The Netherlands entered the Olympic Men’s Football Tournament as the favorite in Group B. However, following a scoreless draw against Nigeria, the other highly touted side in this draw, Holland needs at worst a draw and ideally a victory against the US to realistically stay alive in Group play. Ryan Babel the Liverpool attacker is a well known commodity but quite honestly he looked outmatched in the first group game against Nigeria. Following Roy Maakay’s exit from the match due to a foot injury, Holland was on the back foot more often than not. Maakay will not be available Sunday which is a huge blow to the Dutch. Also unavailable is Evander Sno who took down Nigeria’s Emmanuel Ekpo (of Columbus Crew fame) when Ekpo made a move to his inside and Sno was beat. The result was a straight red card, a harsh call for what appeared to be a professional foul meriting merely a yellow card.
Holland’s most dangerous midfielder could be Jonathan DeGuzman. A question for Canadian readers of our site: Do you root for or against this player whose brother of course plays for Canada, and who choose to play for Holland after he received Dutch citizenship recently after meeting his residency requirement since he signed with Feyenoord at age 12? Much like Owen Hargreaves, DeGuzman opted to forgo playing for his country of birth, Canada in order to play for a world power.
The Dutch defense is anchored by Kew Jailens, like Maakay an accomplished international who was an overage selection to the Dutch squad. Jailens played very well for the Dutch against Argentina in the final group game of Germany 2006 but then did not feature in the controversial and surreal second round match against Portugal.
Another veteran of the Dutch 2006 World Cup squad is Hedwiges Maduro who plays for Valencia. Maduro will anchor the midfield along with DeGuzman. The Dutch Goalkeeper Kenneth Veermer was very good against Nigeria.
What does everyone think of the Netherlands’ side and can the US get a result on Sunday?