Start     National Team     History     Euro 2012       Partners

"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

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football

UEFA Euro 2012 Poland & Ukraine - Friendlies

Bulgarians surprise Oranje


The Netherlands have suffered a surprising defeat in their first 'real' international of their run up to the European Championships in Poland and Ukraine. In the Amsterdam ArenA the end result was 1-2 to the visitors. Only Robin van Persie was able to break the Bulgarian defense in the first half.

Just before the final whistle however it was substitute Micanski who handed the Dutch a painful defeat. Up until that moment Holland had hardly been able to dent the Bulgarian defense.

In the very hot Amsterdam ArenA a nice set up by Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie had given Holland the lead after a series of attempts of the little midfielder to reach Van Persie had failed. Van Persies finish was excellent.

Up until that moment Oranje had trouble finding their way around the pitch. The pace was too low to really worry the Bulgarian defense, and the forwards wouldn't gel. Manager Bert van Marwijk had opted to put Klaas-Jan Huntelaar in the center with Van Persie, Rafael Van der Vaart and Sneijder around him, but it led to little danger. There was a long shot by Sneijder en a half chance for Van Persie. On the other side Bozhinov went close when his free kick cracked the bar.

On left back 18-year-old Jetro Willems made his debut. In the first half the PSV defender had trouble finding the right rhythm, but after the break he shrugged off all shyness and played a fine game, until he was replaced by Stijn Schaars. Schaars and Willems will have to fight it out for the left back position in the remaining days until Holland open their tournament on June 9.

That is hopefully enough time for center back Joris Mathijsen to recover from the injury he sustained in the 15th minute and for which he had to be replaced by Freddie Bouma, who got his first cap in four years.

An unfortunate handball by Rafael van der Vaart led to a penalty, which Ivelin Popov converted to the Bulgarian equalizer.

The only slightly exciting moment from the homeside came 10 minutes before the end when Arjen Robben replaced Huntelaar and the Bayern Munich player got a very warm reception from the crowd. Despite his appearance the Bulgarians scored a second just before full time that was as unexpected as it was unwelcome.






45'   1-0
    1-1 Popov 48'
    1-2 Micanski 90'

Netherlands: Krul, Van der Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen (16' Bouma), Willems (62' Schaars), N. de Jong (82' Strootman), Van Bommel, Van Persie, Sneijder, Van der Vaart (62' Kuyt), Huntelaar (77' Robben).

Players not used: Boulahrouz, Vlaar, Stekelenburg, Narsingh, Vorm, L. de Jong.

Euro 2012 campaign - Results, schedule, standings

Holland at European Championships

All time European Championships ranking


Robben: "Hard to grasp"
Van Bommel after defeat: "I'm a little speechless"
Van Marwijk: "In no mood to get negative"
Flat Dutch don't know what to do with 20+ chances
Netherlands-Denmark: lineup
Joris Mathijsen recovering well
Cruyff: "Kuyt at right back"
Mathijsen still uncertain - could miss entire tournament
Holland and Denkmark: head-to-head
Van Persie seems worth the confidence
Van Marwijk again opts for Van Persie instead of Huntelaar
Huntelaar: "Upset is not the right the word"
Ron Vlaar: "I know what I am capable of"
Van Marwijk: "We remained disciplined"
Ibi and Rafa show manager he has options
Ibrahim Afellay Oranje's Zidane?
Van Marwijk looking for certainties
Cruijff: "Not enough depth in your game is asking for trouble"
Bouma: "I've gone through the desert"
Van Persie: "Defeat at this point not a problem"
Euro 2012 finals squad
Mathijsen strains muscle
Bulgarians surprise Oranje
Ola Toivonen's goal sees Sweden beat Holland and qualify
Klaas-Jan Huntelaar sinks Moldova
Oranje maintain perfection, beat Finland
Netherlands thrash San Marino in Euro 2012 qualifier
Kuyt kills off brave Hungary for Netherlands
Oranje trash Hungary
Sweden no match for Oranje
Van Marwijk: "We left them without chance"
Dirk Kuyt out for months
"We are prepared for all scenarios"
Minimal but easy win for Holland in Moldavia
Van Marwijk: "We played very well"
Holland want result after tumultuous week
Van der Vaart to replace De Jong
"This case only has losers"
Van Marwijk drops Nigel de Jong
Holland & Moldavia: head-to-head
Holland & Sweden: head-to-head
Wisgerhof replaces Maduro
Bouma back on the radar
Netherlands - Finland 2-1
Van Marwijk: "We were late all over the pitch"
Van Bommel: "There wasn't anymore in it"
Heitinga: "That can not happen"
Van der Vaart unhappy with role on the side
Kuyt and Boulahrouz out with injury
"It all revolves around Jari Litmanen"
Sneijder: "Don't tinker with it"
Alonso: "No hard feelings"
Van Marwijk: "Second half was better"
San Marino-Netherlands 0-5
Oranje: a new mission