The days of Dutch football being at the top of the European tree seem to be a distant memory for fans. But is there a way back, and can that happen any time soon? While the quality level of football in the Netherlands may not be pushing forward a huge amount, it is fair to say that we are seeing a little bit of a decline around Europe.
This could lead to the Dutch teams moving closer to the top of the tree, simply by being able to stay at the same level, as others would fall closer to them, and potentially below them all together, if this goes on for a period of time.
The only Dutch team in the Champions League this season is Ajax, they are set to begin their last 16 round shortly, where they will face Benfica. Bookmaker odds put them as sixth favourites, which means they aren’t one of the favourites to win overall, but the key here is to look at who they are ahead of in the betting. With many online betting offers for new customers available for the competition, the Champions League is regarded as one of the biggest betting competitions in football, as well as being one of the most watched, where the best of the best takes each other on.
Spanish and Italian Giants Behind Ajax
While of course the betting odds never get everything right, you can see what kind of order there is in the leagues around Europe by looking at where the clubs sit. At the top of the market, we have English clubs, the strongest league in Europe right now, with PSG and Bayern Munich, who have proven themselves time after time.
These are the only teams above Ajax though, which shows we are seeing a little resurgence from Dutch football. Spanish giants Real Madrid are behind Ajax, as are Atletico Madrid and Villarreal, while Barcelona areout of the tournament all together, and in the Europa League.
Italian giants Juventus and Inter Milan are also behind Ajax and are the only two Italian clubs left in the competition, which is fewer than we would usually see at this stage. The change has been brought on by both the Spanish and Italian leagues struggling and losing quality. Cristiano Ronaldo signed for Manchester United after walking away from Italian football, while Lionel Messi swapped Barcelona for PSG, to lower the quality in Spain.
Clubs in the Netherlands may find themselves competing a little better over the next few years, without actually changing themselves. However, what they need to be aware of is that it is likely we will see clubs from Spain and Italy emerge again in the future, when they are back to business.
If clubs such as Ajax can improve during the period of downtime in Spain and Italy, they could find themselves staying on top, and pushing towards being a dominant force again, even if they can’t quite get to the top.