Friday, May 30, 2008

UEFA Euro 2008: Holland Team Preview

The squad: After winning Euro 1988, the Dutch have advanced to the semis at three of the last four Euros. Their 2006 World Cup ended in the Round of 16 in a penalty-plagued loss to Portugal. The Dutch will be re-united with Romania, who posted a win and a draw against Holland to top qualifying Group G.

The players: Holland feature veteran leadership at the front and back, lead by striker Ruud van Nistelrooy and goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar. Van der Sar will come into the tournament brimming with confidence following his heroics in Manchester United's Champions League shootout victory. Van der Sar will be starting his sixth consecutive major tournament for the Dutch dating back to Euro 1996. Real Madrid's van Nistelrooy leads a banged up Dutch attack; his Real teammate Arjen Robben and Arsenal's Robin van Persie also struggled with injuries during the past season.

The schedule: vs. Italy (6/9); vs. France (6/13); vs. Romania (6/17)

The prediction: It gets tough in a hurry for Holland, as they open with Italy and France. They'll need to win at least one of those two to stay on track for the quarterfinals. Here's guessing they advance to the quarters before bowing out to Spain.

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