Image courtesy of telegraph.co.uk
The Netherlands' camp during Euro 2012 was a far from happy one.
On 13th June, Paul Smith of The Sun reported that the Dutch squad was in danger of being blown apart because of a series of rows behind the scenes.
Paul went on to report that the problems included, but were not limited to:
- Arsenal’s Robin van Persie and Manchester City’s Nigel de Jong refusing to talk to the press
Klaas Jan Huntelaar being jealous of van Persie for playing ahead of him
- Dutch fans bombarding phone lines calling for Van Marwijk’s head
- Players claiming their under-fire boss is blinded by family loyalty as he refuses to drop son-in-law Mark van Bommel
Whether these problems were true are anyone's guess, but Wesley Sneijder addressed them during the pre-match press conference before the Germany game, saying:
It is time we let these pathetic egos go. If somebody is creating a mess, I will stand up against them now. We don’t need a psychologist with the Dutch team, we are grown-up men. The ones who have a problem with other players or the manager should tell them face-to-face. That is the only psychology we need. We have to stop living on little islands. We must all go for the same goal, be united or face the consequences.
Sneijder wasn't the only one to have his say though.
Opinionated Tottenham midfielder Rafael van der Vaart also chipped in with his thoughts, stating:
I have the right to speak out with 97 caps behind my name. If Holland want to win, the coach has to play me in the starting line-up. I am no longer prepared to deny I am finding this role really tough. Do you know how frustrated I feel? I am in the best form of my life and I train so hard but I get the impression the team selection is not going to change in my favour. I don’t want to cause a mess that would have a big effect on the others but it does not look like my position is going to change. Hardly any changes have been made to this team since the 2010 World Cup and that is great when you are in the starting line-up but it’s crap when you’re on the bench. I feel like a young dog that is dying to get out but is caged in. I knew from the first minute how things would go with this Dutch team. My family think I have been crazy for staying silent for so long.
Now, if your squad is as divided as was reported before the Germany game, how could the Dutch have expected to succeed?
To achieve success, you compete as a team. You fight for each other and not your own agenda.
Sadly, the Dutch team that I saw during Euro 2012 was more a collection of individuals than a team unit, and that's a sad, sad thing.