Tipped by many to go all the way at Euro 2012, the Netherlands’ sluggish start to the tournament has been a real surprise.
The reality is that a defeat by Germany on Wednesday evening would all but spell the end for their campaign, and you have to wonder how this could happen to a side packed with such quality.
But having watched their clash with Denmark, the chief concern was the enormous gap between their back six and front four.
Everyone knows that the their weakness at the moment is their defence, the fact that Khalid Boulahrouz and Wilfred Bouma still get in the squad says it all.
But with such an embarrassment of attacking riches, the Dutch would do well to throw aside all caution and go for broke.
At the moment, Bert van Marwijk is so concerned about their defensive frailty that both Mark van Bommel and Nigel de Jong are employed to protect the back four.
It might sound absurd to tell the Dutch to go for broke against a side as potent as the Germans, but it is better to go out in a blaze of glory than to exit wondering what could have been.
The Germans hardly looked impregnable at the back in their opener, and hopefully Rafael van der Vaart is introduced instead of Van Bommel to provide a link between attack and defence.
There is no doubting that Poland fully deserved their draw on Tuesday night, but to criticise Russia for their performance, or to suggest they will be disappointed with a point would be foolish.
With the unavoidable political undertones stirring the partisan Polish crowd, Russia walked into the lions’ den and there is little doubt Dick Advocaat would have taken a point prior to kick-off.
This was Poland’s Euro 2012 final, and on home soil too, so to dismiss Russia’s chances in the tournament or claim they were below par on the back of it is unfair.
What will be of more concern for Advocaat is the way his players tired in the closing stages of the match.
He has been reluctant to tinker with the team that took Russia to the semi-finals four years ago meaning, aside from up front, he has few options on the bench that he trusts.
The Russian season has also just finished, meaning his players have had next to no rest – and it showed against Poland towards the end.
But Russia cannot be written off on the basis that Poland unsurprisingly rose to the occasion.
It was damage limitation and they will not be displeased with a point.
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