The faces of the Holland supporters at OSK Metalist Stadium this past Sunday really told the entire story regarding the evening and how poorly the Dutch played throughout their short stay in Euro 2012. Portugal earned three points after their 2-1 victory over the Netherlands, a game that also happened to be a 90-minute reminder that Holland weren't worthy of the praise given to them by both fans and analysts heading into the tournament. Before getting into all of the inevitable "what now?" questions, here's one last look at what was one final painful Euro 2012 match for Dutch football fans.
3 final thoughts on Portugal 2-1 Netherlands: The defining moment...
came just five minutes after Rafael Van der Vaart opened the scoring. The Dutch back line, painfully poor throughout the competition, was broken for the first time during the match by Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo didn't take full advantage of his first golden opportunity of the game, but that one moment gave the Portugal attack all the momentum and confidence required. During the game's final 75 minutes, Ronaldo twice found the back of the net, he nearly scored on two other occasions, and he probably should have finished the match with at least one assist. Holland's defending never looked the same after being beaten by Ronaldo 15 minutes into play, and they were completely incapable of holding any lead for over an hour.
3 final thoughts on Portugal 2-1 Netherlands: Promise, as well as a problem
Better times are coming for Jetro Willems, the talented 18-year old left back given a shot by coach Bert van Marwijk before the beginning of Euro 2012. With that said, Holland's final two games of the competition also offered a reminder that the Netherlands are lacking real depth at that position. Willems was made to look silly several times by Germany this past Wednesday, and he was unable to keep up with Portuguese attacks throughout the final 70 minutes of play. Willems and the Dutch won't be playing the likes of Germany and Portugal during upcoming 2014 World Cup qualifiers, so the youngster will have plenty of time to figure things out.
3 final thoughts on Portugal 2-1 Netherlands: Elephant in the room
Following Sunday's loss, Arjen Robben told reporters that "internal issues" plagued Holland throughout the competition. Wesley Sneijder offered the following quote for a piece published in The Guardian on Tuesday: "But there are some issues in the squad that have to be solved first, like the player who is leaking to the press about our tactical plans before matches." Team chemistry has always been somewhat of an issue for this particular squad, but it's now an unavoidable talking point since the Dutch couldn't help repeatedly tripping over themselves in three straight games.
Some would say that such friction should keep fans and analysts from blaming Van Marwijk for Holland's three-and-out Euro 2012 appearance. While that is a valid point, it's also the job of any coach/manager to handle such egos, especially during such an important competition. That didn't happen this time around, and it could, when all discussions are over, cost Van Marwijk his job.
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