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Last Updated: Monday, 22 May 2006, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
Holland team guide

A one-stop guide to all you need to know about Holland ahead of the 2006 World Cup.

Fixtures (Group C):

  • v Serbia & Montenegro - 11 June, 1400 BST, Leipzig
  • v Ivory Coast - 16 June, 1700 BST, Stuttgart
  • v Argentina - 21 June, 2000 BST, Frankfurt

    How did they get to Germany: Finished five points clear at the top of a group that included the Czech Republic and Romania. Crucially, the Dutch beat the Czech Republic twice.

    Qualifying star: Goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. The Dutch were far from their fluent best in some matches, but opposing teams struggled to find any way past Van der Sar, who only conceded three goals in qualifying.

    Manager: Marco van Basten succeeded Dick Advocaat in July 2004. It was something of a gamble given his lack of coaching experience but he has successfully assimilated several young players into the team.

    Edwin van der Sar
    Captain: Van der Sar took the armband off Edgar Davids and the Manchester United man will continue to lead the team in Germany.

    World Cup pedigree: The best team never to lift the World Cup? Two finals, semi-finals, quarter-finals but never the grand prize.

    World Cup high: The 1974 campaign - which culminated in their first final appearance. A team blessed with the likes of Johan Cruyff and Johan Neeskens played "total football" - a free-flowing, fluid style of play that was beautiful to watch.

    World Cup low: The team that competed in Italy in 1990 was a pale shadow of the team that won the 1988 European Championships in Germany. Infighting undermined team spirit and the team failed to win a game.

    World Cup legend: Coach Rinus Michels - the man who masterminded total football at Ajax before taking his brand of football to the Dutch national team. Michels, known as 'The General', was also in charge of the 1988 team that won the European Championships in Germany.

    Ruud van Nistelrooy
    Present star man: Ruud van Nistelrooy may not be the main man at Manchester United these days, but the Dutch rely on the him for goals and will struggle if he is not on form.

    Strengths: Ensuring the squad is singing from the same hymn sheet has been a problem in the past. The current team, though, has an excellent spirit and togetherness.

    Weaknesses: The likes of Khalid Boulahrouz, Kew Jaliens and Dirk Kuyt have all flourished since being given their chance, but the team does have a slightly inexperienced look about it.

    Did you know? Ernie Brandts achieved an unwanted World Cup finals first when he scored a goal and an own goal in the same match against Italy in 1978. The Dutch won the game 2-1.

    World ranking: 3

    Odds: 12/1

    Local view: "There has been a lot of progress, but it will still take a lot more to reach the semi-finals or final." Jeroen Kapteijns, De Telegraaf sports journalist.

    Our verdict: Likely to fall just short.

    Ranking and odds correct at 22 May. Odds supplied by William Hill.



  • 2006 WORLD CUP TEAM GUIDES
     

    SEE ALSO
    Pick your Holland XI
    28 Apr 06 |  Squad selectors
    Country profile: The Netherlands
    01 Nov 05 |  Country profiles


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