Euro 2012: Spotlight on Netherlands
- 01 June 2012 17:03
- Posted by David Clayton
Can Nigel de Jong's Netherlands avenge their 2010 World Cup final defeat to Spain?
They have the players, the talent and technique to go all the way, but will they have learned a lesson from their controversial defeat to Spain in 2010?
Coach Bert Van Mariwijk found a successful formula in South Africa and the majority of the team who played in the final are likely to compete in Poland and Ukraine.
The Dutch have a fantastic pedigree in major tournaments, winning Euro 1988 and reaching the semi-finals four times since 1976.
As ever, expect them to be there or thereabouts.
City connection: Nigel de Jong
Eight years in the national squad has spawned 57 caps for the City midfielder who slots perfectly into Van Marwijk’s 4-2-3-1 system and plays a similar role for the Blues at club level.
Happy to do the spoiling role or breaking up attacks and then feeding the ball to the team’s more creative talents, De Jong, still only 27, has a couple more major tournaments left in him and will be a vital member of this Dutch side.
The boss: Bert Van Marwijk
Bert Van Marwijk promotes a family atmosphere at international level and tries to relax his squad as much as possible.
He is actually the father –in-law of one of his regular squad members, Mark Van Bommel and is contracted by the Dutch FA until 2016. An astute tactician, he will expect his charges to reach the latter stages of the competition at the very least.
One to watch: Gregory van der Wiel
The 24-year-old attacking right-back played in all ten of Holland’s qualifying games and is likely to support Arjen Robben down the flanks and will provide a real threat in and around the box.
He can strike the ball with either foot and is rumoured to be looking for a move to England after the tournament.
Key man: Robin Van Persie
It’s hard to think of a striker who finished the 2011/12 season in better form than Robin van Persie. The PFA Player of the Year was scintillating for Arsenal last season and will surely carry that form into the Euro 2012 tournament with him.
He scored six goals in six games when qualifying for the tournament to add to the 35 goals at club level. Not so much a match-winner on his day, more a tournament winner if he is on song.
Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Michel Vorm (Swansea), Tim Krul (Newcastle).
Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz (Stuttgart), John Heitinga (Everton), Joris Mathijsen (Malaga), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Wilfred Bouma (PSV Eindhoven), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax), Jetro Willems (PSV Eindhoven).
Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), Mark van Bommel (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Stijn Schaars (Sporting Lisbon), Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan), Kevin Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham).
Forwards: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke), Luuk de Jong (FC Twente), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Luciano Narsingh (Heerenveen), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich).
Come along and enjoy Euro 2012 at City Square, the only outdoor venue in Manchester showing the England matches. We are kicking off with England’s opening match against France on June 11, with City Square open from 2:30pm.
There will be free giveaways from the CityStore and EA, parking is free and The Summerbee Bar, Blue Moon Café and Star Bar will all be open.
Tickets are priced at £5 for adults and £3 for kids and are available now from the box office - advance purchase only.