Euro 2012: The Contenders – Netherlands




Never before since the FIFA World Rankings were launched a couple of decades ago have three of the top five teams been slotted in the same pool in a major tournament. Add another top 10 team into the mix and Group B lives up to its name – The Group of Death.

Euro 2012: The Contenders - Netherlands

Euro 2012: The Contenders – Netherlands

Though last edition’s runners-up Germany and the World Cup runners-up Netherlands are expected to go through to the last eight, Portugal led by a red hot Cristiano Ronaldo and Denmark aren’t the easiest opponents you would want to face.

Netherlands:

Netherlands, for the umpteenth time, enter a major competition as red hot favorites with players in the class of Wesley Sneijder, Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben in their line-up. Since winning the Euros in 1988, the Oranje have been trophy-strapped despite being counted as pre-tournament favorites in each international tournament since. Their qualifying campaign was next to perfect with nine wins and the only loss coming in the last game against Sweden.
Bert van Marwijk is a staunch believer of the 4-2-3-1 formation and that would mean striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar would have to be benched for the most part of the campaign due to the presence of the talismanic Robin Van Persie. The Netherlands have reached the knockout stages of the last five Euros but haven’t succeeded in making it past the Semifinals in each of them. 2012 could probably be their year.

Key Player: Despite the presence of Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder in midfield, Netherlands would depend heavily on the scoring abilities of Robin Van Persie, who is coming on the back of a successful season where he netted 30 times in Arsenal’s third place finish in the Barclays Premier League. The Flying Dutchman is yet to set the international stage on fire and with Dutch being marked out as favorites again, Poland and Ukraine could be the defining moment of the forward’s career.

Other Stars: Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt, Nigel De Jong, Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Rafael Van der Vaart

Prediction: Finals, possibly knocking out Spain on the way

Given the number of holes in Portugal’s outfit, Netherlands along with Germany should qualify from Group B, where they would face much easier opponents from Group A in the Quarterfinals. A clash with Spain or Italy in the semifinals could probably be the highlight of the tournament.

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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