Cliff Abenaitwe, June 10, 2012
With only 24 minutes played at the Metalist Stadium, Denmark found the back of the net thanks to a Michael Krohn-Dehli goal. The lively star-studded Dutch team could not believe the score line reading having dominated the game from the start. To save themselves from the looming infamy, the ‘Oranje’ tried to assemble their fire power but their efforts could not bear any fruit.
It was such a painful defeat as the last time the Dutch lost their opening game at a European Championship was in 1988.
Despite their efforts, I put the blame on the shoulders of Coach Bert van Marwijk and winger Arjen Robben.
The decision to start Robin Van Persie ahead of the qualifiers top scorer Klaas-Jan Huntelaar was the greatest mistake van Marwijk made. Obviously van Persie had a great season with Arsenal but his display in the Oranje shirt has been less impressive compared to Huntelaar’s.
The Schalke 04 hit man underlined his top talisman tag with 12 goals from 25 shorts during the Euro 2012 qualifiers and he should have been selected ahead of the Arsenal captain who managed 6 goals in the whole qualifying campaign.
As if this was not enough, Van Marwijk’s woes were simply aggravated by the wasteful Arjen Robben. The former PSV, Chelsea and Madrid winger wasted a number of chances and frustrated his team’s efforts with a selfish display.
May be he thought he was solely responsible for helping the team turn the corner but his selfish display on the right flank nailed the team efforts that many faithfuls wanted him replaced.
All said and done, in Bert van Marwijk, Netherlands has the right man to turn things round but he must learn from the bitter Denmark lesson and his response should be swift if the team is to salvage something from Euro 2012 and the later competitions.