The dreadful deception of Holland

Posted by Joost Hofman

First of all, I want to apologise for my late and final blog. I needed some time to grieve after the big deception. Jack Daniels must be so happy with me. Although we all saw it coming, it was hard to face reality. The worst moment was walking through Amsterdam several hours after the game. There was orange everywhere, but not in the enthusiastic way. It was raining; the flags and decorations lost their shine and empty beer cups made the asphalt disappear.

Now, a couple of days after the debacle, we can put it in perspective. The Netherlands are one of the few teams where each individual in the line up plays in a different team. Look at Spain for example, where Real Madrid and Barcelona-players dominate. The Holland squad had no club team-mates in their starting line-up against Denmark, Germany and Portugal.

‘It worked during the World Cup 2010’, is a valid argument. But still, if you look at the performance two years ago: the group stage had three wins, but the games were really bad.

2-0 against Denmark with Agger scoring an own goal, 1-0 against Japan with a huge mistake by the goalkeeper and finally the win against Cameroon, 2-1. Then, there was the game against Slovakia: 2-1. Not quite an astonishing performance. The only time the team played marvellous was against Brazil, with a 2-1 win. During the semi-final, Uruguay missed Suarez, and Holland won 3-2. Finally, Spain were too strong in the final battle. The euphoria didn’t allow any criticism.

So actually it does make sense that John Heitinga and co are relaxing in Ibiza instead of playing the Czech Republic in the semi-finals. The egos of the Big Five (Robben, Van Persie, Sneijder, Nigel de Jong and Mark van Bommel – you can even consider to add Rafael van der Vaart and Ibrahim Afellay) were too big to fit in the style of the squad.

Even Ireland were more efficient than the Netherlands. I’m not kidding. Trapattoni’s men had 25 goal attempts, scoring one goal (4.00% efficiency). The Netherlands scored the shameful stat of 3.70%. 54 (!) attempts, two goals. We can’t even compose a list of the top three goals during the Euros 2012.

What’s next? A very talented generation, but the World Cup in Brazil is too soon for them and maybe too late for the big stars that are leading now.  But that’s all far away, after this dreadful tournament. The worst ever. 1980 was the last and only time that Holland got kicked out of the group stage. But at least they did it with a win. What’s the similarity between a broken pencil and the Netherlands during the Euros 2012? They’re both pointless.

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