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Page last updated at 16:20 GMT, Thursday, 15 May 2008 17:20 UK

Netherlands team guide

BBC Sport's Euro 2008 guide to the Netherlands.

Fixtures (Group C):


v Italy - 9 June, 1945 BST, Berne
Italy team guide

v France - 13 June, 1945 BST, Berne
France team guide

v Romania - 17 June, 1945 BST, Berne
Romania team guide

How did they get there: Qualified with a game to spare from Group G but finished three points behind the Romanians after a draw and a defeat to Victor Piturca's side.

A cartoon of Marco van Basten

Manager: The legendary Marco van Basten. One of the all-time great footballers, Van Basten said he would never go into management but was named Dutch coach in 2004. Led the Netherlands to the last 16 of the 2006 World Cup, but will take over as manager of Ajax after the European Championship.

Captain: Edwin van der Sar. The Manchester United stopper is set to take part in his fourth Euros and after two penalty shoot-out defeats and a semi-final loss to Portugal last time around, he will be hoping for more luck in 2008. His country's leading cap holder, but will retire from international football after the tournament.


Euro highlights: Victory in 1988 playing the kind of free-flowing, technically superior football to which the world has become accustomed from the Dutch. With Frank Rijkaard, Ronald Koeman, Ruud Gullit and Van Basten in sublime form, they swept all before them, even coming from behind to beat the formidable West Germany in the semi-finals.

Euro legend: Marco van Basten. Who else could it be? In 1988 he smashed a hat-trick past England, bagged an 88th-minute winner against the Germans and then got a ridiculous second in the final against USSR, courtesy of the most outrageous, dipping volley from an impossible angle that you could ever imagine.

Ruud van Nistelrooy

Star man: Ruud van Nistelrooy. It appeared the deadly Real Madrid striker's Dutch career was over when he fell out with Van Basten and then retired in January 2007. But he changed his mind and is expected to lead the line, hoping to add to the four goals he scored at Euro 2004.

Strengths: Van Basten's style of football is less risky than the Dutch teams he played in and his settled defence only conceded five goals in 12 qualifying matches, a remarkable statistic. Also, there will be few more clinical strikers on display than Van Nistelrooy or his back up, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Weaknesses: The Netherlands' defensive set-up means they struggle for goals at times, as only 15 in 12 qualifying games and a 1-0 home win over Luxembourg testify. Two openings games against Italy and France will push them to their limits straight away.

World ranking: 10th.

Our verdict: May struggle to get out of their group if France and Italy bring anything like their A-game to the tournament. Van Basten may have to come out of his defensive shell and hope his players can bring back the glory days of 1988.

see also
Van Basten cuts squad down to 24
25 May 08 |  Netherlands
Pick your Netherlands XI
23 May 08 |  Netherlands
Country profile: The Netherlands
29 Jan 08 |  Country profiles

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