FIFA Ranking: 4th
Best World Cup Finish: Finalist (1974, 1978)
Manager: Bert van Marwijk
Roster: Projected Starting Line-up (4-5-1): (GK) – Maarten Stekelenberg, (D) – John Heitinga, Gregory van der Wiel, Joris Mathijson, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, (M) – Arjen Robben,Dirk Kuyt, Wesley Sneijder, Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong, (F) – Robin van Persie
Subs – (D) Andre Ooijer, (M) Rafael van der Vaart, Eljero Elia,(F) Ryan Babel
A balanced offensive attack has fans of The Oranje thinking big heading into the 2010 World Cup.
Netherlands, led by talented midfielder Wesley Sneijder, is expected to easily advance from Group E and are likely to proceed to the quarterfinals and possibly the semifinals.
The Oranje is known for its skillful offensive weapons, particularly Sneijder, winger Arjen Robben and striker Robin van Persie. However, the team has been criticized for its lack of toughness and weak defensive play, and must be able to play well in all three zones if they are to match the expectations of their fans.
A strong qualification round has led to such high expectations for Holland in the World Cup, as the team won all eight of its qualifiers, outscoring opponents by an impressive 17-2. Skeptics of the Netherlands argue that the team had one of the easiest routes to qualify, as Group 9 in the European Zone included Scotland, Macedonia, Iceland and Norway.
Holland is battling its own history, as the country has entered previous World Cups expecting to contend and earn its first World Cup Trophy, but past results have not matched high aspirations. In eight World Cup appearances, the Netherlands have yet to win a World Cup, although they did reach the final in 1974 and 1978.
A major question mark for the Netherlands entering the World Cup is the status of star player Arjen Robben. The Bayern Munich winger enters the World Cup with a left hamstring injury he sustained in a friendly match with Hungary earlier this month. Robben is part of a strong offensive attack for the Netherlands, but the 26-year-old is expected to miss his team’s opener against Denmark on Monday.
Monday, June 14 vs. Denmark
Saturday, June 19 vs. Japan
Thursday, June 24 vs. Cameroon