Wesley Sneijder wanted to step out of the Dutch national team in the run-up to the failed Euro 2012. The midfielder felt division within the group, but eventually chose to go to the tournament in Poland and Ukraine.
"The team spirit of 2010 was never there. And I already had such a premonition. In Hoenderloo I already wanted to get out", says Sneijder in his biography Sneijder that will be released this week.
The problem, according to Sneijder, was that the hierarchy of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, when the Orange came to the final, was gone within the selection of national coach Bert van Marwijk. "Competition is good, but unhealthy competition is not," he looks back at the preparation. "Players complained about each other. Mutually and against the press. Leaked about everything."
The then player of Internazionale spoke to other internationals about the problems. "But I actually didn't want to go to that tournament anymore. Too uncomfortable."
Wesley Sneijder and national coach Bert van Marwijk during the exhibition game against Slovakia in the run-up to the European Championship. (Photo: Pro Shots)
"We stood opposite each other with two camps"
After conversations with his wife Yolanthe Cabau and Orange captain Mark van Bommel, Sneijder decided to go to the European Championship, where the Dutch team were eliminated with three defeats in the group stage.
Sneijder says that there were also "akkefietjes" during the tournament, among others between Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Van Bommel. "Those guys were not together, everyone knew that." And there was disagreement about the striker position, in which Robin van Persie against Denmark and Germany was preferred over Huntelaar.
The staff of Orange did not manage to end the division. "In hindsight, they might have had to send someone home. It doesn't matter who exactly. For the shock effect. But now we were faced with two camps. Camp Van Persie and Camp Huntelaar."
"And every player has his own supporters. Huntelaar thought he should get a chance, Van Persie was preferred by Van Marwijk."
Wesley Sneijder on a training for the Dutch Team during the European Championship 2012. (Photo: Pro Shots)
"I went reluctantly"
Still, 36-year-old Sneijder, who retired from the Orange squad as a record international in 2018, does not point to any guilty party for the dramatic European Championship. "It just wasn't right. Yes, too many big egos together, for sure. We were the vice world champion, everyone thought and knew it was good."
"Everyone thought it belonged in the base, everyone wanted to be part of the new success. The sacrifice of 2010 no longer existed. But I left reluctantly. Especially because I wanted to wear the Orange shirt."
See also: Back to the 2010 World Cup: The irritated Sneijder was the best Sneijder