There was a storm of protest, disgust, confusion and all out mayhem after Oranje failed to qualify for the Euros but a month later, it seems it all died out.
We are back to talking about Ajax’ abysmal performance in Europe, Cocu’s tactics, Memphis disappearance act and Dirk Kuyt returning to Oranje, maybe this time as a goalie.
Bert van Oostveen lacks support in the football world and will be assessed this month. The loser said with straight face to the cameras that “not qualifying is bad but we are obviously in a build up phase”… WHAT? You finish third at the WC2014 and you are in a building up phase?
More like a tearing down phase…
But….I doubt that he will go.
Like I doubt Blind will be sacked, but to be honest he is not our biggest problem.
We have lame strategic management at the KNVB, which needs to be addressed and the new management should question Blind whether he is capable of playing effective modern football with the talent at hand. Forget BS like “4-3-3” and “Total Football”. Like we have many other obsolete cool stuff in our world that we need to leave behind such as capitalism, the fact that Bill Cosby is cool, coca cola and MacDonalds and the belief that eggs are bad for you.
Ruud van Nistelrooy said in an interview recently that the Dutch mentality is not the issue here. “I see a team like PSV beat Man United and Wolfsburg. I see Feyenoord battle Ajax. I think we have desire. But sometimes it simply doesn’t go your way. I had that too in my career. I have had moments galore where I doubted myself. It’s human. It is ebb and flow I suppose.”
We used to eat steak for sports lunch, prior to matches. We don’t do that shit anymore. We need Blind to tell us he can construct a 5-3-2 / 3-4-4 from this squad and win games with it .
If he says “no” then he needs to go. Otherwise, leave the lad.
Blind has given a stern warning to Memphis Depay, before including him into the Dutch final selection. Who else do we have with Elia for the left flank? But Blind said: “Memphis needs to be more important for the team. He needs to work harder. This is his process. I trust that he can and will.” He was left out of the prelim squad but is back.
Louis van Gaal covered the Memphis issue in his Man United press conference prior to the Moscow game. “There is no problem with Memphis. He is exactly what I said he was: a tremendous young talent with exceptional qualities but who needs to learn a lot still. His move to Man United was a big step and he needs time. I am convinced he will return and he will return even better.”
Another recurring name is Dirk Kuyt’s. The team manager asked Kuyt, who retired from international duties, to see if he was keen to come and help the team out in the final two matches of the campaign. Blind: “Dirk has additional value. Both on and off the pitch. He is doing exceptionally well still at Feyenoord now, and I checked if he was keen to come and help. But he wanted to know if he would start and I cannot give players a certain starting berth, so I said no, and Dirk declined.”
Kuyt confirms the story: “Well I didn’t demand a starting spot but I did say that I wanted to help the team on the pitch. Not in the dressing room. He knows and I told Guus Hiddink this as well, earlier on.”
Another remarkable move is removing Jeroen Zoet from the keepers list. Ken Vermeer is now part of the squad and rightfully so. The Feyenoord goalie is playing really well while Zoet is having trouble. Talent enough, but needs to work on personality. Also Stekelenburg, playing regularly in the EPL is part of the squad what with Krul out.
Obviously, Robben is back – with a CL goal to celebrate the occasion but Robin is out. “He is not looking sharp, not fresh… He doesn’t play enough and needs time. I have certainly not written him off. A good Van Persie is still the best striking option we have.”
Arjen Robben is part of the squad but he himself isn’t sure about playing. “I just returned from injury and have yet to get match fitness. I came on vs Arsenal and scored and all that, but I am not sure if it is wise for me to start against Wales and Germany. We’ll see. My focus is to get a good series of games before the winter stop and we need to see if playing now for Oranje is a good thing. But don’t worry: I will discuss this with Danny Blind and the Munich medical team and I’m sure we’ll sort it out. We usually do.”
Kongolo is picked over Pieters, an enigma for me. Pieters plays week in week out well against top opponents while Kongolo is not convincing in the Eredivisie. Van Dijk is given another chance as a result of strong performances in England. Veltman had some good performances for Ajax while Kenny Tete is probably the biggest defensive talent at Ajax. Still strange to miss the name of Sven van Beek.
The big surprise in midfield to me is Marko Vejinovic. Good player, for sure, but slow. He is impressive on the ball and in games where Feyenoord dominates. But against strong teams, it seems like his coach prefers Vilhena over the Amsterdam born Serb. But with potential rivals like Leroy Fer, Marco van Ginkel, Ibi Afellay not playing good enough or not playing at all, it makes sense for Blind to look at options. Davey Propper for me would be more logical to pick. Blind however, sees Vejinovic as the center mid defensive man, as alternative for Clasie, while the other spots will be for Sneijder/Klaassen and Wijnaldum/Bazoer.
Upfront no big surprises, bar Van Persie. Quincy Promes impressed recently at Moscow and will be back in the squad.
Van Persie said recently in an interview that he will work to get back into the squad. “What is there to say. Danny called to say what he had to say. I didn’t have a lot to add. I took notice of it and that’s it. I have a special feeling for Oranje and love playing for my country. So I will do what I can to come back. I am not ready with Oranje.” Rumours about his relationship with Danny Blind were waved away. “No, my relationship with Blind is fine. You have different coaches and different relationships and all that, but we are fine. We have no issues.”
I do hope Blind will take the opportunity vs Wales and Germany to test a 5-3-2. We have the players for it:
Janmaat – Bruma – Blind – Van Dijk – Riedewald
Wijnaldum – Clasie – Sneijder
Robben – Memphis
So here we go again… Let’s call this the new start.
As for the blog, I am contemplating some changes. I have asked a couple of people to maybe share the load with me and add some contributions to the blog in the form of posts. You can put your hand up to send me articles you’d like to contribute and I can increase the frequency of new posts this way. Obviously, I will edit as I see fit ;-).
Also, I am considering producing an e-book. I am in need of ways that helps me to fund what I am doing a bit more. Donations only go so far, of course.
The e-book I am contemplating is cool stories that are not so well-known, spanning from 1988 to now, the period from the last drought to the current one :-).
I would be happy to know who would be interesting in this and how much you would be willing to pay for it…
For all of you losing confidence in our skills and abilities, check out this video of Arjen Robben doing a keepy uppy with Rafinha 🙂