Euro 2012: Orange army seeing red following early Dutch exit

5:55 AM, Jun 18, 2012   |    comments
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal celebrates victory with team-mates Miguel Lopes and Silvestre Varela as Wesley Sneijder of Netherlands shows his dejection during the UEFA EURO 2012 group B match between Portugal and Netherlands at Metalist Stadium on June 17, 2012 in Kharkov, Ukraine. Photo Courtesy: Lars Baron/Getty Images
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The Netherlands entered Euro 2012 on the back of a World Cup final appearance and a dominating qualifying showing. Stacked with a team comprised of some of the world's greatest players, they were picked by many pundits as early favorites to relive the glory of Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, and Marco Van Basten 24 years ago.

But after three games, the Dutch are already heading home. Some uninspired performances and a lack of goals in losses to Denmark, Germany and Portugal saw them finish last in the "group of death" and leave Euro 2012 as the biggest disappointment rather than champions.

The team fielded many of the players who took the Netherlands to the World Cup final in South Africa two years ago, but the fluidity, organization and firepower ever present in that team, were sorely lacking in the team two years later.

Now the Dutch players will be forced to watch the remainder of the tournament, while Greece, the Czech Republic and possibly Croatia look to capture Euro 2012 glory.

The big question for the Netherlands now is whether their poor showing will lead to a changing of the old guard and an introduction of fresh faces in the orange and black? Their 2016 World Cup hopes hinge on the answer to that question.


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