision cross by Sneijder. The tall Feyenoord man was unmarked and hammered the ball to the far corner, via the ground. Unstoppable. With 2-1 down, Portugal had to take the game to Holland and got the equaliser via another C Ronaldo counter. The Dutch squad did seem to get some agitation as a result and it was – again – skipper Van der Vaart who led the way. This time using his right foot, he curled the ball again in the far corner. Like a mirrored copy of his first goal. The ball hit the inside of the post and made sure Holland got the 3 points and could avoid the Spanish until the finals, by winning this group.

Vlaar scores again!

Germany finished second in the group and would eventually be beaten by boring Spain.

5. The Greek Game

From now onwards, Holland was focused to get to the finals. The Greek were merely an annoying stumbling block. Holland played with Robben-Hunter-Persie upfront and Vaart-DeJong-Sneijder in midfield. The Greek had their moments breaking away and trying to put Holland under pressure and after Samaras was sent off for collecting two yellows as a result of continious snapping at heels, the Greek blocked the goal off with all they had.

It took a pinpoint cross by Sneijder on the head of Huntelaar to break the spell and with a disappointing and forgettable 1-0 win, Holland faced Italy in the semi finals…

Bert: “I have learned to be flexible and I have sort of experienced my coaching-version of total football. I need to be able to change and adapt and the team has responded really well to my progression as a coach. We won ugly this time against the Greeks and I guess in every successful campaign you are allowed one ugly game. We had ours.”

6. The Italy game

Italy had progressed with great football. A simple system, really. Two brillant strikers, one brilliant playmaker, one crazy goalie and 7 anonymous workers. Asked if he would change anything to take Balotelli and Pirlo out of the game, Bert smiled: “You’ll see.”

The tactical wizard played Kevin Strootman against Italy and used him to guard Pirlo and to make Pirlo follow him, instead of the other way around. In order to contain Balotelli, Bert used Ron Vlaar. And the trick he played was this: he sent Ron to the hairdresser and made him come onto the pitch with the exact same hairdo as the childish Balotelli. This shook the tall striker visible and whenever Vlaar won a duel against the flamboyant City man, Vlaar would assume the stance Balotelli used after beating England. With him out of the picture and with Heitinga torturing Cassano by constantly being in his face like a bag of cocaine, Holland got the better of Italy. When Pirlo was subbed after an hour of play, Strootman could be named Man of the Match already and it was his run into the Italy box that gave Sneijder an opportunity to play the pass of the tournament: he hit the ball behind his standing leg which such a curve that it bounced off the referee’s head into Strootman’s stride. His shot was bloked by a nervy Buffon but Hunter was at hand to slot the ball home: 1-0, with only 15 minutes to go.

Winning. Business as usual for Bert and Wes…

Italy started to play all balls on Balotelli allowing Vlaar to easily grow into a force of nature and it was a counter attack Italy-style that sealed the deal: a long header forward by Vlaar, Robben on full speed past two Italian defenders and wonderful pass to Van Persie who scored his 8th goal of the tournament and made sure that the Italians could convincingly engage in their Teatrico Dell Arte antics. Balotelli was red carded after hitting Vlaar smack in the face and Prandelli asked Van Marwijk after the game who his taylor was…

Holland reached the finals yet again. With fresh, total football.

I would like to read your version of the final game against Spain :-)….

After the Euros, Bert will focus on getting younger talents in the team…

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  1. Holland Spain 1-0 Robben take a corner from the left 3 players fly up in the air – Vlaar Heitinga and Casillas, Vlaar heads first and it glances wide hits the bar but hits Casillas who was sprawled on the ground on his big Toe and trickles in…… Toe etic Justice !

  2. You know its an alternate universe when RvP is an important key member of Oranje….

    The final would be a bizarro-world scenario where Spain constantly lose possession, Robben doesnt miss, RvP does anything that results in a goal and Casillas isnt the luckiest GK in history…..

  3. lol It really made me smile Jan. Thanks

    But I’m with Ed that the fantasy part was ruined when RvP was an integral part of the team and was banging in goals. My version would have Bert realize the importance of Huntelaar as Klaas has progressed his skills in building up the attack, can play 1-2 football and wants to reward him for being the top scorer of the Bundesliga and Euro qualification (all true btw). Bert tells RvP his plans for the Euros and that RvP will get his chance but Huntelaar is going to lead the attack. As usual RvP can’t take not being the center of attention and throws a hissy fit knocking over Bert’s bottle of water. Out of anger he kicks the bottle against the wall and proceeds to blow & pick his nose as he walks out of the room. Bert remembering RvP’s attitude towards team-mate Krul during a league game and takes this latest outburst as a sign to make a change. He drops RvP and calls up v. Wolfswinkel as Oranje storm into the final against Spain… The Battle of Total Football

  4. After much deliberation De Telegraaf runs the story late on Saturday that both Xavi and Iniesta were not of Spanish descent and were in fact both born in

  5. Sint Marten. After realising they had to either choose Le Bleus or Oranje… At the behest of their mentor Johan Cruyff and under an emergency extraordinary UEFA ruling it was determined that they would take their position in the Oranje midfield alongside maestro Sneijder.
    The rest they say is history….. Oranje ran rings around La Roja…. It was a 90:10 possession game…. Iniesta to Sneijder to Xavi all game long… Incredibly boring for the crowd as they only had Mexican waves to keep themselves interested

    1. i’m not getting that, sint maarten is hundred percent dutch, they are on the south side of the island and obviously are dutch, i don’t really see a change like that? unless the parents were dutch and french, then xavi would probably be named cheve, and iniesta would be fontaine

  6. On the odd occasion that van Persie got the ball after some pin point passing he would invariably miss…. The game would go to a penalty shoot out where Casillas would reign supreme saving each penalty by diving the wrong way but saving with the tip of his boot….

  7. It would take 10 attempts by both teams before the deadlock was broken… Fabregas would talk to the ball distracting Stekelenberg and slotting it just above a too quick to ground Stek and Arjen Robben would miss the penalty that would have evened the shootout…
    Holland record of playing well and still losing remained intact and the nearly men of international football would have to wait another 2 years before gracing the world with attacking but ultimately fruitless football…

  8. In an alternate universe this article might even be amusing.

    I got halfway through the second paragraph, then had to stop. It just hurts.

    I come here for the facts, not the fiction. Thanks though.

  9. wondeful reading Jan 🙂 . this was kinda similar to my imagination about how Oranje will do before the tournament! Sigh .
    I was concerned , but kept telling to myself ” C’mon ,Bert is a winner ” .
    Well , we nither won nor played our beauty game .
    plus , now i’m cocerned about what will knvb do ? and who wohld like to coach Oranje in 2014 ?

    Hope everything will be ok in the end .

  10. I started reading but the pain for reality was too much. On another note, is there anybody out here thinking Cruijff is still a choice to coach Oranje? I mean he is involved in ajax and has his foundation, he also had some health issues, but I still hope in a miracle.

    Why don’t they just do a petition to have him coach Oranje in the Netherlands??? He is considered a god among dutch people, I’m sure there would be participation! I know it’s highly improbable, but I’d like him to say
    “thanks guys, but I will never coach Oranje”

  11. ….. The Netherlands, most prominent football nation – holder of 5 World Cup and 3 EURO titles – are back to the final after playing in their dynamic “clockwork Oranje” style football and ready to face Spain, coached by – ironically – one of the most revered Dutch former player: Johan Cruijf.

    OK, that was so good to type (see bold part), so good I’ll stop here.

  12. nice article,Jan. it proves that things are decided by nuances and i am sure the touenament could have happened this way. the article is not far away from reality,sometimes centimeters decide your fate: becoming a hero or a scapegoat. if rvp had scored his first opportunity,oranje’s fate would have been totally different. no one would talk about the bad vibes in the camp, no one would be interested in “big egos” problem,etc. just look at italy: they were the better side against england,but with the panalty shoot-out everything can happen. if they had been eliminated,ihnstead of pirlo we would talked about the damaging effects of the last match-fixing scandal. or if spain lost tonight against italy,some journalists would talk again about the problem between the barca and real madrisd players,pique vs. ramos,etc. lady luck plays a huge part in football… i felt this fatalistic point of view in the article,the relativity of success and fall,and the little margin between them.

    1. ” i felt this fatalistic point of view in the article,the relativity of success and fall,and the little margin between them ”


  13. I heard Rene van der Gijp suggesting just putting Douglas and Donk as CB’s, strong, tall, fast players who can actually cause someone to dread playing against them. I quite like the idea actually, theyre 26 and 24 now, it can work for a while, at least theyre fast enough to push up the pitch and not be caught completely off in counters. It could make Sneijder and co function a hell of a lot better. Just look at Pique, he’s not THAT great of a pure defender, but he is both tall, strong and very fast. Pieters left back and ?? Van Rhijn right back ? or give V.d.Wiel another chance?

  14. Ah! my paralel universe would be a memory of my favorite book when i was a kid, this book was about a team with twin brothers, one who would dribble passing all 10 opponents and then wait for the goal for his brother to arrive to pass the ball to him and let him score.

    So: Robben is dribbling with the ball as if it were tied with elastic to his feet! evading all opponents! past attackers midfielders and defenders, , then having outplayed each of them, (some several times) he is kindly waiting for the goal for mathijsen or heitinga to arrive and courteously passes to let them score for oranje! Oh Robben!

  15. Looks like spain are going to make it again . I’m Happy for them .
    only 4 years ago they they only had an EC .
    now look at them , 2 EC , 1 WC and they are on their way to win the third EC .

    hope we make the same acheivement one day .

  16. I’m just surprised at the lack of passion from the Italian side. They are playing exactly like Germany in the semi-finals.

    So it looks like once again the team who wants it more, wins.

  17. Why is Ajax looking so disinterested in the transfer market, and even more selling their players? Anita, Vertonghen.. They need a good CB (Douglas?) , and a much better striker.

    Meanwhile, PSV look very busy. Having already signed VBommel,and a certain Danish defender called Jorgensen, now they’re looking to add either Maher or Narsingh. That is roughly 6-7 dutch internationals playing for the same team.
    sorry, Ajax.. Think I’ll be supporting PSV next season 🙂

    Btw guys, enough of this parallel universe crap. Let’s get a move on to greener pastures. There’s plenty to discuss, plenty to figure out .

    Oh and, Rijkaard for coach. Although don’t think it matters much.

    Italy just lost lost 0-4. Oh well. Who cares, when ur a dutch fan.

  18. 4-0?!?! Why do they need to embarrass Italy like that! The game was finished 30 mins ago. I was really enjoying the game but this is Classless.

  19. this is depressing, italy down 2-0, down a man, and gave up, let everyone in the world know, lets just play it out, leave it as it is, and they kept trying to score, even to the last minute trying to make it 5-0

    we need to pay of these referees because without the referee’s spain doesn’t win the world cup, or euros

    1. How did the ref help Spain win? I don’t like Spain, but I don’t think the ref really influenced the game the same way that Howard Webb did for the WC2010 final.

      1. croatia game, two penalty calls missed for croatia, Goal spain scored was offside.

        In world cup 2010, Chile Game, Dive against chile, red card

        Portugal game, Dive, red card to portugal, offside goal,

        Paraguay penalty fiasco

        Holland game spain did dive a lot, got heitinga sent off, puyol could have been sent off, I don’t believe de jong should have been sent off, but van bommel could have, But at same time, xavi retailiated on van bommel, clear card, he got none, Got van der wiel a card for iniesta diving, But not even counting holland game, there was other games

  20. Seeing Bonucci crying reminded me of myself 2 years ago after the final. I left the game when Heitinga got ejected, didn’t have the guts to watch any longer. When i learned that we lost i started crying uncontrollably and it lasted a few hours. Depression lasted weeks and weeks. 🙁 I havent’t seen Iniesta’s goal to the day.

  21. This is so annoying how this was all cruyff who did this, why dont people in holland realise his brilliance. Give him full control of everything.
    we will bin playing dutch football not gay spanish pass to death football

    1. I’m more annoyed that so few people acknowledge the heavy Dutch influence on Spanish football. The success of the current Spanish team is undermining the integrity of our own legacy.

      1. Oh come on…. No one In the world except us would even mention a single word about the Dutch influence to this spanish team . History will just remember how great the spanish are. Footstop.

        1. Exactly. The reason I wanted the Spanish to lose wasn’t because we lost to them in 2010, but because they are building their dynasty on the back of Cruyff and Rinus Michels’ work. It would be absolutely ridiculous if history mentions Del Bosque in the same breath as the great Rinus Michels.

        2. @Shik Yan, this is exactly where the need of Dutch people to go abroad and help was the beginning of the end for our own reputation.

          This Spain team plays football like a certain Iberian eastcoast team. This is Barcelona on a national scale. This is a direct legacy from the seed planted by Cruijff in Barcelona.

  22. Can we say that we have Cruyff to blame for all of this?
    I mean really he started this whole tiki taka business.. And the whole Xavi generation is the product of what Cruyff started.
    Now it’s all Spain. And I’m hearing those idiot English commentators talking abt how they play the best football, without one single reference from where it all started.

    They surely learnt those Spanish from the Dutch in the nineties all the way through to just a few years ago when they decided Cruyff was no longer needed.

  23. Can we say that we have Cruyff to blame for all of this?
    I mean really he started this whole tiki taka business.. And the whole Xavi generation is the product of what Cruyff started.
    Now it’s all Spain. And I’m hearing those idiot English commentators talking abt how they play the best football, without one single reference from where it all started.

    They surely learnt those Spanish from the Dutch in the nineties all the way through to just a few years ago when they decided Cruyff was no longer needed.

  24. Well, what I dislike is that Spain wasn’t that impressive this tournament, but now all the people that don’t know $hit about football (including my mom) will talk thrash about how great that team is.

    To be honest, my real problem is I am in Spain right now. Won’t get much sleep tonight.

  25. even though cruyff is not gonna take it
    i think it is his time, he is the greatest footballer and footballing mind ever and yet he has no influence at ajax and for holland, why does nobody let a natural leader lead.

  26. Don’t blame Cryuff . Just blame the knvb who rarely listens to Cruyff .
    blame Davids who made an issue between cruyff and van gaal in Ajax .
    petty , no one will remeber that spain played with the dutch way or how cruyff inspired this spanish barca generation .
    they will only remember how genius were xavi and iniesta , and how they leaded spain to three trophies in-a-row .

  27. Yes Cruijff started it all – but Spain picked it up and ran with it…

    Will we get it back?

    I certainly hope so – Holland wasn’t in the Euro 2012 final – but all Dutch fans can smile because really we were there. 4-0 over Italy.

    I’ve been thinking this for some time now – and now I’ll say it.

    Until Feyenoord and Ajax terrorize Europe again – it will be difficult for Oranje to get back to this level. Yes Bert got them there in 2010 but he did it by getting everyone to play beyond themselves (what a good coach can do…) but some lack of cohesion between players began to show once the engine of the team was removed – Kuyt. Love him or hate him – he covered up the little flaws with an unbelievable work rate and the odd goal here and there.

    Your core group HAS to play together every day to reach this level. And Cruijff knows this. If this Spanish team can repeat at the WC 2016 then we will have to admit that this may be the best team ever.


    (mini rant over…)

    Congratulations to Spain – a wonderful show

    1. I agree completely, Cruyff might have initiated and inspired it but they completely polished it to be their own brand. By surpassing what France did in 1998 and 2000, Spain is now officially a football giant and is definitely favorite to go for WC’14. This bunch has achieved everything with a medium age of 26. They might only lose Xavi, Arbeloa, Puyol or iniesta but the rest are good to go till EC’16…I hate Spain, but now I am forced to admit everything they have achieved and I don’t see how this team can stop making history, since Barcelona and Madrid are still going strong and are focus on local players now….

      1. btw, you will never see puyol, xavi, busquets, pique, valdes or even iniesta/villa singing the national anthem or waving around the national flag. But you ask these guys about the word ego, and they will probably have difficulties in answering or might tell you a synonym word, Oranje…

  28. 4 years ago, Spain achieved as much as we did: 1 EURO trophy. Today, we are 1 World Cup + 1 EURO trophies (and lots of ball possessions) behind. To say I’m depressed right now about our prospect is an understatement. I’m glad this EURO is over.

    1. yeah, I would have liked another team to have won just to balance the power a bit. but now, I don’t see why they can’t defend their title at WC’14. Brazil and Argentina are still forming their teams, German might have a chance. I hope Holland can make a strong statement of intent…

    2. Correction, we have 1 EC, they have 3 + 1 world cup. Let’s face it, the Spanish have managed to do what we failed to do, win titles with pure football.

      In all honesty, the 70’s team was the best around and surely should have won at least one or two titles, but they didnt.

  29. Guys:

    Let´s be honest. The only nation who has an excellent team nowadays is Spain and they have managed to not have important internal fights, the desire and ambition of the players has been there in every game and neither Germany, Italy, Argentina, Brazil, Netherlands and other top nations have the best teams of their history. Spain is enjoying the best generation of that nation and mainly because they have known how to manage their youth systems.

    I don´t think this Spain is at the same level such as the great Brazilian teams or the Netherlands of the 70´s but there is no doubt that today they have the best team and they know how to win big games.

    If Oranje wants to win something in the near future it´s necessary to have the right mental state of mind, the desire, passion and good team spirit. In 2010 all those things were there but in this Euro 2012 nobody had that in mind. Hopefully the new coach can install thay from first day and make some tough calls. I go for Van Gaal…he will have his revenge and I am pretty sure this time he´ll do much better. He is wiser, more intelligent and he is a winner.

  30. I’m going to watch every qualifying match for Spain and hope they will not be going to Brazil in 2014. This, to me, is almost as important as Netherlands winning another major trophy.

    Seriously, fourth major title in a row is out of the question.

  31. ferenc:

    But, but, but, a non-Dutch coach wouldn’t be acceptable in Netherlands?

    Hahaha I always thought that was bollocks, and here’s the proof.

  32. One thing I thought about when Torres passed that ball for Matta to score was if that had happened to RvP or Robben, they most likely wouldn’t have done the same pass to KJH but would have tried to score (and missed).

    Either the Spanish players are really good actors who pretend to get along with each other or they really view themselves as part of a team. Technically, we may not be much inferior to Spain but we have a lot to work with in term of “teamwork”.

  33. Too much hope and confidence is going into Guardiola, his work at FC Barcelona is like saying that he took his secondary, bachelor’s, masters and doctorate in that club, gradauted with a suma cum laude and became a professor with a little help from his students. He knows the club inside out, understands the people, fans, management, demands and culture only too well. Not that he has to prove his worthiness, but let him to it at another club/environment..

    1. Not a big fan of Van Gaal or Mourinho, but they have shown that they can work in other environments (icld. w different people) and win. I remember Guardiola having a small problem with Zlatan and as a consequence showed him the door. Ask Zlatan about how influential the Catalans including Messi himself are in the FC Barsa dressing room and how they back Pep 100%.

      1. I think if you’ve watched Zlatan on a regular basis you’d know he’s nothing short of a Balkan thug. The guy is a dirty player. Anyone remember when he broke VdV’s ankle? You can find it on youtube and no way was it an accident. He’s a talented guy but a huge jerkoff. Not FC Barcelona material.

        1. guardiola made two mistakes at barca: 1. he sent eto’o to inter (i hated pep for this:-)) and signed ibra 2. he let yaya toure go
          as much as i would like him at oranje,i’m not sure it would work. he doesn’t know too much the current dutch football. at barca he started by showing the door to the biggest egos: deco,ronaldinho,etc. – at oranje he probably would start his work by saying good bye to robben – would it work?
          i’m rather for frank rijkaard.

          1. None of those were real mistakes. FC Barcelona still won 9 or so trophies after letting those players go and gave the opportunity for a younger generation of Masia graduates to show what they can do.

  34. “Can we say that we have Cruyff to blame for all of this?”

    KNVB is to blame for not letting Cruyff do whatever he wants with Oranje. But honestly how many of our prima donnas would have sat on the bench the way Javi Martinez, Mata, Llorente, Valdes and Torres did? Total Football & Trophy Glory is possible. Every member of the team just has to realize that the mission is bigger than any one player. Congradulations to Spain.

    The main thing Dutch football needs to take away from this is Spain didn’t concede a single goal the last 3 tournaments in the KO stage. We produce great attacking players but we need some coaches to mold and create some monsters to place in the back 4. I don’t mean dirty destroyers like Heitinga, NDJ. Technical & defensively sound defenders.

  35. Spain played brilliant, it’s how i expect Holland to play in a 4-3-3 system. Enough said
    I did have the pleasure of watching Ajax youth team 15 y olds Take the Lion City trophy here in Singapore – against teams from Man City, Porto, Vasco de Gama,Juventus and they beat a group of 16yolds fro Singapor A! Cool passing and playing from the boys and 1 or 2 will make it to the main side I am sure. it was a good evening for me thus.

  36. Just so you know Spain also won in 1964 – so its 3 Euros for them which is about the same as the total capital amount in all their banks combined !

  37. Italy could have made it interesting–but their defense was terrible on the second goal–the Spaniard ran past THREE defenders–and that was it.

  38. i was hoping that if spains wins this euro then oranje would participate in the confederation cup next year as the finalist of the world cup and spain represents europe as european champion, but it looks like spain will play as world champions and italy as the finalist of the euro!!!
    that sucks, it wouldve been nice to see holland in the confederation cup in brazil next year!!!

    1. I’m actually happy Holland doesn’t get to go. We need to give the new coach time next season to try out new blood and to mould a new team together.

  39. But it would be a nice good preparation to see where u stand a year before the world cup, u need to play against these big teams, otherwise we play qualification games against small nations and we beat them 11-0 like we did against San Marino and then we think we’re doing great while in fact ur defense doesnot really get tested!! I am starting to like the idea of Ruud gullit, the guy is one of the biggest we’ve ever had as a player and he seems to want this job not like all the other ones who immediately ruled themselves out, and I don’t like how people judge him as a bad coach, with Chelsea he did well and they played attractive football under his management!!!

  40. Every coach worth his penny professes that RVp is much better that Hunter who failed in every major club he had the chance of playing in..never understood the Rvp hate when we have got the likes of Robben(epitome of whats wrong wtih Dutch footy atm),Van Bommel,De Jong et al.

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