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Group D: Netherlands Qualified as winner of play-off ties against Scotland
Netherlands survive troubles to reach 2004 finals
 

If the under-achieving Netherlands are to be a major force at the Euro 2004 finals much will depend on their opening encounter with Germany and a re-match with qualification bogey team the Czech Republic.

The Dutch have not suffered defeat against arch-rivals Germany since a friendly in 1996, but have not faced them in a major tournament since the European Championship in 1992.

On that occasion the Dutch won 3-1 to top their group, only to lose to eventual winners Denmark on a penalty shootout in the semi-finals.

More memorable was the 2-1 victory in 1988 when Marco van Basten's late effort sent the Dutch through to the final where they beat the former Soviet Union -- their only major title.

While their record against Germany is encouraging, mere mention of the Czech Republic will have Dutch fans breaking out into a cold sweat.

The Czechs were always likely to be the big danger in Euro 2004 qualifying Group Three, and so it proved.

Both matches between the former European champions were pivotal, with a 1-1 draw in Rotterdam and the Czechs' 3-1 win on home soil sealing their place in Portugal and condemning the Netherlands to a playoff against Scotland.

Although the Dutch swamped Scotland 6-0 in the second leg of the playoff for a 6-1 aggregate win, it was not always that easy for coach Dick Advocaat's men.

The Netherlands started their campaign with comfortable wins over Belarus and Austria before facing the Czechs in Rotterdam.

Striker Ruud van Nistelrooy put the home side ahead late in the first half but a brilliant solo run by Milan Baros set up towering striker Jan Koller for the equaliser.

The Czechs celebrated the draw as a victory believing they would clinch top spot by beating their main rivals in Prague in September.

Their optimism was not out of place. After unimpressive wins against Moldova and Belarus, the Netherlands arrived in Prague with Advocaat struggling to find his best attacking combination from a mix of Van Nistelrooy, Patrick Kluivert, Roy Makaay, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Pierre van Hooijdonk.

Midfielder Clarence Seedorf was dropped and all the preparations went out of the window as the Dutch went two goals and a man down at halftime following the sending-off of Edgar Davids.

Advocaat hauled off Van Nistelrooy 20 minutes from the end, incurring the wrath of the Manchester United forward who was left out in the first leg of the playoff which the Dutch surprisingly lost 1-0 at Hampden Park.

Van Nistelrooy returned for the second leg, scoring a hat-trick in a 6-0 romp that silenced the critics -- for a while at least.

As so often with the Dutch, however, the run-up to the tournament could be a headache for the coach.

Advocaat's midfield needs attention, with Davids failing to carry out instructions on several occasions, and he will need help from his assistant Wim van Hanegem.

Former player of the year Ruud Gullit was supposed to assist Advocaat during the finals in Portugal but those plans were scrapped when Gullit signed a two-year contract with Feyenoord in January.

Added to that, Advocaat's squad must avoid the self-destructive squabbling which has marred previous campaigns, Euro 1996 being a prime example.

If they manage that, and avoid any slips against group outsiders Latvia, the Dutch could make a long-overdue impression on a major tournament.
- Theo Ruizenaar
 
  Star Player

Name Jaap Stam
Position Defender
Club Milan
DOB 17.07.1972

Stam the man at the heart of Dutch defence
There is a lot of responsibility resting on the broad back of Jaap Stam, the

only naturally-born defender in the Dutch squad.
With his long-time defensive partner Frank de Boer now in the twilight of his career and struggling with his form, much of the Netherlands's defensive prowess will come down to how the 31-year-old...   [more]

 

  Star Player

Name Arjen Robben
Position Forward
Club Chelsea
DOB 23.01.1984

Robben's career course altered by a spelling mistake
The European Championship finals are normally considered a display 

window for players aiming for a big transfer, but one of the brightest talents in the Netherlands has already been snapped up. Arjen Robben, aged just 20, was bought by Chelsea during the winter transfer period and will go to Portugal...   [more]
  Star Player

Name Rafael van der Vaart
Position Midfielder
Club Ajax
DOB 11.02.1983

Time for van der Vaart to live up to his potential

If Rafael van der Vaart impresses for the Netherlands in Portugal, it is likely he will make a swift return to the Iberian peninsula on a more permanent basis.
The versatile 21-year-old Ajax captain has already attracted attention from some of Europe's biggest clubs, but his Spanish background is likely to influence a move to the Primera Liga when he eventually goes overseas...   [more]

 

  The Coach
Advocaat answers his critics with playoff success
Netherlands coach Dick Advocaat has known his share of success at club level over the years but nothing can have tasted sweeter than guiding his country to the finals of Euro 2004 in Portugal.
After blowing their chance of topping the group with defeat to the Czech Republic, the Dutch had the seemingly simple task of overcoming a mediocre Scotland team in the playoffs.
But after a 1-0 defeat at Hampden Park in the first leg Advocaat was staring elimination in the face. Faced with a barrage of media criticism, Advocaat made some brave selections for the second leg and the Dutch romped to a 6-0 win.
Advocaat began preparing for the onerous task of managing the national team at the tender age of 32 as he began his coaching career with an amateur team while still playing in the Dutch first division.
He combined both jobs for the final four years of his playing career at Sparta Rotterdam and Utrecht before hanging up his boots and joining the Dutch squad as an assistant coach.
Three years later he took over as head coach of his first professional team, Haarlem.
In 1991 Rinus Michels, who guided the Dutch team to European Championship success in 1988, invited Advocaat to become his assistant in the qualifying campaign for Euro 1992 in Sweden.
Michels had taken over from Leo Beenhakker after the Netherlands were knocked out of the 1990 World Cup in the last 16 by Germany.
During the Euro 1992 campaign it became clear that it would be Michels's last job and that Advocaat was expected to take over from the "General".
After a semi-final defeat on penalties to Denmark, Michels handed the reins to Advocaat who faced a tough qualifying campaign for the 1994 World Cup in the United States which included games against Norway and England.
Norway finished top of the group but a draw and a win against England took Advocaat and his squad to the World Cup.
In the run-up to the tournament key playmaker Ruud Gullit fell out with Advocaat over tactics and quit the training camp.
Without Gullit the Dutch scraped through a tight group and beat Ireland in the second phase. But their dreams ended in the quarter-finals where they were beaten 3-2 by Brazil.
Advocaat resigned and a year later he joined PSV Eindhoven where, in three seasons, he won his first trophies as coach including the Dutch Cup in 1996 and the championship a year later.
In 1998 Advocaat accepted an offer from Scottish club Rangers to become head coach and built a team that grabbed the treble in his first year in Glasgow.
The following season they won the double but despite dominance at home Advocaat's side could not make any impression on the Champions League.
In 2001 Advocaat became Rangers' technical director but when the Dutch Football Association approached him in January 2002 to take over from Louis van Gaal, who had failed to qualify the Netherlands for the 2002 World Cup, Advocaat asked Rangers to let him go.
Rangers chairman David Murray refused but agreed to a combined job for Advocaat, who picked Willem van Hanegem as his assistant for the Dutch squad.
In November 2002 Rangers agreed to release Advocaat so he could concentrate on the European Championship qualifying campaign.
Advocaat's Netherlands contract was extended until 2006 after he steered the team to Portugal, although there is clause that will end the relationship if the Euro 2004 campaign ends in dismal failure.

 

  The Squad

 Netherlands

Players DOB Club Cap Goal
Dick Advocaat C 27.09.1947
1. Edwin van der Sar G 29.10.1970 Fulham
13. Ronald Waterreus G 25.08.1970 PSV
23. Sander Westerveld G 23.10.1974 Sociedad
2. Michael Reiziger D 03.05.1973 Barcelona
18. Johnny Heitinga D Ajax
3. Jaap Stam D 17.07.1972 Milan
15. Frank de Boer D 15.05.1970 Rangers
5. Giovanni van Bronckhorst D 05.02.1975 Barcelona
4. Wilfred Bouma D 15.06.1978 PSV
11. Rafael van der Vaart M 11.02.1983 Ajax
14. Wesley Sneijder M 09.06.1984 Ajax
8. Edgar Davids M 13.03.1973 Barcelona
20. Clarence Seedorf M 01.04.1976 Milan
6. Philip Cocu M 29.10.1970 Barcelona
22. Boudewijn Zenden M 15.08.1976 Boro
21. Mark van Bommel M 22.04.1977 PSV
10. Ruud van Nistelrooy F 01.07.1976 Man Utd
9. Patrick Kluivert F 01.07.1976 Barcelona
17. Pierre van Hooijdonk F 29.11.1969 Fenerbahce
12. Roy Makaay F 09.03.1975 Bayern
7. Andy van der Meyde F 30.09.1979 Inter
16. Marc Overmars F 29.03.1973 Barcelona
19. Arjen Robben F 23.01.1984 PSV
 

 

 

 

  Profile


Federation
Koninklijke Nederlandsche Voetballbond (1889)
Headquarter
Woudenbergseweg 56-58 - 3707 Amsterdam
Website
www.knvb.nl
President
Mtahieu Sprengers
Best Performance in Finals Champions in 1988
Recent record in Finals
1980 Round-1
1984 DNQ
1988 Champions
1992 Semi-Final
1996 Quarter-Final
2000 Semi-Final 

 

  Road to Portugal

3-0
3-0
1-1
2-1
2-0
3-1
1-3
5-0
0-1
6-0

v Belarus
v Austria
v Czech Rep.
v Moldova
v Belarus
v Austria
v Czech Rep.
v Moldova
v Scotland (Play-off)
v Scotland (Play-off)
H
A
H
A
A
H
A
H
A
H

 

  Final Tournament

D v Germany

   1800 CET 15 June 2004

D v Czech Republic

   2045 CET 19 June 2004

D v Latvia

   2045 CET 23 June 2004

 

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