Holland looking for Houdini-act

Posted by Joost Hofman

17 October 1990.  The Netherlands faced Portugal for the first time ever. The Portuguese Rui Aguas was the only player who scored, so Holland lost 1-0. It wouldn’t be the last time they ended a game without a win against Portugal. Even worse, over the next nine games the Dutch only managed to win one. One year later, October 1991, the squad took revenge with a 1-0 win, the last victory against Portugal.

The worst defeat was during the World Cup in Germany, in 2006. Referee Valentin Ivanov showed sixteen yellow cards, including four double yellows. (Costinha, Deco, Boulahrouz and Van Bronckhorst all saw red). The grim ambiance during the game caused a trauma for Holland. Two years before the infamous 2006 game, Portugal kicked Holland out of the European tournament. They became a true Angstgegner (bogey team) for the Netherlands.

Rumours have it that coach Bert van Marwijk will finally change the starting line up with Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as the striker. He is forced to do that, but in my opinion it’s already too late. Statistically the chance for Holland to reach the quarterfinal is 1 in 190. To compare: there is more of a chance that Polish and Russian supporters will have a good beer together; Cristiano Ronaldo takes to the pitch without looking into the mirror or Nicklas Bendtner shows his underwear sans sponsor.

It may work if Germany beat Denmark 2-0 and the Netherlands beat Portugal with a minimum of two goals in difference. Let’s hope for the best.

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