The road to the 2014 World Cup was a long one after that. But once in Brazil, Sneijder made mincemeat of those who had already written him off: not fit enough, not at the level. He took a starring role, including by scoring against Mexico in the eighth finals. It was his ultimate revenge against Van Gaal.
“Afterwards it felt that way, yes. Especially because I was there when no one had expected it from me anymore and I had played everything. I played in a different role than I was used to at Orange, more in a serving role, but I knew that my personal moment of success would come. And it came, against Mexico.”
The Orange of now
At that last final tournament of Orange in 2014, there was no shortage of vocal leaders within the team: Van Persie wore the band, but on images we also saw Arjen Robben, Sneijder and Kuijt address the group.
Without captain Virgil van Dijk, it is Georginio Wijnaldum who will have to pull the cart at the Orange this European Championship. But it is unclear which other players this Orange can build on, says Sneijder.
“I don’t think there are enough leaders in the group. Daley Blind, who you might expect, is how I know him not someone who takes the lead. And can Memphis Depay really control the team? I have to They did well in all those qualifying matches, but a tournament is really something different. I want to see who really makes steps and takes the team with them.”