Once upon a time there was THE classic in Europe, the duel of the best teams in the world. World Cup final 1974 – Germany against Holland (2:1). If the national team now plays in the Nations League against its neighbours, it’s the duel of the World Cup loser Germany, who was thrown out in the preliminary round, against the World Cup spectators …
Until four years ago Holland was still a world-class team. But then it went downhill: Oranje failed in the qualification for both the European Championship 2016 and the World Championship 2018. The big stars like Wesley Sneijder (34), Arjen Robben (34), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (35) or Rafael van der Vaart (35) have not played in the Elftal for quite some time. Instead, bond coach Ronald Koeman (55) is relying on a new, young guard. „Yes, it’s already a generation change, most of the old ones are out. Of course we need new stars now. But they also need time to make a name for themselves, it can’t happen overnight,“ says Huntelaar in an interview with SPORT BILD.
Nevertheless, a new exciting team is growing up. Huntelaar: „There are already many good players. Memphis Depay, Virgil van Dijk, Stefan de Vrij, Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Donny van de Beek or Justin Kluivert. They have to show it as a team now!“
Some of the new generation are already playing for top clubs. FC Liverpool and coach Jürgen Klopp paid FC Southampton 84.5 million euros for defensive colossus van Dijk (27) – a record for a central defender. His neighbour De Vrij (26) clears at Inter Milan, the highly talented Depay (24/Lyon) and Kluivert (19/AS Rome) strengthen the offensive. In addition, Ajax is growing with defender de Ligt (19) or the midfielders van de Beek (21) and de Jong (21) a super young new axis. All three are already being hunted by top clubs. All of them have proven that they can keep up internationally – most recently at the 1:1 Champions League last week in Munich.
That’s why Huntelaar believes there’s already something in it against Germany: „Of course you can beat Germany. That’s what the World Cup showed, everyone can be beaten!
Donny van de Beek Honours
- Eredivisie runners-up: 2014–15, 2015–16, 2016–17, 2017–18
- UEFA Europa League runners-up: 2016-17
- UEFA European Under-17 Championship runners-up: 2014
- Ajax Talent of the Future: 2014–15
For the „Hunter“, who scored 126 compulsory goals in 240 matches for FC Schalke, it’s normal for the Netherlands to have lean years in between: „They’re always waves. Sometimes you have a little less quality in the team, but then it comes back. We have only 17 million inhabitants, we have to make sure that we get bigger„.
It’s not his fault: Huntelaar has four children, the two oldest boys Seb and Axel are already playing football. Huntelaar laughs: „I did my job there!
The „Hunter“ himself (42 goals in 76 international matches) was last at the Elftal in spring 2016. Should national coach Koeman once again build on the experience of the big stars of the past, he would be ready: „I’m 35. It’s not completely through. I’m always ready to play for my country. But at the moment that’s not the line, they’re currently betting on young players“.
Against Germany, you’ll see whether the new, young Orange Guard can already keep up with its big neighbour and hurt him. As South Korea and Mexico did at the World Cup. Buran Casino is where you can win an outstanding bonus prizes.