The Netherlands World Cup Squad Offers Choices, Choices

Rich WilcockContributor IMay 5, 2010

PESCARA, ITALY - NOVEMBER 14:  Robin van Persie of Holland lines up for the anthems prior to kickoff during the international friendly match between Italy and Holland at Adriatico Stadium on November 14, 2009 in Pescara, Italy.  (Photo by Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images)
Valerio Pennicino/Getty Images

As FC Twente completed the fairytale on Sunday by lifting the Eredivisie title, attentions have already begun turning to the World Cup and more importantly, who is going to go to South Africa and try and complete the final piece of this Dutch fairytale, and win the World Cup.

Deconstructing a squad and looking at who should go and who shouldn't, is quite a tough situation. Judging a players capabilities and assets towards a national squad must be a tough job. It seems even harder than most with this Dutch side, because the balance is so finely balanced.

Bert Van Marwijk does not suffer fools gladly, and seems to make his rules stick. He prefers form and fitness over reputation, and likes only one true playmaker. With a squad that has flair players as almost standard, Van Marwijk has tough decisions to make there. Defensively, he has experience in abundance, and likes to choose the same centre halfs. Do not be surprised though if he decides to continue bleeding through the younger players. Van Der Wiel and Vlaar are examples of this.

The players that have all but booked their plane tickets will probably look like Arjen Robben, Rafael Van Der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder, Robin Van Persie, Van Bronckhorst, and Martin Stekelenberg.

At some point during the qualifying campaign one of these players has featured, if not three or four at the same time. It has created a spine that Van Marwijk will not want to spoil or lose. Robben, Van Der Vaart, and Sneijder have all started realising their talent on a consistent level, and if they can stay injury free and more crucially high in confidence, we should see them shine.

Whilst Stekelenberg isn't the great Van Der Sar, he is solid and is gaining in experience every time he pulls on the shirt.

Others barring form, injuries, or simply no space that should be joining the others include Joris Mathijsen, Andre Ooijer, Mark Van Bommel, Dirk Kuyt, Ibrahim Afellay, John Heitinga, and Nigel De Jong.

Defensively Mathijsen, Heitinga, and Ooijer have a real understanding, and have played together for all of the previous European campaign and crucially throughout the qualifying. Pace and turn of speed have evidently gone in all three of them, but the understanding is still there.

Experience plays its part in the midfield with Van Bommel and De Jong. Mark Van Bommel has slowly deteriorated as a player over the years, but his tenacity is still vital and his ability to hold play is second to none. De Jong follows in that mould and we should see both of their names appear on the teamsheet. Ibrahim Afellay has grown so much, and his sheer natural talent has seen him shine through in an overloaded position. Expect him to shine this summer.

Whilst Kuyt will probably go, but Van Marwijk has expressed concerns before that the striker in Kuyt is gone and only a right midfielder remains. Given the form-book, Kuyt should go.

The maybes pile is long. Huntelaar, Van Nistelrooy, Eljero Elia, Wout Brama, Ron Vlaar, Gregory Van Der Wiel, Demy De Zeeuw, Siep De Jong, Dirk Marcellis, Ryan Babel, Piet Velthuizen, and Khalid Boulahrouz should all be seen in that pile. The reasons are long on these players but form, inexperience, fitness, and more pertinently, better players occupy their spots, might put pay to their chances of booking a seat. Huntelaar should go, but others have better form, and form counts at the World Cup. Stijn Schaars is in this group also, simply because he has De Jong, De Zeeuw, and Van Bommel in his way.

And who's not going. It is hard to say, Sander Boschker's age might curtail his chances, Glenn Loovens and Edson Braafheid are too inexperienced, and Orlando Engelaar will simply not be needed.

Outside of the obvious group of players, the places are still very much up for grabs. Before the first friendly, the squad will become apparent, the major players, themselves known.