Tuesday, May 18, 2010

2010 FIFA World Cup: Holland

We preview the 2010 FIFA World Cup, set for June 11-July 11 in South Africa.

Appearance: Ninth, second consecutive
Last time there: 2006 (lost in second round)
Best performance: Two-time runner-up (1974 and 1978)

Similar to Germany, Holland is an elite European team that faced virtually no adversity whatsoever in qualifying.

The Dutch moved through their group with relative ease, outscoring opponents 17-2 over an eight-match winning streak that made them the first side from Europe to make the World Cup.

The "Oranje," as they're known, aren't without controversy heading into the finals. Longtime star keeper Edwin Van der Sar -- a mainstay in goal for Manchester United -- isn't on this team, having retired from international play following Euro 2008.

However, there are some calling for his return, as the play of new starter Maarten Stekelenburg has been underwhelming at times.

That said, Oranje is back in the finals, and they have a tough team. Their midfield makes everything go. They have strong players there, namely Wesley Sneijder, Mark Van Bommel, and Nigel De Jong. Captain Giovanni Van Bronkhorst is on his last legs at 35, but still a formidable defender. Joris Mathijsen mans the central defense, and he is a good veteran presence, too.

While Cameroon's athleticism could cause problems, and Denmark's patience might frustrate the Oranje, they should have little problem advancing out of group stage.

June 14 vs. Denmark (Johannesburg -- Soccer City)
June 19 vs. Japan (Durban)
June 24 vs. Cameroon (Cape Town)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Oh Dutch, here you are again, again a heavy favorite, again sporting a solid team, again packed with stars, and still with a great system -- yet again you will bow out quietly.