Gullit tips Germany over Spain
Amsterdam - Dutch soccer legend Dutch football legend Ruud Gullit believes if it comes down to a clash between Germany and Spain for the European Championship, as many football fans believe it will, then Germany will win.
But he says his own country Holland also have an excellent chance of winning the championship too, if coach Bert van Marwijk can get the best out of his world-class players.
Gullit, writing on Laureus.com, said: “Holland are two years further on as a team than 2010 when they reached the final of the World Cup and they have some of the greatest attacking players in the world at the moment - Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Robin van Persie, Arjen Robben, Ibrahim Afellay, Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder, Dirk Kuyt.
“Holland’s problem is they have not always found the right balance. The big question is: can coach Bert van Marwijk find the formula to get the best out of his players?
“I would love it to be Holland, for whom I so enjoyed playing, but if they do not win, and if I had to pick between Germany and Spain, I would say Germany,” he adds.
Gullit, who played 66 times for Holland, said in his Euro 2012 blog: “I think with their bright young, exciting team, Germany might just edge it against World Champions Spain, where perhaps one or two of the key players are past their peak.
“The Germans provided so much entertainment in the last World Cup in South Africa. And they have some marvellous players that I shall enjoy watching - Toni Kroos, Thomas Müller and Mesut Ozil in midfield and Miroslav Klose at the front.
“And of course, their rock, Bastian Schweinsteiger. People have said to me they wonder if he will be the same man after missing in the penalty shoot-out for Bayern Munich against Chelsea in the European Champions League final. I can answer that. He will. It was an awful moment for him, but he is strong enough to fight back. And victory in the European Championship would be some consolation for that desperate moment in the Allianz Arena.”
Gullit, who played for AC Milan and Sampdoria in Italy and played for and coached Chelsea and Newcastle in England, does not believe this will be a good tournament for Italy or England.
He says: “Italian football now finds itself in the middle of allegations of corruption and match-fixing and the Italian Prime Minister calling for the suspension of football. Not the ideal way for the Italian players to prepare for a major championship. I am very upset with what is happening to Italian football at the moment. I had so much happiness playing in Italy and I owe so much personally to Italian football. I hope that this can be sorted out quickly. Without a strong Italian league and national team, European football is weaker."
And he feels England have a fundamental problem because the most important positions in most of the major clubs are always occupied by non-native players - whether goalkeeper, defender, playmaker, striker.
“Although England have very good players, they are without, for example, a world class playmaker. They also have a new coach Roy Hodgson, who was appointed only six weeks ago. He is very experienced, but this will be a big challenge for him. Six weeks is very little time to prepare an international team for a major tournament,” said Gullit.