Big Puzzle for Louis van Gaal

Holland was the first European nation to qualify for the World Cup and it is now the first nation to qualify for the knock out stages. Despite all the pessimism and negativity (or concerns) we are doing something right.

We saw the great statistics on the blog, thanks for that, and it is clear that we are on an impressive run.

I personally believe and believed that Chile will be the worst opponent for us in this group and I can see Chile go far this World Cup.

Louis has some decisions to make and these decisions will be influenced by what the coach actually wants to achieve. Do we want to finish first or second? This will depend on how well Brazil will do but we won’t know this before we have to play Chile. Brazil plays Cameroon though and they are having a howler this tournament.

There is a dilemma in terms of playing style / system. The 5-3-2 worked well against a slow and sluggish Spain, that hoped to be able to simply pass their way to victory (and dive their way to victory). But against a hard working and forward pressing Australia the 5-3-2 was rubbish and after Van Gaal switched to 4-3-3 we got more control over the game. Which is exactly what we need if we want to utilise the class of Robben, Van Persie and Depay.

lvg post oz

And since one of the key figures at the back – Martins Indi – will not be present against Chile, it might be a good idea to resort back to our normal way of playing . Taking into account of course that Chile has its own ideas about how to play and/or what position to want in the group.

And another issue of course is the yellow card situation. De Vrij and De Guzman are all on edge. Will Van Gaal rest them against Chile? And the ever impressive and formidable De Jong is suffering a bit with little injuries. Maybe he should be allowed to take a break?

This is a tough one. Van Gaal doesn’t want to take risks with key players, but he also wants to maintain flow and rhythm. The scruffy game against Australia is not a benchmark for Van Gaal. “I cannot really process the way that game went. That was not a typical game for us. We will need to improve in possession, no matter what system we pick.”

Sneijder: “You can’t play great every game. We are on a World Cup. You have to calculate lesser games.” And Van Persie: “What counts is that we have two victories and six points.”
Vlaar: “This is tournament football. We need to score one more than the opponent. If we do, I don’t care about the rest.”

vlaar fist

All true but it is not wise to simply ignore the inconsistency of the team. Against Australia, players like Janmaat, Blind and Martins Indi were clearly the Eredivisie players again, the ones they tried to outgrow.

The FIFA chose Arjen Robben as the Man of the Match vs Australia. Normally, Van Gaal doesn’t single out players but this time he felt he needed to mention Nigel de Jong as his Man of the Match.

De Jong: “Every now and then you need to bite with the bark, you know? But Man of the Match, it’s not that important to me. The forwards, the goal scorers always get the attention. I had a good chance to score. If I did, it was 3-2 already, I might have had a chance. But it’s all good. I played well, so I can’t complain.” De Jong battled a lot with Tim Cahill. “He is a class act. I know him well from England. He has so much passion. The Aussies are not better than Spain but bring much more power to the game. In the first half, we played to clean. While they went for every lose ball. Some lads need to still grow into that. And you need to show yourself. After the break, we showed that side ourselves too. We drew the longest straw at the end. That is what counts.”

nigel cahill

Chile plays 5-3-2. They won’t debate that. So a 4-3-3 seems to be logical. Van Gaal: “I cannot share that conclusion yet. I will have to do some work on that.”

Van Gaal’s friend and ex-colleague at Ajax Co Adriaanse feels the 5-3-2 is done with. “It worked a bit against Spain. One half. And also because Spain lacked the desire, the power and the form. It was dreadful against a lesser Australia. When you play 4-3-3 there are more and better options to build up. It simply is easier to do. I think we got what we wanted versus Spain. Now it’s time to play our own football. I say: use Chile to get the team working on it again, and whatever the result, you know… When you play Argentina or Brazil or even Italy, you don’t want to use 5-3-2.”

Piet de Visser is a former coach and currently super scout for Chelsea. The 74 year old has an outspoken opinion about football. “To me Chile is the best team of the tournament. It was a surprise that Holland beat Spain but Chile gave them a beating too. Quite clear that Spain failed to bring new players in after their wins in 2008, 2010 and 2012. And they probably should have gone with a new coach. Brazil has a mediocre team. I think Holland shouldn’t fret too much about meeting Brazil in the knock out stages. Brazil is David Luiz and Thiago Silva. Oscar and Neymar do not carry the team but have flashes of brilliance. But both players had a tough season and it shows. Most other nations disappoint. Italy is shrewd, Germany is clinical and will make it very far. Argentina is also not performing too well. Again, Holland has a chance, albeit as an outsider.”

chile coach

Argentine born Jorge Sampaoli, coach of Chile, is a protege of Marcelo Bielsa. Once, when he was redcarded, he climbed into a tree to be able to still coach his team. Like Van Gaal, Sampaoli is obsessed. Marcelo Bielsa is known as El Loco. The Mad Man. The former Argentina and Chile team manager was inspired by none other than our Louis van Gaal and his 1995 Ajax team. And therefore it is safe to say coach Sampaoli as well, is a fan and follower of Van Gaal. This is the first time the two coaches meet and face off. 
Sampaoli: “We want to attack, we want to win and we want to put pressure on the opponent. We will never feel less than any opponent we play.”

And rightfully so. In 2013, they beat England at Wembley, 2-0 and earlier this year they outplayed Germany in Stuttgart. Chile is the number 3 South American nation behind Brazil and Argentina.

It is quite thinkable that Chile wants to attack to avoid Brazil and win the group. They’ll attack. And that will mean that there will be space for the Dutch to explore. And Chile might score a lot, they also concede a lot. They are the masters of 5-3-2 so it does seem smart to use a different system, to allow us to control midfield. A 4-3-3 which will be a 4-5-1 when not in possession seems to be the best way to go.

By the way, Chile and Holland only versed each other once before. In 1928. At the Sparta Castle in Rotterdam. Good times, I remember that game well. 2-2 it was and instead of penalties the decision was made by draw. Holland won.

We finish up with Robin van Persie leading the training here, with the young talents!

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  1. Jan great posts, but group B matches are before group A, we need to play for the win as brazil most probably will top its group

    I think we will go 4-3-3 to the rest of the tournement a style that we know how to play, what van gaal is thinking now is who to play upfront is it robben- huntellar-lens? Most probably,

    Am with the idea to have kuyt play with the system 4-3-3 instead of janmaat which is easily can be turned to 5-3-2 with him being right back without making a substitution

    But now indi being benched this card will be postponed to later games

  2. Thank you all for the compliments. I’ve been following this blog for some time, even prior to my appointment as Netherlands manager, and I enjoy reading the supporters comments.

    My favorite is Tiju, who makes me rethink my starting XI on a daily basis. I include Kuyt in the final 23 just to inspire further commentary from him.

    I am looking for ideas for the next match against Chile and would like to hear your thoughts.

    I know you have big ambitions for this WK; I too have big ambitions. Together I’m sure we will make history!

  3. These are my first time comments here. Let me humbly suggest returning to the 4-3-3. Despite the promising results so far, 5-3-2 is not Dutch School!

    I should know, as I am the Dutch School

    Have you ever played in a WK? I have. Have you ever reached the final? I have.

    You talk very big for having won nothing yet.

  4. Hendrik, eh? I destroyed your precious Spanish team 5-1. Is that not enough?

    Have you ever managed in a WK? Even a qualification campaign? I think not.

    Is it me that is so smart, or is it you that is so dumb?

    1974 was a long time ago. Go back to playing golf in all oranje as that is all you can contribute now

  5. We will see. Holland will only win playing 4-3-3.

    You can’t play dominant football with a 5-3-2 system. The numbers on the field don’t match up.

    And if you play Italy in the QF, just remember that they can never beat you, buy you can lose against them

    And if somehow your magnificent players drag you to the final, I hope you heed my advice.

  6. I am an artist. You are an artisan.

    Call me when you actually play totaalvoetbal.
    Just scoring goals is not enough. You must play with style. Otherwise, just resultaatvoetbal

  7. Veel succes! 1974 was my first WK. 2010 was my second — my countrymen vs my ideas. I am convinced that you have to do it like I did. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have done it that way.

    Just remember, when you have the ball, the other team cannot score. But it doesn’t matter how many goals they score as long as you score one more. Every disadvantage has its advantage…

  8. “It is quite thinkable that Chile wants to attack to avoid Brazil and win the group. They’ll attack. And that will mean that there will be space for the Dutch to explore. And Chile might score a lot, they also concede a lot. They are the masters of 5-3-2 so it does seem smart to use a different system, to allow us to control midfield. A 4-3-3 which will be a 4-5-1 when not in possession seems to be the best way to go.”

    I am afraid with 4:3:3 system we will have too much space, and our midfield and defense will not be able to cope with aggressive attacks of Chile. The ball simply will not reach our attackers….My major reservation is giving away too much space…If our midfield feeds well our attackers, then I am not worried about Chilean as Memphis-Huntelaar-Robben will take care. Will they do that?

    Another question is whom LvG will use as central attacker? It looks like he does not favor Huntelaar…All other attackers are more wingers…Wijnaldum is another option as he is more mobile than Huntelaar…

    Anyway, I would not like to be in LvG shoes….

    1. Chile right now are playing better football than we are. We just counter and rely on van Persie and Robben to score. There is little cohesion.

      I have my own ideas, but don’t want to make it too easy for “Aloysius”.

      This is his team and he needs to make these decisions.

      My hope is that he will play 4-3-3 though.

      1. This is true. My heart bleeds orange, but we got a gift from the Aussies on all 3 goals….and Spain gifted us a few as well. The first vP goal was sublime however!

        We have mastered the counter just fine but I’m afraid once a team focuses on Robben and his left foot again we could be in trouble. Need to see Sneijder more involved. Hopefully he will have the time vs Chile….which I see is a must win if we want to progress far in this tourney.

  9. I would play 4:3:1:2 system

    Memphis —Robben


    De Jong–Sneider —Clasie


    Not sure though…..

  10. For me it’s very simple. The 5-3-2 worked against Spain and didn’t work against Australia. The 4-3-3 worked in a way against Australia. So we must use the Chile match to test again the 4-3-3. There’s nothing to risk except getting Brasil rather than Croatia (which is not a very big difference imo), in which case we can always go back to 5-3-2 against Brasil.

    LVG is lucky to have a chance to test again the 4-3-3. I’m sure he will be using that chance. He will play Lens as striker.

    1. Do you think Lens will be good as a central attacker? My concern is the absence of RvP. He is so versatile that can play great in all attacking positions. If he was available then trip Lens/Memphis – RvP – Robben would look great. Since he is going to be absent, where do you potentially see Lens playing? he is typical winger. So we have Memphis-winger, Robben – winger and Lens-winger. Who is going to be in the center of attack? Just curious to know your opinion.

  11. “We will need to improve in possession, no matter what system we pick.” LVG

    I like what LVG said. It doesn’t matter in which system we play we just need to improve in possession. I believe we have a better team than Chile let’s just show them who is the boss!!!.

    Chile played amazing against Spain but I believe the best football in the whole tournament is the Dutch 2nd half vs Spain but we are SO underrated we still have to prove ourserlves.

    My friends told me it was a surprise Holland qualified from the group phase but Chile was not a surprise??? I mean we’ve played 3 WC finals!!! what has Chile done in football history?. I like this Chile team but they are the surprise here, we are not a surprise we are and will always be amongst the favorites.

    1. Chile was impressive in the last 4 years. They took the Dutch school concept from Van Gaal’s 95. The experts (me) saw this coming :-). And the fact that we played 3 finals doesn’t mean a thing for today’s game. That is irrelecant. Sweden won it once. England won it once. It’s the past. It doesn’t exist anymore.

  12. “I like what LVG said. It doesn’t matter in which system we play we just need to improve in possession”

    I absolutely agree. It is not 5:3:2 did not work with AUS, it is possession was not there and passes were very bad. LvG will need to deploy players who can hold the ball.

    1. Systems don’t win games. Van Hanegem recently said that all this systems talk cramps up the players. Too many tactical instructions. He feels we should now just play football (4-3-3) from now on.

      JC Is remarkably silent. He wants t allow LVG to finish the group stage before he comments.

  13. To resolve this dilemma, I think we need to first determine the objective against Chile.

    If we are trying to play (and win) each game one at a time in isolation, then I think we stick with the 532 and keep the line-up generally the same (but perhaps with Wijnaldum in for de Guzman). In doing so, we try to avoid being exposed by Chile’s speed and pressing and then counter quickly to Robben and probably Depay playing in RVP’s role.

    If we are not as focused on this specific result, and instead are using this game to build for later in the tournament (to prepare either for games against Brazil or Italy, where our opponents will be playing on the counter themselves, or games against Croatia, Argentina or Germany, where we will need to battle for the ball in the midfield), then I think the switch to a 433 and more experimentation may be in order.

    Personally, I’d like to see us just play each game one at a time, and try to keep the momentum and confidence going. I honestly don’t think that we have the talent in the midfield currently to play a 433 against top opponents, but we will see.

    1. I don’t agree. My reasoning for not wanting to play 4-3-3 is because we don’t have two wingers for the tight spaces and because Sneijder didn’t have the legs.

      Well, with Depay developing wonderfully and Sneijder top fit, I think we can easily play 4-3-3. Most opponents only play 1 or two strikers.

      If they play one, we need 2 defenders + De Jong (i.e. 3-4-3)

      If they play two, we use 3 defenders + De Jong (i.e. 4-3-3)

      1. I think I’d be comfortable with a 433 with Depay-RVP-Robben up front, even though the wingers may be inverted.

        But in that formation, I’d be more concerned about a midfield with Sneijder-NDJ-deGuzman / Wijnaldum / Blind.

        Throw in VDV or Strootman and the midfield begins to look a lot stronger.

        So far, LVG has done a good job concealing some real weakness in defense by keeping 5 players roaming the backline. If we move one forward into the midfield, I think that a lot of gaps will begin to develop.

          1. What I meant to say was:

            I don’t disagree that a 433 could work, and I’d be comfortable with Depay-RVP-Robben up front, even though the wingers may be inverted.

            But in that formation, I’d be more concerned about the midfield. Among the current options (Sneijder, NDJ, deGuzman, Wijnaldum and Blind), few are two-way players who have demonstrated real competence at the international level. Further, our primary attacking success so far has come by virtually bypassing the midfield build-up altogether. If VDV or Strootman were available, then the 433 midfield begins to look a lot stronger.

            Finally, I’d say that through the first two games LVG has done a good job concealing some real weakness in defense by keeping 5 players roaming the backline. If we move one player forward from the backline to the front, I think that a lot more gaps will begin to develop (just like against Australia).

  14. Agree–the midfield is a major question mark, which is the risk with 4-3-3. I would like to see LVG play Clasie or Fer and get a look at some different midfield personnel in the next game.

    Italy just played a tired, horrible game against Costa Rica–they were much worse than we were against the Aussies.

  15. I’m totally against switching to 433 system.
    We won against spain with 43% possession , scoring 5 goals with them scoring only once from a PK. Why the hell we need possession ?
    we played great. Everyone watched Oranje this game was entertained. we have the ability to switch to 433 anytime with only one substitution , so why to change the whole system ?

    Remember that the only trophy oraje won wasn’t by 433 system. Do you really want to change to 433 because we WON a tough game against Australia ? What about Italy losing to Costa rica ? Brazil tying with Mexico ?
    We only need to improve our midfeild. De jong is the only one who is doing his job. I prefer to see Sneijder lying deep with Wijnaldum or Depay playing under Persie and Robben.
    Or may be Clasie instead of de guzman. That’s it.
    We have a pretty good chance IF we top our group. Costarica seems to be on top of their group , which means we have to face Croatia/mexico , then Costarica/Ivory coast to reach the semis !! SUCH A BLESSING !!
    C’mon Oranje !! It’s a great chance !!!!!!!!!

    1. “We have a pretty good chance IF we top our group. Costarica seems to be on top of their group , which means we have to face Croatia/mexico , then Costarica/Ivory coast to reach the semis !! SUCH A BLESSING !!”

      That’s true. This game against Chile should not be taken like a group stage game, it’s already the next round. If Holland loses and plays Brazil after, the chances will be low. Chile players also know it and want to avoid Brazil.

      But I still think that Mexico/Croatia can also give big problems to Holland. And maybe win.

      And a quarter finale against Ivory Coast would be huge

      1. This is so true. I have to believe LvG and his boys know this…There is never an EASY path to the Final…but not having to play Brazil, Italy, Germany and maybe now France certainly makes it EASIER. Even Columbia who look strong would be on the other side. Let them all duke it out over there. Any South/Central American team would be a challenge just since it seems they are thriving this WC but I’d rather take on Costa Rica than Brazil.

        If Oranje go into this tilt wanting to win….then I think they will be good. Be aggressive and seize the game, don’t take it lightly. You know Chile won’t. We’ve done well against South American sides recently….let’s hope this continues.

        I’ve been trying to find articles in English (my Dutch is mediocre at best) about what LvG will do up front since RvP is out. A Dutch friend of mine says he thinks it will be Lens not Hunter….we shall see. Nice to have that quality to choose from!

    2. There’s not enough quality to play possession with this group of players and it will also clutter the field in Chile’s half. What is needed is space and they can only get that when there’s a turn-over in our half. In the worst case bring on JKH and throw every ball at him.

  16. I’d like to see a 4-2-3-1. This formation brings the best out of Sneijder and Hunt.

    I’d also keep Depay on the bench and bring him + Gio on around the 60th minute for their pace when both teams will get tired.

    Blind—–De Vrij—–Vlaar—–Janmaat
    —–de Jong—————Clasie——

    1. I like this lineup and formation, although you probably meant to mirror-image it (Janmaat and Blind swapped, etc.)

      DeVrij may be left out because of his yellow. Veltman is probably just as good. Fer could replace Clasie if we wanted a more defensive approach.

      Some people think Hunter will not start, but Lens will get the nod. That’s possible, but keep in mind that Hunter is superb in the air. That’s an advantage we have over Chile given their short stature.

  17. Apart from Australia,Chilians and Costaricans has huge stamina and every one runs like edgar davids in these teams.that makes trouble for any former champions teams lots of dangerous passess is been cutted before it get start or in midway.thats why we had trouble vs aussie.What makes more about this chile and Costarica are they some finishers who simply capable of scoring number of goals from feil play.
    We can beat chile through corner and set peices we need that to score vs them.It is going to acid test for De vrij and Vlaar if they pass this test i am sure we real contender for WC.and we will beat any one.
    i hope arrival of Wijanldum for Deguzman will give us some speed in midfeild,and lenz would be handy upfront.I am 100 percent sure lenz will find a goal if he start.
    Super subs

    1. Tiju:

      This is wonderful! I may give this a shot, although personally I still prefer DeVrij over Kongolo.

      I would like for this not to be publicized just yet though.

      Thank you

  18. France is impressive. They will give hard times for Germany if to meet in the quarters. Great team with beautiful counter attacking style.

  19. FIFA Rankings:
    Spain 1
    Netherlands 15

    Netherlands 5 Spain 1

    FIFA Rankings:
    Switzerland 6
    France 17

    Scoreboard at HT:
    France 3 Switzerland 0

  20. Guys,

    looks like all teams have their problems. It is not only Oranje. Look at Italy. They played great first match, and terrible second….We will see a lot inconsistencies during the competition. I think LvG will find right formation with right players to play with. Too many changes are always bad. ..

  21. Quite a mauling by the French against Swiss. Much more lopsided than one would expect. (I could comment on the FIFA seeding again, but no need for sour grapes…)

  22. I think the Dutch better pack the midfield against Chile and stay away from 4-3-3. Chile is a quick, tenacious, pressing team who can go forward quickly when they get the ball. Given that the Netherlands midfield is shaky, this game could be a recipe for disaster. I think sticking with a somewhat defensive style and using the counter-attack would be very wise. We can frustrate the Chileans and use our skills when breaking the other way. As with most matches, lose the midfield and lose the game.

    1. Agree. I am for 4-5-1 if Chile has possession and 3-4-3 when we can break.

      Stefan/Joel, Ron and Nigel can remain at the back. Blind and Darryl to support them on the wings

  23. According to the castrol WC14 statistics Spain completed 1145 passes, so they stayed true to their colors (tiki taka) but has it achieved I wonder?
    I think tiki taka has some resemblance to total football, don’t get me wrong I would love a modern version of TF, but I think we don’t have the power to do so.
    Robben was big against spain and the goal against australua because he had huge spaces to exploit. In a 4 3 3 he’s parked on the right side and makinh those classic cutting ins and shoots on goal. Yes shoots on goal not actual goals.
    Van Persie comes alive when he has people close to him rather then being a static in the center.
    5-3-2 can be made more aggresive if janmaat and blind are willing to exploit aggresively the flanks.
    If sneijder can be more creative and actually run the plays.
    Against chile, holland needs to be as intense as when they played spain, stealing balls and quickly moving it forward.

  24. I think somebody mentioned this in previous blog about playing 4
    -5-1 and I think thats the best formation to go with.




    ———————-De Jong———————–



    Krul- better reflexs than cillessen and also cillessens distribution is poor and he is jus useless in long range tropedos which vargas is very good at.

    Verhaegh- defensively he is better than Janmmat and with wijnaldun and Lens on the same side he doesnt need to push far up.

    Veltman- brings speed and commandictability in the backline.

    Vlaars- needs no intro

    Kongolo- his athleticism will come handy in containing Sanchez.

    Wijnaldum/sneijder – anchor the midfield

    De Jong – destroyer as ususal

    I have gone with natural wingers so that hunter can serviced as fast as possible and also to stretch the defence for hunter to use the spaces effectively in the middle and also arieally.

    Our super subs

    Depay if hunter is static with Robben moving to right and Lens up front.

    The two subs can be technical ones …leave it van gaal.

  25. Switzerland played with Djourou and Senderos as defenders. Two sub par former Arsenal defenders who Wenger tried to save money by using them. They never improved their talent level and their weakness was on display today.

    I feel DeVrij maybe another Senderos or Djourou in the make ng. Along with Vlaar who never developed into an elite defender, Chile might expose us.

    That’s why I STRONLY suggest we stick to 5-3-2 against quality opponents. We need that extra man to close up space. I don’t care if we play ugly. I want a win more than anything else.

  26. Holland have conceded only one goal from open play so far, and that was Cahill’s wonder strike plus two dodgy penalties awarded to the opposition. And we had the big hairy bouncing man balls that Tiju likes his men to have to come back and win. Oranje has the “collectief” (and big hairy balls) and that’s worth more than anything.
    Chile should be mighty scared of us. I would take the opportunity to play Huntelaar up front. (to be honest, if he doesn’t play now then he has every right to be f@cked off). And I would give Clasie the chance in Snijder’s place.

  27. Hi guys, sorry I am struggling a bit with the prediction scores and ranking. The tech problem we had gave me some problems. I’ll sort it this weekend and I’ll publish this weekend!

    A little bit more patience please 🙂

  28. The game against Chile will tell us how far we can go on this world cup and how good this team really is!!! I think that we should stick to 5-3-2 but with some changes….Veltman should replace De Vrij cause he is to slow for the pace that the Chilean players posses. Knowing that Martins Indi will be out of this fixture Kongolo is the only other replacement since he is also a left footed player. On the right now, i have not been impressed with Janmaat so far, so why not give Verhaegh a go since defensively he is better than Darryl….On the left we stick with Blind cause he has the ability to produce a long ball which I’m sure that we’ll take advantage of with Robben’s pace on the counter. In midfield ill keep it the same with De Jong, Sneijder and De Guzman. Up top we are missing our captain and in my opinion the best replacement for Van Persie is Depay!! He has a great touch and possesses the ability to beat the defender that is closely marking him giving us a deadly duo with Arjen!! Hopefully Van Gaal works his magic again cause this is a game that we should NOT lose in order to avoid Brazil. HUP HOLLAND HUP!!!

  29. As i said earlier that we play against Spain and Chile with 5-3-2 and with Australia with 4-3-3.Becos dealing with very strong opponents,we don’ t have the soul of midfield and defence is weak.So,5-3-2 should be use against Chile.And we can change it to 4-3-3 if really needed.

    The match with Chile,maybe Kuyt might be useful as he is a 90 mins solid runner.Maybe he can play in front of Vlaar to help the defence and assist NDJ.Yeah….

    1. I reallly like your idea using Kuyt aside with De jong in the midfeild. It is worth trying. The guy can give 100% in any position on the pitch.

  30. The argentinian fullbacks are giving a good example on how fullbacks should support the offensive unit. The two fullbacks are constantly attacking threw the flanks.
    If janmaat and blind had played more offensively against australia we wouldn’t be having the 5 3 2 – 4 3 3 debate…

  31. So will people/commentators who said the Oranje was “lucky” to win vs the Socceroos will also say Argentina was “lucky” to win vs Iran? Iran was close to scoring mins before Messi scored (what a brilliant goal that was)

    Should Argentinian fans be worried they could only win 1-0 at last mins vs Iran? [rhetorical question]

    I think the teams are still formulating, other than France who looks like they are really dominating. But do they want to peak so early?

    We’ll see what Germany will do later today.

    So far, this is probably the best tourney in the last 10-20 years as I recall.


  32. Argentinas fans should be worried cause with what they have showed so far i don’t think thay are capable of winning the world cup. A lot of their players are out of shape like Aguero and Higuain and also Gago is not good enough. Defensively they will have problems when they play tougher teams.

    Germany is a lot weaker than EURO 2012 and WC 2010. Their fullbacks cannot attack properly cause Boateng and Howedes are better when used as CB. Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Goetze are not what they used to be. Don’t get me wrong though, the Germans might still win it all cause i don’t seen any other team better than them so far….Chile has impressed me but i do believe that as they progress in the tournament they will struggle if they get 1 or 2 players injured. France also looks very impressive but like you said do they really want to pick so early!!!

    1. Argentina is doing like Holland 2010.

      In my opinion they have the profile to be a team that will reach the finale. They start slowly and will probably raise their level after.

      Also, despite of their big lack of creativity in the last 30 meters, they controlled both games so far. Iran had chances on corner kicks and counters today.

      I worry more about how Australia challenged Holland, for me Australia Holland was really 50-50 technically. Australians were winning challenges in the midfield, the wingers were often making difference…

      1. I think Bosnia would have got a draw or even a win if it wasn’t for the early own goal. They were better and controlled the Midfeild really good. As for Argentina , They can get a bad result if they played against any good counter attacking team I think.
        But I do see your point , Laurent. They relay on messi as was Oranje relaying on wesley 4 years ago. not sure how they will progress in the tournament. They have an easy pathway to the semi’s. Switzerland then Belguim should not cause them big troubles , although Belguim may be a tough opponent , but they are so beatable imo.

  33. Does anyone else feel like we’ve played substantially better in the second half of both games so far than in the first?

    If so, do you think this is a result of LVG getting his tactics wrong in the first half, or right in the second half, or playing conservative initially, feeling out how the game is going and then making adjustments?

    I’d like to think it’s the final option.

    1. JB:

      That is very perceptive. The reality is that I text Patrick at the half of each match and tell him to remind Aloysius that he is Dutch and should attack and play 4-3-3.

      1. Belachelijk! Patrick denies receiving any such messages.

        In fact, I doubt you have understanding to even send a text.

        I am Dutch of course and we will play my way. I am the manager the last time I checked.

        JB, your hope is correct. I simply assess the match at the half and make the necessary adjustments. When my orders are followed, the outcome is assured.

  34. Germany’s technical level has dropped off since my day.

    Gerd Muller scored in many ways that were not pretty, but I don’t think even he ever headed a ball off his own knee for a goal.

    1. Have you ever managed in Germany? I have.

      Have you won titles in Germany? I have.

      Your Ajax was pushed aside by Bayern, and then you fled to Spain!

      No one here needs your commentary. Please return to the time that you belong.

  35. I enjoy the spirit that Ghana play with, although would like to see them run less and pass more.

    But it is always good to see others score against Germany!

    1. I was the first Dutch manager to win the Bundesliga.

      I am also the first Dutch manager of Manchester United.

      Let me see, Ajax, Barcelona, Netherlands, AZ, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Netherlands, Manchester United.

      Just wanted to bring you up to date. I know it must be hard for you still living in the past.

      Have you heard that Germany is now unified again?

      1. It must be difficult for you to have been fired so many times. Thank God Ajax didn’t make the same mistake twice.

        Somehow I have manage to stay relevant despite being retired for almost 20 years

  36. And we qualified for the World Cup and they said we were shit. And we beat Ghana in a friendly and they said we were shit. And we beat Spain 5-1 and still they said we were shit. And we beat Australia and still they said we were shit. And they said Spain were good, and they said Germany were good and they said England were good. And they said all this many times. It appears they were talking shit.

    1. we beat chile, they say we were lucky and shit, they say we lose to croatia like euro 2008 we beat them we are shit. we beat ivory coast we were shit, we play argentina we are shit we beat brazil in final we are the shittiest world champions ever.

    2. I was about to say the same.
      Man , The more the tournament goes , the more I believe that Oranje is one of the most convincing teams , at least uptill now.
      Please , for all true Oranje fans , postpone all critics till july 14th and Only Support Oranje.
      We have an excellent pathway till the semis , The team members enjoy a great spirit and there is a great tactician on the head of the team. This just may be our time.

      1. only one team will win the world cup, the haters are just waiting for any slip up to be like i told you so and then rag on holland. for now enjoy this run for as long as possible

  37. Germany vs Ghana is a mirror of our Australia match. Same sequence of goals, same story. Lets see whether Germany manage to turn it around like we did.

  38. Who is this man on the television? I see Ruud and Ballack and this American with the blonde woman.

    Did they just need roodharig? Was Scholes not available?

  39. This commercialisering of voetbal has gone too far.

    When Puma said no to the three stripes, I agreed.

    But then Barca takes a sponsor on the kit, devastating.

    And now a striker on Nigeria has added “NIKE” to his name.

    What is next?

      1. if kuyt plays chile will take rest in defense that they know even if sneijder does excellent passes and may send kuyt for goal,he will not score like Roben or he is not a threat like lenz,wijnaldum or Depay,this will ease them and our defense will get more pressure..Its worst senario…No kuyt please even if we loose it.

      1. He makes the game very open.. To my point of view anyway. But yes lets leave that to Lvg, he knows his players too well as we saw earlier today. And is a master tactician

  40. Would you guys rate Lens higher than Huntelaar?

    I don’t get it! why wouldn’t Van Gaal give Hunter a chance.

    What has Lens done so far?

    Meanwhile, I think it’s good to let Van Persie rest this game. So that we can get a fit Van Persie in the round 16 against Mexico / Crotia (or Brazil????)

    Also is LVG using Classie as a secret weapon for the later stage? I don’t think De Guzman is better than Classie

  41. @fatciwie, simply lens is faster than huntelaar, kuyt is faster than huntelaar, our offense is relying on both speed and talent, one of them is not enough

  42. Thanks Jad for letting me know 🙂

    I had been following Holland since 88, but I haven’t seen much of Hunter to best honest, but I know he’s a good scorer.

    I really didn’t realize that even Kuyt is faster than hunter.

    Let’s hope what you’re saying is right and Lens can show his what he is worth of ( i bet he might be thinking ” finally it’s show time for me 😀 ! )

  43. The suspension of Robin van Persie , Netherlands plays Monday against Chile for the first time in 221 international games without a player whose name starts with “Van”.

    The last time that happened on May 29, 1996 in a friendly match against China.

    1. Nice to know!

      My only concern – If Robben keep playing 90min full match each game, would he get exchaused? This goes the same for De Jong.

      Does anyone has any updates about the transfer market? I’m just wondering who of the boys LVG is gonna bring to Man Utd.

  44. There was an article today on ESPN discussing the tie breaker rules:

    For group play the following is the World Cup tiebreaker sequence:

    a) greatest number of points obtained in all group matches;
    b) goal difference in all group matches;
    c) greatest number of goals scored in all group matches;
    d) greatest number of points obtained in the group matches between the teams concerned;
    e) goal difference resulting from the group matches between the teams concerned;
    f) greater number of goals scored in all group matches between the teams concerned;
    g) drawing of lots by the FIFA Organising Committee

    The article then reminds us of 1990, when Ireland and Holland were forced draw lots to see who would finish second and third in Group F, although at that time, both would advance.

    I honestly can’t believe that FIFA would still use the drawing of lots to determine who might advance to the knock-out rounds. But I guess this is the same organization that ignored goalline technology for many years and also will bring us a World Cup in Qatar.

    1. JB drawing lots is the last option, there is another way discussed to use fifa ranking or play a separate match, but the schedule is not helping for the latter, and fifa ranking is not fair, drawing lots is the best option available where both teams have equal opportunity

      I suggest both teams to play penalty shoot out, its more fair and it wont affect the schedule




    I plan on making the trek tomorrow and coming out but I’m unsure which place will be better: Liberty Village or Betty’s.

    Any of you Dutchies from TO help me out!

    1. Myself and six others will be at Betty’s. We can enjoy bacon and beer at the same time as they are known for delicious breakfast.

      School restaurant in Liberty village was a big let-down this year due to small screens, reduced space and limited payment options oh yeah AND NO NACHOS AT SCHOOL.

  46. A message for fifa: can you please cancel group H altogether and award the two spots to the best third team of two other groups, say group G and A?

  47. The link between the miserabilist Mancunian songwriter Mark E Smith and the freewheeling Dutch side of this World Cup may not be immediately apparent, but the title of The Fall’s 1988 album I Am Kurious Oranj might be an apt moniker for the exploits of the gloriously unpredictable Holland at this intoxicating World Cup.

    First came that thrilling 5-1 evisceration of Spain, then a curate’s egg of a performance against Australia – slipshod in defence but with enough speed, skill and luck in attack to come from behind to record a 3-2 victory. As ever with the Dutch at major tournaments, no one is quite sure what to expect next.

    With Arjen Robben flying and Robin van Persie at his arrogant, imperious best they will go head to head with a Chile side fast emerging as one of the hits of the tournament to decide who tops the group. However, Van Persie will be missing having picked up two bookings – as well as three goals – in his opening two games. The PSV Eindhoven striker Memphis Depay, a possible target for Tottenham Hotspur, is expected to deputise.

    Nor will Chile be at full strength. The coach, Jorge Sampaoli, is considering leaving the Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal and Charles Aránguiz, who scored one of their goals and made the other in their thrilling 2-0 victory over Spain, on the bench. Vidal, only recently recovered from knee surgery, has a sore achilles and Aránguiz has sprained his right knee. Both players are also on yellow cards.

    Predicting the outcome of group B was never going to be easy, but few suspected that Holland and Chile would both go into the final game with maximum points and Spain would be facing off with Australia for the wooden spoon.

    game at the Arena Corinthians in many ways epitomises everything that has thrilled about this World Cup so far: two swift, fearless attacking sides – one from South America and one from Europe – who have lit up the group stages and now face off to win the group.

    Where the football in South Africa four years ago was largely grey, stodgy and off-key, in Brazil it has been exciting, unpredictable and broadcast in glorious Technicolor. The onus will be on Chile to target victory, with the Holland coach, Louis van Gaal, knowing that a draw will be good enough to top the group given their superior goal difference.

    The fact both teams have already qualified is likely to give the clash the air of a celebration as the raucous Chileans and garish Dutch pour into the crowded streets of São Paulo to add colour to the hitherto hardest to please of Brazil’s World Cup host cities.

    But there is much at stake. Whoever tops the group will avoid Brazil in the second round and instead face Croatia or Mexico, with a theoretically easier quarter-final – against Costa Rica or the runners-up in group C (likely to be the Ivory Coast) – to follow.

    “If you look ahead a bit, in theory you are better off than if you come second,” said a bubbling Van Persie, who added that he would like to face Brazil but just “a bit later” in the tournament.

    The team that finishes second is likely to face Brazil, though given the form of the hosts to date that fate does not hold the fear it once did, and then the prospect of Colombia, Uruguay or Italy in the quarter-finals.

    Such has been their flying start that is easy to forget that this Dutch side arrived in Brazil with many question marks hanging over them. But Robben, playing with an intelligence to add to his natural skill and pace in the best period of his career, and Van Persie have helped their young team-mates – many based in the domestic league – quickly find their feet.

    They almost stumbled against Australia and it will be intriguing to see if Van Gaal sticks with the 5-3-2 system that worked so well against Spain or starts with the 4-3-3 he reverted to at half-time against the Socceroos to rescue the game.

    For Chile, roared on by their passionate fans, there is a feeling of momentum building. Sampaoli has insisted he is not getting carried away, which is more than can be said of those inside the Maracanã during the victory over Spain or the huge crowds that partied the night away in Santiago. But he perfectly summed up their performance afterwards, lauding his side’s “authority, intensity, bravery”.

    The midfielder Carlos Carmona said they would concentrate on stopping the Dutch switching the ball from defence to attack as swiftly as they were able to do to such devastating effect against Spain.

    “Robben is very fast and the team is playing well,” added Francisco Silva. “To counter their speed we’ll have to have a balanced game and close spaces.”

    There is little chance of the Dutch, who will wear an orange kit for the first time in the tournament, taking the challenge lightly. “They looked fit, they looked strong, they played together,” said Van Persie of Chile’s performance against Spain. “So we’ve got a big task. It will be very hard to at least draw against them.”

    Given the gung-ho attacking, liquid breaks and occasionally suspect defending of both sides, one might expect a high-scoring game. At this most unpredictable of World Cups, probably safest to predict a 0-0 draw then.

  48. If Kuyt starts vs Chile then we will have two back passing specialist playing along each other. Blind and Kuyt keeps getting better and better.

  49. Dank u well commentators! All of your thoughts and opinions have been instrumental in helping develop my tactic for the next game. You are so much better informed than the Spanish press (who I congratulate again)!

    So it is down to Chile. The Chileans may be able to compete with us physically, but they are no match for my brains.

    Let me put it this way? Have you ever heard of Happel, Herrera, Sacchi? Morons!

    The game against Chile will be a battle of the wits. It will end when I decide my tactic and both teams play, and we will find out who is right, and who has to play Brazil.

    Let me explain my analysis:

    In reality it is so simple. All I have to do is divine from what I know of Chile – are they the sort of team who, by their choice of formation, would effectively put poison in their own goblet or their enemy’s?

    A clever team would select a formation that puts the poison in its own goblet, because they would know that only a great fool would reach for what he is given. I am not a great fool, so I can clearly not choose the formation that rhymes with “the wine in front of you”.

    But Chile must know that I am not a great fool – they would count on it – so I can clearly not choose the formation that rhymes with “the wine in front of me”.

    Now, we’ve beaten the Australians, a continent entirely peopled by criminals, and so we have demonstrated our strength, so Chile may expect us to trust our strength to save us, which means I should not choose the formation that rhymes with “the wine in front of you”.

    But we’ve also bested the Spaniards, which means we have skill, so Chile will now that we have studied and understand that we are mortal, which means I should clearly not choose the formation that rhymes with “the wine in front of me”.

    Don’t you see. The Chileans have given everything away. I know where their poison is!

    You will see my choice tomorrow.

      1. You only think I guessed wrong! That’s what’s so funny! I switched the formations when you weren’t looking!

        You fool! You fell victim to one of the classic blunders! The most famous is don’t get involved in a Champions League final against a team managed by my pupil Mourinho. But only slightly less well known is this: Never go in against a master tactician when the Group of Death is on the line!

        Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!

        Who are you to question me?

        1. I’m no one to be trifled with. That is all you ever need know.

          And besides, I’ve spent the last 40 years building up an immunity to master tacticians!

          Totaalvoetbal will prevail, whether it is Holland or Chile that is playing it.

  50. Its amazing to hear that 220000 Argentines have crossed Brazil Boarders to support their Messi and the team. Wonder whats happens if Argentina reaches the Final or what if Brazil and Argentina meet in the final. thinking of what the atmosphere will be like inside the Estádio do Maracanã.
    the capacity is just around 80000.

  51. Portugal is sitting on 1 point after two games, with a goal difference of -4. They were on the brink of having all their (theoretical) hopes of advancing destroyed, but unfortunately the Americans let their guard down in the last minute.

    Spain out, England out, Portugal most likely out. This is shaping up to be a great World Cup.

    1. Hopefully Portugal won’t make it, if they through second, they are capable beating Belgium, will be in our way in SF. Last thing Netherlands want to meet in knock-out are Portugal and Italy.
      That’s way, lost against Chile is not an option, as Italy and can wait us in QF even if we manage to beat Brazil. Its a tough route, which will burn us out before real fight against most-likely SF’is Germany/France/Argentina

  52. As much as I’ve complained about the Dutch midfielders, if the US had any of them, including de Guzman, instead of Michael Bradley, they beat Portugal going away.

  53. Guys, It looks that 1st route is a must
    Netherlands Route1: top the group if we draw Chile
    Lesser opponent before SF, then Argentina/ Belgium/ Portugal and lastly the toughest matches against Brazil/ Germany/ France.

    Round of 16
    Match 51 Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza Netherlands Croatia/Mexico
    Match 59 Arena Fonte Nova, Salvador Netherlands Costa Rica
    Match 62 Arena Corinthians, São Paulo Netherlands Argentina/Belgium/ Portugal
    Match 64 Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro Brazil/ Germany/France Netherlands

    Netherlands Route2: second in group, if we lost Chile, Chile top the group.
    Tough routes from R16 against the host, QF against Italy/Uruguay, then against Germany/ France in SF, Argentina in the final.

    Round of 16
    Match 49 Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte Brazil Netherlands
    Match 57 Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza Netherlands Italy/Uruguay/Colombia
    Match 61 Estádio Mineirão, Belo Horizonte Netherlands Germany/ France
    Match 64 Maracanã, Rio de Janeiro Netherlands Argentina/Belgium/ Portugal

  54. Guys I am extremely proud to have Van Gaal AND Cruyff as avid posters on the blog. I knew Kuyt, Rafa, Van Nistelrooy, Van Bommel and Sneijder were frequently reading it, but now this coaching debate: PRICELESS

  55. We didn’t play great but what mattered most was the win!Our defense was the best I have seen it in a long time. We didn’t give any opportunities to the Chileans. Blind was very tenacious and Kurt did very well.

    Great header by Fer. We need his presence in the box. He maybe a better option than De guzman. Gives us a different dimension. De guzman is more defensive so LVG may want him against tougher opponents.

    So happy for Depay! Great awareness and finish. Glad to see robben pass. Shows maturity. So many times in the past he would have just taken a crazy shot. They are developing chemistry. Teams will think twice about giving them space. Think about having two lethal dribbles who can finish!

  56. great to see when we changed to 4-3-3 after indi injured we were back to ORANJE play style. and we won …HUP HUP ALL the way ORANJE….

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