The Dutch national eleven are preparing all-out for Euro 2012 which kicks off in Warsaw, a week and a half from now.
But will that be enough time to get mentally crushed winger Arjen Robben back on his feet? His colleague in the Oranje team, Vurnon Anita, told RNW that Robben can expect a warm welcome on his return to the national squad.
by Johan van der Tol and Theo Tamis
Trainer Bert van Marwijk confirmed that Robben, playing for Bayern, was totally down in the dumps over missing a crucial penalty in the Champions League final against Chelsea. As a result Bayern Munich, playing before a home crowd, saw the "Cup with the Big Ears" go to the other team.
[media:image]The German press have all but consigned Robben to the scrap heap. Mass circulation daily Bild adorned him with the epithet 'Arjen Floppen', adding that "Fortunately he will play for the Dutch at Euro 2012. Then it does not matter if he ruins another penalty." Germany and the Netherlands are in the same Euro 2012 pool.
While Robben was playing the Champions League final, the rest of the Dutch Oranje squad was preparing for Euro 2012 at a training camp in Lausanne, Switzerland. A friendly in Munich between Oranje and Bayern has been scheduled for Tuesday. Robben was going to appear on the Dutch side, facing his German team, but Van Marwijk said that Robben will only be available as a substitute. "He is completely at his wits end, but that is quite logical after missing a penalty like he did. It's in his contract that he should be playing, but nowhere does it say for how long."
[related-articles]Fellow Oranje player Vurnon Anita watched the Champions League final and the notorious missed penalty, but says his Dutch teammates won't hold it against him that he missed. "He is a very important player, so he will undoubtedly be looked after well."
After Tuesday's duel against Bayern, the Dutch will also play a friendly against Bulgaria on Saturday. But between those two matches Robben will be allowed to rest. On Friday he will travel from Munich to Lausanne, then fly to the Netherlands with the Dutch squad. Two more friendlies are planned, one against Slovakia on 30 May and one against Northern Ireland on 2 July.
The tournament starts in earnest in Ukraine on 9 June, when the Dutch will face Denmark in Kharkov. Let's hope that a rejuvenated 'Arjen Toppen' will then be able to cock a snook at Bild.