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    Euro 2012 preview: Courageous Dutch out in title hunt

    The 1988 Euro champions have the class and quality to add a second feather to their cap.

    Once again the Netherlands go into a tournament with a reputation as one of the red-hot favourites. Over the years, they have been one of the best sides in the world, be it at the Euros or the World Cup. The 2010 World Cup runners-up have got some quality players in their ranks but the question is whether they have enough fire in their belly to go all the way? Two highly rated players in Arjen Robben - who can play both as striker and winger - and Wesley Sneider make up the backbone of the team. Their hopes ride on these two a great deal. If they can come up with the performance they are capable of, the Dutch are in it, for sure.

    And then there is Robin van Persie, who seems to be in the form of his life with 30 Premier League goals for Arsenal this season. His presence up front will have the best of defences looking over their shoulders. The Oranje have appeared eight times in the Euros and they have won it once, in 1988. Since then they have reached the knock-out stages of five successive tournaments but have not proceeded beyond the semi-finals. Their qualifying campaign this year has been top-notch. Out of ten matches, they were the victors on nine occasions. The only loss came in the last match against Sweden.

    The coach Bert van Marwijk is likely to go in with a formation of 4-2-3-1 and that means striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar will have to sit out for the most part of the campaign. He scored 12 times in the qualifiers but unfortunately there is just one striker in van Marwijk's scheme of things and that striker would surely be van Persie. That's understandable considering the Gunners captain's massive experience and recent great run.

    The Oranje are in Group B along with Germany (second in the FIFA rankings), Portugal (fifth) and Denmark (tenth) – indeed a group of death. So they have be in their top form from the word go. There is no scope for complacency. One bad result can ruin their campaign not a little.

    When all is said and done, it has to be said that ranked fourth in the world, the Dutch have got everything in their repertoire to add a second feather to their cap. But this team has a history of internal wrangling and that's their biggest challenge. If they can keep it in the background, they can paint the tournament orange.

    Netherlands squad:

    Goalkeepers: Maarten Stekelenburg, Michel Vorm, Tim Krul.

    Defenders: Khalid Boulahrouz, John Heitinga, Joris Mathijsen, Ron Vlaar, Wilfred Bouma, Gregory van der Wiel, Jetro Willems.

    Midfielders: Ibrahim Afellay, Mark van Bommel, Nigel de Jong, Stijn Schaars, Wesley Sneijder, Kevin Strootman, Rafael van der Vaart.

    Forwards: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Luuk de Jong, Dirk Kuyt, Luciano Narsingh, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben.

    Recent Euro performances:

    2008 Eliminated in quarter-finals

    2004 Eliminated in semi-finals

    2000 Eliminated in semi-finals

    1996 Eliminated in quarter-finals

    Keep an eye on: Kevin Strootman, Ibrahim Afellay

    Prediction: Netherlands are one of the powerhouses in football, a team very much capable of going all the way.

    Fixtures:

    June 9, 2012: vs Denmark

    June 13, 2012: vs Germany

    June 17, 2012: vs Portugal