THE HAGUE (AFP) – The Netherlands need a miracle to qualify for the Euro 2012 quarter-finals, the country’s press said on Thursday, a day after the Oranje were beaten 2-1 by Germany.
“We need a miracle,” De Telegraaf said, although it conceded that Bert van Marwijk’s misfiring side still had “a last chance” when they play Portugal in Lviv, Ukraine, on Sunday.
With two defeats on the bounce, however, the beaten World Cup 2010 finalists’ hopes were “slim” and dependent on other results in Group B, the daily added.
Left-leaning daily Volkskrant for its part pointed the finger at the national team’s style of play in Kharkiv.
There was “no cohesion between attack, defence and midfield for long periods of the tie,” it assessed, criticising van Marwijk’s choice of Arsenal’s Robin van Persie up front in place of Schalke 04′s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.
Van Persie, top scorer in the English Premier League last season, may have scored the Dutch goal but van Marwijk had “bet and lost” by putting him at the vanguard of the side’s 4-2-3-1 formation, the newspaper said.
“Germany controls the Netherlands. The shame!” said the popular daily Algemeen Dagblad on its front page and likewise assessing: “We have to hope for a miracle.”
The Christian daily Trouw said the Dutch team had been “taken apart with a merciless precision and pushed to the verge of the precipice by historic rivals Germany”.
It added gloomily: “It seems inevitable that the Netherlands will be eliminated from the pool stages of a major tournament for the first time since 1980.”
“The contrast could not be any wider between the World Cup in 2010 where the Oranje reached the final and this Euro which is already virtually over,” it concluded.
Have your say: Can the 2010 World Cup finalist qualify for quarter-finals? What advice do you have for the coach and players?