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Most of the reactions to my previous analyses focused on the players: "This or that player didn't do this or that." This is true. But blaming the players is to miss the point.
No matter what anybody says, the Dutch team had some of the best players in the tournament. So why did it fail?
One commenter on my previous article identified this quite insightfully as the Liverpool problem.
By this he meant Liverpool's inability last season to create scoring chances and to translate their good individual players into a cohesive unit.
My point is precisely that for the Dutch; this was a systemic failure, not the inability of players per se. But trust the press—they'd needle and lambast the players for days to come.
For a person who thinks sacking managers almost always borders on the stupid and nonsensical, it might surprise the reader to hear me say that the Dutch should get rid of Bert van Marwijk.
The failure of the system is the responsibility of one person alone: Bert van Marwijk. This becomes more poignant when one remembers that this group of players is almost to a man the one that almost won the World Cup two years ago.
Someone might then ask: If this is so, why sack Van Marwijk? Wasn't he the same person who led the Dutch to success two years ago?
He was, and the objection is sound.
But if you consider that the exact problem I have identified here has been present since the Netherlands' last Euro 2012 qualifying match, and has remained fastidiously in place throughout the friendly matches since then (a fact I identified in the past), one then wonders why Van Marwijk didn't eliminate this problem, why he didn't make the necessary adjustment to his system before the tournament commenced.
My analyses (even the ones before the tournament) have been consistent: decrying the problem in the midfield. So these aren't reactionary.
One would think the expert (Van Marwijk) would have noticed this problem and eliminated it. He didn't, and this has caused the Dutch a huge embarrassment at the Euros.
My verdict is that it isn't the players who should be blamed. It is rather the manager who should take the blame for his failure to make his system work.
His was a disjointed system. He should take responsibility for it.