And so it is now proven that you cannot win with two idea-free thugs in the midfield. Van Persie, besides being unusually clumsy, was isolated, few passes coming his way--and, predicably, only from Sneijder. Even when van Marwijk took out De Yong and put in van der Vaart it didn't work, because the Tottenham midfielder had to play in a much deeper position. And van Huntelaar made van Persie perfectly useless--which van Marwijk ought to have known, as that was exactly what happened in a warm up game against Bulgaria, which they lost 2:1.

Denmark taught the Dutch a lesson--Agger had a nearly perfect game, and the Danish midfield easily passed around the two thugs. Even if Bendtner was dreadful, and Erikson merely competent.

The game goes to show why the European championship are more tactically advanced than the World Cup--in two years, the Dutch system, which, ugly though it may be, took them to the WC final and through the Euro qualification, became obsolete.