Our final shot.
Being a Dutchman isn’t something to be proud of, this last week. At least, when you’re talking football. The Danish beat us by surprise with a 0-1 victory, and the Germans walked on our barily living corpse with a 1-2 victory. Only by sheer luck does Holland still have a minute chance of going through to the next round: we would have to beat Portugal with at least a two-goal difference, and Germany would have to beat Denmark.
Now, Germany beating Denmark is something that will probably happen. The Germans assured the Dutch team, after their 1-2 victory, that they would do everything in their power to beat the Danish. Not playing for a measly draw, but full force. Surely, they must be able to beat them. But then there’s Portugal. Our nemesis.
Portugal have beaten us twice during the last decade, throwing us out of a tournament. Firstly, the 2004 European Championship semi-final. Secondly, the infamous 2006 World Championship 1/8th finals, which resulted in something similar to a Jacky Chan-action movie.
Are we able to defeat them by at least 2-0? My brain says no, my heart says yes. Their wingers, Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani, are playing our wingbacks, Jetro Willems (an 18-year old kid who hasn’t played a complete season in the ‘Eredivisie’ yet) and Gregory van der Wiel (has only just returned from a long injury).
Ronaldo is under high pressure, he hasn’t performed at all for Portugal yet, but has scored ~45 goals for Real Madrid last season alone, not even counting Champions League-goals. On the subject of Ronaldo, apparently, dozens of English supporters have come to Charkov to support Holland, because “No one likes Ronaldo”. The world wants us to defeat the Portuguese, but can we do it?
We do have the scoring power: we have Huntelaar, top goalscorer from the Bundesliga, and van Persie, top goalscorer from the Premier League. But we have only scored one goal so far, against the Germans. The quality is there, but can we benefit from it?
Only time will tell.