With the Dutch National Football Team, I can think of three instances on how this team could use adversity to flourish and prosper in Euro 2012.
1) Losing to Spain in the 2010 World Cup: Its the type of performance that usually goes forgotten if you finish in second place. What did Nelly say?
“Two is not a winner and three nobody remembers?”
Yes…that was an egregious attempt at getting a Nelly reference in here at FOX Deportes. Thank you. Thank you.
Anyway, Holland’s performance in 2010 was nothing short of magical. The Dutch pulled off 6 consecutive wins in the tournament, stampeding their way through the group stage and notably pulling off two heists in a 2-1 victory over Brazil in the quarters (Remember the Wesley Sneijder header goal?) and a 3-2 victory over Uruguay (Remember the Giovanni Von Bronckhorst long-range goal?) in the semifinals?
That magical run ended with a date of destiny versus a heavily favored and insanely loaded Spain team. The Dutch transitioned their team to play an extremely physical brand of football. Fouls aplenty, sinking back defensively, and countering Spain when the openings came. It was brutal to watch, but was brilliantly executed. If Arjen Robben is able to score on that breakaway opportunity…or puts one in from close range…well, you know the rest.
2) Arjen Robben’s disappointment in the Champions League: Speaking of Robben, that penalty kick he missed versus Chelsea in the Champions League final was beyond disappointing. Robben wasn’t considered to be one of the kickers in the shootout after extra time had elapsed. His manager was concerned about his confidence moving forward, as if there was another game to be played in the final.
For as brilliant as Robben is, his inability to close is akin to something we’d see from everyone’s favorite basketball player that plays in Miami.
3) Racism still prominently exists in 2012, ask Nigel De Jong: Monkey calls and jeers rained down on the Dutch team earlier in the week, as a squad with four black players had to be subjected to such juvenile activity. Its not the first time players like Nigel De Jong has been targeted by such activity, but it has to be unsettling to experience such a thing after just coming from Warsaw to visit old concentration camps from back in World War II. What’s promising is the fact that the squad has rallied around each other, recognize that what’s wrong is wrong, and won’t stand for such action.
Adversity has a way of rallying the troops.
This Dutch team is largely intact from what transpired two years ago in the World Cup, everyone remembers how that loss felt.
Arjen Robben is too damn talented to continue to struggle in the biggest moments. He’s due to close the show.
A team’s ability to stick together when things are tough galvanizes a team. Petty racial jeers sting momentarily, but a team that sticks together wins together.
The Dutch will in Euro 2012. They’re strong defensively. They facilitate and create well in the midfield. They score with authority and tenacity up front. This is my pick, and I’m sticking to it.