Holland

If Holland win the World Cup, they will have played the following teams:

Iceland
Scotland
FYR Macedonia
Norway
Denmark
Japan
Cameroon
Slovakia
Brazil

and Uruguay

Apart from Brazil and Uruguay, the other countries are hardly world beaters. This is not Holland’s fault, after all they’ve beaten every team that Fifa has put in front of them. The quality of teams that Holland has played is a reflection, however, on the weakness of Fifa.

The qualification process for the World Cup Finals is flawed. Teams such as San Marino, Luxembourg, Barbados, Grenada, New Caledonia, and American Samoa should play in a tournament to qualify for the World Cup qualifiers.

Fifa need to tell Scotland, Wales, and England that they have to join forces and play as Great Britain just like they do in the Olympics. That way the xenophobia and jingoism that comes with the English national team will disappear. The nasty English tribalism that runs through the veins of Stoke fans will be condensed and so will the songs about World War Two.

Key to a British football team is a British Premier League involving 18 teams. Gone will be teams such as Stoke, Blackburn Rovers, and Wolves or teams that have an average home attendance of just over 10,000 like Wigan and Blackpool.

Holland have been now won 15 straight World Cup matches, including qualifiers. Their coach Bert van Marwijk won the 2002 UEFA Cup with Feynoord. His son-in-law is the Dutch midfield hard man Mark van Bommel.

In Euro 2008, Holland crushed France 4-1 and Italy 3-0 before they lost to Russia in the quarter-finals. So far in this World Cup they haven’t crushed anyone, but they got past the quarterfinals and Brazil.

Holland have very good attacking options: Van Persie, Robben, Sneijder, Kuyt, Babel, Huntelaar, and Van der Vaart. But in defence they’re weak in depth. Arsenal reject Giovanni van Bronkhorst and Blackburn Rovers reject Andre Ooijer are both 35, while their goalkeeper at times plays like Manuel Almunia.

The Dutch have made two finals in the World Cup – 1974 and 1978 – where on both occasions they played the host nation.

This time, 2010, will be different. The host nation are out and if Holland meet Spain, we will have new winners of the famous gold trophy.

At least then you can say that international football is less predictable than club.

Keep It Arsenal

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