Dick Advocaat’s post-match press talk: “I am so proud of the team! We did exactly what we wanted and I think we really humiliated them in their own home. It was our aim to show that we are able not to concede 10 goals or more and they only managed 4 of which one was offside. I even made it harder for them to have Strootman red-carded. This would force my lads to play even more defensively and with less initiative even and still the French couldn’t get 10 past us. Great day for Holland! I also believe Robben deserves extra compliments for being able to head that ball way past the goal, if the defender wouldn’t have interfered. It is much harder to totally mishit that ball than it is to score. So yeah. Happy, proud. I think we can probably limit our defeats to Sweden and Bulgaria to 0-2. So finally, we can focus on putting artificial pitches in every Dutch stadium during the 2018 summer and get the whole country to enjoy futsal.”
But seriously… I wrote the piece below while watching in disgust:
START OF RANT:
Writing this while watching the first half France – Oranje and I am in deep mourning, serious football depression and ready to make some drastic decisions.
We’re playing as if we won the first leg 5-0 and we can accept a 3-0 defeat here, and we’ll still go through.
But it’s not. And we re not. And we shouldn’t go through. We have nothing to do at that World Cup.
The options we lack to replace Robben, Sneijder and co, the lack of quality of the new generation, the lack of intensity and speed… It was a shambolic performance. Losing every second ball, every challenge, hardly any movement off the ball.
And yes, France has a top generation and strong and powerful players. Sure. But if you want to get something from them, you need to play at 110%. Intensity, desire, movement.
There were no positives to be found. Tim Fosu-Mensah made his debut. That’s probably the only thing.
It starts with coach Advocaat of course. Why play Janssen up top? He has no rhythm or confidence, no speed and not enough dribbling skills to make a dent on his own. Janssen is good in and around the box. In the final third. Knowing France had to go for a win too, why not use Promes as the striker and Memphis in the Promes role? Or Vilhena in midfield to stop Pogba?
But apart from that, the team looked good on paper but really offered nothing on the ball. Sluggish, indecisive, clumsy. The number of stray passes by Wijnaldum, Strootman, Hoedt… A disgrace.
After seeing this game for 45 minutes, I wonder if an “Ireland away” scenario is possibe. In that game, coach Rijvers was down 2-0 and brought Van Basten in the second half to play with Gullit up front and the two got three goals to secure the win.
Maybe Ruud should put on his boots ?
Late in the first half, we had an intervention, Wijnaldum finds Sneijder, who finds Fosu-Mensah and his run and pass is misunderstood by Robben and the ball is passed to a defender of France. Typical!
The only good thing is that France should have scored three goals by now and seem to be going for gallery play.
Total dominance by France. Great goal by Griezmann.
Second half, Dick made one change, with the lethargic Sneijder out and Vilhena in. A bit more penache and tenacity from him?
I am disappointed we don’t see Memphis for Janssen.
The decision after Danny Blind’s sacking was to either build a team for post WC 2016 or give it all to go for short term result. The latter was decided, with old hand Advocaat as coach – short term focus – and Sneijder, Robben and now Van Persie as the key men to make the difference.
I think the universe decided that we’ll need to rebuild and rebuild significantly. Vilhena, Frenkie de Jong, Donny van de Beek, Haps…
Add Promes, Memphis, Karsdorp, Kongolo and Tete and we might be able to build up again.
Now, with Bulgaria currently leading vs Sweden, there is still a slight chance, but if we play like this vs Sweden, we won’t even get a look in.
So, with Holland on the 36th spot in the Fifa ranking and Ajax and PSV not even qualifying for the Europea League, we need to face the music.
Dick and Ruud have to. The players, the clubs and most importantly, us….the fans.
And…me….the blogger. Is this still something that makes my heart sing?
I was able to witness and comment on our World Cup finals in 2010, our attempt to reprise this in 2014.
But dealing with the Eredivisie, the demise of clubs in Europe, artificial pitches in Holland and disappointment with every national rep team, the seniors and the youngsters for that matter.
Decisions to be made….
And to make things worse, I just saw Arjen Robben trying to dribble his way out of our box after a France corner…. Why not indeed?
Second half, Oranje has more energy, more movement, but sadly lacking of quality. The players constantly need an extra touch, an extra look up.
And here, another good spell of possession for Oranje, France dropping of a bit. Strootman had the ball in midfield, no pressure on the ball and what does he do: a long high ball to Robben who is marked. Ball gone.
But France, despite their movement and flow their final pass in the final third was poor. It should have been 4-0 by now but Holland is actually still in it.
Not really sure what annoyed me more, the game of Holland or the commentary on Sky. Constantly discussing the poor level of Holland, the in-fighting from the past, the fact that Robben and Sneijder are still in it….
And now, 60 minutes in, Kevin Strootman is screwed by Griezmann. Gets his second card for a dive by over-acting Griezmann. Red card and Oranje with 10. Nice! Why not?
So here is the symbolism: young striker Janssen replaced by 34 year old Robin van Persie. Not a good sign.
Finally a decent attack by Holland, with Robin on #9, Fosu-Mensah gets two attempts to cross the ball in and twice he fails to make the right decision….
Great players make the right decision at the right time. Instinctively. We don’t see a lot of that in our team.
68th minute, first chance for Robben. Good cross from the left, Robben is free at the far post and messes it up. Wants to head it back to Robin, but should have gone for the near post (for him). Good ball Promes.
Cillesen sadly is the best man in the team, denying Pogba from 2 yards out.
But, new star Lemar gets the second goal and it was a cracker. Control, technique, just perfect goal.
Another great chance for Fosu-Mensah, on a break in the 78th minute but he mishits the ball completely…
And after an undeserved red card, why not an off side goal as well? 3-0 for France now. Sure.
And wonder boy Mbappe scores a goal as well. It’s four… – END OF RANT
The best thing that happened on the night was Bulgaria’s win over Sweden. That didn’t take any help from any Dutchman, so no chance of it getting F-ed up. We are still in it. So the drama might actually be even bigger when we lose vs Bulgaria at home, due to own goals of Memphis, Van Persie and Ruud Gullit who actually will play in that match.
But fair is fair: France is outstanding. They have everything in spades. Everything we are lacking. Speed, strength, flow, technique, team work, movement, confidence, intelligence. They weren’t that good, because we were ripe for the slaughter in the first 45 minutes, but hey…
We need to simply now get past this match quickly. Get the confidence back up to beat the next three opponents and pray that we’re not the worst #2. (Which we actually are!).
For the Bulgaria match, Strootman will be out (despite the ridiculous card). I think Sneijder will play and we might see Donny van de Beek in midfield. Good mover, good passer, can score goals and tackle. Bulgaria will park a couple of yoghurt cans in the box, so we do need a player with skills in the small spaces. Janssen will get the nod again too.
Some positives, I think the back four did ok. Cillesen was outstanding. Fosu-Mensah will reach the top, Blind was pretty decent and Hoedt and De Vrij do have potential to become the duo of choice at the back.
Some negatives, I think our midfield was atrocious. Wijnaldum, Strootman… what is the matter with these cats? Sneijder shouldn’t have been used in this match or at least as false striker instead of Janssen. But even Promes, the rock star from Moscow, is not even the shadow of Lemar or Coman or Mbappe…
But! We can beat Bulgaria, Sweden and the other guys. And we might just make it to the World Cup. And we might get lucky there even! But after the WC2018, Sneijer, Robben and Van Persie will need to make way.
And we need to build a new team around the Frenkie de Jongs, the Van de Beeks, the Kluiverts, the Tete, Karsdorps, Akes, De Roons, Fosu-Mensahs and Depays of this world.
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