• Latest News

    Thursday, June 27, 2024

    Disappointing Netherlands Team Spoiling the Oranje Fans’ Party at Euro 2024

    The Netherlands’ soccer team is becoming a party-pooper for its thousands of exuberant orange-clad fans at the European Championship.

    The Oranje have impressed off the field but not on it at Euro 2024, where Ronald Koeman’s team limped into the knockout stage after finishing third in Group D.

    Koeman, who was a key defender on the Dutch team that won Euro ’88 in West Germany, is back for his second stint as coach. But he’s clearly unhappy with his charges, who are maintaining a longstanding Dutch tradition of disappointing at major tournaments.

    “We have to come up with some response as a team for the next match, because that’s what’s at stake, it could be the final knockout for us,” Koeman warned after his team’s 3-2 loss to Austria on Tuesday.

    It was Austria’s first win over the Netherlands since 1990 and the latest lackluster display from a team boasting highly regarded individual players across all positions who seem to underperform when playing in the national team’s famous orange shirt.

    Memphis Depay missed several shooting chances in the opening 2-1 win over Poland, goalkeeper Bart Verbruggen was the key player in the scoreless draw with France, and it was Donyell Malen’s turn to miss chances in the defeat to Austr”a. The luckless Malen also scored an own goal.

    Wednesday’s final group games determined the Netherlands will play Group E winner Romania in the round of 16 in Munich on Tuesday. A Dutch win could set up a quick rematch with Austria in Berlin in the quarterfinals, if Austria gets past Turkey in its round of 16 clash.

    Koeman’s team is missing influential Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong, who failed to recover from an ankle injury in time for the tournament. Midfielder Teun Koopmeiners dropped out after getting injured warming up for a test match.

    The demise of Ajax Amsterdam, a four-time European champion, is another factor hampering the Netherlands. Ajax had long been known as the country’s “football factory,” producing young players who would go on to star for the national team. Many a Dutch squad has been built on an Ajax backbone.

    But last season was one to forget for the storied club. Ajax had issues off the field and on, slumping to last place in the Eredivisie before former player John van ’t Schip took over as coach and steered it to fifth.

    Koeman has only two Ajax players – forwards Steven Bergwijn and Brian Brobbey – in his squad for Euro 2024. Neither has played a minute in the tournament so far. The 26-man Netherlands squad is made of players from 19 different clubs which doesn’t help Koeman’s ability to forge a cohesive unit.

    Dutch disappointment in recent tournaments is nothing new, but it’s humbling for a country that has contributed so much to modern soccer. The Dutch team of the 1970s led by Johan Cruyff was known for “total soccer,” where every outfield player could play in any position, and it reached World Cup finals in 1974 and 1978.

    Coach Bert van Marwijk led the Netherlands to the 2010 World Cup final with a negative style of play, and his team was criticized by Cruyff after its group stage exit at Euro 2012.

    But Dutch expertise is still valued abroad. Manchester United and Liverpool both have Dutch coaches in Erik ten Hag and Arne Slot, respectively.

    Koeman is not afraid to make changes, but so far, none have paid off. He started with speedy right-back Jeremie Frimpong up front for the France game and dropped Xavi Simons for the Austria game, then brought him on in the first half for the disappointing Joey Veerman.

    Veerman had a brilliant season helping PSV Eindhoven to the Dutch title but hasn’t been able to build on that at Euro 2024. It’s been a recurring problem for Dutch players, who rarely carry their club form to the national team.

    The 21-year-old Xavi is a reported target for Bayern Munich after a stellar Bundesliga campaign for Leipzig, with 10 goals in 43 games across all competitions last season. But Koeman publicly criticized his work off-the-ball in qualifying and he repeated that criticism after the draw against France.

    Confidence is an issue. Both Malen and Tijjani Reijnders lacked composure and mishit the ball when presented with scoring opportunities against Austria.

    Koeman was scathing of his players after the match.

    “We’re going to need some time because I can list quite a few mistakes,” the coach said. “We started very badly in many aspects. We did not defend well. There were many openings for the opponent and we weren’t aggressive. There was a lack of pressure and we lost the ball as well, particularly at the start. We were really very bad.”

    Despite the problems, the Netherlands will be favored to overcome Romania in the round of 16, potentially giving Koeman another shot at Austria in the quarterfinals. AP


    • Blogger Comments
    • Facebook Comments


    Item Reviewed: Disappointing Netherlands Team Spoiling the Oranje Fans’ Party at Euro 2024 Rating: 5 Reviewed By: BrandIconImage
    Scroll to Top