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Brazil's dubious distinction

Five Aside Jul 12, 2014
 By Elko Born
7 days ago

Netherlands camp beset by confusion under Guus Hiddink

The ESPN FC team predict who will qualify for Euro 2016 from Group A after each team completed its third match.

The mood in the Netherlands was already gloomy. After recent defeats against Italy and Czech Republic, neither the fans nor the media believed Iceland were going to be easy opponents. The start of Guus Hiddink's reign, after he replaced Louis van Gaal as coach in the summer, had been appalling, and the nation's confidence duly affected.

How different had things been just a few months ago. The World Cup -- in which the Dutch finished third and demolished reigning world champions Spain along the way...

 By Elko Born
Oct 10, 2014

Lacklustre Netherlands giving Hiddink a headache

Netherlands came back from an early 1-nil deficit with three second-half goals.

The last time Guus Hiddink secured a victory with the Dutch national team, it went quite differently. Then again, that was 16 years ago, when a younger, mustached Hiddink was in his first spell as Netherlands boss during the World Cup in 1998. Playing against Argentina, in the scorching heat of Marseille, it was Dennis Bergkamp's famous wonder goal in the quarterfinal that saved the day for the Netherlands.

This time, watching a meagre Euro 2016 qualifier against Kazakhstan in Amsterdam, fans...

Sep 5, 2014

Guus Hiddink's Netherlands reign off to a false start against Italy

Antonio Conte debuts as Italy coach with a 2-0 win in a friendly match against the Netherlands.

After a successful World Cup in Brazil, where the Dutch finished in third place under the leadership of Louis van Gaal, it was Netherlands' first match under new boss Guus Hiddink against Italy on Thursday night. Unfortunately for the Oranje, it was anything but a dream start. After seeing centre-back Bruno Martins Indi sent off literally minutes after kickoff, the Dutch were lucky to lose only 2-0 and never looked like they stood a chance of winning, or even scoring a goal.

The red card seemed harsh,...

Jul 30, 2014

Ron Vlaar's Villa future

Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar has become a coveted transfer target after his stellar World Cup performance with the Netherlands.
Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar has become a coveted transfer target after his stellar World Cup performance with the Netherlands.

The one player yet to feature in any part of Villa's preseason preparations so far is the individual generating the most interest.

Ron Vlaar, enjoying an extended holiday after Netherlands' run to the semifinals of the World Cup -- the two other Villans involved in the tournament, Brad Guzan and Philippe Senderos, have been back with the squad for a couple of weeks -- will be present at the club's friendly against Groningen on Saturday, but won't play. He'll return to training next week, and his...

Jul 17, 2014

Young players get chance at World Cup

ESPN FC's Paul Mariner has some harsh criticism for Brazil's golden boy.

There can be no greater experience for a youngster than the taste of a World Cup, apparently. Back in 2006, Sven-Goran Eriksson told us that he "just had a feeling" when selecting 17-year-old Theo Walcott for England's World Cup squad before he had even made his Premier League debut for Arsenal.

In poor Walcott's case, we still don't know whether the trip gave him something to build on in terms of major tournament finals. He wasn't picked in 2010, and when he was nailed on to be selected this time,...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff
Jul 14, 2014

ESPN FC Player of the World Cup

The top performers from the 2014 World Cup have been whittled down to a five-man short list by stats website and our panel of experts. The nominated players are Arjen Robben, James Rodriguez, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Thomas Muller.

Each has his merits, as detailed below -- but it's up to you to select who deserves to be crowned the ESPN FC Player of the World Cup.

Whether you agree with the nominees or not, let us know on Facebook and Twitter -- using the hashtag #ESPNFCplayer -- and...