The Netherlands are so hungry for a World Cup, that their FA crest depicts a lion, tounge out on the brink of starvation. Suggestions to swap it with a caricature of Frank Rikkard choking in his Netherlands kit, have however received no more than honorable mention thus far.

While the entire world will tell you that they saw it coming all along if a Dark Horse were to lift the World Cup in a few short weeks, don’t quite believe them unless they predicted it would be the Netherlands.

A team of underachievers, full of talent but ultimately a squad that under performs when it comes to the big stage (See: Spain Pre- 2008) managed to shoo away the curse that had befallen them, the Netherlands could just be next.

While it might be tough to visualize Holland as a serious contender, one needs to realize that of all of the dark horse candidates there are out there, they probably have the best chance of edging it.

I know what your thinking, who the heck do I know that supports Holland at World Cups anyway and why would I even care if they lifted it? Let me answer that one for you.

Were they victorious it would highlight an extremely important point underlining the form of players coming into the tournament playing for their respective clubs. While the back 4 for the Orange are worthy of a chuckle or two, the midfield and strike force is almost unfair to have on anything less than the Word Cup XI side.

The truth is, they could do it if pre-world cup form has anything to do with lifting the trophy.

Sneijder, Van Der Vaart, De Jong, Robben, Van Bommel and Robin Van Persie. Leaving Kuyt, Babel and a handful of others wondering what they did wrong to be born in the Netherlands and victims of first team football.

If one were to use one line to describe what the last 4 months have looked like for these players it would be as follows:

Sneijder – Dumped by Real Madrid? No problem. Decided instead to help Inter to the first Serie A Treble of all time.

Van Der Vaart – Real lost the season, but this is the last guy you can blame. He kept them in it, three times off wonder goals. Has the single best strike to goal ratio in the team currently.

De Jong – Showed the world he was one of the most effective holding midfielders in knock out tournaments around during Euro 2008. Went to Man City, but is by no means the reason they didn’t break into the top four.

Robben – The goal against Manchester United off that corner says it all, if not Champions League Finalist.

Van Bommel – Read above, subtract wonder goal and add incredible leadership qualities and a cool head.

Robin Van Persie – Injury begone, received poor service from his team mates at the end of the season and his free kicks kept hitting that pesky bar when the keeper was clearly beat. Who needs Ruud Van Nistelrooj anyway. Well not really.

Van De Saar – While he might be pushing fourty, he is better than any talent his country has produced, half his age or otherwise. Probably the best keeper of Euro 2008. Will probably retire when Sir Alex does (See: Never).

What Holland have going against them is the European Curse. As Europeans have never won a World Cup that wasn’t played in Europe itself somehow. While this might have more to do with the weather than anything else, one way to look at it is that Holland are worse off for it. The other way to look at it is that since the World Cup hasn’t ever been played on African soil, perhaps it just loves The Netherlands football squad and everything about it. I did say perhaps.

I think I’ve made my point. Nothing could be more appropriate in summing up The Netherlands chances as to quote a Boston Red Sox adage from the historic World Series of 2007 – “Why Not Us?”. Indeed, why not.

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