Never thought I’d write that sentence… But… Holland needed a win. Blind needed a win! The Dutch media claimed Danny might lose his job after another defeat. Not that I believed this….
But after an abysmal series, we did it. We won. And it was good to see Arjen Robben back on the pitch.
I started this post hours ago and my computer crashed. I usually write my best posts off the cuff so you might miss some wisecracks I won’t be able to repeat….
Note to self: save posts regularly….
Danny Blind decided to go back to 5-3-2. Something Hiddink should never have abandoned. His son Daley organised the defense and played a sturdy solid game at the back. Wonderful in his cut outs and always composed on the ball. Van Dijk played in the center, Bruma too the right. Janmaat got his spot back and celebrated it with an assist. Kongolo played on the left and was clearly less confident on the ball but did have some good passages of play, including the first real cross for striker Dost to attack.
It was a 3-4-3 more than 5-3-2 as Wales sat deep and played how they were able to get their Euros ticket. They missed Ramsey and Bale of course and have a horrible record against Holland, never winning a game ever. Also, Oranje never lost on Brittish soil so Coleman’s team was happy for Oranje to make the play.
We started slow. Partly due to the bad conditions. The pitch looked like a Dutch cow paddock and was s l o w .
Our first real good one touch passage of play got us our first goal, thanks to a wide Janmaat run and a solid cross, allowing Dost his first senior Oranje goal: 1-0. The first change we created as after 15 minutes when the left wing back Kongolo found the Wolfsburg striker for his first attempt at goal.
It looked like we would control the game but Wales did find a way back, in a fortunate way. A late corner in the dying seconds of the first half and a shot blocked by Kongolo in the box with his hands. He did block the shot, but it would have hit his head otherwise and I found the penalty a bit harsh and the yellow card a bit ridiculous.
Cillesen is known to not be a penalty killer. He even got ridiculed in Holland for celebrating extensively recently when a penalty was hit on the post. As close as he’ll ever get to stop a spot kick, the media laughed. But he did stop this one, only to be let down by his defenders. The upcoming Wales player scored the rebound and we had start all over again in the second half.
Blind’s tactics worked against Wales, although it was the crucial contribution of Sneijder and Robben in particular what won us the game. Promes had promising runs and shows intelligence in his movement. Clasie played solid but at times was caught out. Kongolo and Janmaat were not as effective as they could have been and Dost doesn’t have the Van Persie touch. But all in all, it wasn’t that bad.
In the second half, Robben demonstrated that he can change and win games by himself. He should have scored 4 but ended up with a brace. A typical Robben move from the right coming inside finding time and space for the left foot curler… Everyone knows what he’ll do. That he’ll do it and still there is no stopping him. His movement was quite good, drifting like Cruyff in his best days, with Clasie and Sneijder always having their heads up to find him.
We did concede a second goal and again from a set piece. The team switched off when Wales took their corner quickly and short, no one picked up the players moving in and some Oranje players even had their backs to the ball. A fine header meant 2-2.
It was obvious that one more chance would finish Wales off though and a fine Dost pass into space found Robben, allowing him his 30st goal and allowing Oranje the win.
I think we – and Danny Blind – can be happy with the performance. Defensively, apart from the two set pieces, we looked alright. Bruma has his wild moments, but Van Dijk and Blind did well. I particularly liked Joel Veltman in the second half, coming on for the injured Van Dijk. The Saint got a knee problem and is out for Germany, but the Ajax man – hailed for his build up qualities – demonstrated he can be tough as a defender as well. He had numerous break ups and went in like a man.
Kongolo needs more confidence but the youngster will come good. Janmaat played well and had his assist, offering more runs and crosses in the second half. Clasie was a bit subdued and doesn’t look 100% fit to me. But he did ok. Dost had an assist and a goal so we can’t complain about him. All in all, better stuff from Holland. For what it is worth.
I think we have the ideal players for a 5-3-2. Against tough opponents, we can play counter attacking football, from a tight defensive organisation, using the speed of our forwards and the intelligent passing from the likes of Sneijder, Clasie and Blind.
In games like these, we can switch to 3-4-3 or any other version ( 3-3-4) in a jiffy with the likes of Willems, Kongolo, Riedewald on the left flank and Janmaat, Tete, van der Wiel on the right. A fit Van Persie could be replacing Dost and with Bazoer, Wijnaldum, Klaassen in midfield we have legs, duelling power and football intelligence in midfield.
We are ok for goalies and as long as Sneijder and Robben can play like this we have a good chance of returning to the top of world football in 2 to 4 years.
Danny Blind was happy with the team performance: “I think we showed grit, we showed creativity and patience. I am very upset about the two conceded goals though. We shifted to 5-3-2 to stop the onslaught of goals, but switched off twice to allow Wales back into it after set pieces. That has to stop.”
Ajax midfielder Bazoer made his debut for Oranje late in the game, replacing Jordy Clasie but he won’t be traveling to Germany with team as he has a slight hamstring scare.
Arjen Robben was delighted to be of importance. The former Groningen winger said repeatedly that he wants to follow Ryan Giggs in his footsteps and play as long as possible, focusing on nutrition and yoga to keep his body fit. “I am happy to have had an impact, although I should have scored four tonight. But yes, Giggs got a different role in the autumn of his career, playing more from midfield. I like to think that my experience and vision will help me do that to when I need to. But the tests at Bayern Munich show I still am as explosive and quick as two years ago, and that gives me great confidence. I want to play another World Cup.” Asked about his Bayern colleague Philip Lahm, who recently retired from international duties. “Lahm has won everything. He won the World Cup in 2014 so that makes a difference. Once I win the World Cup in 2018, I might retire as well, hahahaha. But anyway, I’m happy with this game, at times we played really well.”
Bas Dost is over the moon. “I am really happy, I have to pinch myself. I have players like Van Persie and Huntelaar usually in front of me and for me to finally start a game was a dream come true. When Janmaat whipped that ball in, I knew I had to score. That was my ball. I am so happy.”
Wesley Sneijder was quick to say that this system should be used from now on. “We are not good enough for 4-3-3. We conceded too many goals. You cannot qualify if you concede 23 in 10 games, or whatever it was. It is simple. When Danny asked us (Robben and Sneijder) about the change of system we both said yes… We need to. And like this, we can get ourselves out of the rut really quickly I think.”
Asked if the 5-3-2 would have resulted in qualifications for the Euros: “I am not sure. It’s too easy to say this now. We missed a fit Arjen Robben and a fit Robin van Persie. We have great young talents coming through but these two are world class players. Without them it is hard. Take C Ronaldo out of Portugal or Zlatan out of Sweden and you have different teams. We are not a Germany or Spain with heaps of top class players and this series we were vulnerable. Most of our goals conceded were not the result of 4 or 5 at the back, but has to do more with sharpness, with focus. The two goals we conceded here as well. You can four Robbens and we’d still have conceded them. It is never just one thing….”
Cillesen: “Stopping the penalty was good but still conceding put a wet blanket on it. But I am not too concerned you know. The media made it into a thing. I never did. You stop a penalty, sometimes it’s just luck. I did well to punch it but I wanted the ball to go more to the side. Let’s hope next time it all goes well.”
Blind: “It is a bit ironic. We have tremendous length in our squad now, with Virgil and Dost. Usually, we have the likes of Vlaar, Van Persie. We should not concede header goals. This sharpness, or lack thereof, needs to be ironed out. Against Wales in a friendly you get away with it, but against Germany or even Iceland when it matters, it is not enough. You can see we still need the smarts and vision of the older players too, going forward. Wesley and Arjen were instrumental for us. I wish we could use Arjen against Germany.”
With Robben, Bazoer and Van Dijk out, we will most like see the following line up vs Germany:
Janmaat Bruma Veltman Blind Pieters
Wijnaldum Clasie Sneijder
@ Jan: What has Blind achieved throughout his coach career so that you think he’s the right guy to lead us to success?
As far as I know, he’s been a mediocre coach so far.
This is very hard for you to judge. For anyone. He was supposed to make Ajax champions but he didn’t. That was his failure. So according to this coaching judgement, many many coaches are mediocre. Jan Wouters, Co Adriaanse, Henk ten Cate. I don’t think it works like that. Blind has proven as a player that he is tactically astute. He worked as youth coach with success. Got Ajax in the CL and won the national cup!! He was technical director at Ajax and for years assistant coach. If Prandelli and Joachim Low are considered good coaches without having coached a club to success, why not Blind?
He is articulate, has good vision and a good communicator. He knows and “sees’ talent and has the support of Robben and Sneijder (and Daley Blind). So why not go ahead with him? Who else do we have that is better?
And don’t forget: being a good club coach doesn’t make a good national team manager. Totally different role. You can’t buy players. You can’t work with them everyday. Two massive differences. You (nor me) can judge Blind as a coach. You know who are the only ones? The players… And they support him.
Promes—–Dost——??????No more bodybuilder plz…
I’m happy we had a win, I’m sick of being bagged by my friends about how bad we have gone of late, I missed the game but it would appear that we could have won easily I thought the penalty on Kongolo was very harsh, in real time there is barley a split second between when the ball is kicked and when he protects himself, but I’ve seen worse given so I guess it was fair. Van Dijk was the only player to react to the penalty save also and being a bigger man it’s hard to explode with speed from a standing start, maybe a more nimble player should have been ready to run in also.
Robben is just great and we can’t dismiss how important he will be for our future, simply put he scores goals! It’s interesting to read that he is at the same sharpness levels as two years ago, he really is like a fine bottle of red wine!
Also the switch to 532, I’ve been saying we are not good enough for 433 for quite some time now and it appears that Snijder and Robben and a lot of people on here were also of the same opinion, so what does that say about our coaches and the KNVB??.
It’s a shame that a few players have picked up some niggles as it would be nice to have some consistency in our starting line up, this is how we would get better, by playing the same players for a few games at least.
It’s interesting too that Iceland lost, England lost, Germany lost, I know they are friendlies but winning is contagious and we have seen how quickly a team can lose its form and begin a slide that is very hard to stop!
Well let’s see what we can do with Germany, we won’t have our best team on the pitch but you never know – Hup Holland!
PS- to any French people on this blog who have been affected by the terrorism in Paris, I give my utmost support at this horrible time, Viv La France!
Jurgen Locadia called up to replace Elia.
its a good call i feel
Against Wales our players showed urgency to win it seemed as if they knew the KNBV could sack Blind if they lost.
I like the fact that our players respect Blind a lot. That’s something good. Blind has changed the system is testing new players Dost, Virgil, Tete, Riedewald…
Jan, Bruma and Veltman starting against Germany scares me a bit. As for Clasie i don’t think he had a solid game at all. He’s passing at times was bad with many unforced errors. If i had to choose one player who underperformed against Wales it was gonna be either him or Bruma.
Veltman is not bad than Virjil vandijk..both are same IMO,So bruma scares me…Bruma was not that bad vs Wales if u compare him to virjil…
It Clasie was not good enough, then it is time to start with Vejinovic, IMO.
I think every team in the world needs at least one holding midfielder who can also pass the ball well.
It’s enough to make you miss Van Bommel. 😉
Wasn’t able to see the Wales game, just read about it. But it struck me as odd that they would talk about shoring up the defense, and then would rely on Sneijder and Clasie as the two holding mf’s…I would expect that Sneijder, even as nominally a holding mid, would want to play in a more forward role, and Clasie has never seemed physically strong enough to do the job as the main mf defender.
Was it because Wales was the opponent?
Don’t get me wrong, I like Sneijder on the field, but in LVG’s arrangement he was the most forward playing mid. Will a 5-3-2 work with him in a holding role if they put strong def. next to him? Wondering what others’ opinions are.
In my view we play 3-4-3 with Robben, Dost and Promes the forward three. Wales sat back and allowed Sneijder to move in. This gave us 3 at the back and Kongolo and Janmaat wide with Clasie in the middle.
The latter had a lot of loss of possession and positional issues but as Van Hanegem commented after the game, he was exposed because our back three were very slow in passing the ball in and the ball pace was slow too exposing Clasie. He got a bit impatient and asked for the ball with his back to Wales’ goal and he got caught out a couple of times.
I do believe Clasie is not 100% match fit yet but will get there. The interplay between defence and midfield is not quick enough yet which makes Clasie look bad.
I think our wide players were pushing up too fast not allowing Van Dijk and co enough options.
I think Clasie and Sneijder in the engine room can work well if the team plays tight enough. Types like Promes and Klaassen and Wijnaldum will make enough meters to allow this to work, just as Xavi or Thiago or Schweini or Corzola can play in that spot.
Thanks, Jan, for the thoughtful reply. As I said, I didn’t see the match, and was curious about the lineup and formation, and how they would make it work…you explained it nicely. Agree on your comment re: Wijnaldum (who really grew into that role in the WC), and I’ve always liked Promes’ energy and his ability to cover ground. Sure would be nice for Strootman to come back healthy
Steve Matheson wants to post this but his access to the site is somehow blocked. In case you experience the same, leave a message for me on the NetherlandsWorlcupblog page on Facebook please….
Nice little piece on van Dijk..
In general I thought this Wales match was a much better show of character over all, that makes me relieved – more than the win. Saw a lot of positives (really liked Tomy’s post), besides the 2 set piece goals, and the decisions from Blind seem logical to me.
But the defensive lack of concentration and sharpness must now be priority #1 for the team.
For instance, I feel van Dijk should have been first to Cillessens penalty rebound. Did you see Blind on the other side? He almost even blocked that shot, which Cillessen took a piece of as well (I’m sure wilson noticed hah!). The corner goal against us was awful as well, was that a planned move by Wales? So strange. Some of their own players did not look ready either..
Some of the obvious rustiness that comes from players being new to the starting squad and a new formation/ set of tactics again.
Like for Clasie, was not at his best at all – although I’m glad that a poor game for him still does not allow much trouble through our middle, and also he was still a big part of our first 2 goals. Was interesting to see him and Sneijder playing together in the middle in front of a 5 man back line and behind a potent forward line. Hope that continues v Germany.
Actually 3 players I have lots of confidence/hope in looked the shakiest! Clasie Kongolo and van Dijk.. but I think it just means they need more time playing together, as van banger has mentioned – the next thing I really want to see that I believe benefits us the most is some consistancy with players and formation as much as possible.
Shame that Robben, van Dijk and Bazoer (and Elia too I guess) are going to miss out v Germany, the more minutes our core players have together the better.
Sure they are missing many top players too, but I would rather play the best of the best.
Jan honestly speaking here I wouldn’t take away any positives from this game simply because there wasn’t any. This is one reason why I didn’t feel like commenting.
If you take out Robben from the equation, from formation change to 3 defenders was a complete failure now whether it’s was the individual players remains another question. It simply never served its purpose.
To give on this end and then receive on the other hand
For me I thought the formation more balanced towards 2-2 3-3 with Robben and Sneijder at back of Promes and Dost. For instance the first goal, look how Robben has drifted to the middle with Sneijder further to his left when Janmaat lines up Dost for the opener. This was critical leading to Clasie being isolated in the middle as a lone DM. There was far too much gap btw him and sneijder and Robben Motoring up and down on the right wings. This is why defensively he was coughing up as the Welsh found more room in the midfield with Sneijder occupied high upfront.
As for Van Dijks,my instincts says he was playing with a knock and for that the reason he was very cautious because I didn’t see him going in a tackle or making a tackle where he could have injured him self. I mean he looked very relaxed through out the game.trust me that’s not him but again hard luck for him hope it’s just a minor knock.Well this is something not new with Danny Blind . Remember De Vrij,vs Turkey. Bazoer also shouldn’t have been risked after picking up that knee injury vs Feyenoord. Well for Van Dijk it could have being 50-50 but all i
Jan honestly speaking here I wouldn’t take away any positives away from this game simply because there wasn’t any. This is one reason why I didn’t feel like commenting.
If you take out Robben from the equation, it never served its purpose. From the formation change to 3 defenders was a complete failure now whether it’s was the individual players ,remains another question.
To give on this end and then receive on the other hand just doesn’t add up for me especially with Robben clearly the Xbox factor. I wonder what Bale and Ramsey would have brought to the game.
For me I thought the formation more balanced towards 2-2 3-3 with Robben and Sneijder at back of Promes and Dost. For instance the first goal look how Robben has drifted to the middle with Sneijder further to his left when Janmaat lines up Dost for the opener. This was critical leading to Clasie being isolated in the middle as a lone DM. There was far too much gap btw him and sneijder and Robben Motoring up and down on the wings.
As for Van Dijks,my instincts says he was playing with a knock and for that the reason he was very cautious because I didn’t see him going in a tackle or making a tackle where he could have injured him self. I mean he looked very relaxed through out the game.trust me that’s not him but again hard luck for him hope it’s just a minor hope it’s just a minor knock.Well this is something not new with Danny Blind . Remember De Vrij,vs Turkey. Bazoer also shouldn’t have been risked after picking up that knee injury vs Feyenoord. Well for Van Dijk it could have being 50-50 but as a coach these thing should be paramount and should be assessed prior to games or selection so that players don’t become victim to freak injuries which can then affect their aftermath. Clearly something which Danny Ignored imo.desparity????
Wales 2 – 1 Holland
Yacks, too many grammatical errors.
Just the last paragraph is addition.