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Netherlands national football team at the 2006 Football World Cup

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By user Bobo

I'm really looking out for these guys. Their provisional squad includes goalkeeper Edwin Van der Sar from Manchester United, Edgar Davids, Wesley Sneijder, and some other really good players. This should prove a good competition for them this time around.

And yet they have an erratic record of the last ten years or so. After achieving fourth place in 1998, they were the shock non-qualifiers of 2002 due to Portugal and the Republic of Ireland's near-identical records at the top of their qualification table.

Their group is the same group occupied by Argentina, Côte d'Ivoire and Mexico against whom they could easily qualify. They have a good record in competitions following barren spells, exemplified by their two runners-up places after not qualifying in nearly 20 years stretching back to the seventies.

The best of their players, including Jan Vennegoor, who has been a driving force behind PSV's great form over the last ten years, are not just some of the best players not just in Europe, but in the world.

If this team were to perform to their potential, I really believe they could very soon win an international competition, but as it stands at the moment, their previous form could work against them, or could work for them. I'm not decided. Personally I want to see Serbia get one place in the knockout stages, but whichever two teams get there look as though they could be facing the mighty Portugal, which is a worry for any team.

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