SOME DUTCH PLAYERS HAVE HAD TOO MUCH PROTECTION
I am not surprised Netherlands are out of Euro 2012. Everybody in the team is so good on the ball but without the ball they are actually quite poor. That is more important to winning than when you have the ball.
Before the tournament started I did not consider Oranje to be one of the favourites because of their defence. They are not quick enough and Netherlands are not good whatsoever in transition.
You could see that against a good counterattacking team like Portugal. There are quite a few areas that are so wrong. The way they play is very difficult to score a goal. The majority of the time the first pass of the team is backwards, which is fine when you are winning and controlling the game. When you have to score, that is different because you are giving the opposition time to get 11 men behind the ball.
That is the main reason Netherlands have been struggling. They also don’t have a Mario Gomez, who can score a goal at any time. Certain Dutch players have been protected too much, like Maarten Stekelenburg, Mark van Bommel and Wesley Sneijder.
Stekelenburg didn’t have the best of tournaments. For the second goal against Germany, he was already down before the ball was struck. A goalkeeper of his quality should have stopped it.
The two most important players in Bert van Marwijk's system are Van Bommel and Sneijder. Van Bommel is the captain and he protects a weak defence. Sneijder is the No. 10 and the team are set up to get the best out of him
The two most important players in Bert van Marwijk's system are Van Bommel and Sneijder. Van Bommel is the captain and he protects a weak defence. Sneijder is the No. 10 and the team are set up to get the best out of him.
THERE SHOULD NOT BE DRASTIC CHANGES FOR THE NETHERLANDS
Netherlands still have very good players, don’t get me wrong. Sneijder will be back, I’m sure, and so will others like Arjen Robben and Van Persie.
The problem is at the back. There are no centre-halves coming through who are potentially world-class players. To go far in tournaments, we need good defenders. Until they sort out the left-back and centre-back positions, it is not going to be easy for the Dutch. Up front it is okay. Luciano Narsingh is coming through and so are a few others.
I think Bert van Marwijk should stay on as the coach. He has made some mistakes in this tournament but has done enough credit in the bank to stay on.
He should have played Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Van Persie against Denmark because that was a must-win game. Against Germany he made a mistake by starting Jetro Willems and Ibrahim Afellay on the left together. They have not played a lot together and against Germany you need experience.
WELBECK SHOULD START AGAINST UKRAINE
What I like about England is that they are solid and organised. They should be able to at least draw against Ukraine. Yes, they let in two goals against Sweden but they didn’t panic and got the two goals they needed. They are not playing great football but they look like they are a team and, for me, that is the most important thing.
|What I like about England is that they are solid and organised. They should be able to at least draw against Ukraine.
I would pick Danny Welbeck for the game against Ukraine ahead of Andy Carroll because he plays with Wayne Rooney at Manchester United. They know each other’s game, which is a big advantage. Carroll did really well against Sweden but he is a different type of player to Welbeck and the whole team has to play differently when Carroll is there.
I have been really impressed with Welbeck. He scored a fabulous goal but that is not the only thing that has stood out. His link-up play is good, his pace has stretched the France and Sweden defences and he has done a lot of work off the ball.
I EXPECT ITALY TO GO HOME TONIGHT
I am looking forward to watching the final two nights of what has been an entertaining group stage. I think Italy will get knocked out of Group C and go home. I don’t think they will win against the Republic of Ireland and I fancy Croatia to get a draw against Spain.
I expect France and England to go through on Tuesday night. Ukraine will have to go for it against England, who will be able to sit back and play on the counterattack with the pace of Welbeck, Rooney, Ashley Young and Theo Walcott, if he is fit.
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink is a former Netherlands international who sits 10th in the Premier League all-time top scorer chart with 127 goals following spells with Leeds United, Middlesbrough and, most notably, Chelsea.