Euro 2012 Poland & Ukraine - Friendlies
Van Marwijk looking for certainties
The team will be looking for certainties
in their friendly against Slovakia Wednesday night in
Rotterdam. The defeat against the Bulgarians (1-2)
showed that Oranje have some work to do, although Van
Marwijk wasn't completely unhappy about the first hour.
Now that the squad is complete
with the arrival of Ibrahim Afellay from Barcelona the
manager can start working towards his ideal formation;
something Wesley Sneijder emphasized as much on Monday:
"Now we must work towards a certain basis on which
we can enter the tournament. We have both feet firmly
on the ground, but perhaps that makes us even sharper.
You can count on us being ready when it starts. All
will be all right."
Oranje got some harsh criticism
after Saturday's mishap in the Amsterdam Arena. Both
Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit put some question marks
over the choices of Van Marwijk as
did Johan Cruijff.
The 60-year-old manager never pays much attention to
the opinions of others and sticks to his own views.
Yet it is to be expected that the contours of the team
Van Marwijk has in mind will be a bit more visible tonight.
Maarten Stekelenburg will probably return on goal and
at left back Stijn Schaars will probably get a chance.
Schaars is competing with Jetro Willems for the spot
that became available after Erik Pieters pulled out
with an injury. In central defense Van Marwijk will
play either Wilfred Bouma or Feyenoord captain Ron Vlaar
now that Joris Mathijsen is out with a strained hamstring.
There is no doubt about the holding span in midfield
(Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong), but for the four
positions up front the battle is still on. Wesley Sneijder
and Arjen Robben are of crucial importance for Oranje
and seem certain to start.
The big question is whether Robin van Persie is still
number 1 for the center forward position, as Klaas-Jan
Huntelaar started against Bulgaria and - like Van Persie
in England - had an outstanding season at Shalke 04.
If the shirt number (9 for Huntelaar, 16 for Van Persie)
is any indication Van Marwijk seems to lean towards
Huntelaar. For Van Persie that would mean he would be
out on the wing, but Van Marwijk could also opt for
either Dirk Kuyt or Ibrahim Afellay on that position.
2012 campaign - Results, schedule, standings
at European Championships
time European Championships ranking