Those who have followed soccer for a some time know about the Netherlands heartbreaking history. Often favored, but almost never the winners. Coming so close, yet leaving with nothing is a common occurrence when talking about the Oranje.
This year, though, the projections are a bit different.
The 2010 version of the World Cup doesn’t have the Flying Dutchmen as a heavy favorite or anywhere near the cream of the top. Actually, they are hardly mentioned. That is, till now.
The Netherlands, Holland or whatever you want to call them, are finally getting some notice. It comes after yesterday’s 2-1 win over Slovakia, bringing the Oranje into the Quarter Final round of the tournament, where they will play Brazil. At this point in the tournament the Dutchmen haven’t been exactly impressive. Yes, they have allowed only a meager two goals including a PK goal as the whistle blew in yesterday’s match, but the concern arises when you talk about goal production.
In the four games they have played, the Oranje have scored only seven goals. Now, it doesn’t seem like that measly of a number when you consider that they have only allowed two, but if the Netherlands wants any chance of getting by Brazil this Friday, they’ll have to shoot past what seems to be their max of two goals a game.
The Dutch have always been known for their fearless attack, putting fear into their opponents before a ball is ever kicked. Something about their attack in this tournament doesn’t seem as rampant or as threatening. When the Dutch control possession, like they do so well, they don’t seem to have any real sense of urgency or haste. The ball casually moves back and forth, from midfielders, to defensemen then occasionally to their starting frontman, Robin Van Persie.
In all honesty, it is exactly what they Dutch usually aren’t, boring.
To get past the mighty Brazilians, the Dutch will have to play with some sort of purpose, grit and of course, style. The past hasn’t been kind to the Dutchmen when the two teams have met. But now that the Netherlands seem to lack inner-turmoil that has plagued them in the past, anything is certainly possible.
The Oranje are surely tired of hearing about their past, so it is time for them to play for today, with a purpose and rewrite their tragic history.
Ryan Fleming is a writer and editor for The Soccer Guys. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.