2010 World Cup Preview – The Netherlands

The supposition that the Oranje are a side ravaged by in-fighting and power struggles has gone somewhat quiet over the past few years. After a difficult and largely fruitless period under Van Basten, the current crop of Dutch players have calmly and efficiently gone about their business under former Feynoord coach van Marwijk, winning all 8 qualifying games emphatically and finding themselves ranked fourth in FIFA’s world rankings. With a relatively tame group consisting of Japan, Denmark and Cameroon, few would bet against this Dutch side, brimming with quality and a sense of togetherness, to go far in this summer’s World Cup.

Renowned for the productivity of their academy, it is Ajax whose graduates litter the team sheet yet again, with Van der Viel the latest prospect to be coveted by some of Europe’s super-clubs. The young right back has been in such good form this term, he has been mooted as a replacement for both Sagna and Maicon should their respective clubs sell them on. The centre-half pairing of Heitinga, who has enjoyed a solid first Premier League campaign and Mathijsen will feature in its fourth major tournament, giving the Dutch some continuity at the back, if not an abundance of quality.

In midfeld, the Netherlands are seemingly benefiting from Real Madrid’s summer clearout. Among the names cast aside in favour of so called Galacticos, Wesley Sneijder is one that stands out. The majestic playmaker who will ironically compete for the European Cup at the Bernabaeu next week has been Inter’s key man this season, boasting a vast passing range, superb vision and agility on a greater and more consistent level than that of his replacements Alonso and Kaka. Alongside Sneijder in midfield, another who will feature in the Champions League final, Bayern’s Van Bommel. The midfield general has reclaimed his place under father-in-law Van Marwijk, with the energetic De Jong tying up lose ends in the middle. Van der Vaart, a Real Madrid survivor, is also included, having replaced the likes of Guti, Kaka and Raul with class and distinction whenever called upon for Los Merengues…

Read the full Holland World Cup Preview in which Holland’s firepower is discussed and it’s argued why they should be considered amongst the tournament favourites at http://topcam.wordpress.com/