A new low for Oranje….

I’m not talking about the meagre 1-3 win over Belarus. I’m not even talking about Holland not going to the World Cup. That win was fine. The fact we miss a tournament is definitely not a new low either. We missed tournaments before and we always came back with more talent.

The new low for me, was the press conference Dick Advocaat gave last week. Reporter Bert Maaldrink asked Dick about the goal difference. He implied Dick didn’t take that seriously enough. Dick could have made changes vs France (defensive) and Bulgaria (offensive) to narrow the gap. Dick didn’t see it as a problem.

So Bert said: “But what if Sweden wins against Luxembourg 8-0 next week?”

Dick: “What 8-0? Ridiculous! Nonsense… That is a stupid question! No one wins 8-0 anymore Bert. That is outrageous and is not going to happen. I don’t believe that.”

Bert Maaldrink was told off like a school kid by the experienced success coach Dick Advocaat.

But now, when asked about Holland’s chances against Sweden (needing to score 7 goals) Advocaat suddenly is saying “everything is possible!”. Say what? Against Luxembourg, 8 goals is ridiculous, but 7 goals against Sweden is not?


It’s just another example that our football management have lost a sense of reality. It’s was already clear years ago, in the way we dealt with Bert van Marwijk, the succession of Van Gaal, the telling off of Hiddink after match 2, the automatic promotion of Danny Blind, the shenanigans at KNVB management level (no technical expertise whatsoever to support and / or assess the work of the coaches). The list goes on and on and on.

At the same time, we didn’t have a lot of things going our way, really. Sweden was gifted a golden chance to score by Strootman, something Kevin usually doesn’t do. Dost scored, but the goal was disallowed. We missed chance after chance in that game. 2 points gone! The home game vs France… Pogba gets lucky that Stekelenburg misses the shot, while Depay in the dying minutes doesn’t get the same slice of luck when in scoring position. We lost a point there.

But the biggest drama of course, the Bulgaria away game we lost. What a terrible team performance that was! And yes, Blind shouldn’t have picked De Ligt for his debut in that match, but by Golly, it’s too easy to blame it all on two people! The whole team fell through the ice there and it ended the run of Danny Blind. So lets get mr Conservative Dick in… And the rest we know…Now, first and foremost, the Sweden score of 8-0 was a hammer to the head for Oranje. That much is obvious. Why on Earth did FIFA not program these games at the same time? It could have been the other way (1-0 for Sweden) and that would have boosted Oranje. Also not fair, but in that case, not fair for the Swedes. It affects the mindset and thus the game, but it will always be just a theoretical discussion. But Ryan Babel said it after the game: “We heard the score go up when we were in the bus. When it was 4-0 for Sweden, we turned the radio off.” That says it all. The first phase of the match vs Belarus, it was clear that the team was in a sort of shock. Except for Dick, who just stuck to the his 4-3-3 and didn’t make any opportunistic changes to force the issue.


After the match, Dick said: “The whole preparation was out of the window when we walked out of the bus. It was 7-0 at the time.” I don’t get this… The whole preparation should have been “Let’s assume Sweden scores a lot and just go full throttle and do the same thing!”. Surely, Dick didn’t anticipate a draw for Sweden? The players and coaching staff should have had the right motivation to go out there to score 6. With a vengeance. In that case (I believe) we needed a 4-0 win vs Sweden. Hard, but doable.

The plan was for Babel to play wide left, for Janmaat to play wide right. Van Dijk, Rekik and Blind would be the three defenders, with Blind potentially moving into midfield. It didn’t happen this way. Babel roamed around the pitch, without any other player (Robben, Janssen, Blind) using the space created by the 30 year old. Tactically, it didn’t work, although Babel did impress. Vilhena and Wijnaldum were never able to really push up and apart from a shot from distance, Vilhena didn’t offer much. Wijnaldum again was sloppy and slow in possession missing the many options the Liverpool team offers him.

Robben seemed to play his own game, at times combining well with Janmaat, but at times also making the wrong decision, with his free kick to row Z the low of Robben’s match.

blind robben

Janssen did what Janssen does. Work hard, be a pain in the neck and creating opportunities. He could have had three, but ended up with nothing (one ball on the cross bar).

And that was the story of the game, really. Oranje had some good chances to go into the break 0-4 up. And they failed to take the chances. Janssen was unlucky, Robben and Babel got close if not for a tiny touch by a Belarus defender. Janssen had a shooting opportunity blocked by the goalie (was he wearing a yellow turtle neck?). And Vilhena’s distance shot had a chance of going in too. Instead of 0-4, which would have opened up the game for a big score for sure, we rested with a mere 0-1 score.

The second half started well, we created pressure and chances, with Janssen having a 100% scoring chance, but he took the straight route right into the goalie’s throat. And then it all went belly up. The tactical discipline was gone, and when Dost came on, it was Belarus creating the best chances, resulting in the 1-1. With Dost on the pitch, the team should have gone direct. But they didn’t. Every time the long ball to Dost was used, there was a chance to win the second ball but despite the second striker, that long ball hardly came. The onslaught didn’t come and it was thanks to a penalty (we deserved one for the handsball already) that we got ahead. The free kick at the end was a nice piece of skill by Memphis and every goal counts of course, but we simply needed many more.

In analysing the game, we will come short to determine all that is wrong with Dutch football. The build up again was too slow and considerate. The Van Dijk long balls (only 2) immediately generated danger but that direct approach was clearly not how Advocaat wanted to play. Wijnaldum again looked lost in a not-so-well-drilled team. He’s great as a cog in the Klopp machine, but a bit clueless when having to survive the loosely coupled Oranje. Propper is a fine individual player but lacks the leadership and grit that Sneijder offers (apart from Sneijder’s brilliance in passing and kicking). Robben is a highly motivated player of course, but he did let his man go (again) resulting a the Belarus goal.


And it goes on and on. But the problems lie way way deeper.

Everywhere you look, everything you touch in Dutch football seems rotten. From the Eredivisie clubs in Europe, to the Dutch top players in Europe, to the way the KNVB manages Dutch football all the way to the choices and beliefs of the technical staff.

One of the Sweden players said it well after their match. “The difference between Holland and Sweden? When we lost vs Bulgaria, we didn’t sack anyone. We just huddled together, worked on the problems and stuck together as a team. When Holland lost vs Bulgaria, they sent their coach away. Again! That mentality will not work. You had 4 coaches in two years? Players going in and out of vogue? Not the Sweden way.”

With the KNVB getting their act together slowly (Van Oostveen gone, Van Breukelen gone, soon Advocaat gone) and new board of directors led by Jan Smit (former Heracles Almelo chair) and a new general manager starting next month (Eric Gudde, the former GM of Feyenoord and responsible for the immense rejuvenation of the club), we can expect the right choices to be made.

The first thing we’ll need is a technical director with proven skills in vision, tactics and development and management experience. Van Gaal would be an option, but his narcissistic personality will be a problem, I’m sure. Martin van Geel, Marcel Brands, Fred Rutten…there’s options enough. Our whole football philosophy will need to be renovated. The way we organise youth competitions, the way we scout, the way we develop coaches, the pitches we play and practice on and most importantly, the financial equality needs to be restored. It’s stupid to force clubs to pay money for their second teams to participate in serious competitions. Feyenoord had financial problems when the second teams were admitted into the Jupiler League. As a result, Sven van Beek – who  hasn’t played a competitive game for 1,5 years – is not able to get back into match fitness playing at level with Feyenoord 2! Ridiculous. Van Beek is a potential international and should have competitive matches weekly right now.

janssen bela

Then, we need to bring in a coach who is aligned with the KNVB / TD philosophy and who is capable of developing a tactical plan that works with our football identity and the talent at hand. Not an old hand who’s working in an old-fashioned style to get short term results.

Surely, we have the players to work with the 3-4-2-1 that Chelsea/Man City / Bayern / Napoli / Barca system.

With Blind/Van Dijk/De Vrij/Rekik/Hoedt/Van Beek/Kongolo we have very decent central defenders.

With Ake/Willems/Van Aanholt/Pieters/Karsdorp/Janmaat/Tete/Kongolo we have very able full backs available.

Janssen will score for us in the future, but Promes can play central striker in this system as well.

Frenkie de Jong/Memphis/Promes/Klaassen/Propper can play in the forward roles behind the central striker (like Silva/Jesus at Man City or Hazard/Willian at Chelsea). The two central midfielder positions can be taken by Ake/Van Roon/Van de Beek/Vilhena/Van Ginkel/Wijnaldum/Riedenwald/Bazoer… And then there’s Bergwijn, Til, Berghuis, Kik Pieri, Haps, St Juste and many other potentials. And… Adam Maher?

cocu shock

I didn’t mention the goalies, because who cares? I mean: Cillesen, Hahn, Vermeer, Padt, they will all be good enough.

Dick will coach two more friendly games for the KNVB after the Sweden game. Why bother, is my opinion. Unless you want to use it as a farewell match. In that case: invite Van der Vaart, Nigel de Jong, Ron Vlaar, Sneijder, Huntelaar, Van Persie and Robben and turn the friendly (versus Germany?) into something celebrational.

And from March 2018 onwards, lets make sure we have a coach who can navigate a young but eager team of talents to greatness.



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  1. Jan:

    I agree with your ultimate conclusions but don’t share your outlook for this current generation of players.

    My more detailed comment was to your prior post, but in summary, we are not generating top level talent like we used to.

    The last wave of true star players we have produced was born in 1983-84 and became senior internationals in the early 2000s.

    Sweden can say what they want, and they likely will qualify for the 2018 WC when we don’t. But we have different standards than they do. Qualification is not our goal. We want to win international tournaments and do so in an attractive, exciting way. But we can’t do that until we are producing top level talent again. Maybe it’s just a millennial / generational thing, but the current group of players ages 23-30 aren’t good enough.

    I’d make the younger generation (ages 16-22) the focus now, and start building again for the future at the youth level.

  2. You’re being to easy on Dick Jan. Dick still had a opportunities to make this a much closer affair but didn’t. The fact that armchair observers like us in this blog can very easily identify what needs to be done but this watery eye fuck can’t shows he is in no way capable of coaching soccer anymore. The situation didn’t need a genius but just someone with basic math skills. How an experienced coach can be so dumb is beyond me.

  3. There has been enough analysis so far: Jan, JB, Miguel Rosado.. all made good points. The entire Dutch system will need a rebuild. One reason that has not been mentioned so far is the cast thrown by the golden generation of the big 4. They are still alive and we still think that they can produce a miracle. Or at least we did before the game with Belarus and the 8-0 of Sweden. But even still people talk about a possible qualification. Sure nice dream but it will not happen.

    The big 4 had an amazing run and amazing achievements equal to the 70s generation. A final in 2010 that came the 2nd close ever after 1978… A semi in 2014 that was decided on penalties versus a team that could be considered playing at home…. In soccer there is a luck and that we never had in the big games. 1978/2010/2014 not a single lucky moment in the last and most crucial game.

    But let me get back to the point. The Big 4 have nothing to give on the playing field for the NT anymore. They deserve an incredible goodbye but there has to be a closure if it is to move on.

    Maybe Robben and Sneijder can assist and coach the youth or maybe not. The new TD and bondscoach will decide that.

    It is important to move on. It took 12 years from a similar situation in 1978 to play again in a WK in 1990….. we missed two WKs in a row.

    Let use history as our guide and minimize the time it takes to rise up again. Holland is a country of 17 million people with 1 million registered footballers. There is enough talent pool for new runs at the WK/EK titles….

  4. You’re being to easy on Dick Jan. Dick still had a opportunities to make this a much closer affair but didn’t. The fact that armchair observers like us in this blog can very easily identify what needs to be done but this watery eye grandpa can’t shows he is in no way capable of coaching soccer anymore. The situation didn’t need a genius but just someone with basic math skills. How an experienced coach can be so dumb is beyond me.

  5. Hi JB, thanks for your comments. I don’t think we need the world class players to be successful. We saw that even with our Big 4 we never won anything. Neither did Davids, Seedorf, Bergkamp etc etc.

    Greece won in 2004 (EC) and didn’t have a single world class player.

    With the lads that we have, even now, we should not lose against Bulgaria. Full stop.

    1. Look at Iceland now. They qualify to the World Cup. Do they really have “world class” player/s?

      They are in a group that consist of Croatia and Turkey, and they are top of the group.

      As long as you can score more than your opponent, you qualify.

      In my opinion, Holland have more than enough players to go to Russia, at least through play-off route.

      1. Read my comments below. That’s why they have qualified.even if they would have been in the same pool as NT.again they would have won. They are a better structured team than NT. End of story.

    2. Jan:

      I agree in large part with your position. You are correct — we don’t need world class players to compete. We can get by with what we have, and I agree — we should never lose to Bulgaria, Belarus, Luxembourg, etc.. But with that approach, we will still not win titles, because in my view, we are not built to play that way. We need to dominate the ball and attack with skill and flair. And we need top level talent to do so.

      Yes, Greece won the Euros in 2004, as did Denmark in 1992. The people of those nations will remember their players as national heroes forever. But the rest of the world barely remembers their Cinderella stories, and no one remembers their football.

      People remember us because of our great players and how we played, not what we won. And when we do win, I believe that we need to do so with great players again playing great football.

      Cruyff, van Hanegem, Neeskens.
      Van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard.
      Kluivert, Bergkamp, Overmars.
      Sneider, van der Vaart, van Persie, Robben.

      These are the teams and players the world thinks of when Dutch football is brought up.

      The current group is not at this level. Could we still have qualified for the 2018 World Cup? Certainly. Would we have won had we qualified? Almost certainly not. Would we provide the world with a memorable performance? Doubtful.

      We are artists. Like the Brazilians. Style to us matters. Spain at their peak, played with style. France is beginning a new era of excellence playing attractive football. Even Germany has added some flair to their typical clinical and efficient game. That to me is our future. Let’s look at how Germany and France develop their talented youth players. Let’s look at Barcelona’s and Monaco’s club academies to get new ideas. Let’s look at the former Yugoslavian nations who continue to produce exciting attacking talent. Young players with that type of talent are what we need to lead us forward again.

      Yes, we could play like Sweden, and Iceland, and Denmark, and Greece, and Portugal, and play the role of heroic underdog that utilizes reactionary, industrious football to get results. But I’d greatly prefer watching new Cruyffs and Gullits and Berkamps and Robbens wearing the orange jersey and attacking with flair. There’s a pride in that that, at least for me, is part of being Dutch and I just don’t feel like our current players have that anymore. And I would like for us to get it back, even if it means missing a few tournaments to kickstart that type of development again…

      1. I have to disagree. We almost won the 2010 WC playing like Sweden, Iceland, Denmark, and Greece. If only Robben……. nevermind.

        Style is for the romantics, results are for everyone else. Yes, we all remember Oranje 1974 or Brazil 1982, but they don’t show up anywhere in the record books where they need to.

        At this point, I only care about winning. Ugly penalty-shoot-outs? So be it. Let’s start winning again first. Style can be incorporated later. Look at Germany.

        1. I can see both points where “history” and “style” may conflict vs “result” and “pragmatism”. Brazil has always been there (history/style) and sometimes did not play pretty (or plain ugly like last WC). Oranje had a great run after 1988 with the 90s Golden Generation, followed with the near miss in 2010 playing and winning ugly.

          To me, the only country that I’ve seen really transformed is Germany. As an Oranje fan, naturally I grew up hating them, even when they won in 1990, I don’t think they ever played with style, total football or whatever say you BUT in the last 8-10 years, they really had changed their style of play, it is hard NOT to enjoy their game. Plus, I think they have continuity/stability in coaching team and less carousels in the squad.

          One of the comments I said to my German friend when watching matches with him was “you know something is wrong when the Germans play like the Oranje and the Oranje plays like the 80-90s German team”

      2. 100% agreed and no matter were i travel especially latin america, ppl remember us even more for beeing brilliant yet always with lots of tragic and badluck, its like we are like a beatiful drama movie of pure talent! at least we used to be!!

  6. I agree with everything you said Jan… but I think you missed one simple point… try to teach the new generation to Tackle!! For God’s sake….. TACKLE!

  7. first thing first they have to first realize that they have to get over this total Dutch football fiasco. dutch players are playing in better leagues and in good teams but yet come NT they are average at best.now compare this to Sweden or Iceland. They players are mostly playing in average teams but yet they perform better as a team. Why? This is the answer.they have the essential players to play around and fit well in that formation.both Iceland and Sweden teams deploy 4-4-2,but still they play attacking soccer while NT try to deploy 4-3-3 but cant execute to the extent which is needed.

    Now coming back to NT. They want to play total football 4-3-3 with what, players who don’t even fit in the system.wijnaldum plays CM at Liverpool and is shifted again to BTB when in NT.Strootman is BTB at Roma and pushed back to DM. No destroyer,
    No DM,why the hell drag with.4-3-3.

    The no 1 item on the list has to be DM.4 years has come to end and most of it had been wasted going with wrong players and I don’t think Vilhnea and VDBeek defensively will be able to fill that shoes.they only look offensively good.This is where a lot of time needs to be spent with player rotation to see who fits in there the best.

    The other one is striker.Janssen,no way,he is not a NT material.Dost simply can’t do it at NT level. It time to go with two offensive wingers upfront preferably locadia and Promes.and let’s also hope some of the players like Maher,Clasie,(zivkovic,EL ghazi maybe) will blossom late.

    Locadia- Promes

    Van Ginkel


    Riedewald-Van Dijk- De Ligt


  8. If I was dick I would completely field a totally different starting 11. We need a miracle and if he trys anything close to the side he has been starting then it’s not gonna get the job done. He has nothing to lose so if I was him my lineup would be

    Van ginkle- wijnaldum
    Blind- van dijk-rekik


    I would try something completely new so maybe something clicks and they start pounding in the goals

  9. Sooo disappointing to come home to this news but in truth it’s not surprising based on what we have had to endure over the past 6 months.
    I’ve just spent time in the UK visiting a number of youth academies, the first thing that strikes you is the quality of the facilities, they are outstanding! Grass you can eat your dinner off, gym’s and indoor pitches that are of the highest quality, it all lends itself to a fantastic learning situation.
    I watched players as young as 8 play like their life depended on it and with the qualities of players 10 years their senior, see in England they base their whole game on hard work and being tough, (I don’t see that in Dutch football).
    They don’t teach them to “play out from the back” like they do in Dutch systems, in England it’s about playing in your opponent’s half not your own, so keepers thump it long into a small area of the pitch where the battle begins to win possession, then it’s a quick pass forward to create a scoring chance, not 20 passes or long dribbles, a killer pass is what is asked for by the coaches.
    Maybe as most of you have said, we need to change what we teach at the young age? I really agreed with a comment about learning how to tackle , for goodness sakes it’s a crucial part of the game and one that is lost in Dutch systems because we are so busy trying to play with the ball whilst forgetting about the other part of the game without the ball.
    I could go on and on about this but I don’t want to sound like I know it all, I don’t, but I know what I would do if I were in charge and it would start with putting some mongrel back into Dutch football.
    Unrelated , my son who is 16 spent 3 weeks training and playing for and EFL academy with great success, he has been invited back for a prelonged stay ( he is Dutch) here’s hoping!

    1. The thing is you aren’t going to get a lot of superstars by playing that way. You will if you do the Dutch way and controlling the ball and taking the time to read the game to find your best options. It’s better to use your brain than your feet.

    2. That’s awesome! Good luck to your son.

      I have a 16 year old son as well who plays on my U19 team. Free kicks like Beckham, passing like Ozil, workrate of MLS Beckham / Arsenal Ozil 😀

      Sadly (for me), he plays (American) football, basketball and baseball in high school, so our football (soccer) is increasingly an afterthought…

      1. Thanks JB, there are always distractions for young lads, if it’s not another sport then usually the eye of a young girl!
        But as parents the best we can do is support them with whatever happens, Australia is all about AFL and Rugby League even though Football is the most participated sport in the country, a bit like the U.S. I guess.

  10. The Dutch NT has no continuity of personnel. When is the last time we started the same 11 for two games in a row? It is different players every game. We are starting a 17-year-old novice one game and then bringing back Ryan Bable, who hadn’t played for the NT in, what, six year? No continuity, no chemistry. This isn’t the only issue but, in my view, it is a big one.

    1. Agree! After the 88 squad (I was not too familiar with 74/78 other than reading about them), I think our 90s Golden Generation team was the best and we probably swapped 1-2 starters at most in WC 1998 / EURO 2000.

      Lately, I was never sure if I could name 5 consistent starters for the Oranje.

  11. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Unfortunately Dick lives in a different universe. He again will be conservative today when in fact there’s nothing to lose. I would rather win or lose this game 5-4 but see some excitement than settle for a 1-0 or 0-0. But Dick doesn’t care about this team or the public. He only cares about his butt. As long as the score is respectful he is ok with it. And if he really tries to to hold the team back like it is the beginning of the campaign I will hope that Holland gets crushed and Dick gets humiliated just like in France. Nothing to lose.

  12. Really who do you think will be the new Bondscoach?.

    Koeman, Bosz, Frank?, Cocu, Maarwijk, Ten Cate….

    We need a coach with experience and with discipline. I would not choose Cocu, Gio or De Boer.

    1. I actually think Bosz would be a great long term option, but I’d prefer for him to establish himself and gain further experience at Dortmund first.

      As I mentioned in other comments, I would love to see us use this opportunity to really identify and develop quality young players, and so for me, tactical success at the senior international level may not need to be a top priority right away.

    2. If Maarwijk is not available I will take Ten Cate. Bosz won’t give up a beautiful thing in Dortmund to deal with crap. The rest are mediocre at best. I wish Van Basten or Rijkaard would become available at some point. They both worked well during their short stints even though to be honest they had a great generation of players in their hands.

    1. JB, Argentina has a much better chance than Holland. All they need is a win and they’re due for one since haven’t scored in a while. We on the other hand are out and done.
      I may cheer for Messi and Arg in Russia and probably Iceland too. In the end Spain or France will win it.

  13. All I can say about our crisis is that you can have many good players. I do rate our players better than Sweden’s player by player but if you don’t play as a team you are going nowhere.

    Greece 2004 has set the example.

  14. well the 4-0 loss to france didn’t help. Luxembourg got a tie and Bulgaria only lost by 1 and Sweden even beat them…

    In this campaign, anything that could have gone wrong, did go wrong… player mistakes, coaches mistakes, referee mistakes, KNVB mistakes, injuries

  15. Sweden does not park the bus or normally play defensively. In this situation, I’ll expect them to start conservatively. They know Oranje have to attack and they will wait for their opportunities to strike on the counter or from set pieces. There’s no need for them to expose themselves.
    If the France game is still 0-0, they may open up to go for the win and get the automatic qualification. The playoff could get them Italy, Switzerland/Portugal or Croatia. It will be two extremely tough games with a World Cup spot on the line.

    It would take a miracle to overcome a 7 goal deficit against a decent team. The tie breaker should have been head to head matches since goal differential with a lot of microstates in the European qualification disrupt the level of competition. I hope this gets changed in the future to make it more fair.

    1. If you look at past campaigns before the last 2 disasters we never had an issue with goal difference. We actually were always in the top 1-2 teams on goal scoring and in goal difference. We can’t ask for different rules now. I insist we have gone from bad to worse with regards to coaches. Incredible decline from LVG to Hiddink to Blind and to demented Advocaat. Results speak for themselves. Just incredible.

  16. I agree, or alternatively, cap the value of the goal differential at some point. No matter how many goals you score, you only get 4 included in your differential…

  17. We knew the rules so did Sweden. They took advantage of their opportunities and we didn’t.

    As Jan said with the lads that we have, even now, we should not lose against Bulgaria. Full stop.

    There has been such a lack of confidence amongst the players it’s depressing to watch them with so low self confidence.

  18. We desperately needed a defensive midfielder I don’t get why Advocaat didn’t call Maarten de Roon, De Guzman, Fer or try Blind there who has already played that spot at the WC.

      1. I put my money on Clasie.

        He has good anticipation and amazing first touch and creativity. This is the kind of player we need. Sadly he is not in good shape.

  19. I see this as punishment for arrogance,complacency,lack of motivation on top of everything Stupidity of Danny Blind..
    We dont have the class of Fab4.
    Fab4 at least should have a WC and EC which spain took it away from them with luck..
    I feel so sad for Fab4 generation..They deserve more.
    Current facts
    We have set of players those are better than serbia,poland,northernireland,Iceland,turkey,sweden,etc
    We wre F$%%ked by Danny Blind and his pool of wrong choice with a strootman blunder.
    No need to blamee advocate much,He thought he could get a draw with France in last moment..so he tried he failed..ADVOCATE WOULD NOT HAVE LOST THE MATCH AGAINST BULGARAI AWAY MATCH.
    Some players are really bad and some are laying really bad in certain spots..
    We need to fix a pool of players
    who are motivated—eg Dejong
    who has typical dutch intelligence-RVP,Sneijder
    Who has charactor Eg Vlaar/Kuyt

  20. Maybe Blade Runner is the answer. Rather than embrace the challenge of developing our young players, we just create replicants of our all-time greatest players and field them as a super team. They only last 4 years though so we’d need to time things just right…

  21. Line up:

    Ake-Rekik-Van Dijk-Tete

    I don´t like the line up:

    I would opt for a more offensive team. Despite I am a huge fan of Tete, Janmat should start today.

    Propper should start instead of Wijnaldum, and Dost or Hunter instead of Janssen.

  22. So, so sad for Robben. He will be missed immensely. I would put him right next to Johan Cruyff.
    Anyone knows what the song right after the anthem is called and who sings it?

      1. they seem nervous to me and their goalkeeper seems shaky (he has a reputation of crapping out in big games).

        I don’t think we have a lot of offensive options -with depary or not- but this sweden doesn’t seem convincing to me.

        then again 7-0 is basically impossible. if we close the half 2-0 then we can hope for more panick.

        1. like I just said. Robin Olson has shaky hands. We had 2 great chances with Babel and we are up 2-0 RIGHTFULLY man.

          This Sweden does NOT deserve it. They sit behind and their defense is scared.

  23. Sweden is offering nothing going forward. We have over 70% possession. They don’t want the ball. We need to attack relentlessly and force them into fouls, cards, etc.

    1. Janssen is constantly battling with the offside rule. It is his nemesis. Would he be better in a withdrawn role? He is either offside everytime the ball is played to him, or getting back onside when he needs to be breaking through…

  24. Janssen is poor…We need some one ..Depay???
    Finally a good game by orange with out strootman,BMI,Depay,Afellay,Dost and some other crap ones…
    i think Advocate took over tooo late…

    1. there is nothing more that you can ask from DA…. Not that he is the best coach but given the circumstances he delivered what is possible. one bad game with France but that was not in the planned count for points….

      very good performance tonight regardless the result. Why Sweden deserves it ? I don’t see it at all…

      Fingers crossed, we might get lucky?

  25. Luxemburg 1 – Bulgaria 0 in the half time…

    Just RIDONCULOUS !!!!!

    Sweden got everything prima … dissalowed Dost goal, super lucky with France , panicked Luxemburg…. WTF…


    1. I sgree 100% with you, as usual the football god keeps hating us.. which fucking breaks my heart seeing a player like robben with that much heart for oranje going down like this!!! when will we have someone like him again!!! i still believe somehow in this miracle, come on we could be 4 0 up with Tete chance and janssen just missing some inches!!!

    1. It just feels so bitter knowing the guys will not be around at the WC.even don’t know whether I will be following WC or no.I think plenty has been said about what were their downfall of NT which are quiet true.with every campaign it’s always important to access how the team is progressing through the midway point.that game vs Grecce was that point where the KNVB should have heard the alarm bells ringing but then again as it was pointed out they too are part and parcel of this mess.

      There is something else I wanna say about Dick regarding his statement on Lux and Sweden game. I would have said the same thing with how the games in the second half of the campaign were turning out to be. When you play with weaker team they can be pain the ass until their spirit is broken. That’s what happened in that Lux game.they jus gave up after the flood gates opened. If France would have been able to score against them,the result would have been the same.

      I jus hope this will be learning experience for everyone especially with new generation of coaches,directors and managers coming in. Thanks guys.

  26. Robben should have switched to being an attacking midfielder. That dribbling from the right and cutting into the center is very predictable and everybody in the whole world knows it.

    If he played in attacking midfield role, with all the fouls he draws, it would give the team good free kick position in dangerous places. Oranje also lacks creativity in that position to supply whoever is playing as striker. He should have at least tried it in some games.

  27. It’s tough to assess VvD and Rekik’s performance, because there was literally no scoring threat from Sweden, but I thought they did okay. Ake is growing on me as a wide player, but I still think he and Blind should have swapped roles. What we really needed was two more Robbens…

  28. Arguably, we’re going to finish behind a team that we defeated (or should have defeated with Dost’s goal) twice. That doesn’t sit well.

    Bulgaria was the killer and 0-4 to France put the nail in the coffin.

        1. What a career if he retires. We can only hope we get an another Robben ASAP. That miss against Casillas will always haunt him. He would have been immortalized if that goal had gone in and the team won the World Cup.

  29. 2nd half again a nonsense. We kept beating the same path on the left with Ake and Vilhena attacking when we could have had Depay on the bench. Everything was so predictable. Players played as hard as they could but creativity was badly missed.
    I have a feeling Gullit will be promoted to head coach.

  30. Just looked back over all the results of the campaign, just to do a little mental post-mortem before turning the page and focusing on the future. Clearly, the 2-0 loss to Bulgaria was disastrous. 1-1 first game v Sweden, not great. Other than that… Just shows you the margins for error these days. You can’t take any games for granted.

    As someone else noted above, throughout this campaign it’s been the general lack of visible urgency on the field that has been most dispiriting and perplexing. I thought leadership would come from players like Wijnaldum and Strootman as they grow into their prime — the guys in the middle of the field best positioned to boss the game — and I’ve just not seen it. And the shambolic defense, ugh…

    I love Jan’s post above. The arrogant, assinine quotes from DA are the perfect pairing with Gullit’s brainless post-game social media posts, perfectly capturing the mess that has been these past two qualifying campaigns. Yes, use the friendlies as tributes and goodbyes, then usher in the new era. I’m happy to hear that the KNVB clown show may finally be resolving itself. May this failure to qualify provide that house-cleaning a further impetus.

    My passion for Oranje survived the early to mid-eighties, and it will survive this fallow period as well. Excelsior!

    1. Forgot to mention two other things — 1. while I agree with Jan’s prior criticism of DA and the team allowing the loss to France to careen into a 4-0 shellacking, as it turns out managing the damage to, say, 2-0 would not have ultimately changed the outcome. In the end it will just be further kindling (I hope) for the cleansing fire that gives birth to the new era. 2. While the Swedish player’s quote about not firing anyone and coming together after a 2-0 loss to Bulgaria initially resonated with me, it feels like a bit of a false comparison now. Holland and Sweden are not equivalent football nations, and Oranje’s loss to Bulgaria was a sign of rot that had to be addressed. While I respect Danny Blind a lot and appreciate that for much of his tenure with the KNVB he was the lone adult in a sea of petulant children, I think he lost the team, the players, and the narrative, and he had to go. The fact that the KNVB clowns botched the succession? Sure, that didn’t help. But I don’t think it was the time to just rally and forge ahead with the crew as it was — it wasn’t the right crew.

  31. Robben officially retired. He is a Dutch legend. Unlike all the other big name players, he never quit Oranje… always gave 100%. True role model for all professional soccer players. What a career. Thank you Arjen. Truly.

  32. Well,

    Just a few words. Arjen, thank you!!!

    Dick Advocaat did a decent job except the game vs. France when he had to close the windows after another Strootman stupidity that in my opinion was not missed at all in the last 2 games.

    Said all this, I do not think the new generation lacks talent. Perhaps we do not have a Bergkamp or Robben for a couple of years but we can gel a team, build a team and give them confidence. CONFIDENCE is what Oranje needs. Look at the first half, they played dominant football.

    Holland is not lost. We are not goind to the WC by stupid management of the KNVB, the bad coaching skills of Blind, players big blunders, the Swedish goal disallowed from Dost and because Luxembourg received some dollars from the Swedes.

    Anyway, time to build a team with Cillessen, Zoet, Tete, Ake, Van Dijk, Rekik, de Vrij, Vilhena, Van den Beek, Kluivert Jr, Promes, Depay, Dost & Janssen and newcomers.

    The new coach has to bring some agressive mindset. The KNVB has to make a choice firmly. My best candidate is Peter Bosz. Let´s see what happens and Hup Holland.

    Well, I will have support Mexico this World Cup, my country because my beloved Oranje will not be there but sooner than later we will have another star such as Robben or Van Basten. Total Voetbal will never die, just needs some deep fine tuning and we will be rolling again.

    Don´t be down my friends. We missed Russia by goal difference. It´s football and such is life.


    He will be missed. We need players who love playing for the national team as much as he did. Hopefully in 2 years we will be qualified for EC 2020 and Robben decides to play his last tournament.

  34. Blind’s sacking came too late. Advocaat had some mistakes but he only lost against France.

    This team has talent and as Mario said right now we don’t have a Robben or a Bergkamp type of player but if we play as a team we can be successful.

    We have enough talent:

    Tete 22
    Janmaat 28
    Fosu Mensah 19
    De Vrij 25
    Van Dijk 26
    Rekik 22
    Hoedt 23
    De Ligt 18
    Blind 27
    Aanholt 27
    Willems 23
    Ake 22
    Veltman 25
    St Juste 20
    Strootman 27
    Wijnaldum 26
    Klaasen 24
    Vilhena 22
    Fer 27
    Propper 26
    Van de Beek 20
    Van Ginkel 24
    Frenkie de Jong 20
    Toornstra 28
    Maher 24
    Ramselaar 21
    Bazoer 20
    Locadia 23
    Depay 23
    Promes 25
    Babel 30
    Janssen 23
    Dost 28
    Lammers 20
    J Kluivert 18

    1. Blind got 7 points in 5 matches, DA got 12 in 5 matches…. not the greatest coach of all times but what else can he done with this material and so little time? if he was there from the getgo we wouldn’t lose “stupid” points…

      anyhow… no point crying over spilled milk. Let’s minimize the time it takes to be in the next WK and be competitive… we lost 12 years 1978 to 1990…. let’s try to make that 4 this time…

      DA said that “we have better players than Sweden but they played more like a team throughout the series. Now that Robben is gone we can try to do the same with what we have”

      Couldn’t agree more.. Cheers guys lets hope the best for the future.

  35. There is lots of talent–but Blind was a weak coach (some poor player selections) and we had injuries and we were unlucky not to win the first Sweden game. Sweden is no good–a pedestrian football team.

  36. Some players have a lot to prove.

    Players with some experience that have been awful lately are Strootman, Wijnaldum, Janssen. They need to redeem themselves.

    Dutch clubs need to hold on to their players. These young players leaving so early is really affecting us.

    Van Ginkel is only 24 and he has played for PSV back and forth, Chelsea loaned him, Milan!. He is the perfect example of why young players should stay longer at the Eredivisie.

    1. One of the things I’ve read being discussed on this board is the lack of quality of the Eredivisie, which translates to scarcity of exporting our players to top tier teams.

      While I think the Bundesliga is not exactly the most competitive league, they do have Bayern, which I consider to be a “Tier 1” (or at worst Tier 1.5) and lots of their squad members play for Bayern. Outside the Bundesliga, they have Sane playing for City, Kroos with Real, Draxler with PSG, etc. From our current squad, we only have Cillessen, Blind and Robben playing for top Tier clubs. As also a Liverpool fan, I am always confused by Wijnaldum (who only plays well and scores at home, even from his days with Newcastle) and have seen enough drama this summer with Van Dijk’s potential move from Southampton. Point is, I don’t even consider Liverpool today a Tier 2 club in Europe and one of our best players, Van Dijk, was not even able to move there and playing for Southampton, for crying out loud!

      We just need to produce and export more Davids, Kluivert, Robben-calibre talents.

      After we missed EURO 1984 and WC 1986, we did win 1988 …. so I’ll hibernate for 3 more years and see us winning EURO 2020!

  37. Really gonna miss Robben. Was the heart and soul of the Netherlands and was really what Netherlands football represented. Hope Memphis can take his place now and lead then to victory. Also, has Robben confirmed he is retiring from club level after this year too? Because I just hope he will help us and win the 2020 euros after all he deserves an international trophy

  38. Please no more Robben, Babel, Strootman, Tornstra or Dost.

    We should focus on the next WC, then, we can not use anymore players than currently are olden than 26 years. Period.

    Use next euro to present a new and mode team. To give experience to the young players. We have four years to learn how to be great again without Sneijder, Van Persie, Van ser Vaart and Robben.

    Let’s find the new starts and don’t waste time with players that will be very older in 2022.

  39. It’s not yet 6 am here in the US and I still can’t sleep after both the Netherlands and United States failed to qualify today.

    On a more positive note, I just wanted to say thanks to Jan and to all of you for providing and participating in this forum so that we can share our thoughts, vent, and celebrate / commiserate, as applicable…

    It’s certainly been helpful and encouraging to me over the years, and once again today 🙂


    1. If you can’t at least manage a draw versus TnT, then you don’t need to qualify. Unlike Oranje, the U.S. had a much easier task against a much easier opponent (with nothing to play for) and yet they managed to screw it up.

      It could potentially be a big loss for sponsors, TV ratings, MLS, and the development of the game in one of the biggest markets in the world.

      1. You realize hardly any people in North America follow soccer. Football, baseball, basketball, and hockey are all way more popular sports. We care way more about those sports than soccer in North America

  40. I don’t want the EC 2020 to be an experiment. I want Oranje to win it.

    Who will be the new captain?. I would go for De Vrij, Van Dijk or Blind. Strootman doesn’t deserve it.

    1. I understand you, but we must focus on players that will be available to play in 2022.

      I think our captain should be Blind. he has been the most consistent player last 2 years. Agree that Strootman doesn´t deserve it.

    1. Nation League is an independent competition that will start in 2018-2019 season and will conducted each year forward. It is designed not as a replacement of the Euro qualifying tournaments. Mainly it is designed to replace friendly games. However, the years when it overlaps with Euro qualifying tournaments, four best teams from each group of Nations league that were unable to qualify through normal qualification tournament will have a change to get into major competition. This gives chance to countries representing the weakest teams like Luxembourg, Azerbaijan, Georgia, etc. get a chance to participate in Euro 20NN.

      You can read details in uefa.com or Wikipedia.


  41. As a coach, I would pick up Koeman. He knows very well Dutch philosophy, merits and defects. He has plenty of experience as a player and coach, in Netherlands, Spain and England. Will be very nice if he has a young assistant coach with fresh ideas.

    I think Bosz still needs more experience. I think he is still little naive.

    I would love if Win Jonk starts to work with the KNVB

    1. Koeman has some issues now…i feel safe with Dick Advocate..Remmeber when Advocate Joined Blind vs Sweden away game we had splendid match,had klassen wasted chnace afer chance and strootman didnt gift..it would have been different..
      Dick doesnt like flashy primidonna…players…thats the best thing with him…
      We have quality players in Babel,Propper(only as striker),van de beek,Frenkie dejong,Vanginkel,Vilhena,Bazoer,Boetius,Van dijk,Devrij,Tete,Kongolo,Ake,Deligt ,Wijnaldum as winger/forward and Daley Blind as DM
      But we need to get rid of Depay(no speed and workrate),Strootman(too slow),klassen(Poor finisher),BMI(Mr.leakgae),Afellay9Headlesschiken)..Elghazi(headlesschiken).
      Players with benefit of doubt
      Promes,Janssen,Wijnaldum etc…..
      Find out a core 33 man squad…only slecet from them..
      Please no more Basdost typo..Virgil van dijk will be better striker than him in last 10 minutes..that is play Virgil as striker in last minute by introducing a defender in Virgil place..i feel Deligt can also play there in last 10 minutes for Dost role..WE SHOULD NOT waste a sot for Dost..

      1. I still feel that Oranje have to be led by a coach with new and fresh vision to football..We need some diversity of thoughts. I would not mind a foreign coach either….I would even say that would be preferred. However, KNVB will never go for that. Pride will not let that happen. In my history of being Oranje fan, Ernest Happel was the only foreign coach that led the Oranje.

    2. A “loser” coach for a “lost” team? That’s a great formula for “losing”.

      Have you seen Everton play this season? To be honest, worse than Oranje under Blind. No speed, no change of positions, no passes in the opponent half, no use of the flanks, yet a champion in one thing: back-passes to the goalkeeper.

      As an Everton and Netherlands fan, I can safely say Ronald Koeman is the WORST that I have ever seen, and I have been watching football for more than 40 years. To put things in perspective, Koeman spent 140 million to assemble this shit.

      If Koeman is selected to coach Oranje, I will surely stop watching them play. It will further guarantee that we won’t qualify for Euro 2020 (and WC 2022). No doubt he wants to coach Oranje so that he can run away from the mess he has created in Everton. It makes me wonder how on earth he had plans to manage Barcelona.

      To be honest, there is no current Dutch coach capable of re-building Oranje. We need a German or Italian coach.

      1. I will challenge you a bit here. Koeman is a good coach. How would you explain his successful spell in Southampton? I believe the fact that his team is not doing well is a temporary phenomenon. However, Koeman is not the coach that will easily and quickly adapt to any team. He started his coaching career with Ajax, where he had a great success by bringing the team to 1/4 final of Champions League. The short but very successful time in Benfica. Then another success at PSV. After that he had two unsuccessful efforts in Valencia and AZ Alkmaar followed by solid terms in Feyenoord and Southampton. He does not have a loser mentality and he has very good vision. I like him.

  42. I would also go for Koeman and it is the perfect timing as he is not having the best time at Everton unlike Bosz who is doing well with Dortmund and has just started that job I doubt he’d quit.

  43. We have won most of the matches with out klassen and strootman…thats not a coincidence..
    Let our squad be
    Babel,Wijanldum,Locadia,Propper,Janssen,Boetius and pinch hitters as Deligt and Virgil..
    Van debeek,Frenkie dejong,Vanginkel,Vilhena,Blind..
    Pure tacklers DM
    De roon,Ake,Bazoer,stjuste,
    Left wing backs
    Central defenders
    right wingbacks
    Cillessen,Vermeer,Padt,Zoet..No more stkeleburg please..

  44. like this

    Haps—–Juste—-Frenkie dejong—–Stengs
    Both Blind and Devrij can do build up from back..

  45. I may take some flak for this, but I think it would be interesting to see Guardiola take over Oranje.

    It would be a new challenge for him after Man City, but he’s one of the few managers out there with enough understanding and sophistication to develop our playing style in a new direction. He could be very influential from a youth development perspective as well.

    1. A foreign coach would not be a bad idea if we can find the right one with experience, a winning mentality and record. Sometimes when you are in an echo chamber it is hard to think and act outside the box.

      Guardiola’s experience so far needs world class players. He’s used to working with the best (Barca, Bayern, and now Man City). I doubt he has the time and patience to develop players and start from scratch which is where Oranje is at now.

      Wenger likes to work with young players and doesn’t like to jump from place to place. He would be better if he’s available and if the KNVB are willing to meet his financial demands. (He’s more likely to take over the French team which is overflowing with talent at the moment)

      1. Guardiola did coach Barcelona B before taking over the first team. There he had Busquets at age 18 and Pedro at 19, each of whom went on to be full fledged starters, and also Thiago at 16, who moved with him to Bayern.

        At Bayern, in addition to Thiago, he had Alaba, Goetze, Bernat, Coman and Kimmich, who were all under 21.

        Now at City, he has Jesus, Sane, Sterling and Stones, all of whom are 22 or under.

        I think Guardiola actually enjoys working with young players, and the opportunity to coach a national team and do so for his mentor’s home nation might be an intriguing possibility for a new adventure in his career. Although I’m sure that a corresponding position with Spain (or Catalonia for that matter were they to gain independence) might be an even better alternative for him.

  46. Quoting the translation
    “We have a plan with which almost the entire Dutch football world has been consulted. A plan that should serve to bring our football back to the top in 2026. The training has to change, our players must become mentally more resistant and physically stronger, while of course the technical and tactical aspect must not be lost. It is a long-term plan, which is now quiet. Jelle Goes wrote and developed the plan, after which Hans van Breukelen owned it, but its implementation seems to have to be picked up by a new technical director. It will undoubtedly have to estimate value and determine what he is going to do.”

    This is the KNVB long term plan:


    Any comments?

    There is possible to obtained in English?

  47. Can we please stop with the dumb lineups???

    It is obvious we have a good core of players like Cillessen, De Vrij, Van Dijk, Karsdrop, Ake etc etc…

    This team lacks three things: experience, flair and bravado. Experience and Bravado will mean that Sneijder continues on. No question about it. Flair is another proposition… Promes is mediocre at best… Depay is a lost cause… Let’s face it.. we are not going to see another Arjen Robben any time soon.

  48. Take it in Sweden’s starting LW is backup to boetius at Feyenoord when boetius isn’t even on the National team. and somehow Sweden makes it over us.

  49. I am really angry because I had been saying that Blind should’ve been fired earlier!. He cost us the WC!.

    Advocaat is not the best coach and he even managed to get 4 wins out of 5.

    We have to stay positive. If we had had another coach since the beginning of the qualifiers we would be going to Russia. Well, OK it is time for Dutch football to make some changes and especially they have to focus on our player’s mentality.

    We need warriors.

    1. I agree 100%. Blind is the #1 reason for the failure. End of story for me. Of course, there are a lot of other reasons but none of them are more important than the decisions he made.

      Winning mentality is everything in sports.

      That should be the new motto for Dutch football!

  50. The first time I watched Robben play was against the Czech Republic on 2004.

    I believe I am a decent person but that day I drank too much and was driving which is stupid but I was still a teenager and went to jail for one day.

    I was so disappointed not because I was in jail and because it was a stupid thing what I did but because I knew Holland would play and I would miss the game because I was in jail. Then I got lucky because there was a friend of mine who knew the police and they let me stay the rest of the time in a room with TV so I watched the whole game!.

    I still remember I was so excited to watch the game. We had a good team with experience and young talents. We had Seedorf, Ruud, Davids, De Boer, Sneijder, Heiting…and some guy called Robben.

    I had read about him and when he was on the starting XI I was surprised but the rest is history with Advocaat’s huge mistake by taking Robben out with 30 minutes left. From that day I have always followed his steps and he has never disappointed me.

    I had never watched Holland play live so I went last September to Amsterdam to watch them against Bulgarie. I was just in time to watch him for our Oranje!

    Farewell to one of the best players in Dutch history.

    Do you think he makes the top 5?. I couldn’t watch the 70’s or 80’s generations…

    1. What a great story!!! Whatching Robben in jail!!

      I don’t know if Robben is too 5 or 10… I don’t like this comparinson between players. But he is one of the best. I would put Sneijder there too. I always have been a huge fan of Wesley!

  51. For everyone saying Holland isn’t going to make the 2020 euros you guys need to watch soccer. The only reason Holland didn’t make the WC was because alot of bad luck. The dis allowed dost goal, the goal Stekelenburg let in which he would’ve saved 99 times out of 100. Sweden managing to play Luxembourg on a day all of them took a vacation. And through all of this they only did not qualify because of goal difference. Netherlands are a top 10 team in the world. They had a few off games and bad luck. We have lots of quality in depay, boetius, van de Beek, Mensah, kluivert, stengs, de lift, frenlie de Jong, and a thousand others I can’t think of at the moment. In three years we will be back at full swing and everyone will be wondering how we didn’t crush Sweden by 8+ goals. Every single team in all sports in history have a slump at one time or another. Look at team Canada 2006 in the Olympics for hockey. They were unstoppable but ended up losing to sweden. This isn’t the end of the world. You guys are just over exaggerating by saying all of the KNVB needs to be re-evaluated, We do not need to do a complete rebuild if we already have all of the tools we need. We just need to put them together the right way. This happens everywhere to every great team. You guys just need patience to wait for the slump to end

  52. I forgot to mention Canada is now undefeated for over 7 years. They did not panic or do anything. They knew that they had the talent as does Holland and kept playing till everything clicked

  53. Really interesting debate going on over here in the US about the benefits of a free market / promotion – relegation system (in contrast to the MLS’s protected league and franchises). Essentially, the argument is that without the opportunity for promotion / fear of relegation, clubs are not properly incentivized to develop their own players for either the purpose of introduction into their first team or selling them to fund the club. In the absence of a pro / rel system, which essentially every other nation in the world utilizes, the US franchises (vs clubs) do not really engage in a competitive marketplace for talent, and thus have neither the incentive nor means to properly develop players in a professional environment. And this, in turn leads to an overall reduced quality of play and competitive level in US football / soccer, which ultimately becomes a vicious cycle.

    The traditional arguments that (1) the US doesn’t really care about football / soccer, (2) their best athletes don’t devote themselves to the sport, and (3) Americans just aren’t good at soccer, don’t really hold water anymore when you see a US player like Christian Pulisic doing so well as an 18-year-old in Peter Bosz’s Dortmund’s first team. Of course, most of his development and training over the last few years has occurred in Germany.

    The primary argument against promotion and relegation in the US is that the current protective league environment is essential in order to encourage investment and to maintain fan interest and competitive parity, as is the case in other American sports, and which, the argument goes, is borne out by the failings of prior US leagues (such as the NASL which at one time recruited players like Pele, Beckenbauer and Cruyff), whose spending was completely out of whack with their earnings and led to their downfall.

    I think there’s a lot of merit to the pro / rel argument, especially considering that unlike other American sports, the competition for quality players occurs in a truly worldwide marketplace.

    That said, I wonder about the other end of the spectrum, for traditional pre/rel countries like (1) England, where the money to be made by reaching and/or remaining in the Premier League is so overwhelming that there is no longer any real incentive to develop young English players at all and the clubs instead just buy the top talent from other nations, and (2) the Netherlands, where the financial situation in the Eredivisie is such that assembling teams to compete in Europe against English and Spanish superteams is so fruitless that the primary means of clubs’ sustainability has become the sale of any top level talent produced at the earliest opportunity.

    Finally, its rather ironic that the professional sports system in America is essentially a closed market / socialist based system, whereas in Europe and elsewhere, it’s almost pure free market capitalism.

    Ultimately, since sport, at its essence, is all about competing and excelling, it will be interesting to see how a balance can be struck between leveling the playing field for competition, but still incentivizing the pursuit of quality and excellence.

    1. Very very interesting topic. I totally agree that a Pro/Rel system needs to be introduced in Pro Soccer in the USA. The primary requirement of such a system is adequate corporate sponsorship.

      Those who will disagree will point out the success of the NFL that operates by rewarding the lowest performing teams with top draft picks to achieve parity. The salary cap plays a role in the NFL too or else all the top players will be playing for Dallas Cowboys (similar to La Liga and Bundesliga).

    2. On a related note, there is still some merit to the argument that the best athletes don’t choose Soccer in the USA. The main factor is money. Use the example of Odell Beckham Jr of the New York Giants. He was equally good in both football and soccer in college. I am pretty convinced he would have played in Europe had he taken up soccer.

      1. Fair point. I’m sure that a Russell Westbrook or Adrian Peterson could be a good soccer player if they chose that path. But there are so many other star players like Ozil, Iniesta, Messi even, that would not stand out from a speed, strength, power standpoint, but who have the skill, understanding and creativity to be dominant forces.

        In other words, I don’t think that that line of argument should be an excuse for the US. Pulisic himself is not an elite athlete at all by US standards, but he is likely the best player this country has ever produced.

        1. I have to disagree. Most of the greatest athletes in the US play baseball, basketball, football, or hockey. Soccer is like the 7th most popular sport. If soccer was as big in North America as in Europe I could guarantee that the US would be one of the top countries. Look at all of American sports. They dominate them as Canada dominates hockey. I personally live in Canada and 9 out of every 10 boys growing up plays hockey as their main sport. There are definitely star athletes out there who could have made it big in soccer but just chose another sport.

          As well, I believe they should introduce the salary cap into Europe. It just isn’t fun to watch unless you are a fan of 4 teams. Take Spain for example, if you aren’t a Barcelona or Madrid fan the only thing you are cheering for is not to be relegated. And what’s the fun of cheering for your team not to come last place.if you take the NHL for example if you look at since every team has joined no team has won the Stanley Cup more than 4 times. It is actually a competition that every team has a chance to win. You don’t need relegation if everyone has a chance to win. No team has stayed bottom of the standings for over 6 years. It is actually enjoyable so you can cheer for your hometown team and not be bored by the fact that literally the championship is only betweem two teams as in Spain, Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, England, and almost every country in Europe. It was a really big deal when Pittsburg won twice in two years but a let down for Ajax for not winning once in the last three years

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