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Part of the toughest Group, the team is worth more than the finalists rank that they secured twice earlier. And with some experienced players and the presence of legendary player Johan Cruyff, the team is a big threat to rival Czech Republic.

india Updated: May 25, 2006 19:17 IST

FIFA world ranking 3
Coach Marco Van Basten
Group C Argentina, Netherlands, Côte d'Ivoire, Serbia & Montenegro
Previous appearances 7 times. Finalists: 1974, 1978
Key player Ruud van Nistelrooy
Odds 10/1

Despite being strong contenders of the Cup in the 1970's, Netherlands was unlucky to win the title. Even after a marvelous performance in the 1974 Cup, the team missed the coveted title.

In 1990, with a squad packed with ace footballers, the team was considered a good contender but failed to get past the second round. But, their worst performance was during the 2002 cup when they finished last in their Group, without even qualifying for the finals.

But, things appear different this time around, as they dominated the qualifiers with ten wins and two draws. Twice they beat their rival Czech Republic team.

Group C is considered the toughest of all groups but the Netherlands squad seems to be charged with the might it needs to win.

The celebrated player Johan Cruyff was always a threat to his opponents for his manner of smoothing the ball in goalposts back in the '70s.

The current quality list of experienced players includes Ruud van Nistelrooy, Phillip Cocu and Arjen Robben while, players like Dirk Kuyt and Hedwiges Maduro are the upcoming talents in the squad.

The Dutch team is all set to dazzle the world with their improved side and grab the Cup they missed twice before.


Goalkeepers: Edwin van der Sar, Maarten Stekelenburg, Henk Timmer

Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz, Giovanni van Bronckhorst, Tim de Cler, Kew Jaliens, Jan Kromkamp, Joris Mathijsen, Andri Ooijer, Johnny Heitinga

Midfielders: Mark van Bommel, Phillip Cocu, Denny Landzaat, Hedwiges Maduro, Wesley Sneijder, Rafael van der Vaart

Forwards: Ryan Babel, Dirk Kuijt, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

First Published: May 06, 2006 18:39 IST