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Despite an encouraging start in their final game against Portugal, the Oranje once again fell apart as they crashed out of the tournament without any points

 Stefan Coerts
 Netherlands Expert Follow on

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For 15 minutes, it actually looked as if a miracle was possible for Netherlands. Rafael van der Vaart gave Oranje an early lead with a beautiful long-range strike, leaving Portugal dazed and confused.

However, the Dutch fans were treated to an all too familiar sight in the remainder of the match as the Seleccao cut open their defence at will, and ended all ambitions of making it to the quarter-finals through two Ronaldo goals.

It was a fitting end to a disastrous tournament.

Having finished runners-up at the 2010 World Cup, Netherlands entered the European Championship as one of the favourites to dethrone reigning champions Spain, but Bert van Marwijk’s men quickly became a laughing stock.

It all started with a lacklustre performance against Denmark on matchday one, resulting in a 1-0 loss. A 2-1 defeat to bitter rivals Germany followed, meaning that Netherlands needed to beat Portugal by two goals on Sunday night - while hoping that Germany overcame Denmark - in order to ensure qualification to the quarter-finals.
HOLLAND'S BIG-NAME FLOPS

WESLEY SNEIJDER
MINUTES PLAYED
AVERAGE RATING
277
2.67
ARJEN ROBBEN
MINUTES PLAYED
AVERAGE RATING
268
2
ROBIN VAN PERSIE
MINUTES PLAYED
AVERAGE RATING
277
1.83
RAFAEL VAN DER VAART
MINUTES PLAYED
AVERAGE RATING
161
2.67
MARK VAN BOMMEL
MINUTES PLAYED
AVERAGE RATING
138
2


Die Nationalmannschaft kept their side of the bargain, but Oranje were thoroughly outplayed by Ronaldo & Co.

Star striker Robin van Persie was one of the most feared strikers in Europe in the 2011-12 campaign, but the forward never even came close to replicating his club form for the national team. Granted, he did find the net in the 2-1 loss against Germany, but for most of the tournament he was anonymous - his movement and link-up play atrocious.

Skipper Mark van Bommel played possibly his worst ever international against Germany, and was deservedly dropped for the final group match for Van der Vaart.

The Spurs man had been complaining about his substitute role until the meeting with Portugal, creating nothing but unrest in the Dutch camp. However, he showed exactly why he had been warming the bench up until that point with a depressing display. Although he did open the scoring on Sunday (and later hit the post), Van der Vaart was all over the place defensively as he lacked the awareness and energy to act as one of Oranje’s more withdrawn midfielders alongside Nigel de Jong.

Meanwhile, Arjen Robben was unable to shake off his club woes in Poland and Ukraine. The winger was desperate to shine at Euro 2012 after missing out on the Bundesliga title, DFB Pokal and Champions League with Bayern. The European Championship would be yet another major disappointment for the former Real Madrid star as his only positive contribution was the minor assist for Van der Vaart's opener against Portugal. Robben moaned about the presence of too many big egos in the Dutch squad, yet he too was a problematic personality - storming off after being subbed against Germany.

The only positive note for the Oranje at this summer's tournament was Wesley Sneijder. After a difficult season at club level, the Inter star did rise to the occasion at Euro 2012 with a fine display versus the Danes, although he too went missing in the crunch encounter versus Portugal.

Netherlands' reputation took a blow at the 2010 World Cup due to their pragmatic approach, but they did at least enjoy a successful tournament two years ago.

This time around, the Dutch have not only embarrassed themselves, their supporters and their country with three shameful performances, they have done it at the very first hurdle, alongside relative minnows such as Republic of Ireland, Sweden, Poland and Denmark.

Those nations can be proud of their effort but the Dutch displayed a complete lack of passion, chemistry and determination to go home in disgrace.

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