Oranje went to Poland and the Ukraine as favorites. Maybe not The Favorites… But surely as potential winners. With names like Van Persie, Van Bommel, Heitinga, Stekelenburg, Sneijder, Robben, Afellay, Huntelaar… What could go wrong? The lads won silver in 2010, so….
But it went horribly wrong. And I still have the images in my head. Of Heitinga tracking back when Sneijder yelled him to push up. Of Stekelenburg going to ground before Gomes had pulled the trigger. Of Van Persie hitting air instead of the ball, of Robben shouting at Van Marwijk, of Van der Wiel having a sook…
We fell hard on our face.
There was an evaluation after the tournament. To establish whether the players and the federation should move forward with Bert. But the evaluation became less relevant when the most successful coach in Oranje’s history decided to resign.
Now, almost 6 months after the – repressed – Euros, KNVB manager Bert van Oostveen states in the VI magazine that the “players didn’t appear to be fit”. He claims that tests have shown that the elaborate flights from Poland to the Ukraine (to play the matches) has taken its toll on the players.
They lacked fitness.
And Bert decided to share that news, which is seen as a horrible kick in the nuts by former coach Van Marwijk who reponded as if bitten by a snake.
“What? Did he say that? Bullocks! We were not the only ones with this program. One of the finalists did the same as us. We constantly checked fitness levels and as far as I am aware, the players were fit.”
Van Marwijk is getting ready to make a return to coaching, expressed his disappointment with this sudden announcement.
“Why would you bring this news suddenly? I had daily contact with Van Oostveen during the campaign. During our valuation, this never came up. It basically never came up. This is the first time I hear about. Is that strange, or what? It does feel like a back stab, but I won’t let this ruin my christmas.”
In all honesty, many on this blog felt the team looked slow and lacklustre but to come out with this news after 6 months is very suspect. If the KNVB is serious about fitness tests, they should find a lab that can process results a bit quicker.
In the meantime, AZ coach Gertjan Verbeek has supported Van Marwijk publically.
“The KNVB has recently published new rules of conduct to the coaches. We are not allowed to be emotional with our responses to what is happening. We need to be respectful to the referees etc etc. Great! And in the month this is published, the chairman attacks Sparta coach Michel Vonk and the general manager stabs Bert van Marwijk in the back. Don’t the rules apply to them??”