Dutch digest disastrous campaign

Our man in Ukraine spoke to both Nigel de Jong and Gregory van der Wiel about Netherlands' terrible Euro 2012 campaign.

Eurosport

While Portugal's victorious players refused to speak with any of the waiting media after their 2-1 win in Kharkiv, members of the Dutch squad discussed their shock early exit at Euro 2012, Cristiano Ronaldo and whether personality clashes had any impact on the squad dynamic.

NIGEL DE JONG

You must all be very disappointed with how the campaign transpired? What do you put that down to?

Obviously yes, but I think it is too quick [to start analysing] when the disappointment is so big, and to see what went wrong.

Would you pinpoint the Denmark game, as it was a bad start?

I don’t think so. You have to go and win against every team. You have to beat Germany and you have to beat Portugal.

You obviously knew you had to go for it against Portugal and win by two goals, but do you think you went too attacking?

No, because you have to attack when you are bottom of the group with zero points. You have to attack. We tried our best, we went in front with a good goal, and obviously the disappointment was to concede two to them and you are out of the tournament.

Was it more difficult for you without Mark van Bommel alongside you?

That’s not the point at the moment. The point at the moment is that we lost – it doesn’t matter who was on the pitch.

Cristiano Ronaldo has the ability to just punish teams when he wants, doesn’t he?

You know that as well as a team. We thought we could stop him, but we didn’t because we didn’t play that great as a team.

Wesley Sneijder said earlier in the tournament that there were issues with egos in the Dutch side. Do you think that was a factor at all?

I don’t know, we will have to see. The biggest thing for me is the disappointment. What comes after we will discuss internally.

Can the team pick themselves up for the next qualifying campaign?

Of course. We have to. Life goes on.

GREGORY VAN DER WIEL

How do you think the game went personally for you?

Not really good. I can play much different, I’m a different player. I’m a player that is offensive and in all three games I didn’t feel like I could play my [natural] game. I wasn’t participating in the offensive side.

You were up against Cristiano Ronaldo. Did you feel he got the better of you?

In the first half an hour we played well as a team, we scored one. There was no problem with Ronaldo also. But after that, we lost the grip on the game and their counters were dangerous. With players like Ronaldo and Nani it’s very difficult.

Did you think it was tough in midfield without Mark van Bommel? Obviously Rafael van der Vaart played very well but it changed the balance of the team…

Rafael played really good too but I don’t know, this was really a team performance I think.

You finished bottom of the group with no points. What did the manager say to you after the game about your performance in the whole tournament?

We didn’t speak after the game, everybody was very, very disappointed and everything was quiet.

Have you started analysing the reasons for the team’s failure at this tournament?

Like I said we had a lot of chances in the first half an hour, every game. After half an hour when we received a goal we lost our game and I don’t know why that is.

Do you think losing to Denmark in that first game was crucial?

Maybe, maybe not. I cannot tell.

There has been talk of problems in the dressing room. Do you see that as an issue?

No, I don’t think so. We managed to play the first half an hour well, so that’s not a problem.

Is the dressing room united?

Of course, yes.

After getting so far at the World Cup and then coming here, hopes must have been really high?

We expected a lot from our team and we have great players, like you know, but now we’ve played three games and have zero points and it’s very disappointing.

Do you think you weren’t fit enough physically? Or was it a psychological issue?

No it’s not physical, we are fit and that’s not a problem. Maybe [psychological] - we really wanted to play well and after our opponent scores we want to score again, but maybe we have to be smarter about it.

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