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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
Group E - Qualifications

"This case only has losers"

7 October 2010

Right after Bert van Marwijk saw Nigel de Jong's tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa on television he knew he would drop the midfielder for the Euro 2012 qualification games against Moldavia and Sweden. "My first reaction was that with this tackle he crossed a line," van Marwijk said on Wednesday. "But this needn't be the end of his international carreer. I shall sit down and talk with him in the very near future."

Yesterday's press conference was much anticipated after the Dutch manager had only issued a press statement on Monday in which he declared De Jong had been dropped. After that there had been silence. But yesterday Van Marwijk explained.

"On Sunday afternoon a friend sent me a text message about De Jong's hard tackle. Right after I saw the footage I thought that this was too much, also given earlier incidents. My decision to drop him was made right after I had seen the footage. I have called my assistants Frank de Boer and Phillip Cocu and after that I tried to get in touch with Nigel. I only managed to do so on Monday morning," Van Marwijk said.

The manager said De Jong was disappointed about the decision. "I told him he doesn't need such fouls. It's bothering him a great deal, I am certain. I shall sit down and talk with him in the very near future. This needn't be the end of his international carreer."

The manager emphasized that he is upset with the situation. "This case only has losers. In the first place that lad Ben Arfa. I truly hope he will back on the pitch real soon. The second loser is Nigel and the third are we, as we will be a missing a very good player in two most important games. And I am not really proud of my decision to drop him, but given the circumstances I had no other option."

"I hope we can drop the issue now and focus on the upcoming qualification games," van Marwijk added. "How did the squad react? Well, like I expected them to react. Of course they stand up for their team mate. But I feel they understand my decision. It's Moldavia next. That will be difficult, but we must win that game."

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