Dutch morale broken beyond repair as Van Marwijk's errors are punished

Oranje's flaws were mercilessly exposed by Germany on Wednesday as the key players failed and the feeling within the camp took another turn for the worse
 Stefan Coerts
 Netherlands Expert Follow on


Judging by the comments from the Dutch players ahead of Wednesday's game against Germany, there could only be one outcome in Kharkiv; a comfortable win for Oranje. 

Mark van Bommel, Rafael van der Vaart, Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder were all in agreement that Netherlands possessed more quality than their arch-rivals, and that they would prove this on the pitch in their second group stage game. 

Unfortunately, after an encouraging start, where Robin van Persie squandered two good chances to open the scoring, the Dutch flair melted like snow under the sun.  

They escaped when Mesut Ozil’s volley crashed off the upright early on, but ran out of luck shortly after when Bastian Schweinsteiger set up the unmarked Mario Gomez, who tapped home from inside the area. 

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Things would only get worse later in the half when the unmarked Schweinsteiger located Gomez, and the Bayern Munich striker fired home clinically from a narrow angle. While the Germans were enjoying themselves on the pitch, the Dutch were walking around completely helpless. 

At the back, Joris Mathijsen - capped 81 times by his country - appeared as if he had never set foot on a football pitch before and was bullied by Gomez. 

Higher up the field, Van Bommel proved why Oranje required an extra holding midfielder. With Nigel de Jong marking Ozil, the 35-year-old Van Bommel was meant to pick up either Schweinsteiger or Sami Khedira. The experienced midfielder failed to do so, though, and his passive approach dearly cost Netherlands. 

Van Marwijk’s stubbornness to once more give Van Persie the nod in favour of Klaas-Jan Huntelaar proved to be fundamentally wrong, too.  

The Arsenal man has already proven over and over again that he’s not the No.9 Holland so desperately need. Van Persie’s tendency to drop deep leaves the Dutch without a threat in the box and means the midfielders and wingers are left with few attacking options.

There is simply no excuse overlooking an out-and-out attacker such as Huntelaar in favour of a glorified midfielder. The fact that Van Persie did find the net after the break when playing behind Huntelaar only further underlined Van Marwijk’s mistake.

There was much more to Oranje's poor performance than the failure of the aforementioned individuals, though.

The Dutch camp has been plagued by internal struggles in recent weeks, and the loss against Germany perfectly illustrated that they're an unhappy bunch. There was no chemistry, no passion, and the players were never willing to do something extra for their team-mates.

The poor morale in the squad was highlighted by Arjen Robben's reaction to his substitution late in the game. The Bayern winger publicly displayed his dismay with Van Marwijk's decision as he jumped over the advertising boards and stormed off.

Miraculously, it's not all over yet for Oranje after two disappointing performances.

With Germany facing Denmark on matchday 3, and Netherlands locking horns with Portugal, a two-goal win on Sunday will actually see them through after all providing the Nationalelf beat Danish Dynamite. But with morale in the Dutch camp so low, only a brave person would bet on them achieving a handsome victory against the Portuguese.