SOMEHOW, the most individually talented squad at Euro 2012 stand on the brink of elimination. Two defeats in two games mean the Netherlands no longer have control of their own destiny ahead of tonight's final Group B game against Portugal in Kharkiv.
The Dutch have to beat Cristiano Ronaldo's side by two goals and hope that Germany take care of Denmark in Lviv.
Reports of dissent in the Oranje dressing room bring back memories of past tournaments where they've either underachieved or self-destructed because of a lack of collective harmony.
At Euro 1996, Guus Hiddink's star-studded squad imploded. They drew with Scotland, were thrashed 4-1 by host nation England in the group stage and eliminated in the quarter-finals by France.
Midfielder Edgar Davids was sent home after suggesting, in less than polite fashion, that Hiddink was showing favouritism to certain players, including Davids' club and national captain, Danny Blind, of Ajax.
This time round, the household names of the Dutch squad -- including Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin Van Persie -- have failed to deliver, scoring just a single goal in two matches.
If Hiddink was criticised for not giving Davids a fair go 16 years ago, current boss Bert Van Marwijk could be accused of the same mistake by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar. The Bundesliga top scorer played a total of just 74 minutes in the first two matches.
Not helping matters is a shaky defence. The return of Malaga central defender Joris Mathijsen couldn't stop Netherlands conceding two goals in the first half against Germany on Wednesday. A tighter back four could have covered up for the inadequacies of its misfiring front third.
The shackles will certainly come off at the Metalist Stadium. The 2010 World Cup finalists will achieve their best result of the tournament so far but it won't be enough to avoid their premature exit.
* Join host Jason Dasey with former England internationals Paul Parker and Peter Barnes for Portugal v Netherland on Astro's Unmissable coverage from 2am on Channels 830 & 850.