July 10, 2010
Capsules on the Dutch team
By MORRIS DALLA COSTA, QMI Agency
Goalkeeper: No. 1
He has had to wait his turn while Edwin van der Sar occupied the Dutch net. He stepped into a pressure-packed situation because of van der Sar's history but Stekelenburg has had a solid World Cup to the relief of the Dutch.
Giovanni van Bronckhorst
Defender: No. 5
He was named captain by coach Bert van Marwijk when he took over the Netherlands in the 2008. The fullback's dream is to win a World Cup and he will not get the chance to do it. The final will be the last of a 14-year national team career.
Defender: No. 4
The central defender has been a regular on the Dutch backline for several years. His play is reflective of the Dutch defence's outstanding record, conceding just two goals in eight matches before South Africa. He has continued that solid play at the World Cup.
Defender: No. 3
Heitinga is a coach's dream, the kind of player that can play in three or four positions. Heitinga has played at fullback, centre back or holding midfielder. He's strong and doesn't mind playing physically.
Gregory van der Wiel
Defender: No. 2
The young fullback adds some fresh legs to the back of the Dutch defence. A regular at Ajax, van Der Wiel was slowed by injury early in his career but has come back to begin forging what should be a spot for many years on the Dutch backline.
Nigel De Jong
Midfielder: No. 8
He is a regular at Manchester City and has improved his standing with the Dutch as a holding midfielder. He is son of former Netherlands international Jerry De Jong. Nigel will play a key role in the midfield in the final with partner Mark van Bommel.
Mark Van Bommel
Midfielder: No. 6
Van Bommel had a falling out with previous Dutch coach Marco van Basten after the 2006 World Cup. The tough midfielder returned to international play when Bert van Marwijk was appointed. The new coach also happens to be his father-in-law.
Midfielder: No. 10
He has been the man that has led the Netherlands running in this World Cup. Not only has the slick midfielder been able to direct the attack, he has found his scoring touch and is in the running for the tournamentís Golden Boot Award.
Forward: No. 11
Injured just before the World Cup, he came back in the second game and immediately made an impact with his deadly striking ability. He is a great talent who came to South Africa after a phenomenal club season at Bayern Munich.
Robin Van Persie
Forward: No. 9
He struggled this season with an ankle injury and the Dutch are still waiting for him to break out in the World Cup. Things have settled with him after a fit of anger at being substituted for in one of the earlier games.
Forward: No. 7
Kuyt hasnít gotten the recognition he deserves in this World Cup. He is a tireless worker and drives defences crazy with his constant movement and work ethic. He ranks up with Sneijder when it comes how well heís played in South Africa.