The Netherlands appear to be struggling to find form ahead of the European championships. Their warm up game against Bulgaria could not have gone much worse. A game which they should have strolled to a comfortable victory resulted in an embarrassing 2-1 defeat against their lowly opposition.
The Dutch had taken the lead on the stroke of half time after a clever linking up between Robin Van Persie and Wesley Sneijder with the Arsenal striker volleying home his 26th goal for his country. Just as the Dutch looked likely to have taken control of the game after a tough first half the Bulgarians struck back through a Ivelin Popov penalty early in the second half. The Dutch again failed to assert their authority on the game and the game was won by Bulgaria’s Ilian Micanksi’s late goal to shock all at the Amsterdam Arena.
The Dutch had been hoping that Premier League and Bundesliga top scorers Robin Van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar would be able to link up this summer to give them a ferocious strike partnership to take Europe by storm. Based on the evidence of this game though, it seems there is a long way to go if they are to strike fear into the likes of Spain, Germany and France.
Arjen Robben played a late cameo performances but he also failed to impress, with his main impact being failing to win a penalty after breaking through the Bulgarian defence.
The Dutch take on Zlatan Ibrahimovic‘s Denmark, Cristiano Ronaldo‘s Portugal and Germany at the Euros and will have to drastically improve on this display if they are to replicate their performance at the 2010 World Cup where they made it to the final. Having lost to a side that did not qualify for this summer’s tournament they will need to raise their game to even get out of a group with four sides in the top 10 of FIFA’s World Rankings.