Ibrahim Ayyub gives his opinion on Netherlands World Cup run which ended in the semi-finals.

oravarThey came, they played and they were vanquished in the Semi-Finals. The Oranje gave us another memorable but yet heart breaking tournament. Sure, it was disappointing to see the Oranje fall short of winning a World Cup again, however, this was the team many thought wouldn’t even make it out of the group stage. We should enjoy the good, the bad, and the ugly of this tournament and keep our fingers crossed that Guus Hiddink can pick where van Gaal left off for Euro 2016.

It is somewhat bitter sweet to see Holland play in the 3rd place match of the World Cup. Van Gaal hates it and I don’t blame him. Playing this game is just a reminder that these players were one game away from another World Cup final. This had the makings of a Hollywood vigilante movie; Death Wish / Kill Bill style. Holland avenges every World Cup Final loss with wins in this World Cup against Spain for 2010, then Argentina for 1978 and then Germany for 1974. Well, the script had a major rewrite and Holland found themselves coming up short and playing for Bronze. They were so close yet so far away from the promised land after being knocked out by what else, a penalty shootout.

Ultimately, there will be “What Ifs” with this exit as there were in other exits. Why didn’t van Gaal drop van Persie and start with Huntelaar instead against Argentina? Why did he continue to stick with Sneijder even though he was not the same player that he was four years ago? Why did he not learn from other managers and not go with a defender early in a penalty shootout (Euro 2000)? Sadly, those and other lingering questions that will forever be in the back of the minds of many who were hoping for a better ending.

There were some positives from this World Cup. The biggest question mark for me was how strong would the back four do in this World Cup and they actually performed well. A new star was born thanks to Memphis Depay who is a finalist for the Best Young Player Award. Most importantly, the mood around this team is much better than it was at this time two years ago.

Here’s hoping Holland end this World Cup on a good note with a win to finish third and not exit this tournament with back to back losses. Here’s hoping that Holland can continue to take steps forward without any steps back. The first positive step would be to get over the pain of falling short and beat Brazil today.

Ibrahim Ayyub (24 Posts)