After their shock 1-0 defeat to Denmark on Saturday, the Netherlands faces a must-win game against rivals Germany tomorrow. Lose, against a Germany side that comprehensively outplayed them in a November friendly, and the Dutch can forget about becoming European champions. Holland will be the first casualties of the Euros “group of death”.
This is a Holland team in disarray, a dressing room apparently split into several groups. Consider that:
- Arsenal’s Robin van Persie and Manchester City’s Nigel de Jong refusing to talk to the Press.
- Klaas Jan Huntelaar is furious about being Van Persie starting ahead of him, despite Huntelaar being a much more international striker than van Persie over the last two years.
- Dutch fans bombarding phonelines calling for Van Marwijk’s head.
- Players claiming that Van Marwijk is blinded by family loyalty as he refuses to drop son-in-law Mark van Bommel
One player particularly frustrated with coach Bert van Marwijk’s line-up is Spurs star Rafael van der Vaart who let told everyone how he felt with the Dutch approach so far:
“I have the right to speak out with 97 caps behind my name. If Holland want to win, the coach has to play me in the starting line-up.
“I am no longer prepared to deny I am finding this role really tough. Do you know how frustrated I feel?
“I am in the best form of my life and I train so hard but I get the impression the team selection is not going to change in my favour.
“I don’t want to cause a mess that would have a big effect on the others but it does not look like my position is going to change.
“Hardly any changes have been made to this team since the 2010 World Cup and that is great when you are in the starting line-up but it’s crap when you’re on the bench.
“I feel like a young dog that is dying to get out but is caged in.”
One player who has had enough of these internal squabbles is Wesley Sneijder who blasted his international teammates saying:
“It is time we let these pathetic egos go. If somebody is creating a mess, I will stand up against them now.
“We don’t need a psychologist with the Dutch team, we are grown-up men. The ones who have a problem with other players or the manager should tell them face-to-face. That is the only psychology we need.
“We have to stop living on little islands. We must all go for the same goal, be united or face the consequences.”
Nothing will ease the ills inside the Dutch camp than a win over Germany. But with van Marwijk seemingly committed to playing two holding midfielders, Arjen Robben seemingly suffering from a post-Champions League trauma, and Robin van Persie appearing to be distracted by his contract situation at Arsenal, the writing is there for a big German win.
The Dutch backs are to the wall now. Can they put aside their internal feuding long enough to beat the Germans, or will they be the first side eliminated from the Euros?