How does the Netherlands Football Federation justify giving Bert Van Marwijk a contract till 2016? How? This was a beaten down Dutch team, a team full of passengers, a collection of individuals, no matter how talented with no connection to the other except to their self. This was a colossal failure on so many levels and it should start from the top when Van Marwijk abdicated the intrinsically selfless nature of Dutch football for some imagined self serving pedestal.
Anybody who loves good football loves the Dutch. It’s a sad, sad day when you reflect on a great footballing legacy brought down to its knees like it did this Euro. This team will be forever known as the great pretenders. Two years ago, Wesley Sneijder was the benchmark, a player who scored goals blindfolded and helped others pad their goalscoring resume. Today, he could not lay one correct pass or a pass that mattered. In fact, the Dutch rendered ball possession a meaningless statistic as Spain does its best to venerate it. The key is meaningful ball possession. That was the statistic Portugal realized to the fullest as it played second best in that department while its midfield ran over a non-existent one when it mattered. Nani looked like he could have bisected the Dutch defense in his sleep.
Is Van Marwijk the problem? Or is the Ajax assembly line that churns out players for the top leagues purely for mercenary gain the problem? The Dutch players do their best for the clubs they play for. As an Arsenal fan, Van Persie’s performance has been nothing short of life saving. If he had been injured one shudders to think where Arsenal would have been this season. Pick any place from 15 to 20. But a hard club season spanning months leaves you with little to nothing in the tank for such abbreviated competitions especially when you’ve made central to your club’s fortunes. Ditto Arjen Robben. Ditto Wesley Sneijder. Ditto Rafael Van Der Vaart.
There was no chemistry, no love for the sport, no cognizance of the fact that they had been given a lifeline to possibly the annals of history if they had succeeded in beating the Portugese by the requisite margin. Yes, it would be rendered moot because the Germans beat the Danes. But an old adage says, you take care of business at your end. It all looked so good when Van Der Vaart gave that perfect start but it was a facade. Eh?
The highlights speak for themselves. There will be post mortems. And hopefully those post mortems will guide the right way to look past those mortems and start the Dutch anew. Physician, heal thyself! Sack Van Marwijk.