Netherlands' coach Bert van Marwijk watches during their Group B Euro 2012 soccer match against Portugal at the Metalist stadium in Kharkiv, June 17, 2012. (Photo : REUTERS/Felix Ordonez)
Dutch Head Coach Bert von Marwijk resigned on Wednesday after the Netherlands' disastrous performance at the Euro Cup 2012.
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Van Marwijk had led the Netherlands to the World Cup Final against Spain in 2010 and was signed until 2016. However, his reign as coach came to an end when his team was eliminated from contention in the group stage of the tournament.
Netherlands entered the Euro Cup 2012 as favorites to win the whole thing, but were seeded into a group that featured Germany, Portugal, and Denmark. Despite the difficulty of the group, pundits expected the club to either win the group or be the runner-up.
They lost the first match in shocking fashion to Denmark, the one team that the other top dogs in the group were supposed to feed on. In their following match, they were severely outplayed by Germany despite a 2-1 score. In their final game they faced the challenge of needing a win by two goals and a German victory to pull through to the knockout rounds.
They dominated the opening 15 minutes against Portugal but were shut out for the subsequent 75 and if not for their goalkeeper would have lost by more than a 2-1 score.
Rumors spread that Van Marwijk had lost the locker room as the team's superstars clashed over their roles on the team. The team's defense was soft, the midfield was unable to coordinate a sufficient possession game, and they ultimately could not outlast or beat teams with the physicality that van Marwijk had preached for years.
The decision that likely hurt van Marwijk most was the choice of Robin Van Persie as the central striker over Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. Huntelaar had scored 12 goals in qualifying for the tournament while Van Persie only had six. Huntelaar sat on the bench during the first two matches and expressed disappointment in not being incorporated into the game. Meanwhile, Van Persie scored one goal in two games but struggled to find space. When Huntelaar finally found his way onto the field in the final match, the damage had already been done. Huntelaar barely touched the ball and had no impact on the game.
Other drama had already permeated throughout the tournament for the Dutch. When van Marwijk subbed out Arjen Robben during the loss to Germany, Robben reacted by ripping off his shirt, walking off the field and jumping over ad posts before taking the long way around the field to the bench. His reaction was a clear indication of his frustration and exemplified the lack of emotional control in the Dutch locker room.
Feyenoord coach and former Netherlands defender Ronald Koeman will take over and begin the rebuild process as sights are set on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
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