Ajax living legend Sjaak Swart pulls no punches in his assessment of Netherlands failure to qualify for Euro 2016.

  • By James Rowe

imageNetherlands missed out on their first European Championships since 1984 after a shocking qualifying campaign which saw them lose five out of ten games.

NOS reporter Arno Vermuelen spoke to Ajax legend Sjaak Swaart, who gave his opinion on the national teams failure.

Below is a transcript of the interview.

AV: ”How bad are things in regards to the national team?”

SS: ”After tonight’s game,┬áit is really bad. If you in the second half play against 10 men and they (Czech Republic) get 6 corners, then it’s really bad. There were a lot of players in this team that were not with it. I will not name names. Only Bas Dost who came on had fought for the win and he had chances to head balls through in attack where nothing has come from. Also bad luck with the 3rd goal. But if you play with 11 against 10 then you must put them under so much pressure that they do not come over the halfway line. Lots of mistakes, Memphis Depay giving bad crosses. It appeared that he had no interest in tonight’s game and for such a player that can’t be right. We have to forget this and start again.”

AV: “Can it be that if you suffer a scenario like this that we will be away from tournaments for a long time or can we turn it around quickly?”

SS: ”In football things can turn around very quickly. I also think about the absence of Arjen Robben. This is a player that can turn a defence on their head and make the team a class better. We missed someone like that tonight. We did not have that type of player tonight not one and you need that in a team. A star man.”

AV: “There will be a discussion about Dutch football. Where do we go from here. The manager has 4 games, 3 losses. Can such a manager still receive support in a country going in to the next set of qualifiers?”

SS: “You can’t only blame Danny Blind. In these qualification games we have lost too many games. Away in Prague the mistake from Daryl Janmaat and losing away in Iceland. We also have injured players that play their part in that national team squad. All bad luck when you consider those things, and also we have not played football with the charisma that we used to.”

AV: ”You know Guus Hiddink well. He started this qualification. Did you ever expect that we would not make it?”

SS: ”No of course not. If you look at all the countries that have qualified. Northern Ireland and not The Netherlands? That can’t be right but it has happened. We have to start again is the only thing I can say and select well. By that I mean players that have achieved something and not call up players who have only played well in one or two games, because international football is different. It is the best players from that particular country if you relate that to club football when you play Champions League you also play against better opponents than in the case of just the Dutch league and you have to learn and get used to that, so let the Netherlands play many friendly games in order to come back again in the race for World Cup qualifying and European Championships.”

AV: “You eat, drink and sleep football. How will you experience a European Championship without the Netherlands?”

SS: “I don’t like it but I will now be supporting Belgium. I think that they have a good team so I will be keeping an eye on them.”

James Rowe (696 Posts)