Today in the 8th of 16 blogs, I will look at the number 10 team in the world in the Netherlands. They will open the tourney against Italy on June 9 at the Stade de Suisse Wankdorf.
On June 9, the Dutch will play their biggest match of the year when they take on Italy. The reason the match will be so huge is the fact that whoever wins will be favored in the group. In this match, I see a big-time midfield battle that will entertain for a whole 90 minutes. Pirlo and Gattuso will take on Robben and Sneijder and I feel that the pair that does their job the best will win the match. Now that that has been said, let's look at some other things.
Strength- I believe this is probably the biggest "duh" in the history of "duhs". There is not doubt and it's no secret that the Dutch have the best striker depth of almost any team in the world. Listen to this. Ryan Babel, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Dirk Kuyt, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie, and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink make up the lineup of strikers. The advantage of this is that you have so many guys that can come on and help you score. Plus, when you have the great mixture of young (Babel and van Persie among others) and old (van Nistelrooy and Kuyt) is great. Plus, you can always use Babel as an outside mid because he is so young and can run forever because he doesn't know any better. Overall, the Dutch can just trade days if they want, so an injury or suspension won't kill them.
Weakness- As good as the offence is, the defence is probably one of the worst in the tourney name wise. For a while now, the Dutch haven't been great on defence, and I think the defence could cost this team if they can't score goals. If the strikers don't score, then the Dutch won't do very well.
Player to Watch- Before I say who it is, I just want to say that the person I pick isn't the best or the youngest or the man to make a huge difference, not always. Well, my man to watch is goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. If van der Sar plays well, and makes up for the defence a few times, the defence will step up the game and lock up players. Then if the defence does that, the strikers will be free to score and the game will just flow better for the Dutch. But if he plays bad and lets in goals that shouldn't be going in, then they are in serious trouble.
Prediction- With the way this team scores goals, they will be able to nip France for the #2 spot in the Group of Death, Group C.
Once again, thanks. Tomorrow, I'll look at Poland. Until next time, it's been Keeper and I'm out.