The Netherlands are heading home from the European Championships after an embarrassing display in the 2-0 defeat to the Czech Republic. What is next for the Dutch national team and will the KNVB act?

  • By Michael Bell
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It was certainly one of the worst performances I have ever witnessed by the Netherlands in a major tournament. I have lived through Euro 96, the battle of Nuremberg against Portugal, the defeat to Russia in 2008, the Euro 2012 shambles, and even three missed major tournaments.

However, I have not been as disappointed from a Oranje team as I was watching that dismal display against the Czech Republic. What the hell was that?

The first half was dire, and the second half even worse. I know Frank de Boer cannot stop Matthijs de Ligt from scooping the ball with his hand and getting sent off, but the coach can surely organise a side to have at least one shot on target against the Czech Republic.

Instead, De Boer watched on as his side fell apart completely after losing De Ligt, who looked as if he was the only leader on the pitch until his red card. Captain Gini Wijnaldum and Memphis Depay were invisible, while Frenkie de Jong decided to argue with anyone around. The most baffling moment of the game came when De Boer decided to switch out Donyell Malen for Quincy Promes. A substitution which has drawn comparisons to Dick Advocaat taking off Arjen Robben for Paul Bosvelt during the Oranje collapse to the Czech Republic at Euro 2004.

From the point Malen went off, Netherlands were done for. The players didn’t have a clue what to do, what positions they should be in and were chasing shadows. If the Czech’s had won 3/4-0 it wouldn’t have been a shock.

Straight after full-time the question has been whether or not De Boer would be sacked. A question there is still no answer to and we may be waiting a while.

De Boer’s appointment was the wrong one and everybody knew that as soon as he was confirmed as the replacement for Ronald Koeman. He has failed in his last three positions and he does not have the respect or tactical ability that his predecessor had.

The warning signs were there in the opening games under his tenure, and the loss to Turkey should have set alarm bells ringing at the KNVB. Those will have eased by the three group games won, but with the draw opening up favourably for them, Oranje crashed and burned against a Czech side that looked more hungry and determined.

The scrutiny of De Boer in the media has been fierce as expected and in most other top countries, the head coach would be walking by now. However, the KNVB doesn’t exactly have the best track record for making big decisions.

Eric Gudde, current director of the KNVB, is departing from the position soon and at the moment has stayed completely silent on De Boer. The silence from the top of the KNVB is deafening and it could be that we are heading for the World Cup with De Boer in charge and the 5-3-2 remaining.

Next up in September, Oranje face a crucial World Cup qualifier away in Norway. Do the KNVB really trust De Boer to pick the players up and guide them to Qatar next year? If the answer is yes then Oranje fans may need to prepare for a third missed major tournament out of four.

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