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2010 World Cup Preview: Netherlands

The Team: In the Netherlands, this is called “window shopping.” Yes, Holland is well known for its Red Light District, but I think it should be more famous for its soccer dynasty, Clockwork Orange, and Rinus Michels, who devised “Total Football”, the most influential tactical theory of all time. But, as good as they have been (and still are) they have never won the World Cup. They hold the sad title of “The Greatest Nation Who’s Never Won It All.” They’ve had chances.

The Cream: Yep, they’ve been to nine World Cups, but the best they have mustered was “first runner-up” in both 1974 and 1878. Who will need to step up to ensure they no longer play the role of bridesmaid? Well, a lot of people, really, but the Dutch luckily possess a deep squad. Many of their players have been groomed for this World Cup in the best leagues around Europe, like Kuyt, Babel, Robben, Huntelaar, Sniejder, van der Vaart, van Bommel, Heitinga…

The Dream: Phew, I’m out of breath, so long story short (too late), they have the tactics, they have the players, but do they have fate on their side? Do they have the right combination of health and luck to make a run at the Rimet? I think they might. They have been very hot lately, and they are the only team that is perennially in the Top 5 FIFA World Rankings (currently #3) who has never won one. Yet, I don’t think as highly of them as other squads.

So, their odds are 11:1.

Too high?

It’s the Netherlands, so I don’t think anything or anyone can be too high.