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Friday, 30 June, 2000, 17:46 GMT 18:46 UK
Thijssen points finger back at Dutch
Horror for Holland as they crash out
Horror for Holland as they crash out
As the dust settles on Holland's elimination from Euro 2000, the inquests have already begun.

Who to blame? The coach? The Italian defence? The players who missed those five penalties?



Five penalties and only one goal? It's no wonder we lost

Frans Thijssen
The list, according to former Dutch international and Ipswich Town favourite Frans Thijssen, is a long one.

"We have to look at ourselves and the way we played," he says.

"Holland had so much of the ball, so much possession, but failed to create enough chances.

"Five penalties and only one goal? It's no wonder we lost.

"Dutch players like to play good football, to entertain the crowd. There's nothing wrong with that in itself - I think most people would rather have seen a Holland-France final than an Italy-France one.

"But in international football, it's the result that matters."

Ill-luck

If England fans think they've suffered from ill-luck in penalty shoot-outs, they should take a look at the Dutch.

Ignore Thursday night's debacle for a moment.

The World Cup two years ago? Lost on penalties to Brazil in the semi-final.

Euro 96? Out to France, on pens, in the quarters.

Euro 92? Denmark squeak through, via spot-kicks, in the semi.

"It's penalties every time, always penalties," says Thijssen.

"But even before this game, Holland were not always so good.

"With all those friendly games before the tournament, the team came in for a lot of criticism, and Rijkaard was using so many different players and systems.


Frans Thijssen lines up for Holland in 1980
Frans Thijssen lines up for Holland in 1980
"We started here badly against the Czechs, and needed a lucky penalty to get the win.

"Against Denmark they had a couple of excellent chances in the first half which they did not take. France left most of their first-team players out, and then Yugoslavia - well, they defended very poorly.

"So that is one good game out of five. The team hasn't made any real progress during this tournament."

Obdurate

Playing for 87 minutes against just 10 men, Holland were unable to break down the obdurate Italian defence, and Thijssen believes the outfield players must shoulder the bulk of the criticism.

"Holland's best player in the tournament was Van der Saar, because he did not concede a single goal," he says.

"But the others... Kluivert had one good game, against Yugoslavia, but apart from that wasn't brilliant.

"Bergkamp was up and down, just as he has been at Arsenal in the last year, and Overmars was the same.

"He has been injured for some of the past season, but he was not consistent enough here.

"Even Davids, who has been so good at club level, did not play much better than the others.

"Look at Zidane, the way he plays and the way he put that penalty away against Portugal. That is how the game should be played."

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See also:

29 Jun 00 | Holland
Van Gaal favourite for Dutch job
29 Jun 00 | Holland
Dutch party turns sour
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