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"The intellectualisation
of football has
always foundered
on a simple problem-
-the players. Doing
all your most
rewarding thinking
with your feet seems
to dull the philo-
sophical impulse.
Unless, of course,
you are Dutch.
According to legend,
Europeans played
a moronic, muscular
version of the world's
game, until Holland
proclaimed its vision
of total football in the
1974 World Cup,
and enlightenment
dawned."

From:
Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football
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UEFA Euro 2012 Poland & Ukraine - Finals
Ron Vlaar: "I know what I am capable of"

31 May 2012

Ron Vlaar replaced Wilfred Bouma at half time of the game against Slovakia. The right footed defender took the position of the left center back and played well.

It was in the first minute that Wilfred Bouma and John Heitinga banged their heads together. It was an anxious moment as both defenders went own. Heitinga was able to finish the match, but Bouma had to be replaced at half time and even went to hospital for a checkup.

Ron Vlaar replaced him for the second half. "And then you just have be ready," said a happy Vlaar afterwards. "I believe I did well. I was focussed, that's very important. We gave away nothing at the back."

With both Mathijsen and Bouma now injured chances for Vlaar increase. Even a start against Denmark is now a possibility. "I don't know. I just want to perform as well as I can. It goes well in training. I feel good. I feel fit. And the manager knows what I'm worth to the team."

He feels accepted by the group that he has joined only recently. "Yeah, I really feel that. The boys know what I'm about. I know what I'm capable of."

Coming off the bench in a packed Kuip Stadium felt right: "Its special to play for Holland in this stadium. I've had some great moments here this past season. And this was one of them."

For the right footed Vlaar the position on the left in the center wasn't new: "I've played half my games last season on that position. I know what is expected."

It was the first time he played with Stijn Schaars on his side at left back, but it went well: "We communicated well. When you see what we gave away, then you can say the defense stood well. When we lost the ball we never got into trouble. Of course the opponents will be a little stronger, but it still takes that level of concentration."

Holland were sharper on Wednesday than they were on Saturday against Bulgaria. "Then we had just returned from training camp and we traveled on the day of the match. That plays a role. You have to be able to deal with it. We played well for an hour. Bu you can not lose that game. Especially not the way we did. But you mustn't ponder upon it. As a team you want a to make up for that. I think we're on the right track now. A victory boosts confidence, it's as simple as that. It's confidence for Saturday's match, and then travel to Poland with a good feeling. We trained well and hard in Switzerland, and in the end that hard work has to pay of. It's all about the 9th of June."

Euro 2012 campaign - Results, schedule, standings

Holland at European Championships

All time European Championships ranking

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