Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Euro 2008: The Dutch Finally Show Up
In last night's 3-0 drubbing of Italy (which could have been 4-0 or 5-0), the Dutch showed what kinds of magic they could have produced at the 2006 World Cup, had they not been so poorly mismanaged. Luckily, coach Marco Van Basten has learned from his mistakes and this time around, he let his strong midfield thrust forward at will - causing many problems for the Italians. Even through playing without star central defender and captain Fabio Cannavaro, the Italian defense would still have had problems since they were beaten as often inside as outside. OK, so Ruud Van Nistelroy's opening goal was probably not kosher but given how many similar gifts fate had given the Italians (and how few to the Dutch), how could they complain?
Those magnificeent Dutch, who only seem to sparkle for a brief bit every four years during the European chqampionships (but seldom at the World Cup) reminded us again that they are not to be overlooked. Sure, they've always had great players but there is always some personality conflict which gets in the way of achieving what they are capable of - winning it all. This year their collective talent looks good enough to overcome whatever teamgeist malady they may have. So, far, they look better than any team to take the field at this year's tournament.