[REPORT CARD] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney grades the Dutch players in the Netherlands' 1-0 loss to Spain in the World Cup final on Sunday.
The Dutch fell despite carving out good opportunities that Arjen Robben failed to convert. After scoring 12 goals in six games leading up to the final, the Dutch were shut out for the first time and became the first nation to lose all three of its trips to the championship game.
RATING/PLAYER (CLUB) GP-G
6 Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax) 34-0
Excellent save early in the match denied Sergio Ramos header from free kick, and he recovered in time to smother follow-up shot by Gerard Pique. Punched away Xavi free kick in overtime to highlight a series of vital clearances.
5 Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax) 15-0
Monitored Joan Capdevila’s forays forward, headed balls away at the back post. Caught out of position when Andres Iniesta collected a chip and fired it into the net.
4 John Heitinga (Everton) 61-6
Cleared a dangerous Sergio Ramos cross early in the match, cautioned for tackle that whipped out David Villa’s legs, thwarted chance for Villa with a sliding block, sent off on second yellow card for barely grabbing Iniesta’s shoulder.
4 Joris Mathijsen (Hamburg) 62-3
Fluffed a great chance when a clever corner kick was angled right to him mere yards from the goal. Won balls in the air, stopped Spain a few times at the edge of the penalty area. Cautioned after Spain’s goal for angrily berating referee Howard Webb.
6 Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord) 106-6
Shut down Pedro several times, and battled Sergio Ramos to a draw. Recovered in extra time to deflect Jesus Navas’s shot with a sliding block. Left his final game in the final minutes to a noisy ovation.
4 Mark van Bommel (Bayern Munich) 63-10
Cautioned midway through the first half for flattening Iniesta, broke up Spain’s midfield rhythm with tackles and interceptions. Got the ball quickly to Wesley Sneijder in good spots.
4 Nigel de Jong (Man. City) 48-1
Studded a standing Xabi Alonso in the chest, which isn’t easy to do. In any other game de Jong would probably have been red-carded. Fouled a few more times but stayed on the field until Rafael Van Der Vaart replaced him in extra time.
4 Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool) 70-16
Helped out defensively by tracking back to contain Pedro and other attackers but looked exhausted. Very quiet offensively: the effort was there but the touches weren’t. When handed a good chance by Sergio Busquets early in the match he could only direct a weak effort on goal.
5 Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich) 52-15
Veered in from the flank to test Iker Casillas twice with good shots, broke through a few times on the dribble, fluffed two excellent chances when sent free right down the middle.
6 Wesley Sneijder (Inter Milan) 68-19
Set up two great chances for Arjen Robben with balls that cut open the center of Spain’s back line, stopped Iniesta with a goalmouth tackle, prompted the Dutch attack with limited success.
4 Robin van Persie (Arsenal) 51-19
Rarely threatened on the ball, contributed a few good touches but seldom broke free of his markers within sight of goal. Drew defenders when Robben took off on the dribble, lacked the confidence to work combinations in tight situations.
4 Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid) 83-16
Added a bit of life to the Dutch attack yet didn’t make a great impact considering he was a fresh player entering a tough match in overtime. Failed clearance of Fernando Torres' cross led to goal. Tried to block Iniesta’s shot but his lunge came up short.
3 Eljero Elia (Hamburg) 15-2
Replaced Dirk Kuyt in the 71st minute to negligible effect. Got past Sergio Ramos early in the second extra period but let the ball run over the goal line before crossing it.
NR Edson Braafheid (Celtic) 8-0
No factor in his 15 minutes.