A bit of a shocker: the Queen yawning when presented with the Dutch squad in 2010
Bert van Marwijk coached us to the WC finals in 2010. And now he’s gone… Never before did Oranje perform as well as under Bert van Marwijk. We’ll say goodbye using five historic games…
Holland – Brazil 2-1, July 2, 2010
Quarter finals of the World Cup. Holland hadn’t really shown up on many radars. Winning against Denmark and Japan is not really something “remarkable”. The Brazil game was a crazy game. Brazil was bossing Holland aound in the first half. In the second half, Oranje gets back into the game, based on mental strength. Nigel de Jong: “We outplayed them on passion and through a couple of little smart things.” Holland is a strong collective and demonstrates a winning mentality. This game is seen as the high point with Bert as big inspiration and motivator. After this game, Bert says: “There is a big difference between someone saying that he wants it, or someone actually demonstrating that he wants it. A big difference between belief and real belief!”. Bert helped the players believe in it. In 35 minutes, Oranje did everything right. Even good football returned. And playing to your strength. And having confidence. And be ballsy. After this game, Oranje was unbeaten for 24 games. A record! And the world looked up… Oranje? Again?
Holland-Spain 0-1, WC-finals, 11 July 2010
32 years after the last World Cup final Holland is at the highest level again. A tremendous performance by Van Marwijk and the team. Arjen Robben had the winner on his shoe in the 61-st minute and could have written history for the Dutch, but he didn’t. Oranje was prone to dirty play and Spain was a tad better. Holland capitulated in the 116th minute. After the hangover, pride and surprise reigned and Amsterdam filled up with a million fans. Bert van Marwijk entered the realm of Great Coaches (move over Rinus, Ernst and Guus….).
Nederland-San Marino 11-0, 2 september 2011
In September 2011, Holland takes the number one spot for national teams in the FIFA ranking for the first time ever. Despite the lost World Cup finals, Holland is the best team of the world. This honorary title is being celebrated with an 11-0 win over San Marino and Holland is the leader of its qualification group. This could well be the high point of the Van Marwijk era. The papers call it the “appetite of a insatiable team….”
Germany – Holland 3-0, 15 November 2011
Two months later, it’s all different. Some Dutch internationals are having issues. They are injured or benched or out of form. The EC qualification is no problemo, but the Clockwork Orange is starting to choke. First a loss against Sweden, than this friendly against Germany. It’s a horrible game. The national papers call it the “worst game under Van Marwijk. No passion, no quality, no discipline. No nothing, really.” There were some players absent, but the level of the Dutch defence was “shocking”. And the national papers start to focus in on the age of some players: Kuyt, Mathijsen, Van Bommel… They are all well above 30 and aren’t getting better. And apart from Strootman and Afellay, Van Marwijk failed to find new blood for his team.
Holland-Germany 1-2, EC 2012, 13 June 2012
The Denmark defeat at the EC could still be regarded as a freak loss. Two years before, Denmark didn’t get into the game, and Holland had an easy victory. Now, Denmark scored and Holland simply couldn’t convert any of the chances. The deception came against Germany. Holland had a good 10 minutes but lost stamina quickly. The Germans made the Dutch defence look like amateurs and Gomez didn’t even cheer after his second goal. The ultimate humiliation was the comments by the Germans to “do their duty to give Holland a lifeline”. The national papers: “Holland lacked chemistry, strikers, defence and midfield. The team went down under stress and impotence.” Van Marwijk’s magic was over. And it was practically the same team that reached the World Cup finals. Was this Euro performance a disaster? Or was Holland’s performance in South Africa a rarity?
We will find the answers in the coming months and years…
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