Tag Archives: Maarten Stekelenburg

Top Five Keepers Who Can Replace Reina At Liverpool

According to the reports, Liverpool have given Pepe Reina until January to prove his ability to fit into Brendan Rodgers’ new system, or face being sold.

Reina’s role as Spain’s second choice keeper has already been given to Barcelona’s Victor Valdes and his club career looks in danger of following the same path, but who could replace him at Anfield? Here, IntoTheTopCorner has a look at the top five candidates..

1. MICHEL VORM (SWANSEA CITY)

The Dutch international has been very impressive since moving to the Premier League from FC Utrecht a year ago. Vorm kept 13 clean sheets in 37 appearances last season and his performances won him the Fans’ Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and the Away Players’ Player of the Year awards. The 28-year-old worked under the current Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers at the Liberty Stadium last season. Good reflexes, good ball distribution and comfortable with ball at his feet, Vorm fits into Rodgers’s system perfectly.

2. CRAIG GORDON (FREE AGENT)

The Scotish international was once famously hailed as one of the best keepers in the world by Gianluigi Buffon, but with him currently being a free agent, it looks like no one is willing to take a gamble on the injury-prone former Sunderland stopper. Though a move to Liverpool would be a risk for the club, should they keep him injury free and get the best out of him, then it could be the bargain buy of the year.

3. JACK BUTLAND (BIRMINGHAM CITY)

Jack Butland’s performances for Team GB at the London Olympics 2012 has done justice to his hype that had build around him after being selected in the England squad for the Euros. The youngster has only played first-team football in League Two while on loan at Cheltenham Town, but was tipped for a move to one of the top Premier League sides this summer. Signing Butland would be a major gamble due to his age and experience, but he could develop into one of the top keepers in the world and occupy the number one spot for many years to come.

4. MAARTEN STEKELENBURG (AS ROMA)

The Dutch number one inherited the jersey from the former Manchester United keeper Edwin van der Sar upon his retirement from national football. Since then Stekelenburg has improved steadily and has also made AS Roma’s number one jersey his own ousting current Liverpool back-up Doni at the Stadio Olimpico. With the rise of Tim Krul in the last year or so, the Roma man may need to move elsewhere to fight off the challenge for the Netherlands number one jersey and a move Liverpool could be the best opportunity. He being a product of the Ajax academy, it won’t be difficult for him to adjust to Rodgers’ style of football.

5. MARC-ANDRE TER STEGEN (BORUSSIA MONCHENGLADBACH)

The German has got many scouts from across Europe excited with his performances in the Bundesliga over the past season. Just 20 years old, Ter Stegen has already made his debut for the senior Germany side and also saved a penalty from Lionel Messi in the recent international freindly. The young keeper forced himself into Gladbach’s starting XI while still a teenager and is a very exciting prospect for the future. His style of goalkeeping has been frequently compared to the great German keeper – Oliver Kahn

Predicting Portugal v Netherlands and Denmark v Germany

Czech Republic and Greece are the first two teams to qualify for the quarter-finals after winning their respective games last night. Czech Republic broke co-hosts Poland’s heart with a 1-0 win, while Greece stunned Russia with a similar scoreline, which saw the 2004 European Champions qualify at the expense of their opponents.

Today, its time for the last round of matches in the Group of Death. Netherlands take on Portugal in one of the most important matches in this tournament so far, while Germany, who lead the group win two wins, meet Denmark in Lviv.

Date – 17th June, 21:45 GMT

Stadium – Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv

Prediction – It’s the match of the tournament with high stakes on it. Both teams Portugal and Netherlands have a chance of making it through to the next round. Netherlands need to beat Portugal by atleast a two goal margin and hope Denmark lose to Germany in the other game, while a draw for Portugal will be enough. With a win needed for the Netherlands to qualify for the last-eight, the Dutch will go with all guns blazing from the start. They will play some eye catching attacking football and will trouble the Portuguese defence a lot. Robin van Persie and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will both start and lead the line up front for the Dutch. Portugal on the other had will look to defend and make themselves as tough as possible for the Dutch to break them down.  The Dutch will play the game on a high tempo and dominate the possession and also get an early go thanks to Huntelaar. The 2010 FIFA World Cup finalist will take the lead into the break. After the interval Dutch will continue to dominate and play most of the football in the opposition’s half. They will go for the second goal, which could send them through, and they will get it and it will Robin van Persie to score it. Portugal will go on the offence hoping to get atleast a goal back. Maarten Stekelenburg will make a couple of outstanding saves from Cristiano Ronaldo. But with just minutes left on the clock, the former Manchester United star will score and give his side the needed one goal which would take the Portuguese through to the last eight. Netherlands do win the game 2-1 but go out of the tournament.

Predicted Final Score – Portugal  1-2 Netherlands (Ronaldo ; Huntelaar, van Persie)

Date – 17th June, 21:45 GMT

Stadium – Lviv Arena, Lviv

Prediction – The Portugal v Netherlands is the important match of tournament so far, but this isn’t anything less. Denmark have a chance of making it through to the final eight, while Germany – who lead the group with two wins in two matches – can also go out. A win will take Denmark through but any other result and they are going back home. On the other, a point for Germany and they go into the quarter-finals as Group B winners and will face Greece, but if they lose and Portugal beat Netherlands in the other game, then the Germans can be knocked out of the tournament. Keeping this in mind Joachim Low will play a strong German starting XI against the Danes, who stunned the Netherlands in the first group game. Expect this game to be a bit cagey as both the sides will be well organised and tough to beat. Germans will dominate the game with their free-flowing football, while the Danes will look to hit them on the break. Mario Gomez, who has been in brilliant form all season, will give the Germans the lead in the first half. The score will stay the same at the break and after the interval Denmark will come out looking to create more chances and look to attack the German goal. But it won’t be of any success as the well organised German defence will deal with all the threats and later the 2008 UEFA EURO finalist will go on to score their second. Mesut Ozil will score a brilliant goal from the edge of the area to wrap up the game for his country. A win means Germany win the Group of Death and will face Greece in the quarter finals, while its the end of the road for Denmark but they go back home with pride of having defeated Netherlands in the first game and having come so close of making it to the final eight.

Predicted Final Score – Denmark 0-2 Germany (Gomez, Ozil)

Netherlands v Germany Preview

Netherlands meet Germany in today’s do-or-die Group B clash in Kharkiv, knowing that another defeat will mean the end an early exit in the group stages for the 2010 FIFA World Cup finalist. 

Bert van Marwijk’s side have to pick themselves up after Saturday’s 1-0 defeat to Denmark, in a match the Dutch had largely dominated but were very wasteful. They now have to beat rivals Germany at the Metalist Stadium, then Portugal on Sunday to be sure of qualifying from the group, which has been dubbed ‘The Group of Death’. While the Dutch will be fighting for survival, Germany know another win will put them in the quarter-finals following their 1-0 victory over Portugal.

Clashes between Holland and neighbours Germany are amongst the biggest in world football and always tend to be spicy affairs and there will be no quarter given when they renew their historic rivalry. This will be the eighth time the teams have met at a finals tournament and the fifth occasion at a European Championship. Germany have three wins against two for the Dutch and two draws. And there have been some classic matches between these countries such as the 1974 World Cup final, when Johan Cruyff’s team scored an early penalty, only to lose 2-1 to the Germans in Munich. The Euro ’88 semi-final in Hamburg was a special moment for the Oranje Army as Marco Van Basten scored a last minute winner to beat the hosts 2-1. And then there was the tempestuous 1990 World Cup second round encounter at the San Siro in Milan which Germany won 2-1, after their striker Rudi Voeller and Dutch stalwart Frank Rijkaard were sent-off before Andreas Brehme curled home a late winner.

TEAM NEWS

Netherlands

Netherlands have received a boost with the return to fitness of veteran defender Joris Mathijsen ahead of Wednesday’s crucial Euro 2012 showdown with Germany. The Malaga centre-back missed the 1-0 defeat to Denmark with a hamstring problem but looks set to return to the Dutch lineup in place of Ron Vlaar. Midfielder Wesley Sneijder should feature despite sustaining a minor knock, while coach Bert van Marwijk will have to make a very big decision of either playing Robin van Persie or Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or maybe both.

Germany

On the other hand, Germany boss Joachim Low has no pressing injury concerns but could make changes to liven up his attack after a low-key performance against Portugal. Andre Schurrle, Marco Reus and Mario Gotze are all vying for starting berths, with Lukas Podolski or Thomas Muller likely to make way.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Played – 38
Netherlands Wins – 10
Draws – 14
Germany Wins – 14

FORM GUIDE

Netherlands – LWWLL
09-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Netherlands 0-1 Denmark
02-Jun-12 – Friendly – Netherlands 6-0 Northern Ireland
31-May-12 – Friendly – Netherlands 2-0 Slovakia
26-May-12 – Friendly – Netherlands 1-2 Bulgaria
23-May-12 – Friendly – Bayern Munich 3-2 Netherlands

Germany – WWLLW
09-Jun-12 – Euro 2012 – Germany 1-0 Portugal
01-Jun-12 – Friendly – Germany 2-0 Israel
26-May-12 – Friendly – Switzerland 5-3 Germany
01-Mar-12 – Friendly – Germany 1-2 France
16-Nov-11 – Friendly – Germany 3-0 Netherlands

KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH

Wesley Sneijder (Netherlands)
The Inter Milan playmaker was impressive in the first game against Denmark but yet he was on the losing side. Sneijder was Netherlands’ star at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa helping them reach the finals, but ever since the final against Spain he has not produced the same kind of form. He has been troubled by injuries and has had a very poor season for Inter Milan. If Netherlands have to progress from the so called ‘Group of Death’ then Sneijder will have to be in top form today.

Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
Like Sneijder, Arjen Robben is very important to Netherlands success this summer. The Bayern Munich winger reached the Champions League final and ended runners-up in the Bundesliga this season, but the reality is that Robben has been less than impressive. The former Chelsea man missed a penalty against his old employees in the Champions League and was too selfish the other day against Denmark. Robben will have to be at his very best against a very strong German defence and especially Philipp Lahm to help his country reach the quarter finals.

Mesut Ozil (Germany)
The Real Madrid playmaker has had a very successful season both personally and as a team. The 23-year-old has made his mark in world football and is now one of the best attacking midfielders around. The elegant midfield provides guile and craft to the German midfield and his probing passes are sure to test the Dutch backline, which looked vulnerable against Denmark. The former Werder Bremen star hardly losses possession and enjoyed a lot playing in the possession-heavy style adopted by Joachim Low.

Mario Gomez (Germany)
The Spanish origin striker is Joachim Low’s first choice striker ahead of the veteran Miroslaw Klose and is expected to start again today after the scoring the winner against Portugal the other night. The former Stuttgart hitman has been in top goal-scoring form for Bayern Munich this season scoring 41 goals 52 matches and has also netted ten goals for his country in the past one. His ability of being in the right position and at the right time will be the key and a threat to deal with for the Dutch defence.

PROBABLE LINEUPS

Netherlands (4-2-3-1): Maarten Stekelenburg; Gregory van der Wiel, Joris Mathijsen, Johnny Heitinga, Jetro Willems; Nigel De Jong, Mark van Bommel (C); Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder, Robin van Persie; Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

With Joris Mathijsen fit, the Malaga man will be back in the side in place of Ron Vlaar, who had a poor game, in the center of the defence alongside Heitinga. The young Jetro Willems impressed many the other day and he will keep his position in the side with Van der Wiel on the right. The experience of Nigel De Jong will see him get the nod ahead of Kevin Strootman along side Mark van Bommel, while Ibrahim Afellay who had a poor game against Denmark in the Group B opener, will be demoted to the bench and Robin van Persie will be moved out on the left wing. The top scorer in the qualifiers, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will lead the lineup for the Dutch with Wesley Sneijder just playing behind him and Arjen Robben on the right wing.

Germany (4-2-3-1): Manuel Neuer; Jerome Boateng, Mats Hummels, Holger Badstuber, Philipp Lahm(C); Bastian Schweinsteiger, Sami Khedira; Thomas Muller, Mesut Ozil, Lukas Podolski; Mari Gomez.

Joachin Low said in his pre-match press conference that he is not afraid to chance winning team, but I don’t think there will be any chances for this game especially against the Dutch. This is Germany’s best team and Low will stick with it. Gomez will lead the line with Muller and Podolski join him from the wings. Ozil will operate just behind them and will try and find the killer through balls. Schweinsteiger and Khedira will play center of midfield connecting the defence and attack. Lahm will again start on the left-back with Jerome Boateng on the right-back and the pair of Hummers and Badstuber, who looked well organised against the Portuguese, in the heart of the defence. The ever safe hands of Manuel Neuer will be in the between the sticks for the Germans.

MATCH ODDS

Netherlands 19/10 Draw 23/10 Germany 7/5

PREDICTION

With the Dutch having to win this game to stay in the tournament, they will attack from the start. On recent form, one has agree the Germans are favourites to win and with a settled side & an opening game victory under their belt, the German players will play with less pressure compared to their opponents. The Dutch will need their star players to perform and play as a team. The 2010 FIFA World Cup finalist have a huge task of beating Germany – who have one the most settled units and the best defence in the tournament – and so we are going for a narrow win for the 2008 UEFA European Championship finalist.

Predicted Score – Netherlands 1-2 Germany

UEFA EURO 2012 Team Preview – Netherlands

Population 16.8 million Area 41,543km2 Capital Amsterdam Currency Euro Official Language Dutch

FOOTBALL FACTFILE

Football Asocciation Koninklijke Nederlandse Voetbalbond (KNVB) Official Site http://www.knvb.nl Year of formation 1889 Euro Ranking 8 World Ranking 4 National Stadium Amsterdam Arena, Amsterdam, Fejenoord Stadion, Feyenoord & Phillips Arena, Eindhoven Well-known club sides Ajax, Feyernoord, PSV, FC Twente Leading goalscorers Patrick Kluivert (40), Dennis Bergkamp (37) Most capped players Edwin van der Sar (130), Frank de Boer (112) European Championship finals attended 1976, 1980, 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004, 2008 Best European Championship performance Winners 1988 Playing Record in European Championship P131 W84 D22 L25 Odds of winning UEFA EURO 2012 8/1

JOURNEY TO POLAND/UKRAINE

Despite victory in the 1988 European Championship thanks to a stunning Marco van Basten volley and powerful Ruud Gullit header, Netherlands still find it difficult not to be regarded as the nearly men of European football. They have reached three FIFA World Cup finals, in 1974, 1978 and 2010, and come off second best on each occasion.

Qualification for Poland/Ukraine again suggests they are primed to break this unflattering and slightly unfair imahe. Rightly top-scoring with 37 goals, in a qualifying group comprising Finland, Hungary, Moldova and San Marino. The Netherlands are in formidable shape going into the tournament finals.

Their squad is awash with the kind of flair and flamboyance befitting of their brilliant-orange kit and theur historic ‘Total Football’ ideals. Wesley Sneijder will no doubt pill the strings behind a lone of either Robin van Persie – on of the hottest strikers in Europe this season – or Klaas-Jan-Huntelaar – whooped the scoring charts in qualifying with 12 goals. Should these three not provide, goals can also emanate from the experienced of Dirk Kuyt and Rafael van der Vaart, or the brutish long-distance punts of captain mark van Bommel. Ofcourse how can you forget the always-dangerous Arjen Robben.

As diabolical as England when it comes to penalty shoot-outs, the Dutch have the experience and capability to overcome theur flaws in 2012. But can they vanquish Spain of their helm?

HOW THEY GOT THERE

03/09/2010 – Group E – San Marino 0-5 Netherlands
07/09/2010 – Group E – Netherlands 2-1 Finland
08/10/2010 – Group E – Moldova 0-1 Netherlands
12/10/2010 – Group E – Netherlands 4-1 Sweden
25/03/2011 – Group E – Hungary 0-4 Netherlands
29/03/2011 – Group E – Netherlands 5-3 Hungary
02/09/2011 – Group E – Netherlands 11-0 San Marino
06/09/2011 – Group E – Finland 0-2 Netherlands
07/10/2011 – Group E – Netherlands 1-0 Moldova
11/10/2011 – Group E – Sweden 3-2 Netherlands

HOME AND AWAY KITS

GROUP FIXTURES – GROUP B

Saturday, 09/06 – Netherlands v Denmark (Kharkiv, 17:00)
Wednesday, 13/06 – Netherlands v Germany (Kharkiv, 19:45)
Sunday, 17/06 – Portugal v Netherlands (Kharkiv, 19:45)

FINAL SQUAD

Goalkeepers: Tim Krul (Newcastle United FC), Maarten Stekelenburg (AS Roma), Michel Vorm (Swansea City AFC).

Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz (VfB Stuttgart), Wilfred Bouma (PSV Eindhoven), John Heitinga (Everton FC), Joris Mathijsen (Málaga CF), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Gregory van der Wiel (AFC Ajax), Jetro Willems (PSV Eindhoven).

Midfielders: Mark van Bommel (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City FC), Stijn Schaars (Sporting Clube de Portugal), Wesley Sneijder (FC Internazionale Milano), Kevin Strootman (PSV Eindhoven), Rafael van der Vaart (Tottenham Hotspur FC).

Forwards: Ibrahim Afellay (FC Barcelona), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (FC Schalke 04), Luuk de Jong (FC Twente), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool FC), Luciano Narsingh (sc Heerenveen), Robin van Persie (Arsenal FC), Arjen Robben (FC Bayern München).

THE CAPTAIN – MARK VAN BOMMEL

He might be the son-in-law of the head coach, but Bert van Marwijk knows as well as the rest of us that Van Bommel’s place in the side comes not through favouritism but pragmatism. He is the rock to Sneijder’s creativity and Van Persie’s cutting edge. At 35, he is no spring chicken, but his claws are as sharp as ever and no one will relish coming up against him this summer.

THE KEEPER – MAARTEN STEKELENBURG

Another product of the world renowned Ajax youth academy to follow in the footsteps of Edwin van der Sar. Maarten Stekelenburg is the latest in a long line of world-class Dutch keepers. At 6ft 5in, he is one of the biggest goalkeepers in the tournament and will certainly be using his gigantic frame to try to put an end to Holland’s embarrassing penalty nightmares.

STAR MAN – WESLEY SNEIJDER

In a team blessed with outstanding individual players, not least Arsenal’s remarkable, in-form Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder remains the lynchpin for Dutch success. The Netherlands have a knack of sculpting goalscoring midfielders for international arena and few are more terrifying than the Inter Milan star. He enjoyed great success in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and will be expected to manufacture opportunities for a sublime strikeforce, and provide the kind of magic that can propel the Oranjemen past comparable opponents.

THE MANAGER – BERT VAN MARWIJK

Took over the role in 2008 from the legendary Marco van Basten, whose managerial abilities didn’t quite live up to his goalscoring ones. Bert van Marwijk, who masterminded Feyernoord’s UEFA Cup triumph in 2001-02, won all of his FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifying matches and then guided Holland to the final, and a disappointing, bad-tempered defeat bu a wonderful Spanish team. Will be striving to go one better in 2012 by lifting the Henri Delaunay trophy and, thereby ending Holland’s 24-year wait for silverware.

TOURNAMENT PREDICTION

Semi-Finals – The Dutch eased past their opponents in their qualifying group to make it to the finals but are drawn in the Group of Death along side Denmark, Portugal and Germany. With the later, the favourites to win the group, it’s going to be a real close fight between Portugal and Holland for the 2nd spot. 2nd spot in the group means a potential semi-final clash against either Spain (favourites to win Group C) or England/France (2nd team from Group D).