Holland’s national football side finds itself in Group B for the 2012 European Championships. Aptly dubbed the “Group of Death”, this all-star group is also inhabited by Portugal, Germany and Denmark.
Hot on the lips of many fans will be the famous rivalry that is being reignited this year, between Holland and Germany. Some of you might remember the 1990 World Cup game where Germany’s Rudi Voller and Holland’s Frank Rijkaard had an altercation over a goal line tackle, leading to both players receiving two yellow cards and both being sent off.
Holland had a rough time recently playing a friendly game against Joachim Low’s side. Last month, The Oranjes were trumped three goals to nil by the German side, heralding the worst defeat suffered by Holland in 15 years. This might have shaken up some Euro 2012 predictions. After that disappointing performance, the Dutch will be looking to reinvigorate their side with a comprehensive win. Interestingly enough, the Holland/Germany fixture is the most played fixture in the history of the European Championships.
Wesley Sneijder has spoken up about their chances in the initial group stages, and says that Holland has nothing to be afraid of: “It’s a difficult draw,” says Sneijder, but then again: “on the other hand we know the opponents very well”. So with the experience of having played the same fixture enough times, hopefully their experiences so far will improve their odds.
If their recent game against England is anything to go by, the Holland Euro 2012 team clearly have some chinks in their armor. They scraped through to beat England three goals to two. After being two goals up, and then conceding two to make things level, Robben – a strong contender for the title of Euro 2012 top goalscorer – stepped in to clinch the winner in injury time. They may have deserved the win, few would protest they were the better side on the day, but the fact they conceded two after being ahead two throws their defense into question. Their star defenders, Heitinga and Mathijsen were no match for the young upstarts from England, Daniel Sturridge and Ashley Young.
Although their performance against England was not as good as it could have been, their coach, Bert van Marwijk has said that he was happy with how the game panned out. He was satisfied that they played a more defensive game, which he thinks worked in their favour. Heitinga describes the style of football that was on display as being the true Dutch style, playing football from the goalkeeper forwards.
Luckily for Holland, they play their first Euro game against the least deadly in the Group of Death, Denmark, on the 9th of June. The Danish, however, are not to be disregarded altogether: they put up a strong fight and beat Germany in the finals of the Euro in 1992. Although a while back, it will certainly still be on the minds of the Dutch on their way to the Metalsit Stadium in Kharkiv.