Holland boss Bert van Marwijk has finalized his side’s 23-man squad for Euro 2012, leaving out the likes of Vurnon Anita, Jeremain Lens, Adam Maher and Siem de Jong.
The Oranje are amongst the favourites, at 13/2, to win this summer’s European Championships following their runners-up finish in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
Now then, let’s take a look at Holland’s Euro 2012 squad.
Tim Krul, Maarten Stekelenburg, Michel Vorm
Khalid Boulahrouz, Wilfred Bouma, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Gregory van der Wiel, Ron Vlaar, Jetro Willems
Ibrahim Afellay, Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong, Stijn Schaars, Wesley Sneijder, Kevin Strootman, Rafael van der Vaart
Klaas Jan Huntelaar, Luuk de Jong, Dirk Kuyt, Luciano Narsingh, Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie
SC Heerenveen right winger Luciano Narsingh and 18-year-old left back Jetro Willems of PSV Eindhoven are the only selections who have not earned an international cap for Holland.
Narsingh bagged 12 goals in 25 appearances in all competitions for SC Heerenveen in 2011-12, while Willems made 20 appearances for PSV, scoring one goal.
Willems’ inclusion is due in large part to Erik Pieters’ recurring foot injury.
The 23-year-old Pieters will miss Euro 2012, and it is unknown when he will return to the pitch.
Pieters suffered the injury back in October 2011 during a Dutch Eredivisie match against Utrecht.
He was sidelined for four months before making his return in a reserve match versus AZ Alkmaar in February.
However, Pieters suffered a setback in April, when he picked up the recurring foot injury in a match against RKC Waalwijk.
Pieters’ absence will force midfielder Stijn Schaars into the left back role. The 28-year-old Dutchman has welcomed the challenge.
“After consultation with the coach, I will focus on that position. In midfield, I will not be considered, although I played there for a year in Portugal,” Schaars told De Telegraaf.
“Tactically, I am strong and can anticipiate well. On the other hand, I can play my role in building the Oranje.
“I’m not afraid of the speed of Dennis Rommedahl [of Denmark] or Nani [of Portugal] at the European Championship. Of course, I’m not your typical defender.”
Despite Schaars’ confidence, I fully expect Denmark, Germany and Portugal to try to take advantage of Holland’s left back.
Furthermore, the Flying Dutchmen do not have a commanding left center-back. In other words, they can’t afford to make any mistakes in the midfield, especially when considering that they’re in the Group of Death.
Will Stijn Schaars be able to cope with Dennis Rommedahl, Nani and Thomas Müller?