Can the Dutch ever bounce back?


The orange-shirted Dutch players react after Czech Republic scored a goal and kicked the Netherlands out of Euro 2016 in Amsterdam on Oct 13

THE Netherlands are known for their talented players. From the mercurial to the adventurous, the country with a population of more than 16 million has a knack for producing classy players.

The Eredevisie is only known as one of the most technical leagues in world football. Teams from the Premier League, Serie A and La Liga will look to sign players from the league to bolster their sides.

Dutch players are known for their techniques but some are also known for their egos. The latter certainly affected the national team at times.

In recent weeks, actually months, there have been lots of discussion on the Netherlands' yo-yo form in the international arena.

The recent 3-2 defeat against Czech Republic piled on the misery for Danny Blind and company as the fans demanded for answers on why they did not qualify for Euro 2016.

Since Louis van Gaal left the national team for Manchester United in 2014, things did not go according to plan for the Dutch side.

van Gaal certainly instilled tactical discipline in the players and they know if they do not follow his instructions they will face the bench or omission!

The squad that van Gaal selected was average but he utilised their best attributes and made it work for them. Finishing third in Brazil was a commendable effort!

Then Guus Hiddink took over the national team and many expected him to continue the good work laid out by van Gaal.

Hiddink is one of the best managers in world football but he is reaching the end of his career. He is a man-manager and I reckon the players took advantage of that.

Veterans like Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder, Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Nigel de Jong did not perform and were not pressured under Hiddink's presence.

Youngsters like Memphis Depay, Jethro Willems, Anwar El-Ghazi, Giorginio Wijnaldum and Luciano Narsingh were expected to step up but they did not really perform under Hiddink.

Results did not go their way and Hiddink stepped down. In came Blind but he was just an assistant to van Gaal and does not have much managerial experience.

Their qualifying campaign was in disarray and Blind had a tough task of resurrecting it. Sadly, he could not do much to save his campaign. The team continued to underperform and what do you know - they are out of the Euros, trumped by the likes of lowly teams Turkey, Czech Republic and Iceland.

Instead of looking at it negatively, Netherlands should look at ways to improve the team. Johan Cruyff is known to step in whenever Ajax Amsterdam underperformed. Should he step in now and maybe advise Blind on how to resurrect a desolate Netherlands? 

To be honest, the presence of Cruyff will not help. He will have ideas but his ego might affect the coaching staff and team. 
If Netherlands are looking are for change, then it is time to blood in the youngsters and stop selecting the veteran lads.

The likes of Huntelaar, van Persie and Sneijder will have to accept the fact that their time is up. Blood in the likes of Depay, Jeffrey Bruma, Stefan de Vrij and Anwar El Ghazi and the results will come.

The Dutch missed Arjen Robben as he is undoubtedly one of the most important players. He lighted up the World Cup in Brazil but due to niggling injuries, didn't play much for club and country.

Some say his return will galvanise the team but I say it won't. Simply because players will start relying on him to get results and the young players won't grow up.

Plus, at 31, Robben's pace will be slower and his nippy runs will somehow be affected. He is back in training but one would wonder if he could make a comeback for Bayern Munich with Douglas Costa blazing the wings for them in Bundesliga.

Germany trusted their youngsters in the 2010 World Cup. The likes Mesut Ozil, Sami Khedira, Thomas Mueller and Holger Badtsuber impressed and four years later Khedira, Ozil and Mueller helped Germany to hoist the World Cup in the 'Mecca of football'!

Maybe Netherlands should follow that method and who knows, they might stand a chance of qualifying for big tournaments let alone win it.

Sometimes you need a jolt to bounce back. This is not the end for Netherlands, they will surely come back stronger.

For a country that created 'Total Football', with the right planning and execution, we might see 'total domination' from them in the near future!

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