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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

Brilliant Orange: The Neurotic Genius of Dutch Football

UEFA Euro 2012 Poland & Ukraine
Group E - Qualifications

Van Nistelrooy back with a smile

1 September 2010

Receiving a loud round of applause from his team mates Ruud van Nistelrooy stepped onto the training pitch in Katwijk yesterday. The striker laughed and put his hands in the air. So there he was, after two years, back with his beloved Oranje.

Van Nistelrooy received a big round of applause when he entered the training pitch, but made believe it was all for Khalid Boulahrouz

Bondscoach Bert van Marwijk appointed Van Nistelrooy as the boss of the rondo, with which Holland start each training. The experienced stand-in for the injured Robin van Persie resolutely decided which players made a mistake and had to be the dummy in the middle. Not one player argued with him. Van Nistelrooy's word was the law.

During the different match variations that were played during training the Hamburg-player got every opportunity to show he can still find the goal as easily as he did in his days at Heerenveen, PSV, Manchester United and Real Madrid. At Hamburg he has scored six goals this season, but yesterday he was unable to find the back of the net. Yet he played with a bog smile on his face and had two assists.

After the training session of an hour and a half he decided not yet to talk to the press. Van Nistelrooy first wants to sit down and talk to manager Van Marwijk. Today he will be available for the press and might explain how he sees his future with the Dutch team.

Is he just helping out for the next two games now that Van Persie is out? Or does he want to end as a 36-year-old after Euro 2012? He is only seven goals away from Patrick Kluivert (40 goals) as the all-time top goal scorer of the Dutch team.

Judging from the training games Van Marwijk let his team play yesterday Van Nistelrooy will not be in the starting lineup against San Marino on Friday. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar remains first choice to replace Van Persie. Dirk Kuyt took the place of the injured Arjen Robben. Eljero Elia played on the left.

In defense it's starting to look as if Vurnon Anita (Ajax) and not Erik Pieters (PSV) will take the place of the retired Giovanni van Bronckhorst. In the center of defense Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord) will replace the suspended John Heitinga.

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