As Guus Hiddink draws closer to the end of his managerial career he must sacrifice the dream of a grand farewell for the greater good of Dutch football.

There have been 2 great national football teams in the last 20 years or so – the French team of Zinedine Zidane, Thierry Henry & Patrick Vieira and the Spanish team of Xavi, Andres Iniesta & Iker Casillas. These two teams were successful for a period of 5 years, give or take and in that period won everything there was to win as far as international honours were concerned.

But both of these teams had very inglorious endings, something which their legendary players did not deserve to go through. While the French were dumped out of the 2002 World Cup the Spanish were undone in this summerai??i??s showpiece. The reasons for this were twofold.

Firstly, it is no big secret that the best sides have one thing in common ai??i?? hunger & motivation amongst the players & after winning a combined 2 World Cups & 3 European Championships perhaps some of the French & Spanish players had lost that extra 5% which is so critical in knock out football. This observation is backed by the fact that both the French and then the Spanish broke the record for bringing the maximum number of players from the previous World Cup in 2014 & 2002 respectively.

The second reason is more of a consequence of the first which is that it is really difficult for players on the wrong side of 30 to be playing matches every 3 days. In the humidity of Korea & Japan in 2002 the French with an average of 29 could not compete against the less technical but fitter Senegalese, Danes & Uruguayans. While in Rio this year despite boasting an average age a year younger than the French of 2002, the key Spanish players were found out by some of their faster & stronger opponents.

Despite never reaching the same heights as the 2 aforementioned teams the Dutch are going through a similar phase. After thrilling one and all in the European Championships of 2008 and finishing first and second runners up in the following two World Cups the Oranje are fast becoming a team of has beens.

Transfer News

Wesley Sneijder has not been the same player since joining Galatasaray

The Dutch of the last few years have been built on the sparkling talents of Robin Van Persie, Arjen Robben & Wesley Sneijder. While Sneijder was the main creative force in South Africa it was left to Van Persie and Robben in particular to be the star men four years later. But these 3 superstars have now entered the dreaded 30 club where the mind is still as sharp as before but the body not so much.

Though it would be unfair to term Robben as a fading light, it has become clear for all to see that Van Persie & Sneijder are not the players they were 2 years ago. While Sneijder is going through the motions at Galatasaray, Van Persie has endured a tough start to the season with Manchester United after what can best be described as a frustrating 2013-14.

All of this brings us nicely to the current plight of Dutch football and manager Guus Hiddink. Since taking charge of the Oranje for a second time the former Chelsea manager has seen his side lose 4 out of 5 matches with the only win coming against lowly Kazakhstan. These results place the Dutch in a precarious position as far as qualification for Euro 2016 is concerned. They are currently 3rd in their group, 6 points behind Iceland & the Czech Republic knowing that only the top 2 teams in each group are guaranteed places in France in 2 years time.

And despite all other things not going Hiddinkai??i??s way there is one small comfort for the Dutchman. This is that with the new expanded format, qualification has become much easier for the European Championships. And while it may not be so apparent now once the defensive issues are sorted out the Oranje will start winning again.

In this situation Hiddink has two options. The first one is to carry on relying on Robben, Van Persie & Sneijder and see his Dutch side stutter through qualification and then most probably fail at Euro 2016. The second option is to start rebuilding a new national team on the shoulders of Memphis Depay, Jeremain Lens, Jonathan De Guzman & Georginio Wijnaldum.

But there is one big downside to this plan of re building with youngsters ai??i?? while it is almost inconceivable to see the Dutch winning in France in 2016 still relying on their superstar threesome there is still a small chance that they may turn the clock back for a final hoorah. But if a team is built with Depay, Lens & De Guzman in its fulcrum, glory will never be Hiddinkai??i??s. But in going with this option he will ensure that the Dutch do not go the way of France & Spain and have a decent chance in 2018 in Russia.

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