Kharkiv: The Dutch national team suffered its second consecutive defeat at Euro 2012 against Germany, but despite a broken morale the World Cup finalists still have a tiny chance of reaching the quarters.
After two consecutive defeats against Denmark (0-1) and Germany (1-2) the Netherlands can still reach the quarter-finals if the team beat Portugal with two goals difference (or more) Sunday and Germany beat Denmark at the same time.
Based on the level of play the Dutch media have little hope. The criticism in the media was fierce, noting a lack of discipline, lack of strength, lack of power, lack of position and lack of determination, reported Xinhua.
"New blow for Oranje," headlined newspaper De Telegraaf. "For the Dutch team the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine threatens to end in a fiasco. After the opening game against Denmark, Germany turned out to be too strong despite a good second half."
"Disappointing Oranje hands European Championships in hands of superior Germany," was headlined by the Algemeen Dagblad. "Who would have thought that one year ago, when the team still played as world cup runners-up?"
Coach Bert van Marwijk admitted Germany was the better side, but still saw some positive points. "The first twenty minutes were good," said Van Marwijk to TV channel NOS. "We`ve had decent opportunities, but if you want to beat Germany, you must be top. A few guys are not in shape. We have also not defended properly."
Van Marwijk kept faith in the team that lost to Denmark, with only Joris Mathijsen returning from injury. However, at halftime he finally had to do something. He replaced his son-in-law and captain Mark van Bommel with Rafael van der Vaart and brought Klaas-Jan Huntelaar for Ibrahim Afellay. Van Bommel reacted afterwards with tearful eyes. "What matters is that the team wins," he said.
The hope is still there, but the odds are against the Netherlands, said both the media and the statistics. Beating Portugal is not an easy task. Holland only beat Portugal once in ten encounters, with three draws and the Portuguese winning six times. That one victory was on October 16, 1991 (1-0).
It is not pleasant at all that I had to approach the court but there was no option left for me. I am glad that I have been proved right and it has lifted my morale ahead for the Asian Games.
Manoj Kumar, Indian boxer