Best: Runners up 1974, 1978 & 2010
Group: B (vs Spain, Chile, Australia)
Coach: Louis van Gaal
Ahh Oranje! Despite being the pioneers of “Total Football” they are World Cup “Total Underachievers” (a title shared with Spain until 2010). The Dutch always produce class players, but have never managed to just pull it all together.
Coach Louis van Gaal has been named as Manchester United’s manager for next season. So the trip to Brazil will be his last with the national team. Could the pressure of Old Trafford possibly unhinge him?
Man to Watch:
There’s enough talent in Oranje’s arsenal (hehe, yes pun intended), but captain Robin van Persie will spearhead the Dutch attack. Injury held him back for most of Manchester United’s disastrous season, but he looks set to start in Brazil. He is the Premier League’s all time 10th highest scorer and has a strike rate of 0.5 goals/match. His 42 goals for the Netherlands makes him their top scorer.
The psyche of the team will be of importance, getting over the label “chokers” is no mean feat (if you’re a cricket fan, you would know this. South Africa are chokers of note). Fact remains, despite being constantly touted as favourites, they seem to lack big match temperament (BMT). On the pitch, lack of a quality left back and the injury of AS Roma midfielder Kevin Strootman has led van Gaal to meddle with his formations, changing from 4-3-3 to 5-3-2 which seems to be a bit of a gamble so close to
So can they do it?
Despite their pedigree, they are likely to finish second in their group, meaning they would face hosts and favourites Brazil in the round of 16. If this is the case, their tournament would probably end there.
(A final 23 man squad will be chosen from these 30)
Goalies: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcastle), Michel Vorm (Swansea), Jeroen Zoet (PSV Eindhoven).
Defenders:Daley Blind, Joel Veltman (both Ajax), Stefan de Vrij, Daryl Janmaat, Terence Kongolo, Bruno Martins Indi, Tonny Vilhena (all Feyenoord), Karim Rekik (PSV Eindhoven – on loan from Manchester City), Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse Arnhem), Paul Verhaegh (FC Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa).
Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Leroy Fer (Norwich), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven).
Forwards: Jean-Paul Boetius (Feyenoord), Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Quincy Promes (Twente), Robin van Persie (Manchester United).
***UPDATE: Rafael van der Vaart has been ruled out of the squad with injury***