Netherlands

2006-06-01 10:57

Berlin - Thirty-two teams have qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals which take place in Germany from June 9 - July 9.

NETHERLANDS

Honours:

World Cup appearances: 7 (1934, 1938, 1974, 1978, 1990, 1994, 1998)

World Cup best: Runners-up (1974, 1978)

European champions: 1 (1988)

Fifa world ranking: 3

Odds: 10/1

Coach: Marco van Basten

A controversial choice to replace Dick Advocaat in 2004, van Basten took over the Netherlands coaching job with virtually no top-level experience in the dug-out. But the most celebrated member of the great AC Miland and Holland teams of the late 1980s has been an unqualified success as coach, weeding out the troublemakers from the international set-up and inspiring a youthful side to romp through the qualifying campaign.

Key player: Ruud van Nistelrooy

Though van Nistelrooy has struggled to command a regular place at Manchester United this season, the striker has always been a central figure for van Basten, who regards him as his spiritual heir.

Van Nistelrooy was a keen source of goals for Holland during qualifying and his form will be crucial if the Dutch are to make significant progress in Germany.

Squad:

Goalkeepers:

Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United/ENG), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax) and Henk Timmer (AZ Alkmaar)

Defenders:

Khalid Boulahrouz (SV Hamburg/GER), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Barcelona/ESP), Tim de Cler (AZ Alkmaar), Kew Jaliens (AZ Alkmaar), Jan Kromkamp (Liverpool/ENG), Joris Mathijsen (AZ Alkmaar), André Ooijer (PSV Eindhoven), Johnny Heitinga (Ajax)

Midfielders:

Mark van Bommel (Barcelona/ESP), Phillip Cocu (PSV Eindhoven), Denny Landzaat (AZ Alkmaar), Hedwiges Maduro (Ajax), Wesley Sneijder (Ajax) and Rafael van der Vaart (SV Hamburg/GER)

Forwards:

Ryan Babel (Ajax), Dirk Kuijt (Feyenoord), Ruud van Nistelrooy (Manchester United/ENG), Robin van Persie (Arsenal/ENG), Arjen Robben (Chelsea/ENG) and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink (PSV Eindhoven)

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