How to be a winner at Euro 2016?
You might think this would be a simple question for any young player, but in the case of the Netherlands, the answer is no, it’s not.
That’s because, for a few reasons, the Netherlands did not qualify for the finals in France.
First, their qualifying campaign for the tournament is now over, and they have not even qualified for the group stages.
Second, they have lost their captain, Dejan Lovren, and the team is without its top scorer, Wesley Sneijder.
And third, they were without their top scorer for three weeks due to a virus.
The only way to win Euro 2016, then, is to win in France, but the Dutch have already lost to Italy and Germany in the last two editions of the tournament.
So, why the fuss?
The Dutch have a history of being one of the best teams in Europe, and for a couple of years now, they’ve been the team that won the most games in Europe.
That includes Euro 2016 in 2015.
But this time, the Dutch lack the firepower to match France, and so they had to rely on their own tactics.
For one thing, they lost two key players in Sneijger and Lovren.
That means that their midfield trio of Georginio Wijnaldum, Dirk Kuyt and Wilfried Zaha has not been up to the task of leading them to victory in France – a feat that the Dutch achieved twice during their qualification campaign.
They also lacked a consistent attacking threat, with just one goal scored in their last six matches.
But what makes it all worse is that the Netherlands have been playing in an unfamiliar stadium, and in that venue, they struggled.
That is a shame for them, because they are still very much in contention for the title, despite their poor results.
Here are some key facts about the Netherlands’ qualification campaign: They lost to Portugal in the quarter-finals in their group stage.
They finished second to Germany in their final group game in France but lost 2-0.
The Netherlands were eliminated from the group stage of Euro 2016 after falling to Germany 1-0 in the final game.
After losing to Portugal, the team was eliminated from Euro 2016 by Germany in a penalty shootout.
Despite losing to Germany, the side finished second in their qualifying group, scoring 13 goals.
In their last three games, the national team have scored eight goals.