Why Koeman needs to go

This is going against my nature. I don’t think I ever posted something like this. I don’t think I needed to. I thought Van Basten did a good job. Rijkaard could have stayed on. I was never an Advocaat fan, but once these guys lead the team you want to support them. After the WC2010 I was happy Bert was taking them to the Euros.

I didn’t support him coming back in the first place. He decided to abandon us before the Euros2020 by leaving us in the hands of Frank de Boer and the shere fact he wanted an exit in his agreement was a red flag for me.

I think he’s good to get a team in shape and find a way to build a team around his football ideas. In that category of coaches, he is a mediocre, but decent coach. Allardyce. Redknapp. Advocaat. That level. No innovation, no creativity, no courage and adventure. They’re not Cruyff, Guardiola, Alonso, Slot or De Zerbi.

We need a coach who can 1) take the younger generation ( Frenkie, Schouten, Gakpo, Xavi, Lang, Hartman, Van der Ven, Zirkzee) and 2) mould them in to a befitting football approach.

Koeman demonstrated that he isn’t the man to do this. During the Euros, it’s a constant tweaking and changing and adapting to the opponent. Making weird choices ( Dumfries + Frimpong? Taking Malen off against England for Wout? Not using Frimpong in latter games? Keeping his trust in Memphis? (gambling on the wrong horse, as we say)).

When you have to tweak and change mid game, yes you could say “wow what a flexible coach”, but I like to say “he got it wrong from the start and needs to fix it”.

It is fair to say that with Romania and Turkey as the knock out opponents, we simply had to reach the semis. And the first real test was too hard, despite scoring first.

The KNVB always has these “demands”: attractive, adventurous and attacking. Well, I didn’t see this under Advocaat, Van Gaal, De Boer or Koeman, to be completely honest.

We score the 1-0 versus England in the 7th minute and then we drop deep and give the control away. Why??

I personally belief a coach like Alex Pastoor would be perfect. Or Marcel Keizer. Or Mitchell van der Gaag. Or Mark van Bommel. With Bert as assistant?

Enough of dipping in the bag of oldies but goldies.

The talent pool is outrageous. We need a strong willed, courageous coach who can work and instill a system that will make us unstoppable. If Spain can do it, why not us? Spain copied us in the first place.

Goal keepers: Verbruggen, Olij, Bijlow, Flekken, Owuso Adoro, Bizot

Left backs: Hartman, Maatsen, Ake, Van der Ven, Malacia, Bakker

Right backs: Frimpong, Dumfries, Geertruida, Teze, Rensch, Hoever, Karsdorp

Centre backs: Van der Ven, Ake, De Ligt, Geertruida, J Timber, Botman, Schuurs, Beelen, Hato, Teze, Sam Beukema, Van Hecke, Sepp van de Berg, Struijk,

Midfield: Frenkie de Jong, Koopmeiners, Schouten, Reijnders, Q Timber, Wieffer, Taylor, Rosario, Gravenberch, Proper, Matusima, Ekkelenkamp, Eijting, Donny van de Beek,

Attack: Xavi, Gakpo, Malen, Bergwijn, Lang, Zirkzee, Brobbey, Dallinga, Kluivert, Chong, Piroe, Danjuma, Stengs

Surely, a good coach can make this into a winning and entertaining team?

 

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46 comments

  1. Jan, if you think I am Ronald Koeman, it is very bold of you to publish take down columns like this. But I understand in football, as in life and as in business, everything can be talked about and discussed.

    So, let’s talk first about players. As a famous person once said, “You can have Guardiola as a manager, you can have Koeman as a manager, you can have anybody as a manager, but the players inside the white lines win the game.”
    I’ve been told that managing a national team is like coaching an all-star game. The players are not yours. You merely borrow them for a brief time with a promise not to get them injured. You cannot buy, sell or trade them. You cannot spend months with them collectively developing team tactics like their club managers do. You must work with what is available – if you have seven center backs with your nationality but no strikers, that is what you must work with.

    And we hear this again and again about “tactics”. Everyone loves Van Gaal. And when you bring Van Gaal into the house, you bring in quality. But you also bring in someone who thinks he knows everything. And that will bring clashes. Just ask Angel Di Maria! When you have Van Gaal in charge, it is a fact that there is fear in his team. The players have a fear for Meester Van Gaal. That is not always good.

    In Koeman’s team, there is belief, confidence, resolve. There is no fear. Just hear from the players themselves! Talk to Van Dijk, to Memphis, to Simons. Even substitute Weghorst who wants to start. Are they asking for the manager to be out? Are they criticizing him? No, because they are successful with Koeman! There are no clashes, no internal sniping, no typical Dutch self-destructive mentality. Why? Koeman as a manager knows what it takes to be successful based on the success of Koeman as a player. It is not easy to be so strong in defense, so decisive in attack, so ruggedly handsome with such a sly sense of humor. And also such a good cook. But I digress.

    If I were Koeman, I would ask all of you to thank me for molding the current squad into such a successful team that the whole country can get behind and support. But there is more work to be done, and I have great confidence in the manager to make these decisions going forward.

    When my two boys were growing up and asking me about Dutch football, I showed them all the matches from the European Championships in 1988 when we beat Germany in the semi-final and won the final against Russia. That is what Koeman has achieved as a player and what he can lead us to again as Netherlands coach!

  2. Maybe you shud look at his coaching career and then reflect it to what you are saying.

    Once again my question to you is what is that he has done to make you say he has moulded a good team. He interhited a good squad from Van gaal and the next coach will have the same. I really don’t get how you making these claims.

    1. Het gras is altjid groener in een andere tuin!

      @Wilson, I don’t think you deal in realism. Anyone who has not managed before assumes that what appears on paper will automatically materialize on the pitch. It is never so easy, and a good manager adapts to changing conditions. But since you are so interested in exploring alternatives, let’s take a moment to evaluate the other national team managers out there. Put yourself in the boots of other European teams. Tell me, who were the best managers in this tournament?

      Before the first ball is kicked, you have many obvious candidates. But what happens?

      Deschamps? Dreary disappointing football
      Spalletti? Went splat!
      Nagelsmann? A tinker toy
      Dalic? Past it
      Martinez? In awe of Ronaldo
      Tedesco? Underachieving

      And now, after all but one match has been played?

      Rangnick? Pressing is back!
      Yakin? Swiss bliss
      Montella? Turkish delight
      Southgate? Dull, mediocre football but results
      De la Fuente? Just a youth coach… until he’s not

      Results change perception. France, Italy, Germany, Croatia, Portugal and Belgium all now have some questions to ask about their managers. While Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, England and Spain are firmly committed to their coaches for 2026 and beyond!

      Why would you not feel the same about our manager? We survived the most competitive group and played better and better as the tournament went on, and barely missed out on the final with a squad no one expected to advance very far. To me, that is recognition of the manager doing an excellent job! But hey, I am just a realist

  3. Dear Jan,

    Thank you for the mention and slightly faint praise! But if the opportunity is available, just let me know and I am happy to return for 2026! I don’t think Curaçao will really mind. It will be like 1994 in the USA all over again!

    Nogmaals bedankt,

    Nicolaas

  4. Nicolaas, you’re welcome.

    Ronald (broer of Erwin), I think you need to be realistic here. You made some bold choices and some of them failed.

    Before the tournament, you said: we can only get far if Memphis is in top form.

    What do you think this does to the confidence of Brobbey, or Gravenberch, or Malen?

    And guess what: Memphis was not in form, but we still managed to reach the semis.

    Despite you. We simply had a massive luck finishing third and still getting in the weak side of the draw.

    You put your trust in Memphis and Wijnaldum. The whole nation was in doubt.

    You selected Brobbey, but not Zirkzee. Until Brobbey got injured and you went for Zirkzee after all.

    You said Xavi wouldn’t cut it as a 10. But he was definitely able to.

    Everyone could predict that the combi Dumfries – Frimpong wouldn’t work, you still put them together on the pitch.

    When we needed depth versus England, you took Malen off and put Weghorst on, who would never be able to bring what he needed playing on the mid line of the pitch.

    What was the deal with Frimpong/Bergwijn/Xavi/Malen on the right?

    You were able to create a nice vibe. Great! You were able to pick a logical squad.

    But with the top talent we do have, you never managed to get a team to mould into a winning and exciting team. After Van Gaal and Frank de Boer, the KNVB and the nation demanded a swinging, courageous and attacking team.

    This is what you promised before the Euros.

    You failed to bring it. You couldn’t get them to start well in some games and in all games you needed to repair what went wrong.

    Someone needs to come in to: 1) make the tough decisions (Van Dijk! Memphis! Dumfries!) and 2) create a winning identity. Why is Spain able to do it? And not us?

    I know Dumfries is popular amongst the fans, but he is not good enough.

    Created three penalties in the last three tournaments. His game in tight spaces is poor, he slows the game down when he is already up field and gets the ball. His crosses are hit and miss. He has assists, sure, but he also has howlers of crosses and against England he had one of those blocked crosses where Stevie Wonder could predict it would happen.

    He’s a good header, but we don’t need another header, when we have De Vrij, Van Dijk, Ake and Gakpo.

    He did stop the ball on the line when Foden was about to score, but any right back would have had the task to cover. That was just Dumfries doing his job.

    Time for better options.

  5. ago
    @Broer Van Erwin, given you are such a staunch supporter of Koeman, may I ask what makes you think Koeman is sticking with Depay, Berwijn and Malen when these players ain’t playing well at all? Why the obsessions with these players?
    We have surely better players in Zirkzee, Frimpong..don’t you agree?
    Wish to hear your opinions here.

  6. Wow, I am sorry to be writing so much here as a newcomer. But since so many of you seem to see our manager as the duevil, I feel like I should at least attempt to act as his advocate.

    Jan, thank you for these thought-provoking comments. You have obviously been listening to things that I (if I were the manager…) have said. And if I were the manager, I would probably be honored that you have paid such close attention. Or maybe I would feel like the subject of a Police song. At any rate, you seem like a reasonable man with some understanding of football. Perhaps we are contemporaries or maybe you were a youth during our nation’s only trophy winning tournament. But you must know this – Ronald Koeman is a beloved figure in Dutch football, probably even more so than his father and brother before him (although things like that should probably go unsaid so as to avoid family squabbles).

    And consider this: The heroes of 1988 are like royalty to Dutch people, including these current players. And so while coaches like Michels and van Gaal and Advocaat are respected, maybe even feared, the players look at them in a different way, because as much as they may know and theorize and plot out about the sport, they were never players capable of excelling at this level.

    The Dutch players who Ronald Koeman coaches respect him in a different way because they know that he knows and understands what it takes to succeed as a top flight player (the same was true previously with Frank and Marco). It is to often triumph and occasionally struggle, and to handle the type of criticism that you receive when you do. So there is a different relationship there than may exist with just an ordinary “coach”. Now you will likely say “oh, so this means only a world-class player is capable of coaching world class players,” but we both know this is not the case. My point is only this — in the past, the Dutch mentality and mindset have been our undoing. And most Dutch coaches in the past have not been able to manage and direct those egos in a productive way. But Koeman can and does.

    Further, of the two greatest minds in Dutch football history, one created an attacking machine at Ajax and with the national team that reached the pinnacle of the sport and should have won the World Cup, but for their arrogance and idealism. When given a second bite at the apple, that same coach was far more pragmatic, even as to playing a very non-Dutch formation and grinding out results, with an occasional bit of flair on the players‘ part thrown in. The other great mind was never able to coach Holland internationally due to politics. But he was known for sticking through his principles and vision of how the game should be played. He also was the greatest player in our nation’s history and one of the greatest the sport has ever seen.

    So why do I give you this history lesson? Of what relevance is it today? Well, as you probably know, our current manager was coached himself by both of those great minds and was a decisive figure in both of their teams. And so there is really no one better equipped to apply all the Dutch know-how and lessons learned in the past than Ronald Koeman. The Dutch people know this. The KNVB know this, which is why he was given the ability in his contract to exit and return. So in my mind, Ronald Koeman is the only man for this job. And he has just successfully led a less-than-championship quality team to the brink of a championship.

    And yet as I read the comments on this site, everyone is very upset with the manager. They think he has no imagination. They think he has no tactics. They think he provides no discipline. They think he is not a leader. They think he cannot get the most out of the players. But let me tell you, all of those things are untrue. The reality is this Dechamps is not a great manager, but he is a heroic figure as a national team player in French football. And his arrival as a manager coincided with a fantastic generation of French players. Beckenbauer was a heroic figure as a national team player in German football. Was he a great manager? I don’t know, but his arrival is a manager coincided with a fantastic generation of German players. Luis Aragones and Vincente Del Bosque were not heroic figures as national team players in Spanish football, but their arrival coincided with a fantastic generation of Spanish players. These are all successful managers of their national teams, none of whom had anything to do with the development of the players they utilized to win their titles.

    As I noted in an earlier post, a national team manager has a little time to spend with his players, and is reliant on their clubs to truly develop them and hone them into finished products. When Michels managed the 1974 World Cup team, he had already been the club manager for a majority of the players. The team was almost equally divided between Ajax and Feyenoord players, both of whom played already similar attacking styles of football. So the national team was essentially already one everyday team and the players had real familiarity. In 1978, many of the same players remained plus there was a big influx of quality PSV players and the team again reached the final. Jump forward to 1998 with Hiddink. Again, Dutch club teams has been successful in developing a new golden generation of players that made it to the semi finals in France. I recall that every starter came up with either Ajax or PSV. Jump forward another 12 years again, this time Ajax had developed some excellent attacking talents, who combined with some highly skilled players from Feyenoord and from one standout from a personal favorite of mine, Groningen. But of course, the back line was lacking, and the manager was forced to play two holding mids to shield it, which affected player selection and prevented the team from playing true Dutch football. And again, I only offer this history to illustrate that it is the players who make the success. It is the manager’s job to guide and support and encourage and instruct and place them on the pitch in the best possible situation. But it is the players who win tournaments.

    This tournament, we had strong players, veteran players in certain areas, but we lacked those types of players in many others areas, particularly in attack (other than Memphis). But as you saw as the team evolved during these Euros, Gakpo and Xavi are now ready (and perhaps by 2026, Zirkzee, Brobbey and others will be ready) to step into that role. Timing is everything. In 2010 we were lacking in defensive talent. And in recent tournaments, the opposite has begun to be true. Our back line is strong and we’ve been developing excellent center backs, but the attack is not there yet. But I see on the horizon, new young attacking players of true quality, and so if we can keep the defensive talent in place and continue to develop our midfielders around the three you watched in the Euros plus De Jong, and introduce these new young exciting attacking players, we will have a complete team. And that is a team that I’m excited to see the current manager coach!

    1. Dear Broer van Erwin,

      Ronald, is that really you as Jan says? If so, you truly have an encyclopaedic knowledge of Dutch football. I am impressed! I hope you remember me? It is Nicolaas! I was Michels’ assistant on our Euro winning team in 1988, and also your manager with Oranje from 92-94. We later crossed paths as well when I followed you as manager after your 16 matches at AZ and then when you succeeded me as national team coach (the first time you took over the role in 2018), and I am happy to succeed you again when you are next fired. Maybe you could then replace me in Curacao? It is lovely here, although the UV Index is extreme today!

      Anyway, I thought it was thoughtful for both you and Jan to reference me in a semi-positive light in both of your posts. It is nice to be “respected”.

      Best of luck in all of your future endeavours.

      Sincerely,

      Nicolaas

      1. P.S., Ronald, if it really is you, please also give my regards to your “broer” Erwin. I know his managerial career has not taken off as yours has, but it is nice to see the two of you on the bench together. But please encourage him — at this point, he has only managed 8 teams in 5 countries — so there are plenty more time and opportunities for him to come!

  7. Dear Broer,

    So much thanks for the so many things you offer for us to consider and reflect upon. But, I wonder, rather than looking back, perhaps you might look forward, or, rather, provide us insight as to how Ronald might look forward, to the journey through 2026?

    The Nations League will be upon us in a couple of short months. While a prize, to be sure, it is but a light bulb against the sun of the World Cup.

    We play in a NL group containing the ancient enemuy as well as two potentially tricky sides. At the same time, two teams from the group stage advance. So how does Ronald use this to his best advantage? Will he depend on his old guard of Van Dijk, Ake, Memphis, Denzel, Donyell, De Vrij, et al.? And if so, why?

    Wouldn’t, aiming towards 2026. it be more useful to run out a fresh group. Imagine taking the field with a lineup Hartman/ Maatsen, Van de Ven, J. Timber, Frimpong; Frenkie, Gravenberch/Reijnders, Simons; Gakpo, Zirkzee/Brobbey; Lang? While Lang might prefet to play on the left, wouldn’t he do anything to just get the chance to be on the field, and couldn’t Ronald entrance him with stories of past Dutch greats who adapted to new positions just for the chance of making an impression in the National team? Isn’t such a group, in addition to being young and hungry, be also technically gifted and have the speed and athleticism to cover a field like no collection of Dutch players we have seen in a number of years?

    As I recall, Ronald was on the field in 1994—playing in such places like Florida, Washington DC, and Dallas, Texas. As he prepares for a 48 team field, 5 plus week, and 32 team knockout round in 2026, has he learned the lesson of the dreadful humidity and heat (and 34 years later, it won’t gotten any cooler in June and July this time around) of the American and Mexican summer? Won’t he need contributions from all 26 in the squad? And doesn’t the compressed calendar of the upcoming NL group play give him the opportunity to see all the younger players (including those not mentioned in the starting lineup offered above) in real competition.

    And wouldn’t such a team avoid the jaded performances of older players who have run too far, too long in a short of a time? And, then as he wishes to blend his team for the soon after WC qualifiers, won’t his old guard be more rested and fresher to take on that task?

    These are questions I think about.

    But I wonder what Ronald thinks as he prepares for the campaign to come?

  8. @Broer van Erwin

    Halo there again and I will say I like your optimism and will request feel free and continue to write.

    I will acknowledge you on your point that we are merely fans and to step into the shoes of coach at that level would be out our league however koemans strengths and weakness is well documented. And I agree on Jan’s point koeman is not a coach who can strive starting from scratch. He has shown to be successful with established players like in 2018 when he inherited the squad with peak van dijk,wijnaldum and depay and with other well established players ike Promes,bergwijn and frenkie and the recall of babbel. the rest is history and what we saw how the team succeeded leading to Nation league final.probably the best in euro at that point in time. Critics can argue that you can’t compare international to club level but the traits speak for itself and if you look at his two tenures at Southampton and everton respectively you again come to the same conclusion leading to his success and failure.

    Conclusively and again I agree with Jan, he is not the right coach to lead the talented young generation that is at the helm atm. It’s time for young generation coach who can bring a modern day approach to the game. And I reckon it has to be van bommel and bert van Mawijk as his assistant as somebody pointed out. Well if he wants his FIL to be there.for bosz if KNVB approaches PSV,I’d say well and good.

    On your second point about the coaches.again I will say this other big teams didnt have the luxury of easiest passage that NT had. And again I will say No way the dutch were in a competitive group. As a matter of fact they got pegged by Austria to the thitd spot. Otherwise they were certain to qualify as runner up after the draws and even koeman said we can finish at the top.Also those who bowed out on penalties, certainly you have to symapthise with them and cant blame the coaches.

    Koeman was the most prolific coach at this euros with in depth knowledge of the team and probably one of the most experienced one as well. You can argue there is always high expectation when the dutch team plays but given how they stumbled at the first major block even though at SF stage it no worth sympathizing knowing that this eventually would have been the case at any stage ( knock out ) if they would have early collided with a top team. I think this is where the concious of bad outings is trigged from. Everyone is talking about the being robbed but could they have done it if not for PK. Big question mark. Yes the dutch looked better in second half but it was at the expense of england playing more conservative after the equalizer.

    I mean you look at croatia and modric vs iltaly and zaccagani 98′ equalizerand them bowing out in group stage.Modric eating his shirt in the build to that equalizer. Worthy of sympathy and heart whelming. The press thanking modric and telling him to keep playing. Sympathy Where it’s due.

    I’m still trying to figure out what if NT would have scraped past and into the final. How the critics would have reacted then. Let’s also not forgot the criticism from Dutch media and ex players and fraternity were constant through out the tournment on koemans approach

  9. @Andrew @Wilson

    Thank you for your more balanced and considered analysis. And it is true, hoge bomen vangen veel wind. But candidly, I can concede that Holland’s performance under the manager’s tenure has been sometimes… uneven. And as @Jan says, there have often been times where the initial game plan has not worked as anticipated and adjustments have been needed. But I would argue that these instances show that the manager is growing into the role and getting to know his players better. And when the manager has made adjustments, they have generally succeeded in their objective — take vs England for example.

    After taking the early lead, it is true that the Dutch team went into a shell and let England have the ball extensively. This was not a tactical decision, however as much as human nature. In a knockout match, a team with an early lead knows that it will have to defend it and the trailing team knows they now must score to survive. So Xavi’s goal actually shifted momentum very much in England’s favor. England snatched the reins and our players became more conservative and less risk taking. Then England were awarded the penalty after a period of transition in initiative, and a few minutes later Memphis must be withdrawn due to injury. The manager brought on Veerman because it was apparent that the midfield battle was being lost and it was necessary to regain some control. Yes, there were other possible options, but given his dire performance vs Austria where he was substituted out at almost the same timeline, this seemed like an opportunity for his redemption. But it is challenging to rearrange structure and change tactics dramatically mid-match, and I agree that there was a period of chaos leading up to halftime, until the last few minutes, where our team wrestled possession away from England and kept it.

    Further discussions occurred at halftime and more formal reorganization was set. And if you look at the second half statistics, England’s effectiveness dropped very much and the match was much more even. In fact, despite the 1-1 score line, Oranje created many more opportunities out of relatively balanced possession until England stole one at the death. The manager had planned to give a fresh attack in extra time with the young duo of Brobbey and Zirkzee, but once the goal was scored, he had to bring them on instead in the final moments of regulation.

    With all that noted, I acknowledge that Koeman’s prematch tactics have not always gone according to plan, but things happen during matches that are not always in the manager’s control and I would argue that his in-game instincts are good and his adjustments regularly are successful.

    I notice that my posts here become very long, so I will try to respond to other criticisms in separate writings, including @Andrew’s plans for Nations League and beyond.

    1. To continue to speak candidly, I would say that most national team managers do not often throw caution to the wind and devise radical line-up adjustments or leave success or failure in the hands of young untested players (unless of course they are in a situation with nothing to lose). There is too much reputational harm possible in making decisions that go against the grain. So most international managers will play it safe. And I understand people’s complaints about Wijnaldum and Blind. But I will say a few things. First, each of those players brings experience, composure and leadership. Whether or not they have an active role on the pitch, they are valuable in team-building, help manage the squad mentality, and can provide corrective action in a pinch. And let’s see, Wijnaldum played 70 minutes across 3 matches. Blind played 1 minute of 1 match. Some people even complained about Bergwijn’s inclusion in the squad, but he proved essential vs Romania, where we played some of our best football. And so, experience is something a manager will always value.

      Going forward, @Andrew mentioned the Nations League as a chance to experiment with new young talent and to begin to mold a new squad in preparation for 2026. And I 100% agree. These will be competitive matches that we would like to win, but they will also be proving grounds. Our goal is truly 2026 so I expect this to be a big part of our approach. And I agree as well that the climate conditions in the US will dictate that our squad be very deep and incorporate young players who can handle the workrate required. And so, if you see the manager trotting out 33+ year old players in the months ahead, feel free to scream at him then! Although Wout may be make it to America because he is our good luck charm!

  10. Just curious who everyone is supporting today?

    My son just showed me some webcam footage of him watching the Xavi Simons goal vs England. He’s an Arsenal and Dortmund fan and really likes Saka, and to a lesser extent Rice and Bellingham. And unlike me, he rarely shows much reaction in response to goals or other big moments (which probably explains his own success as an athlete). But he jumped up out of his chair for Xavi’s goal and ran around the room! Hilarious!

    For me today, I actually like Spain’s football much better (both than England’s and than Spain’s prior teams), but I just don’t know if I can bring myself to cheer for them. 2010 still lingers for me…

  11. Spain has generally controlled the match so far, but without generating a lot of great chances. England has had a few moments, but I still just can’t understand their use (or rather non-use) of Foden and Bellingham.

  12. It seems like the ultimate tautology, but goals change everything. This match has remained cagey and kind of dull with neither team committed to trying to score because their opponent hasn’t scored yet. In our semifinal match, I think Xavi’s goal ironically brought the best out of England, at least for a while.

    The first goal scored in this match, if and when it comes, will change everything! But that’s one of the most frustrating things about the modern “tactical” approach…

  13. 34 year old Kyle Walker making some very aggressive forward runs but 22 year old Saka not giving him the ball. Can’t imagine we’ll see much more of that

  14. 70 minutes in and still essentially nothing from England. How disappointing it must be for their “golden generation” to have so many chances and continue to fall short. This Spanish team isn’t even that good. The 2008-2010-2012 edition had far more talent, although this team is more attacking due to their young wings.

    1. It is certainly true that Spain consistently played the best football throughout the tournament and made the most of their opportunities. Their young wings have totally changed the nature of their play and made them far more dangerous than the metronomic tiki-taka version, even though I would argue that their earlier Euro-winning versions had a higher overall talent level. Congrats to Spain who were deserved champions !

  15. @ Broer Van Erwin

    You’vevmentioned how much people in the Netherlands love Koeman and he is a hero but Koeman doesn’t show the love back because as soon as he found a better opportunity, he bounced. As soon as he got a call from Barcelona, he bounced. It’s pretty obvious that you like Koeman but no need to try that hard. Koeman is just average coach. All of the miss steps iat the euro and more were a clear indication that is not what you want to make us believe he is. His team selection, his tactics, his substitutions were questionable.
    To be fair, for The Netherlands to becoming competitive again, they need more than a new. coach. We need to figure out why they aren’t producing top talents anymore. We need better skillful players and a modern coach. Koeman needs to be sacked right away. If he doesn’t get sacked now, we are going to find ourselves in the same situation as 2021 trying to find a coach last minute to rescue us. He needs to go now.

    1. @jean_venette,

      I appreciate your honesty. You have strong feelings. But tell me this – if Dumfries’ block on Kane is not whistled for a VAR penalty, Holland goes into halftime 1-0. And in second half, if Ollie Watkins uses the turn he tried today instead of the one he used against us Wednesday, then Holland prevails and advances to the final. And as we saw today, when neither team actively tries to score, it is no surprise that neither does. Holland and England were close to an even match, although England currently is more talented. Spain was certainly better than England, in the way they played, but not by an insurmountable level. My point is, a few breaks go differently and Holland just as easily could be winners of this tournament as semifinalists. If that happens, all these critics have a very different opinion of the manager. Like they often say about football, the ball is round…

      Many supporters always want to choose the unknown over the known. They prefer a new player or a new manager rather than the one they just watched failed to achieve their goal. But if the goal is achieved, all is forgiven.

      I don’t argue that Koeman is the perfect manager, but I believe that he understands what it takes to be successful, and with the right composition of defenders, midfield and attacking players, he can achieve success for us! Spain was balanced in all three areas. England was as well. France is also, as is Germany. We currently are not balanced. Our strength is too far in the back. But if we can gain balance in developing the other areas, we too can be victorious.

  16. The approach to a South American final is decidedly different. After chaos outside the stadium before the match and a long delay, Colombia is going after it full force for the first 10 minutes straight!

  17. Still 0-0 but a pretty entertaining match so far. South American football can be great and very exciting if you can get past all the diving and play-acting.

  18. Argentina with a couple good chances and a possible handball. Ironically, lots of former Ajax defenders involved in this match — Lisandro Martinez, Tagliafico and Davinson Sanchez

  19. Messi stumbles in pursuit and falls down injured. We’ll probably get to hear about the field conditions again, although Miami has a full time natural grass surface

      1. I’m happy they didn’t call it a penalty, but with the way they calling things at the Euros, they could have called it a penalty.

        Personally, I wish they would restrict VAR to offsides, lines, and the goal line.

  20. What a save by Vargas on almost a certain goal for Argentina! Fatigue setting in for both teams. More sloppy touches and less patience. I think this is going to come down to one mistake

  21. Argentina subbing out Mac Allister, Alvarez and Fernandez.

    But nice when you can bring in Paredes, Lo Celso and Lautaro Martinez.

    That’s the type of depth and quality that we need to develop to compete at the highest levels!

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Second best Oranje robbed by Ref

I’m sorry guys, this is the only way I can see it. When you score 1-0 so you can sit back and trust your speedy forwards to finish off the opponent, a penalty for the opponent will definitely change the game. This ref got it wrong. Initially, he made the right call, but the VAR called the ref to the side of the pitch and the nervous guy felt the pressure and decided to go with the VAR and award a penalty.

We can talk for months about Memphis’ form or De Jong’s injury or Koeman’s weaknesses but in a game like this, which was always going to be close, a penalty can be deciding.

So lets recap: the ref made the on field decision that it wasn’t a penalty. If the VAR believes the ref makes a clear and obvious error, they can intervene. Did the ref make a clear and obvious error? No. I listened to the English commentary and they felt it should never have been a pen. Even Neville in studio in England felt it was ridiculous.

Kane didn’t even hit the target and his follow through hit Dumfries. Not the other way around. A real brave ref would have given Oranje the free kick. What is Dumfries supposed to do: nothing? And allow a free shot? He has a right to block and it was Kane who hit him. I have seen players red carded for a follow through like this.

And on top of that: Saka made hands right before the ball came to Kane! The rules are clear: if a player gets the benefit because a team mate made hands in the build up, it needs to be a free kick for the defending team. Didn’t Georgia have a goal disallowed for the same reason??

Disgusted.

I believe the ref shouldn’t even be on the pitch as he was found guilty of taking a bribe on a game. Which got him banned for 6 months. 6 months??? Why not for life. He looked very nervous and made a series of odd decisions, mostly against us. I remember situations where Gakpo and Simons knicked the ball off an English player and the ref would call them back. Unreal. On a Veerman free kick, an English defender headed the ball corner, but the ref gave a goal kick. When captain Van Dijk protested this, he got yellow. The skipper was supposedly allowed to talk to the ref, right? Well… wrong!

Now, before you have a go at me: Oranje was second best. We started brightly on the counter and Xavi scored a scorcher in the first 8 minutes. After that, it was all England.

We couldn’t handle their midfielders who looked very alive. Mainoo is amazing, Foden finally came to life and Rice was trying to bully our midfield.

Tactical tweaks

Koeman surprised a bit from the start, with an offensive tactical trick that got us the first goal. He likes to use the box in midfield, but this time around, he decided to do it differently: two wide forwards high up (Gakpo and Malen) and Memphis playing as a 10. Meaning we actually played with three 10s: Reijnders to the left, Simons on the right and Memphis through the middle. This way, Koeman wanted to create an overload versus Rice and Mainoo.

Koeman: “I wanted to shore up the midfield and use our wide players for depth. I wanted them to stretch the pitch, but also Reijnders and Simons and Memphis needed to make runs.”

And Reijnders listened to the coach. His run in behind was the key for Simon’s goal. When Dumfries gets playing in, in the 7th minute of the game, Reijnders immediately makes a diagonal run from his midfield position. Walker responds too late and Guehi just picks off the ball. Simons wins the second ball from Rice and the rest you saw.

So, Koeman’s offensive tweak worked. But his defensive tweak fails and this is why we got under a lot of pressure.

He wants to force England to the wings, and Malen and Gakpo were to squeeze inside, allowing Reijnders and Schouten to stay in position against Foden and Bellingham. But the defensive tactics, brilliant on the whiteboard, fails because of the communication between the players. You need to signal the moment another player needs to take over and you have to be “on”  for this. England’s penalty comes from a move where Malen again forgets to mark his man (Trippier). Now Dumfries is up against Trippier and Bellingham. Dumfries gesticulates that someone needs to pick up Bellingham but no one sees it or responds. Bellingham moves the ball to the right to Saka and he starts the move resulting in his handling of the ball and the Kane dive the penalty.

In the first half, Mainoo and Rice are constantly playing from under the press in this way, like in the situation where Dumfries has a goal line clearance from a Foden attempt. Mainoo is free between the lines and he is able to pass into Foden. The amazing Dumfries action saves a goal.

Memphis’ injury might have been a godsend for Koeman as he quickly sent Veerman on, who has the skills to put a player one v one in the box, on a good day plus Veerman is needed to fill the gaps in midfield. I probably would have chosen Gravenberch, but what do I know.

We got back into the game late in the first half but decided to pace the game out, allowing Koeman to make changes.

With Wout in the second half we started to get more control and were getting more threatening, as the English seem to run out of steam. Foden had a shot on the post, (Dumfries a header on the bar in the first half) and there were some more moments, but not many. Virgil got the biggest chance from a Veerman dead ball but too close to Pickford. How he would love to score against the goalie who ruined Van Dijk’s 2021 Euros.

Picking Weghorst for the second half instead of Malen is logical. Malen wasn’t delivering. And Weghorst has done ever so well in all his sub turns. But the way we were playing, we needed a number 9 with ball skills, as Weghorst was playing far from their goal and had to play a pass and move game, which is not his strength. He doesn’t get many good crosses or service either. Veerman disappoints as left attacking midfielder but Koeman doesn’t want Veerman up against Foden. I think Gravenberch was the better option and Zirkzee the better options instead of Wout.

if we would have gone to Extra Time, we would have won it, I’m sure, with the likes of Zirkzee and Frimpong keen to come on and dazzle. But a brilliant late move involving Watkins put an end to it He will never score that goal ever again as it went exactly where there was one chance to go through on goal. And he got it.

Either way, Koeman made defensive changes which didn’t work out. Southgate made late offensive changes and those paid dividends.

Overall, a mediocre tournament with a good end result. I think we were not good enough, despite the easy road to the finals. Sure, missing Frenkie, Noa Lang and Wieffer might have been a slight issue, but overall, we didn’t do enough. Too many times, players like Dumfries or Memphis, or Weghorst were too sloppy in possession or simply not picking the best option. For me, Schouten, Verbruggen and De Vrij were the best players in Orange.

First half against England, we didn’t have wherewithal to find solutions and I think this comes down to something Van Basten said recently: “We learned our football on the street. We had to fight, there was no ref, there was not even a slick pitch, it was with bumps and puddles and holes and trees and sidewalks. And you had to be streetsmart and you had to be a bit of a bully at times. These kids today, they play on silky surfaces, with top quality balls and coaches telling them to not take risks. This is where we go wrong, particularly in The Netherlands. Everything is organised too well, if you ask me.”

I think Koeman will stay on as coach. The KNVB will probably find this Euros a success.

I believe Koeman needs to make way for a more innovative, modern and daring coach. I think his squad selection was fine, but he made some odd choices. I mentioned a couple for this game. I also believe that playing Frimpong and Dumfries together was a mistake. Just like I would have want to see Brobbey instead of Memphis in this match and definitely hoped for Van der Ven to come on.

Tactically, Southgate outsmarted him. His tactical tricks were very intricate and complicated and everyone should know by now that Malen is not reliable in matches like these.

It says something when every match you play (bar the England one) you concede first. Every match you need to change your starting eleven and tactics to get a result. It says something when you keep your trust in an old hand who simply fails to deliver (Memphis) or when you believe a certain player is not a 10 (Simons) when in the tournament, he ends up performing best on the 10 position. And on we go.

Koeman was clearly also unable to find a solution against England that worked (the trick with high and wide players didn’t really work as England has the run of the roost in the first half).

I say: Koeman out, not necessarily because he failed per se, but because we need to rebuild and that is not his forte. We don’t want to see Blind, Wijnaldum, Memphis, De Roon and Van Dijk at the next World Cup. With all due respect. Give the former Barca captain a statue in Zeist and move on.

Some stats: Schouten is top dog in ball retention. With 11 caps to his name, the upstart was one of the best Oranje players, as if he has been playing many tournaments in orange. He had 6 interventions, the highest number and 53 of his 56 passes reached the end destination. In total, he won the ball back 29 times this Euros, the highest of all players in Oranje.

Dumfries is now involved three times in a penalty given to the opponent. In the 2020 Euros versus Austria, against Argentina in Qatar and now in Germany again. Even thought it technically wasn’t a penalty of course.

Ten Hag, Slot and Peter Bosz would be logical options as team manager but they’re not available. Alfred Schreuder could work, but he too is under contract. Alex Pastoor is currently without a club and he has proven in the past to be able to play an attractive, dynamic game of football. He is a tough taskmaster and a great communicator and most importantly, he has balls.

Xavi Simons is now the youngest Oranje player ever to score in a knock-out game at a big tournaement ( 21 years and 81 days).

As for the players, I believe Schouten, Reijnders, Gakpo, Verbruggen, Dumfries and Simons have proven themselves. They’re future proof, with Schouten the best player of the tournament, for me, together with Stefan de Vrij.

De Roon, Blind, Wijnaldum and De Vrij will be question marks for the World Cup 2026 for me. As is Virgil, with all do respect.

Weghorst was amazing, but I can’t see him winning the spot in two years, with Zirkzee, Brobbey, Lammers and Dallinga all knocking on the door, which is seemingly still firmly in the hands of Memphis. Noah Ohio might also be an interesting prospect to follow as is Ruben van Bommel.

With Frenkie De Jong, Frimpong, Hartman, Van de Velde, Lang, Timber (2x) we can build a really strong squad.

Should our key guys remain fit, I think we should be considered a candidate for greatness for the 2026 World Cup.

I thank you for your contributions here, and for the generous donations some of you made to the blog (you know exactly who you are) and lets hope Spain ( second-rate Holland, of course) will beat this England on Sunday.

 

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25 comments

  1. Thank you, Jan, for the post. It is hard to write a blog when you are heartbroken again. I wish we have had a courageous coach with the iron backbone. I think we have enough quality material to work with but in terms of coach we are not there.

  2. I am sure we all are in agreement that our performance in Euro 2024 was mediocre at best with flashes of great moments and gut-wrenching dumb mistakes in equal proportions. We were incredibly lucky that we went to the semi-finals even after finishing 3rd in our group.

    My question to those of you who follow Dutch football closely as I look into the future of Oranje is where are our new players who can carry the torch forward? Look at Spain, England, France, Germany and they have endless supplies of young talent playing at top clubs and competing for national team spots. Whereas we are still bringing back old players like Wijnaldum, De Roon, Klaasen, Blind, Memphis who don’t play for top clubs anymore and those who didn’t develop at all (Malen, Bergwyn and others). Why is our supply-line so depleted? We haven’t had a single world class player since the Sneijder, Van Persie, Robben generation and it has been more than 12 years. What happened to the famed Ajax Academy? What the heck is the KNVB doing?

  3. @Jan i dropped a small gift to jj united pty ltd..i was sceptical about koeman ,so i had zero expectations from this wonderful generation of players..i knew they are goin to be wasted by KNVB and koeman..beacuse of facing low ranked teams and luck we reached to semis..low ranked teams doesnt get uefa or fifa support..hence we made so far….koeman has lost to all big teams, he is failed one ,he got sacked every where,why KNVB hanging on a looser…??..i agree next time we need to beat fifa and uefa not just opponents..
    loosing to fifa or uefa is making me sad..this is is an indiactor we will be always victim of these bastards dirty play…popular teams make more veirwership and more money..business talks,money talks,sad state of affairs..
    KNVB should fire koeman right now..4-2 vs old croatia,3-2 vs italy,4-0,2-1 vs france,3-2 vs austria,2-1 vs england…Except england game rest were well deserevd failures…

    “””De Roon, Blind, Wijnaldum and De Vrij will be question marks for the World Cup 2026 for me.”””only virgil and de vrij should be question mark..rest should not be there on discussion…

  4. I’m amazed my old user account on this site is still active.. I check it from time to time, but I can’t remember the last when I posted. Years ago! I was one of the core bunch that migrated from the old site, which was so long ago that I can’t even remember its name..

    The studio experts in my country were completely divided on this penalty. Some thought it was a clear foul (dangerous play), some thought it was ridiculous. By the rulebook the ref made a correct call, but let’s be honest: it’s 50/50. My personal judgement is that the truth is somewhere in the middle: it wasn’t exactly a penalty worthy foul, but the move Dumfries made wasn’t a smart one either.

    Equally bad is the clear corner kick the NL team was robbed of in the last minutes. Really, no one caught this? The referee, the side referee, the whole VAR team? For me this screams more of bias than just feeling the crowd pressure.

    The main question is: did Netherlands lose because they were robbed by the ref team or did England play better? I’m afraid it’s the second one. I just don’t understand this current generation of players, there is no fighting spirit, no chemistry, no grit. There are flashes of brilliance where the old Dutch football school shines through. The match against France was solid, the match against Turkey was very good.

    But what happened against Austria? Total collapse of defense. There are probably U-17 national teams that defend better than NL did in that game. And then the UK game… every Dutch player was just always two paces behind their UK counterpart. They didn’t only play without emotion, they played like they had a squad that suffers from collective clinical depression. I didn’t see anyone picking up the reigns and rallying the troops. Remember Edgar Davids? Can you ever imagine him limping around the field with a sour expression on his face? He would fight through gritted teeth for every ball. And win a lot of them!

    With this level of inconsistency from game to game and this attitude and the lack of mental strength to fight every situation until the end you can never be a champion.

    And lastly, and I’m sorry if this might offend some members: please let’s not turn the Dutch national team into a meme team like France. I understand that Netherlands has a colonial past as well, but let’s keep the team makeup more balanced and well-rounded. I’m saying this as someone whose all time favourite players include Patrick Kluivert and Edgar Davids!

    In conclusion, I think this team is fundamentally flawed and needs to be rebuilt from the ground up. I’m not saying this team isn’t capable of playing great football. I’m saying it is not capable of bringing the trophy home.

    1. For me, it was not a penalty. Not a 50-50. It was Kane who hit Dumfries. If Kane wouldn’t have yelled and gone down, but instead Dumfries would have done it, we would have gotten a free kick.

      but the most important argument: the VAR has no business interfering if it is not a CLEAR AND OBVIOUS error. The ref gave goal kick. The VAR Intervened. That was the biggest error.

      And of course, Saka’s handling of the ball assisting Kane.

      Also, who ever has control or more possession is not necessarily the team that wins. It’s about goals. We were 1-0 up and if the pen wasn’t given, we probably would have been able to go into the break 1-0 up. That is what would determine the coach’ choices etc etc. Goals change games and this penalty should not have been given.

  5. First and foremost, big thanks to you Jan for taking your time to deliver such great game analysis and coverage. Really wanted to get into the conversation but completely swamped with

    Koeman.

    I don’t know why so many people decry the players without bringing up the man at the helm. Koeman is simply not a good coach. I would contend that oranje played the worst football of any team relative to the players at disposal. You literally have some of the finest defenders in the world and yet looked frantic and disorganized every time any kind of pressure is applied by ANY opposition. Defending set-pieces is no better with probably the biggest team in the tournament.

    Each and every team l saw, tournament wide, including Romania, has a set purpose in their play. A lot of times these sequences might not come off but you can clearly see what they are trying to do. Oranje does not have a pattern or recognized style to fall back on rather than the aimless lateral, sideway passing. So, so painfully predictable.

    Press conferences about how he is trying to clog that section and open up the middle yaddi yaddi yadda is all for the birds. You can talk blackboard stuff all you want but the great coaches are able to translate those ideas in the field and the even greater ones are able to adjust when faced with opponents that are one-upping them in real time.

    Koeman has never shown the ability to do neither. Not playing Frimpong (arguably our best pre-tournament player) for that extent of time is a disgrace. Just like how he opted for de Vrij at the eve of the tournament after ignoring him for the whole of the qualifiers. Dangerously erratic.

    He is just not smart on his feet nor a great tactician like say an LVG. For you to opt for playing on the counter, a coach should have a knowledge of how to organize your defense. Again, like LVG 2014. Ronnie clearly lacks the wherewithal.

    I wish the KNVB would test the resolve of a Klopp. Same players. Similar time frame. Oranje fans would know why a great craftsman doesn’t quarrel with his tools.

    1. Completely agree about your comments on Ronald Koeman. As an Everton fan, I have seen him up close for a long time and I despise that guy. Stubborn and stupid at the same time. But I guess we are stuck with him for 2 more years as the spineless KNVB will view this tournament as a “success” since we were in the semi-finals. The same KNVB who put in nis contract that he can escape if Barca came calling. The same KNVB who hired him back after he ruined Barca (and Everton in the past).
      I have been saying this for a long time: Oranje needs a foreign coach who can install a style that fits the current crop of players and let the players play freely. Klopp would be fantastic. Guardiola even better. But I am afraid those will remain our pipe-dreams. Even if Koeman goes, it will be some retread old haggard coming back for his n’th assignment with Oranje.

  6. Hi Jan
    What are you hearing regarding Koeman’s future? What are you hearing in the media/ex soccer experts? I think the Dutch fans I saw in Germany should show the same passion in demanding the KNVB to sack Koeman. I think if the KNVB feels pressure, they would sack koeman.

    1. I think most people feel he is not the man for the future. But a lot of die -hard old school Oranje fans think he did great.

      I think Nigel de Jong is the type of guy to be hard on Koeman, with his Ajax and Man City background, he’d expect better football. Or at least, I hope so. I will write some more on this later

  7. I expected NT to go out in Quarters or Maximum to reach Semis. They got there. Penalty in this match as everyone knows was a no-penalty after Saka handball.Neverthe less England played better in second half than NT. Substitutions were late and the substitutes like Zirkzee actually never got any playing minutes in the whole tournament, So obviously they were not going to do anything about it.Looking forward to changes in NT team and management.

  8. I am new to this site but have been around Dutch football for many years. I see many here are disfavoring of the manager but I say from a team-building view, he put together a competitive, hard fighting group that overcame big injuries and made the most of available talents, which were limited in attack. Plus, he gave many new young talents a chance to shine at a major tournament.

    And if you consider the tournament in total, we play only one poor match — the defeat to Austria, who was a tournament dark horse themselves — and the semifinal match was lost in the last moments against a top level opponent solely due to a horrible VAR penalty.

    Very few Dutch supporters expected us to make it so far and that should give confidence as we look to 2026. And so, I don’t see how you can blame our failure to reach the final of this tournament on some mistake by the manager. In fact, I would credit him for building the team in a way that enabled the success we had.

    Our expectations for 2026 are now increased based on this performance. Maybe by then Xavi will be a more accurate passer, Gakpo will be a multi-trick pony, at least two of the Reijnders – Schouten – Veerman trio will step forward further, and the young players like Geertruida, Frimpong, van de Ven and Zirkee will be stars on the rise.

    Many of you seem to think a different coach might be better to provide that development and ascension, but it’s easy to speak from behind a computer screen with no responsibility. I don’t know why we would disrupt the progress and team dynamics reached so far. In fact, the manager created a strong collective spirit and there was no bickering or clashing of egos that are normally such a problem for earlier Dutch teams. Remember, you have to lay the foundation for the success to follow. When you build a house, you don’t start with the roof.

    So for me, the best thing to come from these Euros is excitement for the future. There is a lot of future in this team. And in general, I am very proud. I liked how the players gave something in every game and for me, the manager obviously was key to that! So why change course now? Dutch football is back and I think with one or two more attacking options, we’ve got a real shot in 2026!

    1. Hi Broer welcome to the blog..What made you think that koeman is good?.His coaching proficiency?/or his election of players? or his tactical geniuses?…
      My observations and facts.
      1-He is sacked manger from every where except Southampton and Oranje,sacked from Everton,barca,valencia, etc…there is a reason behind that..proven failure for top clubs and top national teams..
      2-He has not beaten a single top team we faced in his second tenure..and conceded tons of goals.Dreadful record VS france..eg Defeat vs Croatia,italy,France(multiple),Germany and strong austria..
      3-where is defensive shape we had in euro 2024?? we were cut through open and survived due to verbrggen ,ake ,de vrij and virgil individual brilliance..beacause they are world class players.
      conclusion:-
      We were underachieved by a foolish ,pragmatic coach with coward approach with wonderful generations of players..yes i do agree he was robbed with a penalty..but so does van gaal 2022,he was robbed for Messi crowning, expect that more..i expect more robbing on the way.unless KNVB do something..

  9. I dont wanna keep repeating I said this,said that but it is what it is, two tournaments now, almost same tatical approach, set up, almost same players, same style of playing (total lateral and back passing football), thrive vs average team, average to dragging vs bigger teams. it has to end here. it just no use continuing and expecting things will change. two tournaments is enough to see which players should stay and which to go or benched. like I was saying the team lacks cutting edge and left foot architects. this is where the new management shud focus on.

    once again the downside of playing tatical setup in knock outside stages buckled its knee . You keep changing and changing and then you dont know what’s happening. then when the opposition makes changes , its just go with flow or go for luck. I remember saying this before the euros started and how playing tatically with Ake at LB will impact/ limit the attacking game on that flank. While he was solid defensivley but that flank just looked dead offensively ( vs engkand). Gakpo too, I said this before as well, he is a one trick pony. was completely neturalized. this is why he shud be benched for more explosive wingers like lang or simons. also recall this was the same story under van gaal and with blind and gakpo combo on that left flank vs Argentina. Big hype for gakpo in the media prior to the england game. Best player in the euros,highest goal scorer,will score two goals. Same hype like after that USA quarterfinal at world cup,come teams with no weakness, cutting edge,the dutch find themselves falling in their own trap.

    The biggest disappointment for me is how the team cant punch through the middle. Again the lateral and back passing has become unique feature to the extent that the opponents just let them do what they want. No triangle link ups, no passage of play, build up from the middle, very rare. This is truly haunting the team. Exception that reijnders and schouten has just come on board but even if you look at their strengths and ceiling, they still lack that craftsmanship like to that of what kobbie manioo (19) displayed fluently.schouten lacks that techincal factor overall . More defensive balanced.plain and simple. This is why I was skeptical that a investment in matusiwa would have been better. Though I’m not saying schouten was bad. Matusiwa just brings more to his game. Robust, break down and going forward as well.

    Note also how koeman boosted before game that he cam not be fired because he reached the SF. You see the typical self ego these dutch coaches. Trying to sweep his failure under the carpet and giving it overachieved status subject to easy run leading to SF. Even if not for the penalty,england still would have one it because they were a better team and given how they dominated the first half.they did put the foot of the pedal after HT when they introduced shaw and while that was time for the dutch to take the advantage,the weghorst sub just killed it.at the end of the England simply was on another level. The other aspect you also have to look at is how the dutch couldnt take control of the game after Simon’s goal and then compare it to how England did it after they equalized.

    This is what KNVB shud do if koeman has to continue. Appoint two assistants who will take over from him if he fails in nations league or after the World cup. One of whom shud be Rijkaard.If they can get Rangnick on board, might as well. If not another golden generation is on the brink of going to waste again.

    This is how things shud unfold. Lang and Simons to compete with gakpo for that LW. If a fit and firing danjuma is avaliable. Him too. Gakpo and depay bench. Zirkzee and brobbey shud be starters upfront. With zirkzee to man united confirmed, van hoojidonk can come into picture at bologna and follow the foot steps of zirkzee. Can be the next pinch hitter. On the right there has to be some wild card entries especially those who are playing there and are fluent. Kluivert being one of them, malen and bergwijn time are up and shud be chopped with other dead woods. Stengs as well but if he has to work on his defensive side of the game. wieffer,schouten with Matusiwa selection shud compete for that RCM. Frenkie, Reijnders and koopmeiners on the LCM. The backline is stacked

  10. @Broer van Erwin

    Halo

    Just wanna point out few things.

    I think after the euro Draws the expectations was the knock out stage.QF at least as that’s how things were bracketed with france finishing group leaders and the dutch runner up. Unexpectedly they finished third and had the easiest of route to the SF. So from expectation point there is nothing out of the blue that happened. The rest was just a hype especially after the Romania game that the dutch could win the euros.

    Secondly yes its every managers task to put together a competitive, hard fighting team especially with injuries but remember with dutch coaches they never prepare for worst case scenario or have a plan B. It has to be Plan A and in the event if it gets disrupted or backfires, it becomes a tatical warfare and defying odds

    Could frenkie and koopmeiners presence propelled the team to another level. Doubtful, reason being it hasnt worked from before.they have played together and the outcome has being the same.frenkie vs Croatia, vs Italy,vs france vs Argentina. Further more if you look at reijnders performance then he played well in that frenkies position. Thats his stronghold as well at Milan. Maybe less involved in break down areas but stirred the midfield well. Especially when linking up.

    Lastly the decision to go with Ake at LB like I said was way from before euros. I remember discussing this after that Germany/ Scotland friendly what koeman was cooking.

    Again you have to visualize how this is being manipulatize . Was it koeman or simply a favourable draw leading from the third place finish. Spain Portugal,Germany would have beaten the dutch as well if crossed path earlier.

  11. Great analysis Jan, as always.

    I hesitate to talk too much about the penalty because as we all know, there are many things that happen in a match and you typically can’t blame just one moment… BUT… this was such a huge single moment and it was in a match that was extremely even. Each team had one great goal in the run of play, each team had one off of the woodwork, and the difference really did come down to this really poor decision. Kane’s diving and rolling until VAR finally looked at it is an embarrassment to him and to England.

    I think that it’s important to say that, although England may have had the better of the match, that virtually every one in the world said, rightfully, that England has the superior players in just about every position on the pitch. So for the game to have to boil down to such a fine margin and a referee’s gift is actually quite an achievement.

    I think the comments here about us not having great players on the pipeline are completely incorrect. We have some really great players in the selection— between those that were injured or not fit for this competition and those still on the rise, I think we have a bright future for the next couple of years already in view.

    But Koeman needs to go. The only reason, I believe, that we saw some new faces on the pitch this Euro Cup is because of injury to the more familiar names. That said, maybe those circumstances have finally allowed him to see some of this new talent, but I kind of doubt it. I think it will take a lot for him to actually bring Zirkzee, Frimpong, van de Ven, etc fully into the side. If Koeman stays, I guess we’ll have to hope that some players hang up their Oranje boots on their own (Blind, Wijnaldum, de Roon) or he’ll probably continue to hold roster spots for them.

    I honestly think that the fight and grit to win is in this group of players. Going down one goal early in so many games is, in my mind, down to either poor tactics or poor preparation, both of which seem the role of the manager. But unlike so many times in the past, this team would fight back and get back in the match, even against Austria.

    I think the future remains bright and I look forward to seeing what comes next. We still have yet to see the best of Zirkzee, Summerville, Geertruida, Hartmann, Schouten (who was already phenomenal), Reijnders, Maatsen, even Simons and Gakpo (who have both already accomplished so much).

  12. @ Wilson This is nice of you to have this analysis and such advance vision, but where does it get you? You seem to feel there are many neglected and overlooked talents who if just used in the correct manner would bring Holland to victory. But that is what everyone wants, so if it were true, why would we not have simply chosen those players and selected the appropriate manager? The next San Marco is just sitting there awaiting his call up, right?

    And many of you here continue to criticize without any sort of solution or recommendation. I look at this post alone — @AZ-Forever, @vikram, @Jan, @orangutan, @jean_vennete, @manoj kumar, @emmanual, @aanvalluh – all with critical comments for a manager who just took your team to the Euro semi-finals! I hope for your sake he is not “keeping receipts”! And I ask how did Netherlands perform in Euro 2020, in 2016, in 2012, in 2008? It’s been 20 years since we were last Euro semi-finalists, but for you not good enough to barely lose in waning moments against #5 ranked FIFA team in addition to German referee…

    And look at the situation now in England – can you deny that England has more talented attacking players than Holland? And for years, their manager is criticized and ridiculed for not making use of what he has. But England stuck with him and now look – they are in the final. At our expense, of course, because of again a ridiculous penalty!

    Yes, I admit they were ahead of us in terms of midfield quality in the match, but we responded tactically with quantity and eventually that strategy worked. But imagine a time when we have the quality to bring as well. That time is coming, and I think many of today’s squad can achieve that quality in the coming years.

    The knee kick reaction for everyone is to fire the manager, because that is the easy solution, but think about a moment club teams — Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Juventus, Napoli, even Barcelona — not all of their most successful managers were fired (some retired or left on their own), but once a successful manager was no longer in place, those teams have been adrift, and continue to struggle to find a suitable replacement.

    You could even say the same for our manager. None of the clubs that he managed have thrived following his leaving. In fact, virtually all have gone the opposite direction, so you might criticize and say, “Oh, he did not do a fantastic job there,” but his replacement certainly did no better and in many cases performed much worse. Even the legendary Xavi cannot restore Barcelona and resorts to long balls style play — Xavi! At the end of the day, a manager is only as good as his players, right now our players are getting better and better, and I think the manager will make the best use of them possible.

    So be patient and be proud! We are getting there, and we will continue to get there playing good football. So long as the referee and VAR will allow us to! But to say fire the manager is crazy and not the answer! He knows what it takes to win titles as player and coach, so I say trust in him!

    1. @Broer van Erwin

      I wont make this a full blown debate. The signs were already there, where this team was headed with koeman,his preference of players and the tatical set up. I thought I made that clear. Even in build up to euros they lost to all big guns France Italy,croatia snd Germany.this was sufficient enough to draw the conclusion of what the teams outings would be in the euros. The injuries came later and complicated things further. I will again say this,no body is blind to see how an easy route to SF is being manipulatize for success when a tie with top 4 in R16 would have easily ended their campaign. You have to look at it from both side of the coin and not with a face up coin showing what on top.

      The reason why some of the talents are not selected is simply because of preference of coaches/ selectors have. Look at wijnaldum and blind selection. Look at how maatsen was overlooked in that last two friendlys for blind. Koeman opted to go with experience in wijnaldum and blind case, it was a complete waste and I have said this many times, the transition of players in NT are never on the right time except for ajax players if the NT coach is a former ajax coach. If not its certainly forced by injuries. On another note you look at kobbie manioo. 19 yrs and just what 2-3 caps and played like a boss. why cant the dutch do this. Again this is where I draw my conclusion from.

      Just on your last part about

      We are getting there, and we will continue to get there playing good football. So long as the referee and VAR will allow us”

      NT will never win anything in 100 yrs if they dwell on what you have just said and what football you are talking about ( total lateral and back passing).

      Again the controversies were all through out the tournament and not as if it has happened before or only happened in that game. The critics are furious as if not for that PK the dutch would have won. Did they play or show any winning mentality or would have won if not for that pk. why they couldnt score another goal and win it before England scored the winner. Well this are just my views but credit has to ge given where it’s due. England played well,were on another level and deserved to go to the final. The Dutch were simply riding the luck bike and waiting to pounce on england mistakes.

      In conclusion if koeman stays he shud be only given till NL znd like what I said. His two assistant shud be his predecessors

  13. Guys, don’t be fooled by Broer of Erwin, this is Brother of Erwin, this is fricking Ronald Koeman himself. Don’t get pulled in. He will support the NT coach to the death, because it is actually him!!

  14. @Broer Van Erwin, given you are such a staunch supporter of Koeman, may I ask what makes you think Koeman is sticking with Depay, Berwijn and Malen when these players ain’t playing well at all? Why the obsessions with these players?
    We have surely better players in Zirkzee, Frimpong..don’t you agree?
    Wish to hear your opinions here.

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What Oranje can expect from England

We’re playing against a top team, with absolute word class players but also against a coach who is said to wear a seat belt on the toilet, always going for security.

And for a reason. When Southgate was up for the job he asked advise from top data statisticians in football and their response: don’t concede! This nihilistic approach became his mantra.

The most criticised manager of this Euros is going to play a semi finals for the third time in a row. Before him, they only reached a top 4 position once since the 1966 World Cup debacle win. Southgate has done away with naive playing and the criticism doesn’t really affect him. The tactical plan basically results in a boring, chess match and Southgate doesn’t give a flying f***.

Due to their defensive strength, England will be a tough opponent for us. They like to look back at the 4-1 thrashing at the Euros 1996, which is the last time in a big tournament they beat us. And Southgate was on the pitch that day.

Southgate never complains about the lack of goals or attempts on goal. He can’t be bothered. But he will moan and whine about players losing possession. The term “clean sheet” can now be heard in most post-match interviews.

Jude Bellingham: “We had a tough match, but we didn’t concede. We only needed 1 goal to win and we eventually got it.”

Declan Rice: “We built this team on not conceding.”

Jordan Pickford: “Clean sheets are the foundation. If you want to win a tournament, don’t concede goals.”

The fear of conceding is easy to see in the way they attack.

Just like Oranje, Southgate uses the box concept, with two 10s (Foden and Bellingham) and two holding mids (Mainoo and Rice). Due to the fear of conceding a counter, they don’t really look for Foden or Bellingham often, with vertical passes but we will need to be alert of course.

Slovenia plays the most like Oranje, when out of possession. They fold back to a 4-4-2 and one of the strikers is constantly shielding Declan Rice. In that match, England had 72% possession but didn’t get the ball into the Slovenian box in the first 25 minutes of the game. Slovenia kept on playing towards their right side, the English left. Kieran Trippier and Guehi are not the best build up players, as Trippier is playing out of his usual position, a right footer on the left. He’s regularly clueless on the ball, to be fair. Both players had about 115 touches in that game, passing the ball to one another.

Slovakia does the same and Southgate eventually responds by putting right winger (!) Saka on the left back position. Southgate hopes Luke Shaw can take the LB role versus Oranje, but the Man United defender hasn’t played a full match since February. Put thim against Frimpong, Malen or Xavi and he’ll be punch drunk within 10 minutes.

England created the least opportunities of the semi finalists and with players like Kane, Saka, Bellingham and Foden, that does say something. Although… Southgate won’t give a crap.

A counter against England will be tough. Players like Kyle Walker, John Stones, Declan Rice and Kobbie Mainoo know what is needed to stop a counter. But it’s behind Trippier where Oranje can have fun.

England won’t play the high press. Should they score first, you can expect them to fold back. Southgate: “We don’t have the players for the high press.”

Against Switzerland, Mainoo is man marking playmaker Xhaka. In the second half, the former Arsenal midfielder decides to wander about and play more deep which results in Mainoo letting him go, allowing the Swiss player the run of the game.

It is very likely that England will play 5 at the back against Holland, as we play in the same way as Denmark, with two 10s attacking the space of the holding mids. The defenders were struggling against Denmark, with the penetrating runs by the Danes and he will also have seen that Oranje struggled versus the 5-4-1 of the Turks.

No matter what, England will allow Holland the ball and England will play compact a bit deeper than for instance Austria or Spain. England will not allow much room in the centre of the pitch.

It seems logical to play Wout as deep #9 with Memphis in the 10 role. The English central defenders – surprise! – are not as strong aerially as they used to be (Ferdinand, Terry, Adams).

England has placed one counter attack in their five matches (two incl 30 mins extra time). England doesn’t like open games. Too much chaos for Southgate and Kane is not a striker with speed. The danger men are Bellingham, Foden and Saka. These two can definitely hurt you.

Conclusion:

England won’t have it easy against Holland. But… this is the same the other way around. The match will be tight, probably another chess match with the key area, the midfield (as per usual). Should Oranje score first, there are great attacking options from the bench for Southgate, with speed ( Toney, Palmer, Eze, Gordon) and guile (Alexander Arnold, Watkins).

I expect a narrow win for Holland: 2-0, with Memphis on the score sheet and Malen as the second goal scorer.

I would start with Brobbey, myself. He’s a tank, he’ll make war with the two CBs of England. Memphis and him do seem to have a good rapport. I’d also start with Xavi, I think he deserves to start as he too has speed and guile (like Malen).

Should we need more in the second half, use Weghorst to play against the war-weary English and Malen’s speed in case we are in front and need to counter attack.

I think Reijnders and Schouten should not be separated, and Gakpo will obviously also remain in the team.

Wout won’t be happy, but hey.. we’re not here to make him happy. We’re here to win games.

 

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108 comments

  1. Jan,

    I like this analysis, but instead of this “box” you keep referring to, if possible, I’d prefer a diamond 😉

    Also, it hurts my heart for such attacking talent to be so reined in by the England manager. And for what purpose? To advance one further round before being eliminated? English football used to be known for its bravery and dynamism. Times have certainly changed.

    As for you Aloysius, I have no words. Probably because you have already used them all in your latest post. Ha!

  2. Hi Jan,
    As usually nice analysis. Two comments: in 1996, England won 4:1 not 6:1. In terms of Luke Shaw, he has way too big ass to run properly.

  3. Thank you, Jan for putting him in his place. Hendrik, you are a legend in your own mind. It’s amazing the credit and leeway you get from everyone for being cryptic and unintelligible. I have laid out the perfect tactical plan for defeating the English (or any other opponent for that matter). You are just frustrated because, how did you used to say it, “if you had understood it better, you might be able to explain it”?

  4. The only thing I will say about england is they attack in waves and if the only time to peg them is when they are at the trough and momentum less.

    Otherwise I have england ahead on the cutting edge in the team and penalties. Off the bench as well.

    For the dutch out muscling them in the backline could be a good tatic as pointed out.

    Further more I cant see the also winging the wing battle

  5. Aloysius, you’ve spent the bulk of your career following me and benefiting from the foundations that I’ve established. Even your most significant accomplishment — the ’95 Ajax team. Whose principles do you think that team’s success was based on? Whose development program provided you with at least 9 of those 16 players to work with in the first place? And while you have failed to replicate that same level of success any time you have gone to places where I have not preceded you, my approach is widely recognized as the foundation for most everything good in the game today.

  6. Spain, man. Watching the way they toyed with the (very talented) French Mf for a good portion of the first half was scary.

    Can’t wait for tomorrow. Seem like most of the pundits are picking England. On paper England has a pretty significant edge in the mf and attack. But games aren’t won on paper or on reputation. The Dutch should really be able to get at England in the wide area and are better than England along the backline and in goal. So, we’ll see

    Anyway, many thanks, Jan, for the above. One of the best takes on England I’ve read/listened to the entire tournament.

  7. Spain these days at least plays legitimate football and tries to score, and it was kind of gratifying to see France exposed by someone capable of exposing them. Perhaps those chickens on their jerseys were not oversized after all!

    Hopefully we can do the same to England tomorrow!

  8. Great analysis Jan. I just hope Koeman, or someone on his team reads your blog.

    I have mixed emotions and a bit of apprehension about the next two games. On the positive side of things, I see more chemistry, more confidence, more fighting spirit in this team. A lot of Dutch teams in past tournaments lacked these traits when they lost and got eliminated. Even if this team loses the semi-final or the final, I can at least feel good that they went out fighting. I also see certain players take the next step and elevate their game, and new promising faces join this team.

    On the negative side of things, the defense still worries me whenever the opponent is on a counter, or taking a set-piece. We have a great goalie and top defenders, but somehow, there’s still cheap goals that we concede. I don’t mind goals where the opponent beats you will skill that you can’t do nothing about. But giving up goals because of your positioning is off, or you lost your man is upsetting. The midfield also seemed timid and ineffective vs. Turkey. I wish we had a tough-tackling enforcer like Davids or Van Bommel, or even Nigel De Jong, to break up opposition plays, and add physicality to the team. And up top, I have been so far disappointed by Memphis and Simons. This would be time for Koeman to give a chance to Brobbey or Zirkzee. Someone the English team haven’t seen before, and haven’t prepared for.

    I knew the Dutch FA was going to reward Koeman with an extension for making it into the semis. To be honest, despite this achievement, I rather see someone else lead this team to the next WC. Enough has been said about Koeman on this blog, so I won’t get into it, especially hours before a big match.

    I see the game vs England as a 50:50 toss up. Yes, we can certainly beat them, but then again, they can too. We are not too confident when it comes to defending set-pieces, and that’s one of their strengths, since it makes up for their bad lack of play during games. They can somehow get goals and get the win. The final 10 or 15 mins vs Turkey was worrying. This is when good and experienced teams usually close shop, get into their defensive shape, frustrate the opponent, and grind out wins.

    Spain has been playing real well. They seem to have graduated from their endless side to side passing with no goals to show for it. Now, they still can dominate possession, but they take their chances on goal, take shots from distance, move vertically and are scoring enough goals for their efforts. I was rooting for France, hoping they would be an easier matchup if we got past England, especially with this team that is not in form, including Mbappe.

    Anyways, hope for the best, and let’s see what happens!

  9. I think this team has reached its peak and went above and beyond of any expectations. I do not think anybody would have expected that we would make the semifinals. Historically, we have been very unlucky in the major tournaments: with fantastic teams we could not win the tournaments. Two examples: WC 1974 and Euro 2020. The latter is particularly bitter for me because I thought it was the best Oranje ever, including our coach F. Rijkaard. In this tournament, surprisingly luck has been so far with us. Not sure whether it is attributed to our coach, but we have been really LUCKY taking into account our leaky midfield and inadequate attack. We got placed third in the group, but it still worked in our favor allowing us to meet beatable teams. Although people say that the strongest team wins a tournament, it is not always like that: luck, politics, and match fixing due to betting is not the full list of components that could affect the results of a tournament. Not sure what to expect in semis, but I wish all the best to Oranje and tons of luck.

  10. The defense has to play lights out today for us to have any chance, especially with defending set pieces. England as a team scares me as you have no idea what they will do and when. With Spain, France, you have a basic idea.

    Nevertheless, I agree that Oranje has over-achieved in this Euro. A pessimistic side of me thinks it is better to lose a narrow one (or a penalty-shootout) against England than to get hammered by Spain in the final with the whole world watching.

    But, stranger things have happened. I am keeping my fingers crossed and hoping for the best.

  11. I’m actually cautiously optimistic vs England. They’ve drawn in three of their five matches in this tournament and have scored more than one goal only once, both of which came after 90 minutes against Slovakia when they were on the verge of elimination. And we are arguably a stronger / more talented side than any of the opponents they have faced so far.

    In contrast, other than vs France, we have scored at least two goals in every match, and I would argue that we have faced a stronger set of opponents than England has.

    We just need to keep cool heads and to stay organized and take our chances when they come! Easier said than done, but I think we can do it

  12. Memphis and Malen already very active in pressing / defending, which I consider to be a good sign

    Meanwhile England appears to devoting substantial attention to Gakpo

        1. No excuses being made here. We’re not playing well and Koeman is going to have to sort it out at halftime and come with a new plan. 70% possession to England is untenable

    1. Haha! I’ve been waiting for a Gravenberch appearance the whole tournament. He must bring something, although no one seems to know what it is.

  13. Malen appears to have approximately 12 minutes of energy that he can expend in a match. I think we’ve exceeded his limit. Midfield playing ultra deep, which is giving England acres of time and plenty of space to create attacks

  14. Lateral and back passing won’t do any good either. Look at walker and tripper. How high they are playing. Zirzkee for Depay would have been better. He can hold the ball

  15. Well the last 3 + minutes of the first half we kept the ball. Novel concept. Maybe we should try that again sometime — works both in attack and defense. Koeman has a few minutes now to find some organizational solution that doesn’t make England look like Spain. Maybe a 4-4-2? I know, I’m desperate…

    For me, Malen needs to make way for someone (anyone) else — Zirkzee, Brobbey, anyone. Someone with some energy. And we need another attacking threat coming somewhere from the midfield

  16. But let’s not run away from the fact, England is a better team. Let’s see if the Dutch can catch them off guard.. that’s the only way they can win.

  17. Not surprisingly, England is dominating statistically in all areas other than blocks and clearances. We have to keep the ball and attack and put them on their heels. We can’t just let them have the ball outside our box for extended periods. Or else they’ll score or get another VAR penalty.

  18. Why are we playing so scared? And where is the speed and press? In a team with a shaky defense, speed can cover some faults.

    Have to introduce Weghorst now or soon. Not sure why he wasn’t sent in when Memphis got hurt. The team needs to play to a plan fearlessly.

    1. Gakpo has been thoroughly neutralized so far. We need to find a solution to set him free and find him in some space. He’s been a complete non factor, but at least he’s trying, unlike Malen

    1. Yes. One of the central midfielders should be dedicated to him. Bellingham hasn’t really been a factor either so Foden needs to be the one addressed at the moment.

  19. @ vikram

    With the possession football England is playing, its gonna just play into England’s favor more. The Dutch are just relying on counters. Look at stats man

  20. Even him the Dutch scrap past through, they need more cutting edge, players like Xavi , left footers and for gods sake, it time to move on from total football ( lateral and back passing). No more CBS playing LBs as well

  21. I say this again, respectfully, a loss tonight might be a blessing. This Oranje team, under Koeman can beat Spain once in every 15 tries.

  22. Schouten getting more involved in the attack, which I like. Veerman has become like a mud puddle on a rainy day that the ball comes to a stop in.

  23. Xavi’s decisions and vision have generally been good, but the touch / weight / angle of his passes has been slightly off. Just need another moment of brilliance— is that too much to ask?

  24. Well, reaching semifinals with this average team and poor coach is a good achievement. We will continue this poor display until Koeman is with us. However, to be fair to Koeman, absence of FDJ and Teun Koopminers dearly cost us. Entire tournament our invisible midfield put a lot of pressure on defenders and GK, and did not create any chances for our attackers. Veerman and Schouten are not Oranje material and Reijnders alone can not do anything. Even though we knew that Dutch was the weakest semifinalist, losing in a last minute is always bitter.

  25. So disappointing after such a bright start! The team played with a lot of heart, but I just feel like we never really developed a plan after Memphis went out, and just relied on Xavi Simons to create everything. Xavi and Schouten were very good today, but the rest of the squad was fairly average. Gakpo in particular never got going, and Brobbey and Zirkzee were introduced way way too late as it turned out. England did nothing the entire second half until the final subs, and I think we got complacent and began to prepare for extra time.

    Still plenty of good things to take away from this tournament and the progress we made and depth developed. But so gutting to get this far and come up short yet again!

  26. Schouten, Simons are my picks for this tournament for the best Dutch players. Like I said the team needs more cutting edge and some left footers or dual for that matter.

    1. I really didn’t see much out of Schouten until this final match, where I felt like he stepped forward in a significant way. This is the best I’ve seen Xavi play as well, although I think he can still continue to improve in his precision. But he was the spark for the team. Maybe going forward with de Jong back, with Zirkzee, Reijnders and others, we can build off of this success. That said, our backline wasn’t nearly as resolute as I’d hoped, and all of those guys are aging too. Maybe van de Ven and Geertruida can become new leaders there.

  27. @ JB

    Agree. I was just what would have happened to southgate if England would have lost with those subs. He wouldn’t have reached home. But they did lose the first half momentum after that Shaw sub at HT.

    In my books cutting edge wins no matter what. The Dutch probably had one of the best defense. Inter, Liverpool, city, Spurs but no cutting edge in attack.

    Again you look at how playing tatically with Ake at LB impacts the attacking game. While he was good but that left flank just looked dead. Gakpo too, I said this before, one trick pony. Time for change. Get those versatile players up there.

    1. Wilson,

      I’m generally in agreement with everything you said. But I had no expectations coming into this tournament, and these players managed to fight their way to the semifinal. So that bodes well for the future, and hopefully we can find the right combination of new talents to make it happen.

  28. Re Schouten

    He was good in those shadowing and disrupting phases when the English used those middle channels. Good bench player going forward. Untill someone more versatile pops up.

  29. Bottom line, we were not very good in this whole tournament and honestly overachieved by reaching the semifinals. This was a team with a weak defense, a weak midfield, and a weak attack. Played 1 good complete game in the whole tournament against a very weak team (Romania).

    I am not a big fan of Ronald Koeman as you all know. He overcomplicated things, essentially with a playmaker like Xavi. He is a goddamn central playmaker, not a freaking right winger. I agree he lost two vital players in Frenkie and Teun (a left footed player who could have given some balance), but someone like LVG would have shielded the weaknesses much better. Remember, the 2014 WC team was limited too, but he disguised it with a 5-3-2 and built the attack around Robben only.

    In the past I would have been heartbroken if we lost the way we did today, but honestly I am not today. I want to repeat what I said earlier this morning. If this team would have somehow made it to the final, they would have been hammered by Spain with the whole world watching. Now, that would have been embarrassing. At least, we can now leave with our heads held high.

    1. I agree with you on that. We just weren’t that good the whole tournament. England was dancing on our bellies the first half, and in the second, while we managed to keep the ball somewhat, players were much too static to offer anything meaningful.

  30. Some of you are talking about De Jong and Komp
    They both were at the WC and didn’t do much. I’m not sure if they would make any difference. I think the 2 midfielders did ok at the euros. We are in desperate need for strikers . We need a left back badly. Dumfries can’t dribble pass a 13 year old. Ake on the lleft is good but doesn’t provide anything offensively. We never got a cross from him. These are the areas that we need to continue focusing on until we can find some upcoming talents. Definitely a new coach.

  31. Tough loss. Didn’t have any expectations going in, but hoped they could do well, and as they progressed began to hope. Now have that familar gutted feeling. But it sure was fun while it lasted. I’ll leave the post-mortems to others. It all a little too immediate right now.

  32. And many, many thanks to Jan for jumping back in. I go to other blogs on soccer and other sports and rarely see even one article with as much insight and information as he has been putting out for what seems like every other day this last month.

    I mean, its the forum of choice for Nicolaas, Aloysius and Hendrik. What could say more…

    1. Haha! Agree 100%. This blog is essential to my enjoyment of these tournaments and Jan’s analysis makes me feel about as informed as I could be in watching the matches. Excellent job Jan once again!

  33. Yes, we all love coming here and sharing and hearing everyone’s views. It’s like everything in football – and life. You need to look, you need to think, you need to move, you need to find space, you need to help others. It’s very simple in the end.

    Although Jan, I have to say that I still would have gone with the diamond…

    Hartelijk dank,

    Hendrik

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Oranje fights itself into semi finals

At some point, you stop worrying about the how and just want to celebrate the result. The first semi finals since 2004, when Portugal defeated us in the semi finals. A great comeback – the first since the 3-2 win over France in 2000 – and it’s always good to win a game when you don’t play great.

Oranje’s start was pretty good. Turkey played with 5 at the back and in the first 10 to 15 minutes, our “box” in midfield performed really well. Xavi found space in between the lines, Memphis was threatening and Schouten penetrated well on the right hand side.

Memphis had the first chance in the first or second minute and with a bit more balance and luck, he could well have scored the first for us.

But Holland can’t repeat the positioning game we played versus Romania. The main issue is the lack of patience. We try to make every touch count and the somewhat erratic play went against us. Sloppy touches, wrong decisions and on top a tactical change by the Turkey coach and as a result, our dominant midfield…well… disappeared.

This image from the 8th minute shows the triangles we should be using more often.

Turkey does what it has to do to avoid the Dutch press, by playing long opportunistic balls towards their speedy forwards. As a result, De Vrij stays hanging deep a bit and this means Schouten is forced to move to the right to create space and as such abandons the box concept. De Vrij is too static and we can see Virgil gesticulating to him at times to move forward more.

This is an image from late in the first half (Turkey is leading) and Turkey forces us to one side and tries to suffocate us there, stopping our flowing build up. It is during the stage in the game when Oranje loses grip on midfield that Turkey scores and we make a series of errors leading up to the goal.

For some reason, Dumfries allows the ball to go out of play, resulting in a corner kick. When Guler has the chance to bring a cross in, several things go wrong: Dumfries is not aligned with the defence and he puts the goal scorer on side. It’s Simons and Ake’s job to block the cross but they lack the aggression and allow the cross in. And to add to this, the rest of the defenders are all ball watching and “forget” the three Turks at the far post. I also think Verbruggen could have done better there.

Koeman knows he has to respons and takes a page from the Austrian text book, when Rangnick decided to bring a typical #9, a target man.  In our case: Weghorst. The not 100% fit Bergwijn makes way and Simons moves to the right, while Memphis becomes the new #10 behind Weghorst.

Still, we keep on doing things wrong. The combination Schouten / De Vrij falters and stutters, we try to find the complicated solution instead of the simple pass and our defence was too scared to press up, due to their speedy attackers. Still, we manage to get back into the game as a result of a good opportunistic attack. First it’s Memphis offering Weghorst a chance. The goalie could have let that one go in to the side netting, but he touched the ball, so it become a corner. Schouten and Memphis take it short and the club-less talisman puts the ball with feeling onto the head of De Vrij: 1-1. A symbolic assist for Weghorst for blocking the defender.

Montella’s Men do lose their head a bit after the equaliser. Their defenders start to trickle back, and their wingers leave their position, making the spaces wider for us. Koeman immediately responds by bringing speed in Van der Ven and guile by bringing Veerman.

Some good play between Veerman and Weghorst brings the ball to the right flank, which is abandoned by Kadioglu, who had a top game again, by the way. Dumfries hits the ball low and it’s Gakpo ghosting in from the left to surprise the Turkish defender: 2-1 (goal attributed to Muldur).

The 2-1 is the sign for Turkey to throw everything at Oranje. Several top blocks by defenders (Van der Ven, Schouten and even Weghorst) save the day and Bart Verbruggen had a top save right at the death to secure the win for us.

The Turkish left flank offers us problems so Koeman brought Frimpong to fix that side of the pitch and Zirkzee – in his debut – to keep the ball a bit longer – in stead of Memphis.

We can conclude that Oranje got a bit lucky and needed fixing by Koeman to get the win. It’s the Austrian Opportunistic Target Man approach that got us the win, and not the famed positioning game. As a result, we don’t really have a foundation to build on for the England game. And luckily for us, neither have England.

Despite the less that great execution of the plan, I do think the core of this Dutch team will need to start versus England.

I don’t believe making wholesale changes will help much. Expect the same back four and the same goalie.

I also think Schouten and Reijnders will start, but i wouldn’t be surprised to see Weghorst from the start.

He will make war, he will keep 2 or 3 defenders busy and he will be a nice target man for Memphis to play off of.

For me, Xavi and Memphis are not compatible as #10 and #9. Memphis needs a runner behind him to find the space he abandons. Xavi is a “ball to feet” player. Weghorst deep and Memphis circling him will be more effective.

The question was and will be: who will be our right winger? Malen will be less useful as I don’t see England playing high up the pitch. I think it will be Xavi, Bergwijn or Frimpong.

Now we have two classic semis to watch, with the four strongers European teams at the kick off. Any team can beat the other team. Who knows?

I think Verbruggen and De Vrij were the top performers for us (despite de Vrij’s limited build up play against the Turks). I found Virgil wanting in some situations, a bit too easy, to lacksydaisical (?). Schouten was fine, Reijnders a bit more anonymous. Memphis in the #9 role was again disappointing with lots of loss of possession but showing class as the #10. I thought Xavi was wasteful, at times looking too much for the complicated pass. Gakpo had his moments during the game and did get “his” goal. And Weghorst did exactly what he needed to do. We can’t ask more from him.

 

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11 comments

  1. Is there any semblance of a chance that we will wear our blue jerseys against England? I can’t think of anyway. England predominantly plays in white.

  2. That game vs Turkey was a rollercoaster of emotions. Everything until the 1st Dutch goal was going bad. The midfield simply disappeared. Reijnders was meek, Simons was anonymous. Only Schouten was at least trying to make something, but without much to show for.

    I don’t think I have seen enough from Simons and Bergwijn to make them automatic starters. And it was clear Memphis should not be the #9. He does better as a #10 behind the striker. I am hesitant to see Weghorst start the game. He is building a legend as a super impact sub. I am not sure Koeman is bold enough to start Brobbey or Zirkzee, and drop Memphis to the 10 role.

    On paper at least, we are the underdogs of the final four teams. I am just not sure which Oranje team will show up. At this level, any slight mistake will be penalized by the opposition. Then again, this team has shown that they can somehow win a game without playing good.

    With a lot of teams playing not to lose, the prospect of penalties looms again. Dutch teams do not have a reassuring record when it comes to that. Painful exits are not a distant memory. I just don’t get it why it’s so hard for some teams to win a shootout, while others like Argentina relish going into one. Yesterday’s performance by the England team was impressive. Well hit, with confidence. Very hard to stop even when a keeper guesses right.

    I am not sure how good is Verbruggen is at penalties, but I always think Tim Krul should be part of the team, and be subbed in at the last min for a shootout. It was a genius move when Van Gaal did it.

    Final note, Zirkzee is transferring to Man United. Lots of pressure to deliver. He did very well in the Serie A. Considering the recent history of Dutch players at Man United,I would have rather seen him move first for a non-top 6 Premier League team. But hopefully, Ten Hag can guide him well, and he doesn’t turn out to be another Memphis or Van de Beek, but rather a Van Nistelrooj or Van Persie type legend.

    1. Some good comments! Verbruggen is known to be a penalty killer. He once stopped all five in a penalty series AND scored the 10th himself with a rocket high in the net.

      I want to see a team versus England with Brobbey as 9, Memphis as 10 and Xavi as right winger.

      I personally want to really see Frimpong and Geertruida on the right, but I think Koeman will never bench Dumfries.

    1. Dear Jan,

      I attempted to provide some commentary analysis leading up to the Turkey match (specifically in the posts regarding Ian Maatsen and Couhaib Driouech), but I’m afraid that since there were so many articles, some of my thoughts were lost to your readers (although at least Aloysius was able to provide his typical unhelpful feedback).

      In fact, I believe that Aloysius will be providing his words of tactical wisdom in advance of the semifinal against England. I have not heard from Hendrik since his earlier confusing discussions regarding Roberto Martinez…

      I truly enjoy your site and the analysis you provide and am curious to see how Ronald approaches this upcoming matchup.

      Groetjes,

      Nicolaas

  3. Jan, excellent anaylsis (as always). While waiting for Aloysisus giving the final word (the word “final” is a bit redundant, no?), my two cents is that if Depay were to drop to the 10 (behind a Brobbey or Zirkzee), Frimpong should play on the right, even if it means pairing him with Dumfries. His speed would give the England lwb (Trippier) real problems.

  4. A win is a win is win. Having said that I think regardless of the outcome of Euros, the Dutch national team needs a different direction, different leadership. This team needs a different coach that would be willing to bring new players and try different things. From Van Gaal to Koeman, this team hasn’t impressed no one. This team hasn’t improved one bit. We need to keep trying out new players.
    Xavi Simons has made zero impact so far in opinion. Frimpomg is ok but has a size of a 13 year old. We need a left back badly. Dumfries is too limited. Depay has shown everything he got already. Not much going forward. Our midfield needs lots of improvement. There is no chance for improvement if koeman stick around.

  5. Greachte fans of the Iron Tulip (and also Oranje),

    I am back to offer you my tactical recommendations for the upcoming Euro semi-final match between the Netherlands and England. And as an added bonus for you, having managed in both nations myself, I have even more tactical knowledge, wisdom and insight to impart than just usual! But please, save your applause until the end of the presentation.

    First off, it is always a challenge to step into the shoes of another manager, because coaching a team to success is a long-term philosophical undertaking. It is not simply a matter of arranging players in a formation and giving real-time instructions. You have to take the necessary steps to build and train the team so that they learn how to exemplify your philosophy. So of course, I can recommend a system for a team that I have managed, but it is guesswork to formulate something for an entirely different squad.

    Having acknowledged that, I have in fact directly managed a number of the players in the current Dutch team and have perhaps passed on some of my expertise and my football DNA to them, so I will give this a go. And I must say, Ronald Koeman has certainly landed with his nose in the butter in these Euros. Imagine the odds of finishing third in the group to find only Romania and Turkey standing in the way of the semi-finals. But now to advance, Ronald must prepare his team to have a mutual understanding and absolute tactical discipline. Haha! I know, you have the same reaction as me. You are as crazy as a door if you think Ronald can instill any of these qualities. And yet here we are…

    For me, each player must know where he has to be and how to support his teammates at all times. And so, I see little use to varying Rnald’s established system now. So let’s continue with his 1-4-2-3-1. As you know, I can work with any and every system. But within any system, there must be four primary components – both attacking and defensive organization, and then attacking and defensive transition. And within each of those components, there are sub-components or phases – such as in the attacking transition there is the construction phase, the movement and circulation phase, the chance creation phase, and the finishing phase. The key again is organization and discipline in the players’ movement and interaction in each phase, and so we need to select only those who are selfless working together for the collective.

    Unlike how Nicolaas thinks and his amusing psychological analysis of opposing coaches and their game plans, I tell you that the opponent’s set-up and tactics are a secondary consideration, or maybe even less than secondary. In fact, in your approach to the match, it is you who must dictate how the opponent plays their football. It is important to be proactive and to take the attack to the opponent, and not to sit back and let them play in the manner of their choosing. So my advice to Ronald is to keep the ball, keep it circulating, maintain possession and be patient in exploiting spaces. Yes, I know this is the opposite of what Holland has done so far in this tournament, but it will be very successful against England despite having their own squad of talented players. And all Dutch players need to be moving in unison to maintain possession and provide support. There is far less thinking required when players are already in the correct position, and then everything can proceed almost automatically. That is why consistent preparation, instruction and coordination are so essential.

    For this match, Verbruggen must start Holland’s attacking movements with short to mid range passing. If England begins with a high press, as you might expect, either Schouten or Reijnders must drop between van Dijk and de Vrij and allow Dumfries and van de Ven to advance further up the pitch (yes, I would use both of those fullbacks for their speed and physical qualities – as they can easily “out-English” their English counterparts. Haha!) In doing so, we will create numerical advantage in the back and diffuse their press and wear them out.

    And then once in the midfield, one of those three central players will push forward as well to maintain our numerical superiority. From there, we will continue to circulate the ball, right to left and left to right until we have created a gap that can then be exploited. Some say this approach is boring (and I agree with that when Frank de Boer is the coach), but more than anything it tests the patience of the opponent, and it is ultimately their failure in that area that dooms them. England feel all the pressure in this match with this coming home nonsense. They think this is finally their chance to win! We have no pressure, so use their desperation against them – prod and provoke them into making errors. This of course will require Ronald and his team to be patient themselves – sadly, there’s a slim chance of that! But the more opposing players you can displace and draw out from the back, the better opportunity to have to work through and past them! All the midfielders, including at this stage Dumfries and van de Ven, will need provide full horizontal width, because that is how we find the vertical spaces in between the English hedgerows. And remember, every pass backwards can be a positive — the commencement of a new attack! Further, as you may recall from my earlier tutorial, the transition phases are probably the keys to any match. At those times, the opponent is disorganized, so we must be prepared to strike them and to know how to do so. It is essential to be both quick and patient. Again, both are oxymorons to Ronald Koeman.

    In defense, we have seen disappointingly little true pressing from Ronald’s team in this tournament, and that again is a major mistake. You are conceding possession and allowing the opponent to play mistake free football. Who in England’s back line is capable of making accurate passes under pressure? Stones maybe? Declan Rice if he drops deep? Other than that, no one! Which means by pressing, you will regain the ball quickly in dangerous areas. So for me, mobility and work-rate up front is of great importance – so I start Gakpo, Simons and Frimpong in the attacking midfield, with either Brobbey or Zirkzee at the top. But even with aggressive pressing, you need the full team to retain proper spacing and remain compact, because as I always say, you need to keep defensively thinking even when you attack.

    So that in summary, would be my basic approach to this match. There are countless details that I would go into with my own players were I the manager, but suffice it to say that England is there for the taking. Keep possession, make them chase, spread them out and make them pay. And when we lose possession, press with organized vigor to regain the ball in dangerous areas and dissect them in transition. They will not know what hit them!

    If Ronald carries out my instructions, I predict 2-0 Netherlands. I will be happy to take any questions in the comments section below. It is fine now to applaud

    Tactisch de jouwe,

    Aloysius

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Thanksgiving for Oranje

Let us have some Turkey! A positive Ronald Koeman mentioned that the whole squad is fit again. Bergwijn, who had to be subbed off versus Romania, and De Ligt, who had some muscle issues, are both fit and it feels like we’ll see an unchanged Oranje versus Turkey on Saturday.

Confidence is high and it feels like the players are now in the right mood to go and win this tournament. Thank you Austria!

But, Turkey won’t be a walk in the park. They always had gifted football players but up until now, no coach managed to give them a structure that works, a framework within which the players could excel. Until now, with manager Vincenzo Montella. One can expect a spectacle with his Turkey.

In the first four Turkey games, we saw 13 goals and no nation had a higher number of attempts. They also score third place in the list of successful dribbles. Turkey in possession is very good.

Montella, a former striker, is an adventurous coach but his defence lets him down regularly. The recently lost to Oranje, 6-1 and again 6-1 versus Austria! So Montella has found a trick, which worked versus Austria and which he’ll most certainly repeat versus Oranje.

He used to play 4-2-3-1 and got defeated significantly in several matches, as mentioned. The central defenders are sluggish and slow while the full backs tend to be on their bike bombing forward. Their defensive coordination and communication is lacking as defenders tend to jump towards the ball without a thought for the rest defence.

Montella decided to go with three at the back, creating a “sweeper” role available to give backing when an opponent finds space behind the Turkish full backs.

For Oranje, the mission is clear and simple (maybe simple to determine, but still hard to do):

  1. Create a man-more situation in midfield and
  2. push their defence back by running in behind their central defenders and
  3. lure their full backs up the pitch and use the space behind them (Ake and Gakpo did this against Poland)

When Oranje can do this, we’ll create chances.

Their threat is mostly the speedy Yilmaz on the right flank. It will be key for us to manage that side of the pitch and talk of playing Van der Ven instead of Ake is only logical.

Turkish midfielder Ayhan will be their third centre back, giving them options with his passing range. He has a tremendous diagonal which can hurt on the counter attack. Ayhan’s target is often left full back Ferdi Kardioglu, a former NEC player – Dutch born – who also played his youth rep matches for Oranje before deciding to go for Turkey. The former winger plays like a wingback on the left and created the most chances on this Euros tournament, along with our Cody Gakpo.

It makes sense to use Van der Ven versus Yilmaz and to use Bergwijn to stop Kardioglu. Frimpong can do it, but his partnership with Dumfries needs more time. Malen is not a star in tracking back and the fit and tactically astute Bergwijn should be able to. The last question will be: where will Guler play? The young Madrid star can play anywhere: false right winger? Or a false striker? Or as left midfielder? The left footed playmaker will offer Oranje heaps of problems and communication will be key.

We will need to find space on the flanks to make the Turkish centre backs nervous. A typical #9 like Weghorst won’t bother them too much. But speedy players like Gakpo or Simons driving the ball towards them will force mistakes.

On the other hand, Turkey can create something out of nothing. They have a number of creative ball players in the team and they can conjure up magic when close to our goal. The key is to keep them away from our box.

Holland needs to be good on the ball. Precise and quick positioning play will create spaces for us. Turkey has trouble keeping clean sheets and if Oranje is on song, we have more than fair chances to win this.

I can see another win for us: 3-1. Goals by Gakpo, Memphis and Reijnders this time around.

 

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90 comments

  1. Latest in the transfer market wieffer to Brighton from feyenoord. Dont know whether this is good or bad. If he can thrive there its gonna be big complement for NT but if he gets lost like veltman and others, shame another investment gone down the drain given his caps for NT.

    1. I think Brighton could be a great place for him. They play attractive football, they play against the top teams in Europe weekly, and it’s a bonus that there are other Dutchmen there. Veltman is only “lost” there because he’s not capable of playing at the next highest level (bigger English clubs, Oranje, etc), but he’s actually quite a fan favorite there.

      Our man Bart is also currently ‘lost’ at Brighton.

  2. AZ will be feeling the pinch in the upcoming season after their high profile starting from coach Pascal Jansen, striker Vangelis Pavlidis, Dani de wit moving to Germany, keeper Mathew Ryan who didnt renew his contract and suguwara whom also is expected to leave.

  3. @wilson, it is another the same year for AZ: 4-5 key players left, and the management in the search for their replacement. Despite this annual situation, the club manages to stay within the top 5 every year. However, last year showed that the gap between PSV/Feyenoord and AZ has dramatically increased with Twente getting and sometimes surpassing the latter. So, who is going to fill the gaps created by the departed players? Goalkeeper: most likely Rome Jayden Owusu-Oduro will take part between the bars. He is very talented and played last year before we signed Mathew Ryan. I have never been impressed by Ryan. I think his departure is a blessing for AZ. Yuki will be replaced by a new signee, Seiya Maikuma, who is actually Yuki’s sub in the Japan national team. Dani de Wit’s position will be taken by Sven Mijnans. Midfield will most likely look like that: Kristijan Belic – Sven Mijnans – Jordy Clasie. Very decent midfield, in my opinion. Big question is whether AZ will be looking for an experienced attacker to fill Pavlidis position or choose among Poku, Lequincio Zeefuik or Mexx Meerdink. To play successfully in UEFA League, neither of the above-mentioned are adequate. Out of those three I would choose Lequincio Zeefuik though, big Lukaku-type player who has a lot of potential to develop into a great attacker. Central defense will remain a problem for us as I mentioned before, neither of four currently available players are adequate. In terms of coach, I would have brought an international one, but AZ management decided to go with Maarten Martens. I loved Maarten as a player but as a coach he is so so. I am looking forward to a new season!

  4. Nicolaas, I am impressed. You managed to use more digital ink to explain yourself than I thought was possible on this site. And yet, what have we learned? You’ve told us all about the Turkish manager’s height, and your personal desire to always be looking for a new job. And you’ve described the opposition players in a way that suggests you’re planning to adjust video game settings against them.

    Jan’s analysis was far more interesting, accurate and informative, interjected humor and most importantly, included pictures.

    You go into excruciating detail, but you still have not addressed many important factors, such as temperature and barometric pressure, pitch conditions and dimensions, and the players’ dietary needs, including whether de Ligt has been supplied with his favorite ochsenfetzensemmel complete with all nine bread rolls!

    And of course, as always, you miss the ultimate point — we are Holland. They are Turkey. We should control and win this match. We should not modulate our style to how they play. We should make them change what they do to confront us. There is a reason I keep a tiny notebook with me at all times — to write down only the important details, not everything that you drone on about with us today. And so, my advice to Ronald is to keep things simple, play with confidence, and let the system he has already established do the work and serve its purpose. But I would love to hear more about the personality model of Montella. Perhaps you could offer up some analysis of his recent dreams too? Haha! The Dutch players should be focused on one dream only — raising the Delaunay cup!

    Assuming we are victorious today, I will provide a tactical analysis of the next opponent – and you will need a big notebook as it will be a masterclass!

    Aloysius

  5. This is AZ’s possible selection for 2024-25 season

    Rome Jayden Owusu-Oduro
    Mees de Wit – Bruno Martins Indy – Riechedly Bazoer – Seiya Maikuma/Denso Kasius
    Kristijan Belic – Sven Mijnans – Jordy Clasie
    Ruben van Bommel – Lequincio Zeefuik – Ibrahim Sadiq/Mayckel Lahdo

  6. Southgate did what Naglesmann did yesterday and threw on a bunch of attackers, but here it worked immediately. So now what does England do for the next 10 minutes plus extra time?

  7. England has the momentum. They should keep pushing and try to win it in regular time. They have subs and can balance the team out if they go to extra time. Do teams get an extra sub in extra time?

  8. The Swiss are completely legit in my view. They’re going toe to toe with Germany, Italy, England, etc. and are just playing their game straight up. If they were previously considered a second tier European team, I think that perception needs to change

  9. I really hope both of the matches today don’t go to penalties! How much more entertaining would extra time be if instead of penalties, the tiebreaker was a coin flip 😉

    1. I agree. When I saw him as the first shooter, I had a bad feeling

      Funny that England has gotten good at penalties, but still can’t manage to play to their potential in open play

  10. It’s going to be a long game if Memphis is the only one pressuring the Turkey back line.

    I feel like we’re giving them way too much time, space and respect in the back

  11. Turkey is going to be content to delay and generate nothing so long as we do the same. Seems like we need to take the match to them a little more.

  12. Embarrassing. Looks like the Romania game was the illusion rather than the reality. The only match of five so far we’ve looked interested in playing. Where do we think a goal will be coming from if we can’t even string three passes together other than between the center backs…

  13. From the game beginning and also especially after the Turkey Goal We don’t have any plan in attack and clearly no opportunity to score a goal or corner, Memphis better to be out of the starting lineup and Simons seems not mentally fit!

  14. If Turkey is now just going to sit with a 5 man back line, we’re going to have to find some other solution than what’s been tried so far.

    Unfortunately, we’ve played right into their hands in the way the match has progressed so far.

  15. This performance is worse than the Austria game. Midfield totally disappeared. Forgot the concept of second ball. Players look tired and disinterested. Put Weghorst in and try high balls. I don’t see any other way.

  16. On the replay of the goal, Turkey actually had three players literally waiting in line to head that home. We have demonstrated time and again in this tournament a lack of defensive discipline and organization, particularly on set pieces. Admittedly, that was a recycled opportunity, but to have no defenders in any sort of goal-side position there seems inexcusable

  17. We clearly have been looking past Turkey, as we don’t seem prepared in the slightest for how they were likely to play this match. Players probably focused on what their penalty strategy would be against England. Doesn’t seem like we’re going to find out…

  18. What an uninspiring performance! Midfield shows zero creativity. Memphis is awful. I do not think this really wants to continue in the tournament. Noy sure why to bother…

  19. Amazing that we’ve begun the second half exactly the way we ended the first. Low energy, lacking in imagination, no movement off the ball, content to play at a slow, lethargic, walking pace…

    And some how Memphis misses the easiest chance of the tournament…

  20. I think it is time to pack the bags…Netherlands do not want to continue, it is just too much of work for them. What is shot from Guler.

  21. We also desperately need a legitimate attacking midfielder who can pick a pass. Whatever Simons and Memphis are providing is woefully inadequate

  22. Nobody wants to move forward. Dumfries who normally runs crazily, does not want to advance. This game is even worse than the one with Austria.

  23. We are seating way too much possession and space to them. They’re just bringing the ball up the field unedited and creating chance after chance!

  24. We need to start next game with:

    Dumfries – de Vrij – van Dijk – van de Ven
    Shouten – Simons – Reijnders – Ake
    Weghorst – Memphis

  25. Unbelievable comeback! Hopefully that will ignite this team’s spirit!

    A few post-match thoughts: If we want to get the best out of Memphis, I don’t think he can play as the sole striker anymore. He gets lost in that role and is ineffective, but when someone else takes on that responsibility (like Weghorst), Memphis plays with much greater freedom and involvement. I’m also not sure what Xavi Simons is bringing at this point. He won’t take shots. He gives the ball away needlessly and he doesn’t impose his will on the game. He’s obviously very young and will improve, but right now for me, he’s a luxury player that we can’t afford.

    And Gakpo and de Vrij! Joint players of the tournament for me so far, followed closely by Verbruggen!

  26. If I was the coach of a team playing this Orange, I will base my game plan on crosses into the box. Never seen a top team so unsure whenever the ball is floated in near the 6-yard box. Can happen in the first game but not after 6 games. England is actually good in the air. Something to work on.

    1. England so far this tournament:

      1-0 vs Serbia
      1-1 vs Denmark
      0-0 vs Slovenia
      2-1 vs Slovakia (both goals scored after 90’)
      1-1 vs Switzerland

      Despite all their talent, they have not been very impressive yet…

      And other than vs France, we’ve scored at least 2 goals in every match we’ve played

  27. @JB, Guillame, I am with you guys. The NT kept dropping off (I think at one point they had about nine guys in close to a single line at the top of the box) allowing Turkey’s wide players way too much time to send it in. Stressful. But they were diving and sprawling everywhere to block shots. Fantastic effort.

    I don’t think he’ll do it, but next game I hope Koeman starts Zirkzee or Brobbey precisely because of what JB was saying above. I wouldn’t start Weghosrt. He’s played with so much energy in this tournament, and I wonder whether he’d be able to play at the pace he’s been playing with for 90 minutes. I’d rather have him as a game changer at the 45-60 mark

    Turkey wasn’t going to let Gakpo cut in to his right foot. In the 2nd half when he changed it up and went left and crossed it caused the Turkish defense problems and created some space.

  28. I wish we had more players like Weghorst, he is fighter and runs like crazy when he dose not have the ball in position… He is not a world class striker but I believe he tactically is a constant threat to defenders and we need this in front line .

  29. Koeman will and should stick to his plan related to Memphis and Weghorst. So far it works, why to change. However, I would sideline Simmons and let Memphis to perform as a playmaker. Whereas Zirkzee could start as a striker. Then at 60 minute, Weghorst could come as a sub and replace Zirkzee. The other change I would do is van de Ven instead of Ake. The latter looked very tired.

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PSV negotiates the signing of Couhaib Driouech with SBV Excelsior

One of the few players who managed to stand out for SBV Excelsior was Couhaib Driouech. The striker is very close to leaving Rotterdam and signing for PSV. The Kralingers are looking to improve their budget to compete in the Keuken Kampioen Divisie next season and selling Couhaib Driouech to PSV will be key to making that happen.

PSV must pay 3 million and 500 thousand euros to sign Couhaib Driouech from SBV Excelsior.

The Boerens have not yet reached an agreement with Couhaib Driouech. Initially, PSV is negotiating the purchase of the striker’s rights with SBV Excelsior, and will then negotiate terms with Couhaib Driouech.

At 22 years old, Couhaib Driouech has attracted interest from clubs such as Sevilla, Racing Club de Lens, Red Bull Salzburg and Leeds United.

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2 comments

  1. There are so many new posts, I am not sure where to comment!

    Dear Friends (and also Aloysius),

    Below is my further tactical analysis of Turkey and my recommendations. Under Montella, Turkey have generally set up in a 4-2-3-1 formation (although they played a more traditional 4-3-3 against Austria). Given the absence of the talented players I mentioned earlier, it’s not completely clear how they will line-up against Oranje, but I suspect they will play in a deeper and more defensive alignment, so perhaps they will favor the 4-3-3 again.

    Also as discussed, Montella brings an overall pragmatic style and will look to prevent our attackers making runs forward and getting behind them. In attack, their midfield is focused on integrating with their front line to create wide overloads. Yet, the overall emphasis is on balance. I believe that without the ball, Turkey will sit back and remain in a compact structure, perhaps dropping into a deep block at times to eliminate through balls and passes lofted over the top.

    Going forward, it is my perception that Turkey always look to maintain their structure to avoid problems when eventual turnovers do occur. Now that Calhanoglou has returned, I would look for him act as a withdrawn playmaker who will spray longer, diagonal passes to teammates making aggressive attacking runs. I expect Turkey to break out quickly against the Netherlands, utilize a fast build-up and quick transition, and generate most of their attacking output from wider areas. Corners and free kicks will also likely be very important.

    Gunok, their goalkeeper is outstanding, and an excellent shot-stopper. However, he tends to stay back on his line and rely on that shot-stopping ability rather than venturing out to intercept crosses. Helpfully, Turkey’s center backs have generally handled those types of aerial threats themselves, although with Demiral now suspended, some uncertainty and potential confusion may be introduced in that area. The full backs, Kadioglu and Muldur, are both very attacking oriented, and while Muldur tends to overlap on the right, Kadioglu looks to invert more and often combines with teammates in interior areas. We can definitely exploit the space behind both fullbacks if we are able to successfully draw them out or isolate them.

    Turkey’s midfield will be another area of uncertainty with two of their three regular starters suspended. The combination of those three worked well for the Turks, as the Haarlem-born Kokcu often looks to attack from the edges and drifts wide to create overloads, while Yuksek plays as more of a holding mid and Calhanoglou serves as the playmaker and tempo-setter. The man from Inter will now be teamed with some new midfield partners (perhaps Ozcan and Ayhan), and I imagine their regular movement and automations will be less fluid and some mistakes in timing and positioning may be made. Ronald will need to play a midfield trio that can capitalize on these types of errors and find diagonal passing options to slice through Turkey’s back line.

    Finally, up top, Yildiz from Juventus normally features on the left, has a high work rate and helps back defensively, but still manages to penetrate the opposing back line frequently. On the right, Guler is a young and talented wing looking to break in at Real Madrid. However, he often plays more of a free, roaming role and drifts inside to act as a second number 10. Finally, the frontline is led by Yilmaz from Galatasaray, who runs into the channels but does not necessarily play as the tip of the trident. He often drops deeper and plays as somewhat of a false 9. The challenge for us presented by these attackers is they are all skilled, mobile, quick and particularly dangerous in transition. Yildaz and Guler are two of the players already on yellows as well, so they may be somewhat subdued in their willingness to challenge our build-up.

    As for recommendations, I prefer consistency in our approach, so I would likely persist with the majority of our starting eleven against Romania, but I struggle with Dumfries, as he is also on a yellow. Geertruida or Frimpong might be a better choice, although Denzel was so active in the prior match. If Bergwijn is not available, Ronald will have a tough choice but I believe will select Malen, who is not as helpful in possession but may be the man to break through Turkey’s back four.

    I look forward to your thoughts and to watching this matchup play out tomorrow!

    1. I really hope Oranje overcome Turkije and progress further in this tournament, not least so we are treated to the further wise counsel of Nicolaas, Aloysius and Hendrik!

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Maurice Steijn refuses proposal from Go Ahead Eagles

Go Ahead Eagles have been looking for a new coach for a week, considering that René Hake is about to move to Manchester United. Initially, the Eagles are looking for a Dutch coach with experience and this characteristic fits perfectly with Maurice Steijn.

The Go Ahead Eagles board understood that Maurice Steijn would be the ideal name to replace René Hake, but the former Ajax coach chose not to accept taking on the role.

Go Ahead Eagles director of football Paul Bosvelt announced that the search for a new coach is not that easy.

“We have several names in our heads, but in practice, this becomes more complicated. Some have other options, others don’t want to leave their current clubs. We have to make the right choice and take the necessary time,” said the director.

Manchester United has not yet made the signing of René Hake official, nor have Go Ahead Eagles announced René Hake’s departure. The current Eagles coach is expected to work alongside Erik ten Hag, as assistant coach to the former Ajax coach.

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27 comments

  1. Hindsight is 20/20, but it seems that Spain went into a defensive shell far too early and allowed Germany to run the game for the majority of the second half. And now Spain has subbed out all of its starting front line. Excited to see what happens next in extra time!

      1. I agree with that. Spain’s best defensive strategy is normally just to keep the ball themselves. But they ceded possession to Germany for basically the last 20 minutes of the match

  2. I don’t think Nagelsmann is a great coach, but Spain certainly played into Germany’s hands by going conservative, and Nagelsmann was ultimately rewarded by essentially throwing out the kitchen sink in terms of attacking players at the end. I wonder how Thomas Muller feels about having to play an extra 30 minutes now 😉

  3. This Portugal – France match has been fairly dull in comparison to Spain and Germany. Only five shots between them and only one on target so far at the half.

    I feel like our team has actually been much better about generating shots with Koeman than we have been with prior managers, at least in the matches that we are able to control— 23 shots vs Romania and 21 vs Poland, but only 11 shots against Austria and 8 against France. The persistent problem though is we just don’t convert many of them…

  4. How many far post crosses to no one is Portugal going to hit? My stats app doesn’t seem to indicate how many actual crosses have been hit, but confirms how many have been accurate — zero…

    1. Oh, I just needed to click on the individual players:

      Fernandes 0-6
      Leao 0-3
      Silva 0-3
      Mendes 0-3
      Cancel 0-1

      I guess that’s what playing with Ronaldo as your target man gets you…

      1. 102 / 105 passing
        118 touches
        2 passes in final third
        2/3 tackles won
        6 clearances
        4 / 6 duels won
        And (other than Ronaldo) at least 8 years older than anyone else on the field…

  5. Extra time! Finally some end to end action in this one. France probably should have won in regulation time, so we’ll see what happens now…

  6. Interesting that both managers have already subbed off two of their most influential players — Fernandes and Cancelo for Portugal and Griezmann and Camavinga for France. And Pepe with the another huge blocked shot!

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Rick Karsdorp should be released from Roma

Rick Karsdorp could leave AS Roma in the next few days. The 29-year-old Dutch defender has spent the last seven seasons defending the colors of the Italian club.

Apparently, the full-back should be traded by AS Roma. This new season will be the last year of Rick Karsdorp’s contract with AS Roma and the Italian board would not be interested in continuing with the player for next season.

Rick Karsdorp is no longer part of AS Roma’s plans as they seek to renew their squad for the new season. The expectation is that he can return to the Netherlands, more precisely to Feyenoord, where he was revealed.

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Ronald Koeman will not have Ian Maatsen in the round of 16 of the European Cup

This Friday, the Dutch team will do their last training session before the duel against Turkey in the quarter-finals of the European Championship. Ronald Koeman will not be able to count on Ian Maatsen. The Dutch defender is ill and will not travel to Berlin.

Ian Maatsen’s absence before the clash against the Turks is the first problem for the player after weeks of good news. First, the youngster was allowed to start for Borussia Dortmund in the UEFA Champions League final. Then, while on vacation on the Greek island of Mykonos, he received an unexpected phone call from the Dutch coaching staff informing him that he should report to Ronald Koeman to compete in the European Championship with the Dutch team. And while he was with the Dutch delegation, Ian Maatsen received a call from his agent informing him that he had signed with Aston Villa for 44 million euros. This made him the most expensive transfer of 2024 so far.

At the start of the Dutch national team’s training, on Friday afternoon, all 25 Dutch national team players took to the field at the AOK Stadium, in Wolfsburg. Matthijs de Ligt trained separately from the group on Wednesday because he had minor pains. Nathan Aké, Jerdy Schouten and Steven Bergwijn, who were substituted during the victory against Romania, in the round of 16, could be used by Ronald Koeman against Turkey. Nathan Aké has had some problems with his right hamstring during the European Championship. Last week, the Manchester City defender underwent tests.

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2 comments

  1. Jan, that is certainly sad to hear about Maatsen, but I am doubtful that Koeman would introduce him at this late stage even if healthy except as a specific tactical substitution.

    In thinking ahead to tomorrow’s match, Aloysius, I appreciate your keen interest in my analysis. I will provide my thoughts in separate posts — first from a psychological, big picture assessment of the match, and then secondly, from a more tactics-specific perspective.

    In my 45 years of managerial experience, I’ve managed teams of dramatically different levels, and with dramatically different prospects for success. When I was with the Netherlands, with PSV, with Zenit, with Rangers, we were legitimate contenders for trophies and titles. With other nations and clubs, maybe not so much. So, this may sound too pragmatic, but you have to determine as a manager what your realistic goals for your team ultimately are. Turkey likely came into this tournament hoping to achieve what they have already achieved – the quarterfinals. So the tournament is already a success for them! Additionally, due to the significant number of Turks living in Germany, in many instances this tournament has been almost like playing in their own country, and they’ve had tremendous fan support. So in some respects, Turkey has big advantages. They are now in effect playing with “house money” as they’ve achieved their objectives for the tournament, and they have strong and passionate support from their countrymen, both in Germany and back home, who would love to see them go even further.

    But from a managerial perspective, there are some selfish considerations as well. Just like with politicians, once you are in power, your number one goal is to remain in power. And somewhat like me, Vincenzo Montella has held a variety of managerial appointments over his career, both in his home country and abroad. Also like me, he is very much a tactician (which almost can’t be helped considering his Italian heritage). And finally, like me, he is somewhat diminutive in stature, so he will have lived his life proving to everyone that good things come in small packages! Because of these similarities, I feel like I can get inside his head a little bit.

    Just like any coach, Montella will approach this match in a manner that will cast him in the best positive light to retain his current position or possibly provide him with future employment opportunities (including perhaps back in his home nation). I speak as someone who has always had an eye myself on job prospects. As American football coach Herman Edwards once said “You play to win the game, hello?!” But the real truth is as a coach, you play to keep your job (and to get the next one). So Turkey’s coach will want to put on a performance against Oranje that the nation will be proud of and that will demonstrate that he can successfully lead in these types of tournaments. He will not want to select an extreme or unorthodox strategy that will potentially embarrass his team or lead to a blowout loss, and thus it is more likely that he will play it safe. For all managers, the result of getting to extra time and then penalties (particularly vs a more highly rated opponent) typically absolves you of any criticism of your tactics, because penalties are always just a roll of the dice. That reality is almost indisputably true (unless you are the Ecuador manager ).

    So how specifically will Montella approach this match? Will he bravely throw caution into the wind and attack all out in a way that puts the Netherlands back on their heels and perhaps comes up with a proactive victory. It’s certainly possible – Turkey just defeated Austria, who in turn had beaten us in the third match of the opening round, so they will have belief against us. On the other hand, he might approach this match in a much more cagey, tactical way. Turkey is already missing midfield players Orkun Kokcu and Ismail Yuksek due to yellow card suspension, and as announced yesterday, center back Merih Demiral is also out for inappropriate celebrations, so those key player absences will obviously impact their approach. In addition to that, Montella has seven other players (Ayhan, Celik, Guler, Gunok, Mulder, Ozcan and Yildiz) who have already accumulated one yellow card and could potentially miss a potential semi-final if they incur a second.

    Again, these are all things you have to balance as a high-level manager. For these reasons, I doubt that Turkey will play a physically aggressive, all-out, end-to-end battle royale, and will instead be more cautious and defensive. I think they will allow the Dutch to have the ball and they will defend us as a unit and look for specific opportunities to counter. While defeating Holland would be a huge victory for them, and the advancement to the next round would be another great achievement for their national team, the absence of further key players currently on yellows would really hamper them against either in England or Switzerland, and so that is a risk they probably cannot afford to take. On the other hand, they may rightly perceive (as we do) that this is a possible opportunity for them to reach the final due to the weakness of our side of the knock-out bracket, and thus they may recognize this as an historic opportunity to truly make the final. They’ve overcome adversity in the past in this tournament and each game has been a further emotional triumph for them. Perhaps they feel destiny is with them!

    So with all of that understood, the psychology of the manager on the other side is important to consider when formulating your tactical plan for this match. My goal would be to use the Turks’ traditional aggressiveness and physicality against them, to attack specifically any players playing on a yellow, and make them choose whether to risk their place in the next round or give us room to work. Further, I think we need to control the tempo, but I would do so at an area not quite as high up the pitch, perhaps just inside their half, in an effort to draw them out but also not concede so much space behind us, at least in the early stages of the match. If we are able to score first, I think we can play our game and punish them every time they try to attack. But if they were to go up early or the game remains deadlocked, the pressure will be on us to put them away, and that is when Turkey will be at its most dangerous.

    My specific tactical / personnel analysis will come later. Spain vs Germany has begun…

  2. Nicolaas,

    What an astute bit of analysis — truly your intellect is dizzying. So I assume you will clearly not choose the wine in front of you?

    Met vriendelijke groet,

    Aloysius

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Andries Jonker calls up the Dutch women’s team with two new features

This Friday, Andries Jonker announced the call-up of the Dutch women’s team for the Lionesses’ last matches in the qualifiers for the Women’s World Cup in Switzerland. The big problem lies with Daphne van Domselaar. The Aston Villa goalkeeper is not physically available for the game against Italy.

In the friendly match that the Netherlands played against England, Daphne van Domselaar was also not on the field. For the match against Italy, it is already known that Daphne van Domselaar will not be able to play. Expectations remain for the duel against Norway.

Caitlin Dijkstra was not called up because she is injured, so Daniëlle de Jong (FC Twente) was called up. Lize Teun Koopmeiners (Leicester City) and Jacintha Weimar (Feyenoord) were also called up.

In the previous match, Daphne van Domselaar also missed the game against Finland at home. Daniëlle de Jong was placed on the field as goalkeeper for the Netherlands. In the next game, it was Lize Kop’s turn to start.

The news on Andries Jonker’s list was the call-up of Chanté-Mary Dompig (AC Milan) and Chimera Ripa (PSV).

“Chimera Ripa is a striker, who has courage and looks for the dribble. And he also dares and has demonstrated this in training and in games. Chanté-Mary Dompig plays a more free role on the left side for AC Milan. He can also play in this role for the Dutch national team” said Andries Jonker.

The Dutch team is in first place in Group A, two points ahead of Norway and Italy, and three points ahead of Finland. Only the two best-ranked teams in the group qualify directly for the World Cup. The teams that finish the group stage in third and fourth place will still have the chance to compete in a playoff.

The Netherlands will begin seeking their direct place in the World Cup against Italy, next Friday, in Sittard-Geleen, at the Fortuna Sittard Stadion, home of Fortuna Sittard. If the Netherlands win, they will have stamped their ticket to Switzerland. The game against Norway will be on Tuesday, July 16th, away from home.

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