I was really expecting the Russians to have a very good tournament because of the UEFA victory for Zenit and having Guus Hiddink as their manager. After the Spain match I felt as if they got a bit toyed with and didn't have a chance to go to the second round. After them beating Greece and then Sweden I feel as if this team can surprise anyone. They're very organized and are not afraid to have a go at you. Their group wasn't the easiest so I wouldn't necessarily write them off. They may not have players that are very well known but that doesn't matter. Just ask Greece.
The Dutch came into this tournament with one foot in and one foot out. They were up against France and Italy, two of the greatest teams in the world, let alone Europe, and to make matters worse they also threw in Romania into the cauldron. A team who beat them to the first spot in their qualifying group. Then Robben and Van Persie started the tournament injured, which wasn't to surprising. This was anxiety inducing for me because I didn't think this team would have any goals in it. Then the first goal against Italy went in and it was like; Yeah!! now let's defend this lead, get the three points and see if we can get a draw against France. But then came the second goal and the third goal.
Against France there was a certain swagger about the Dutch team from the kick off. I felt as if they could genuinely win the game. The first half was comfortable for the Dutch and they had Kuyt's goal as a cushion. Then as the second half started the French started gainning momentum but I didn't see any type of frustration or desperate actions from the players. Everyone was hitting their passes crisply and purposefully. The team stayed patient and waited for their opportunities despite the fact that France had a bit of a flury earlier on in the game. Then Van Persie scored from a beautiful play from Arjen Robben and Van Nistelrooij. That was when I realized this squad was for real. The confidence was as bright as the stadium lights at that moment. Henry scored but I knew that didn't matter because their celebrations weren't jovial. They were more like a big sigh of relief. Then Robben struck that awesome goal and it was too much for the French to cope with.
I'm really excited about this team. This game and all of their remaining games are going to be fun and it is the first time in a long time where I'm really, really looking forward to watching holland this much.
Nous pouvons vite remplacer Hleb et Flamini, mais Arsène Wenger est irremplaçable.