Have Holland already blown their chances of qualifying for Euro 2016?
Just what seems to be going wrong with the Dutch national side at the moment? After current Manchester United boss – Louis van Gaal – led the Netherlands to a relatively successful stint at the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil, his successors have seemingly enjoyed a much less profitable spell in charge of the national team.
Current Holland head-coach – Danny Blind (father of another widely recognised face in and around Old Trafford at the moment, Daley Blind), has so far been unable to emulate the somewhat promising times experienced under Louis van Gaal, despite the ill-fated Guus Hiddink being sworn in as manager in between their respective stints.
Dutch to bounce back at Euro 2020
With the likes of Iceland, Czech Republic and Turkey offering Holland some reliably stiff competition this term however, Danny Blind all of a sudden has a massive task on his hands in achieving qualification to the European Championships alone. The Dutch have unforgivably lost four out of their eight qualifying fixtures in Group A, making immediate passage to Euro 2016 next summer all the more difficult with all things considered.
So then, will the Netherlands ultimately secure their place at Euro 2020 next summer as everyone initially expected them to, or has the chance of qualification now come and gone for the Dutch and the increasingly vulnerable state of their national side?
Perhaps the most significant issue currently surrounding Blind’s team remains the lack of young Dutch quality being successfully brought through the ranks in recent seasons. Although Holland evidently hosts some of the best young talent Europe routinely pays witness to with every passing season, the national side just haven’t enjoyed much of their apparent potential out on the pitch.
New era of Dutch icons
Whilst the likes of Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder undoubtedly still carry a decent amount of ability under their belts in 2015/16, the Netherlands can simply no longer rely upon their ageing heroes of yesteryear to help them out in their current crisis. A handful of new stars ultimately need to emerge in Dutch colours sooner rather than later – for if they don’t – the footballing fate of the country could well be thrown into serious doubt.
Blind must therefore offer more opportunities to the somewhat less established players among his ranks in order to see some overall improvement in performance. Each of Georginio Wijnaldum, Jordy Claise, and of course Memphis Depay, offer their nation a fair amount of potential going forward – yet without the full backing of their manager however – the results are bound to arrive in rather inefficient form.
Strength and Depth
Having made such a point though, maybe Holland’s overall strength in depth just isn’t good enough in the cold light of day. Whilst the respective academies at Ajax and PSV seemingly produce a vast array of potential talent on an almost factory-like basis, some of the Dutch fringe players just aren’t operating at an elite level when compared to their counterparts on the international scene. Without wanting to sound overly harsh, it remains difficult to imagine the Netherlands pushing forward with the likes of Leroy Fer, Luuk de Jong, Vurnon Anita, Jeremain Lens and Dirk Kuyt all still on board.
However, although Danny Blind is certainly experiencing a large amount of problems up-top for his side across qualification for Euro 2016, poor defending eventualy has to go down as the biggest issue currently afflicting the Dutch. For quite a sustained period of time now, Holland simply haven’t been able to marry their undeniably damaging attacking potency, with a solid defensive foundation worthy of winning big matches in an organised and resilient manner.
Weak in defence?
The days of Jaap Stam and Frank Rijkaard are now long gone for Holland, leaving the rather flimsy looking back-line of Gregory van der Wiel, Jeffrey Bruma, Stefan de Vrij and Jairo Riedewald in place to fulfil such an important void. That’s how Danny Blind’s side lined-up against Turkey last time out at least – and the results were more than worrying.
Of course, certain defensive names such as Bruno Martins-Indi and Ron Vlaar will obviously be called back into action once their respective circumstances allow, yet will they really make a great deal of difference for Holland at the back? Arguably not…
So then, with such a vast array of problems on board for the Netherlands across their entire starting XI and overall squad alike, qualification for Euro 2020 ultimately won’t be easy. The goal remains achievable of course – but seeing as Iceland, Czech Republic and Turkey have all individually looked a great deal more deserving of a place in the finals next summer – Holland’s passage to Euro 2016 remains a seemingly impossible task at this stage in the game.
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