Bert van Marwijk practiced behind closed doors. And with a grim look on his face attented the press conference: “We will play 100% attack! We need two goals more after 90 minutes, so that is a clear mission.” And: “I wish the vibe in our camp was as bas as it allegedly is in the Spain camp. They won 4-0, despite their internal strife.”
Van Marwijk is on edge. It’s do or die for Oranje. Not winning with 2-0 or more ( and Germany not winning vs the Danes) means Oranje will go home and Van Marwijk will most likely go home. And the next job won’t be Tottenham, Liverpool or Valencia but West Brom, Freiburg, Salzburg or Tenerife.
Skipper Mark van Bommel looked back at the Germany game: “I played a good pass onto Robin. He missed. Not much later, I missed Schweinsteiger and he allowed Gomez to score. I could have been the king, but I ended up the joker.”
“It’s football, isn’t it? I haven’t the “son-in-law” comment for many years but now things are going bad, everyone mentions it again.”
Asked if he believes that he can’t manage the midfield role anymore? “I can. But I do understand these criticisms. The first Germany goes was totally my fault. But our midfield is too stretched for anyone to cope.”
Ironic pic: Mark and Bert creating history together…
The skipper had this Euros as the last big trophy with Oranje on his wishlist. After a Champions League with Barca and titles in four countries ( PSV, Fortuna, Barca, Bayern and Milan).
“The vibe is a bit different now, that is true. Players like Van der Vaart and Huntelaar were benchwarmers at their clubs before the World Cup and are established players now. Dirk was a starter at Liverpool but a benchwarmer now. But we are still one group. We are mates and we support each other. If we would have won twice, no one would have concerned themselves with Van Persie making that phone-call, simply because he didn’t have connection in the dressing room.”
Van Bommel did see his team lose it tactically and physically. “It was like playing in a wok. It was so hot and humid. We couldn’t keep on pressing. Why we didn’t pick a hotel in Charkov? I have no idea. I believe we decided to pick good hotels before the draw and Charkov didn’t offer what we needed? But that was not my call.”
Van Bommel has a positive outlook. “Italy won the World Cup in 1982 after three dreadful group games. And in 2004, The Czechs beat Germany with their B-team. Allowing us a trip to the quarters…”
Portugal has a tremendous record against Holland. Of the last 10 games, they won 6. We won only one. And three draws.
Belgium might be historically our foe. Germany might be traditionally our arch enemy, but is Portugal then our “angstgegner”?
The last time we won was in 1991, in the qualications for the 1992 Euros. With a Richard Witschge goal.
These statistics are flawed. Let’s look at the last four games.
May I remind you that we should have won twice in the World Cup 2002 qualifications when we didn’t win (lost one, drew one) because Louis van Gaal had his moments of madness against them in both games? We lost at home because Van Gaal played Reiziger as left back an some moron in the stands had a referee whistle. He blew on it, Davids stopped playing and Portugal took the ball and scored. Ouch.
In the away game, Holland was 0-2 up when Van Gaal brought more forwards to humiliate them. Within ten minutes, Davids was sent off, Figo scored from that free kick and they equalised in the dying seconds.
The 2004 Euros game we lost was a deserved loss. Portugal was better.
The 2006 World Cup in Nuremberg was a disgrace. We lost, but not because we were not good enough. We had a massive Van Persie chance he fumbled, Cocu hit the bar and Kuyt choked one on one with their goalie. With a tad more luck, that game would have been ours.