21 June 2004
AMSTERDAM — The besieged Dutch national soccer team coach, Dick Advocaat, failed to turn up to a regular press conference on Monday in the face of fierce criticism of his tactics after the Netherlands were defeated 2-3 by the Czech Republic on Saturday night.
Advocaat claims that enough has been said and written about the stunning loss and left his assistant Willem van Hanegem to talk to the media about the upcoming Euro 2004 match against Latvia.
The Dutch are threatened with elimination after the first round matches. They are now reliant on the Czech Republic defeating Germany on Wednesday and to qualify for the quarter-finals, the Dutch must also defeat Latvia that same evening.
The Netherlands started in sparkling fashion on Saturday night, scoring two early goals (4th minute and 19th minute) and looked set to run away with the match. But the Czech Republic hit back in the 23rd minute. It was 2-1 heading into the break.
In a top-class match, the Dutch again started in solid fashion after the interval and almost made it 3-1 in the 56th minute. A few minutes later, Advocaat made a much-criticised decision he soon regretted, hauling from the field Arjen Robben, who had proved so dangerous in the first half.
The Czech Republic pounced and scored the equaliser in the 55th minute, but the drama was not over as the Dutch were reduced to 10 men when John Heitinga was given a red card at the 75th minute. Sensing blood, the Czechs scored the winner in the 88th minute.
The defeat has only added to the pressure on Advocaat, who has admitted his decision to replace Robben turned out to be a bad one. The Netherlands is now left with the hope that Germany will fall at the final hurdle on Wednesday.
Saturday’s match was watched by 10.1 million Dutch people. Public broadcast ratings agency Kijk- en Luisteronderzoek (KLO) said 68 percent of the Dutch population older than six saw some of the Euro 2004 clash.
Broadcast on Nederland 2, about 6.6 million watched it at home, 2.4 million looked on from someone else’s house, 700,000 watched from a café and 400,000 saw it from a holiday house, work or somewhere else.
[Copyright Expatica News 2004]
Subject: Dutch news