World Cup Group E Preview: Is this the year Holland makes a run?


van persie

Group E is made up of the offensive-minded Netherlands, the physical Cameroon, attacking Denmark and Japan.

The Netherlands (also refereed to as Holland) have dominated in qualifying and friendlies leading up to the World Cup, but none of that matters until they can win on the big stage. They have a history of under-performing against quality opponents. The talent is always there, but they just never live up to expectations. As a matter of fact, they just may be the most talented nation to have never won the World Cup.

by Justin Mertes-Mistretta

samuel eto'o

  • The Netherlands play a style called “total futbol”, which means no player is stuck at one position. For instance, Gregory van der Wiel is a starting defender, but in Holland’s “total futbol” scheme van der Wiel can move up and become a forward, which he often does.  This style demands versatile, skilled players and Holland has just that. The Netherlands are like the Phoenix Suns of the NBA. Everything from their bright orange jerseys to their high-flying offense with Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben (though he is out for the first game with an injury), Dirk Kuyt and Wesley Sneijder.
  • If there is one downfall of the Netherlands it is team chemistry. Robin Van Persie told the press earlier this year that Dirk Kuyt had no business being on the roster. Arjen Robben has the tendency to have Terrell Owen-like outbursts if things aren’t going his way. Funniest of all, Gregory van der Wiel was seen at a Lil Wayne concert the night of a match this year. Holland could have all the talent in the world, but if they self-destruct then it won’t matter.
  • Cameroon is led by Inter Milan star Samuel Eto’o. The bigger the match, the better Samuel Eto’o seems to perform. He will be playing in front of his home country on the biggest stage of his life, so let’s hope this trend continues.  He is the heart and soul of this Cameroon team and will need to be the star that he is for them to do well.
  • Japan and the U.S. are eerily similar when it comes to soccer. In both countries the sports of soccer is overshadow by baseball. In Asia, South Korea is the dominant country and in North America, Mexico is the powerhouse. Just like the U.S., Japan has a chance to make soccer relevant in their country.

Favorite – Netherlands: No surprise here. The only team that can beat the Netherlands in this group is themselves.

Player to watch – Robin Van Persie: When healthy, RVP is one of the most exciting players on the planet. He makes defenders look silly with his moves. He’s the soccer version of the Professor from And 1 Streetball. Keep a pee bottle next to your seat, because when Van Persie is in the game you won’t want to leave the TV for a second. Watch these highlights. If you are pregnant or suffer from heart problems, I would advise you not to watch this video as it may be too exciting.

Game to watch – Cameroon vs. Denmark – June 19, 2:30 P.M. (ET): This game will be a contrast of styles. Denmark loves to attack, while Cameroon is a physical team that looks to counter. Two of the better strikers in the group – Samuel Eto’o and Nicklas Bendtner – will be matched up here. Also, look for things to get chippy between defensive midfielder Christian Poulsen and the physical Cameroon players.  Poulsen once stepped on a players head during a game and also spit at Italy’s Francesco Totti during the Euro Cup ’04.


1 – Netherlands (9 pts)

2 – Cameroon (4 pts)

3 – Denmark (4 pts)

4 – Japan (0 pts)

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  1. Charley Davis says

    The Dutch are my second. I have a fondness for their orange uniforms and their supermodels.

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