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Wednesday, February 6, 2013 at 2:30 p.m. ET
The Netherlands (Holland) are very up and down when it comes to international tournaments, with an argument to be made that the Dutch are in fact on the decline in world football.
They're down to eighth now in the recent world rankings, with their appearance in the final of the 2010 World Cup their last real cry of international success, having been bundled out of the group stages in embarrassing fashion at the 2012 European Championship.
Nevertheless, the Netherlands possess a great attacking side with a number of brilliant players—Kevin Strootman and Robin van Persie, for example—that will be tough to beat.
The Azzurri, however, seem even tougher to break down than that.
Fresh off a strong Euro campaign and currently ranked as the fourth-best team in the world, Italy have the brilliance and creativity in attack to threaten any opponent, with their players arguably playing better than this time six months ago at Euro 2012.
Andrea Pirlo is dominating; Stephan El Shaarawy and Mario Balotelli are combining well on an international level. Even if just those three show up here against the Netherlands, you'd have to think they've a real chance of victory.
Prediction: Netherlands 0, Italy 3