This top-ranked squad is often left out of final four predictions, but the Flying Dutchmen plan to make a statement in the evenly matched Group E.
Colors: Orange and white
The Netherlands has a team full of Energizer Bunnies, all trying to light up the scoreboard, that will keep going and going until the last second of every 90-minute match.
The team lost some deep experience with the retirement of veteran keeper Edwin Van der Sar. The men in orange play a technical style of football—zipping quick passes, finding open space and outworking opponents. Team Oranje can score quickly on opens and keep the ball in the offensive zone.
The injury bug took several bites out of the Dutchmen during the European Club season, but all team members are expected to enter the tournament at full strength, ready to prove that they deserve their FIFA number four ranking.
Key Players: Robin Van Persie, Wesley Sneijder and Dirk Kuyt
Last November, the Dutch had a moment of panic when star striker Van Persie injured his ankle during an international match. He was out for five months; but since his return in April, he has been on form with set piece deliverance and has shown no signs of pain.
Midfielder Sneijder controls the all-offensive Dutch squad with sharp passes that open up the field. He will also let it rip from 10 yards outside the box and take a shot at the net.
Kuyt challenges defenders and keepers with his nonstop motor. His high-octane play is fuel for his teammates to capitalize on opponents’ defensive mistakes.
Key Matchup: Netherlands vs. Cameroon
Don’t expect a scoreless game. Both teams have great speed and can score a lot of goals. The team that decides to show up with a defense will most likely win, and that’s critical for getting a better seed in the knockout round.
If Oranje stays healthy through the group stage, the team will make it deep into the knockout rounds. Look for their batteries to die when they face a team that matches their appetite for goals with a lockdown defense.
Related link: World Cup 2010 Countdown