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Dutch Preliminary Squad

This week we got the first glimpse of the squads who will be competing at the 2010 World Cup.  While everyone has their own country they wait for who doesn’t have another squad they wait for!  I know I do.  Most people have a glance over England’s squad when it’s released.  I suppose it was surprising that Jamie Carragher is back.  Perhaps Tom Huddlestone showing up in midfield was surprising.

I always spare a moment for Brazil because not only does their squad usually contain a few of the world’s brightest stars but they often showcase some of the world’s upcoming stars.  Surprisingly there aren’t any names that fall into the latter category for the Seleção this time around.

Moving right along to real business Bert van Marwijk has graced us with what he feels is the best 30 players available to him at this moment.  I’ll break them out by position and gripe and moan as I feel necessary:

Keeper:  Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Sander Boschker (FC Twente), Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht);

Really this is the beginning of life without Edwin van der Sar.  Stekelenburg is the man entrusted with upholding order at the back.  It’s safe to say that Stekelenburg was chosen not because he is the best but because there are so few able contenders.

Defense:  Vurnon Anita (Ajax), Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart), Edson Braafheid (Celtic), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), John Heitinga (Everton), Joris Mathijsen (HSV), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax) en André Ooijer (PSV);

Two players of note here really: Ron Vlaar and Vurnon Anita.  This represents a first call up to the senior team for Anita who is a young defender who has made his way through the Jong Oranje and finds himself alongside van Bronckhorst and Heitinga.  Vlaar is a defender who at one time represented the great hope for Dutch defenders after the passing of Stam and Frank de Boer.  He has struggled for consistency and at last appears to have regained sufficient trust to be provided with this opportunity.  Alternatively van Bronckhorst has indicated that following the World Cup his time with the Dutch team with come to an end.

Midfield:  Otman Bakkal (PSV), Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munich), Wout Brama (FC Twente), Orlando Engelaar (PSV), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), David Mendes da Silva (AZ), Stijn Schaars (AZ), Wesley Sneijder (Inter), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax) en Ibrahim Afellay (PSV);

Certainly a strength for the Dutch there are few weaknesses here.  Creativity and gritty steel the midfield can support both the attack and the defense.  Such is the quality of and the confidence placed in van Bommel, de Jong, Sneijder and van der vaart that youngsters such as Schaars, Brama , da Silva and Bakkal can be accomodated. 

Attack:  Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Jeremain Lens (AZ), Eljero Elia (HSV), Ryan Babel (Liverpool), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan), Robin van Persie (Arsenal), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich).

A more conventional selection in attack with one bizarre exception.  No van Nistelrooy and in his place a winger: Jeremain Lens.  I don’t really know what to say here.  In 2008 on our way to the Euro tournament Vennegoor of Hesselink was selected as a “crow-bar” to unlock defenses when in desperate need.  Surely a similar option or “Plan B” would have included Ruud van Nistelrooy wouldn’t it?  As such we are left with two typical centre-forwards and no fewer than four wingers and then Kuyt who is a defensive combination of an industrious winger and a sturdy forward.

As a point of interest of the 30 players named 15 made the trip to Austria and Switzerland 14 traveled to Germany for the last World Cup.  Three players were in the 2007 squad that were Under-21 champions.  You have to admire the van Marwijk’s attempt and melding youth and experience.  In all likelihood the youngsters will be those who do not make the final trip.  A part of me actually hopes some of the younger defenders will be given a chance.  I know van der Wiel is likely to go but at the expense of “The Cannibal” Boulahrouz I would pick Anita instead but that’s just me.

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