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Euro 2012 Preview: 10 Things to Know About the Netherlands

Peter WebsterContributor IIIApril 2, 2012

Euro 2012 Preview: 10 Things to Know About the Netherlands

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    This summer, the Euro Cup 2012—hosted by Poland and Ukraine—runs from June 8 to July 1.

    As the various teams begin to consider their final squads, training methods, team tactics and travel arrangements, we'll take a look at things worth knowing about the Netherlands, from players, route to the final, history and more.

    Here are 10 things to know about the Oranje.

Star Players

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    In order to be a good international side, you need good international players.

    The Netherlands are fortunate to be blessed with an extremely talented squad with many fine individuals.

    Come the finals, the Netherlands are likely to call upon the likes of Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben, Rafael Van Der Vaart, and Wesley Sneijder to name but a few.

Path to the Finals

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    The Netherlands negotiated their way to the finals by topping their group which also featured Sweden, Hungary, Finland, Moldova and San Marino.

    From a possible 30 points available, the Dutch side amassed an impressive qualifying tally of 27 points.

Finals Opposition

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    Germany, Portugal, and Denmark are the teams that will face Netherlands in the finals group stages.

    The so called group of death represents a tough challenge for the Dutch side.

    Netherlands are ranked second in the world, with Germany third, Portugal seventh and Denmark 11th.

Management

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    Bert Van Marwijk is the national coach of the Netherlands, and he has a fairly strong management history having been at Feyonoord and Borussia Dortmund prior.

    Van Marwijk led Netherlands to the World Cup Final 2010 where they lost against Spain.

    The Dutchman will be hoping to do better in this tournament.

Odds of Winning

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    Despite being ranked by FIFA as the second best team in the competition, bookmakers WIlliam Hill have the Netherlands down as the third favourites at a price of 7/1.

    Spain—9/4—and Germany—3/1—are ahead of them in the gambling stakes.

Pedigree

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    Netherlands are in good form heading into this competition and have decent pedigree in international competition.

    Having won Euro 1988, Netherlands have also finished third in 1908, 1912 and 1920, with a fourth place finish in 1924.

    Netherlands have been runners up three times in the World Cup including 1974, 1978 and 2010.

Opening Game

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    The opening game of a tournament can really inspire players and set them on the route to victory.

    Netherlands opening match is against the weakest opposition in their group—Denmark.

    Should they win that game, their tournament may snowball from there.

Captain

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    All great sides need an inspirational and experienced captain for international compeitions.

    Mark Van Bommel is the captain of the Dutch team, and coincidentally the son-in-law of manager Bert Van Marwijk.

    Having played for PSV, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and AC Milan, Van Bommel is a technically sound player with bags of experience.

    At 34 years old, he could be in his last international tournament.

Tournament Prediction

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    Predictions are a tough one for a team in such a difficult group, but I fully expect Netherlands to progress from their group at the expense of Portugal and Denmark.

    Netherlands will beat Denmark and Portugal and draw with Germany.

    I expect the Oranje to finish second in their group but make it to at least the semi-finals of the competition.

Support

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    The Netherlands have a unique set of fans that are always wearing the vibrant colour orange to represent their nations.

    The Dutch support will play a large part in how far the national team progresses and you can bank on seeing a sea of orange on match days.

Afterthoughts

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    Netherlands are one of those great underachieving nations in international competitions, but their World Cup 2010 final appearance shows that things are heading in the right direction under Bert Van Marwijk.

    Netherlands really do have the quality and experience required to win this competition, and they may shock a few people in just how well they perform along the way.

    Thanks for reading and be sure to check out Euro 2012 Preview: 10 Things To Know About Portugal.

    OnTwitter? Follow me @petercwebster where I post all my B/R content.

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