Predicting a Route to World Cup Glory for the Netherlands
After beating Brazil in the quarter-final and Uruguay in the semi-final, the Netherlands reached the final of the World Cup in 2010. There, they lost against Spain, but nonetheless, the Dutch look back at their effort in 2010 with pride.
At the World Cup in Brazil, will Oranje manage to repeat their 2010 run, or even improve on it by going all the way?
With a much younger and less experienced squad, that will probably be difficult. But what, exactly, would it take for the Dutch win?
Here, we take a look at the Netherlands' possible route to World Cup glory.
As if things weren't difficult enough already, the Netherlands' first match of the tournament will be a replay of the 2010 World Cup final.
Losing your first match is never a great motivation for the rest of the tournament. Should Oranje manage to draw, or even get a sneaky win, however, things would look much differently.
The motivational boost the Dutch would get from beating the reigning World Champions will surely see them accumulate enough points in their remaining two group-stage matches against Australia and Chile.
Spain 0-1 the Netherlands
Australia 0-3 the Netherlands
The Netherlands 2-1 Chile
Clash with Croatia
A win against Spain could see the Netherlands finish first in group B. Because group B's No. 2 will probably have to face host-nation Brazil in the round of 16, a lot will come down to the Netherlands' very first match of the tournament.
Should Oranje manage to top their group, they will likely face Croatia in the round of 16. And while Croatia is a nation that should be respected, they should be easier to beat than the Brazilians.
The Netherlands 2-1 Croatia
England or Italy
In the quarter-final, the Netherlands would probably have to face either England or Italy.
Assuming, for the moment, that Italy will top their group in the first round, Oranje will have to find a way to stop Andrea Pirlo and his teammates.
In a major international tournament, the Netherlands last faced Italy during the semi-final of Euro 2000. Then, the Dutch missed two penalties in regular time, and three penalties during the penalty shootout that followed the 0-0 draw. Italy won.
Managing to beat the Azzurri on penalties would be a sweet form of revenge.
The Netherlands 0-0 Italy (The Netherlands win after penalties)
Semi-Final Against Argentina
In what would be a repeat of the Netherlands' quarter-final of the World Cup in 1998, the Dutch would probably have to face Argentina in the semi-final.
Back in 1998, Dutch forward Dennis Bergkamp scored a wondergoal that saw the Dutch go through. Could Robin van Persie, who was mentored by Bergkamp at Arsenal, perhaps repeat the feat in Brazil?
Such a moment would probably be needed in the Dutch want to defeat Lionel Messi and the rest of the Argentineans—who are often cited as one of the favourites to win the tournament.
The Netherlands 2-1 Argentina
Should the Netherlands make it all the way the final, they will probably have to face whoever won the round-of-16 match between Spain and Brazil.
Spain would be the perfect opponent for the Dutch. Remember, in this prediction, Oranje have already beaten Spain in their very first match of the tournament. With the lost final of 2010 in mind, what could be sweeter than beating them in the final match as well?
The Netherlands 1-0 Spain