UEFA Euro 2012 Poland & Ukraine
Group E - Qualifications
Oranje: a new mission
3 September 2010
a scene that does not bring back any memories
of the World Cup the Dutch national football team embark
on their new mission tonight. The game against San Marino
in the cozy Olimpico Stadium in Serravalle is the first
leg of a tour that should end with Holland lifting their
second European Cup at the European Championships 2012
in Poland and Ukraine.
San Marino has tried to make it
to the finals of the European Championship five times
now. All attempts failed. The pigmee-state never even
gained a point from a qualification game.
The home base of San Marino can
host 10,000 people. In comparison: almost 100,000 people
in Soccer City saw Holland lose the final of the World
Cup against Spain, now almost two months ago.
San Marino is an opponent of a
different caliber than Spain. The nation has only 30,000
inhabitants and is just a little bigger than the city
of Goirle, where Joris Mathijssen was born. Captain
Andy Selva and goalkeeper Aldfo Simoncini are the only
professional players of the team that shares the last
spot of the FIFA World Ranking with Papua-New-Guinea,
the Central-African Republic, Anguilla, Montserrat and
American Samoa. The two play in the Italian Serie C.
It is thus possible that Holland
manager Bert van Marwijk will alter his usual tactics
and play only one holding midfielder and a more offensive
lineup. One of the questions is what the role of prodigal
son Ruud van Nistelrooy will be. The Hamburg striker
seems to stand lower in the pecking order than Klaas-Jan
Huntelaar. Albeit that that is based on Van Nistelrooy's
absence and it is purely theoretically. On the training
ground this week it was obvious that in reality Van
Nistelrooy is a leader. The fact that he has played
and scored in recent weeks could get him on the team
ahead of Huntelaar, who has played very little and changed
clubs this week.
John Heitinga will be suspended
for one game, following his red card. He will be replaced
by Feyenoord-youngster Ron Vlaar or Hedwiges Maduro.
The latter has the advantage that he is actually a midfielder,
and with San Marino unlikely to push many man forward
that may be a more practical solution. It is expected
that Vurnon Anita will - for now - take the retired
Giovanni van Bronckhorst's spot at left-back.
2012 campaign - Results, schedule, standings
at European Championships
time European Championships ranking