Tag: Netherlands

The 200% World Cup: The Warm-Ups – No Dutch Courage Against Wales

That’s more like it. After far too much entertainment at Craven Cottage last week, this stroll in the Amsterdam twilight was what World Cup warm-up friendlies are all about. Not getting injured and making the post-match fireworks as incongruous as possible. While Ireland’s draw with Italy was put into perspective by the Azzurri’s inability to beat Luxembourg (Luxembourg!!), Wales’ tame defeat to the equally-tame but more talented Dutch put both teams in their rightful place – the Netherlands worried about World Cup group opponents Chile, Wales about September’s Euro 2016 qualifying opponents Andorra. Wales were missing the “spine of their side,” known to his friends as Gareth Bale – although BBC Wales’ commentators Rob Phillips and Kevin Ratcliffe name-checked Aaron Ramsey and Ashley Williams for credibility’s sake. And Ratcliffe went even further: “But you’ve got Neil Taylor,” he pleaded, although you could almost hear his conviction draining away with every syllable. Studio pundit Barry Horne had no such qualms. “Where should Gareth Bale play?” presenter Jason Mohammed asked. “Wherever he wants,” said Horne, to rapturous applause from a bizarrely-commissioned studio audience. The Netherlands, meanwhile, had Wesley Sneijder alternating with a member of the Dutch public in a Sneijder fright-mask – “Sneijder” interchanging occasional brilliance with lengths of doziness. And after half-time they were missing Robin Van Persie, who grimaced his way through the second quarter before Jeremain Lens replaced...

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Euro 2012: Germany 2-1 Netherlands

There are some football matches which transcend mere rivalry and tap into something more deep-seated, as if they tickle a synapse that we may even think that we have evolved away from. Few of these occur in international football, but when they do, they arrive with a force of personality that is almost overwhelming. The story of the Netherlands versus Germany isn’t just a tale of footballing rivalry, though. It’s a story of national identity, perceived injustice, what might have been and occasional bouts of appalling behaviour and violence, and almost forty years after arguably its defining moment, remains a brightly burning flame. To understand the rivalry between the Netherlands and Germany is to pass well beyond sport and into something considerably more fundamental about human nature. In 1974, West Germany came from behind to win in the Olympic Stadium. Fourteen years later, the Dutch got their when a Marco Van Basten goal two minutes from time won a European Championship semi-final in Hamburg. Since then there has been toing and froing but this summer saw the two sides drawn together in the group stages of the European Championships with both sides near the pinnacle of the international game, yet something isn’t right in the Dutch camp. Familiar rumours – whether with foundation or not – surfaced of disagreements within the Dutch squad, whilst on Saturday afternoon they looked...

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Euro 2012: Denmark 1-0 Netherlands

Luck, we could posit, is more complex than simply being a matter of black and white. Whilst the Netherlands have a right to feel a little aggrieved that a couple of refereeing decisions might not have gone their way in Kharkiv this evening, there is a truth in the point that a team featuring such names as Arjen Robben, Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and John Heitinga shouldn’t be depending upon the benevolence of the referees whistle in order to claim a point or more from a match against the group outsiders in the finals of a major tournament. For every time the referees whistle didn’t rise to his mouth, there was another when a Dutch player failed to take advantage of an opportunity that had presented itself to them. This luck came into play on more than one occasion. A missed handball from Denmarks Simon Poulsen shortly after they had taken the lead which would have allowed the Dutch team a penalty kick and an almost immediate route back into the game. A shot from Arjen Robben that thudded out off the post. A desperate last minute appeal for a penalty kick from Klaas Jan Huntelaar as the match ticked over into stoppage time which was again waved away. Sometimes, the rub of the green if not on your side, and such is the wealth of talent at...

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Euro Moments: The Netherlands

This mornings cartoon for the run-up to the European Championships from Dotmund features the Netherlands. Don’t forget, you can see plenty more Dotmund artwork here, and you can read his trenchant opinions on just about everything here. You can download the Twohundredpercent Euro 2012 spreadsheet here (for Excel 2007), whilst a version that will be compatible with older versions of Excel is available here. You can follow Twohundredpercent on Twitter by clicking...

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