Dutch devour Turkish Delight

What a night. We had early goals before (WC finals 1974 anyone?) and it hasn’t always resulted in greatness. This time, things seem different. An early goal. Another goal in the first 15 minutes and a very energetic and focused performance.

Things are taking a turn for the better in LVG’s third spell at the helm.

And what a quality goals they all were! Amazing to see how “question marks” like Berghuis, Klaassen, Dumfries and Bergwijn stepped up to the plate and played their key parts in this wonderful win.

The line up was logical. Van Gaal only put experienced Blind back in for Malacia and used Bergwijn in place of Gakpo on the left. He is clearly cementing his favourite eleven (or fifteen, rather) and slowly but surely his go-to guys are making their mark.

Justin Bijlow will be the new #1, hopefully for years to come. Stefan de Vrij was picked ahead of De Ligt and again he was one of the Men of the Match. De Vrij was solid on the ball, focused in his defending and overall Mr Cool at the back.

Frenkie showed his class as did Memphis again and the Oranje right flank, wanting versus Norway, impressed from the start with Dumfries and Berghuis demonstrating their connection.

But it helps, a goal in the first minute of course. And a quick second – also a beauty – helps even more. Oranje demonstrated their swagger without becoming arrogant.

The pace was good, the creativity was visible more and more and the workrate was just outstanding. If the Dutch can keep this mentality up, we are definitely back!

The criticasters on this blog will probably point out Dumfries “hard feet”, or Berghuis’ risky passing, or Blind’s one moment of lack of concentration (letting the ball slip), but overall, I think we can be happy with the step up Oranje made.

There was one moment in the 65th minute which will have made Van Gaal pissed off. Berghuis has the ball in midfield, there is no movement whatsoever. Dumfries is walking, no runs or options. The ball stays there in that zone. Koopmeiners comes to help, Van Dijk comes to help but between the three they suddenly lose the ball for no reason. We tidied it up, without a problem but that little moment must have angered the gaffer.

Being 4-0 up against 10 men, and then exchanging key players (Frenkie, Wijnaldum) never helps the flow of the game of course but these are little moments that need to be ruled out.

Two more goals (subs Til and Malen) and a horrific scare in the last seconds, when goalie Bijlow makes his only mistake in selling Van Dijk short, allowing Under to score a consolation goal, and an annoying knock for Captain Van Dijk. Van Gaal will not be happy (and neither will Klopp be).

The attacking play was excellent. False striker Memphis was everywhere again, Berghuis and Bergwijn played disciplined on the wings. Dumfries was marauding as per usual and Frenkie and Gini kept ticking things over.

A solid performance allround with some incredible moves and exciting play.

Captain Virgil was happy with the performance. It all seemed to fall into place: “This is what we wanted, and the early goal helps a lot of course. We played with intensity, with focus and it’s wonderful when it all clicks.”

Hattrick hero Memphis was less positive. “I think we did well but I think we have room to grow. And I am talking about myself more than anything. My first touches were poor and I feel there is more in us than we showed. And even though we score 6 and I score 3, we need to keep on focusing on improving because we want to do this against the top nations as well.”

Coach Louis van Gaal was beaming from ear to ear: “We have seen an outstanding performance. This group is so good and so great to work with. They have an opinion, they operate as a group, they welcome new players, it’s quite impressive. This is the best group I’ve ever worked with. And sure, I can see room for improvement. We lost the ball too often and we also didn’t play in a very high pace. Against 10 men you need to up the pace and find the free man, but overall we did play some good football and we scored some amazing goals!”

Van Gaal deserves the Man of the Match award, he clearly did everything right. But of the players on field, for me, Klaassen, De Vrij and Memphis (again) were the pick of the bunch.

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  1. As much as it was a fiery encounter from the very first minute, the bright side for me was the subs when they came on the second half.I did say change is evitable and we just saw the glimpse of whats to come. Even though Turkey were 10 men Koopmeiners, Til and Gravenberch showed, they can also tip the scale. Agree this is not the time to be complacent about but keep the momentum flowing.

    As much as Turkey got wrecked from the very starting there is still room for improvement and to be comptent enough to become more consistent regardless of whom they play.

    I think Vaal Gaal was asked in the post match conference about El Ghazi and he said he has to have look at him first. This doesnt have to stop here, come the next fixtures, there should be a friendly match somewhere in there, maybe after the both qualifers to test more players and others to clock more time.

    I still believe players like danjuma, Lang, karsdorp ( dumfries back up) can reinforce the team better, increase quality depth and take this team to another level.

  2. Did ny one else feel that klaassen was playig as a false striker. ( Griezmann role). As much as he was was dominate in the box, in defense Gini was massacred because of him playing a very high line and not tracking back. But then again the game was over after 3-0 and red card.

    1. Well, now we know why you always come up with – at times – absurd comments. You don’t read my posts!! You only use it to comment on anything else. Remember how I said earlier you hardly ever comment on the topics but just rant and rave whatever you have on your chest. This comment on Klaassen is proof. I explained after the Norway match how Memphis is the striker but plays in midfield as a playmaker while Klaassen is the #9. We saw this versus Montenegro very well as well (header on the bar). Wijnaldum has a similar role as striker who arrive in the area as opposed to a 9 who is static in the box. This is Van Gaal’s gameplan for 3 matches and you coming up with this aha-erlebnis now, proves my point. You don’t see football as well as you think. My next post will address your comments from earlier.

  3. Berghuis was great tonight. I know he’s often lambasted for being wasteful, and he has been frustrating lately, but tonight he was played some great passes in and around the final third. It was awesome to see him coming inside too to shoot.

  4. This performance by Oranje was one for the books. Scintillating, fiery, dominant and above all else simply confident. The players knew their roles and performed without hesitation. But how did they individually fare on in my book.


    Biljow- 6.5

    It’s a shame that Biljow was directly responsible for that hiccup right at the end of the match. Otherwise he had a quiet game. He was alert and came off his line well the few times the need arise. I am yet to be totally convinced about his ability, especially his nerves. Maybe it’s because I have seen too much of Cillisen and I see no cause of him been relegated so callously. Goalie is a position of confidence. And Cillisen has played the big games without a hitch. He been outspoken against the Oranje management cabal may have just cost him a ticket to Qatar.

    Dumfries- 7

    Not spectacular in any way but was defensively solid and put in a shift as he always does. Surprised that he didn’t get in into the goals or make one himself. Seems Van Gaal has settled for his man. Still a problem area in terms of depth.

    De Vrij- 8

    De Vrij is arguably the most important of all the Dutch defenders. Big, strong, good pace and great reader of the game. He exhibited all those qualities yesterday and then some. To think that he rode the bench for boy wonder(de ligt) at any length is a travesty.

    VVD- 8

    Van dijk was as vintage as ever. Never seem to be hurried, supremely confident of his pace and abilities. Big scare at the end but all ended well. Bar an injury, Oranje just might have the best centre-back pairing in world football.

    Blind- 7.5

    Somewhere around the 30mins mark, deep from his defensive position, Blind whipped in a ball for Depay between two Turkish defenders that could easily have ended at the back of the net with a better touch from Depay. That snap shot gives us the reasoning behind the accommodation of Blind in the team. I still worry about his defensive side against bigger teams and feel there should be a contingency plan given the calibre of opponent.

    Wjilnaldum- 7.5

    Gini was much more involved in this game than the past two encounters. He fluttered around the middle of the park, cleaned house and worked his socks off. Gini is a vital cog in this team and needs to maintain his standards for Oranje to do well. I said the last time that he only plays well when the team does. Conversely, maybe the team is at its best when he shines.

    FDJ- 7.5

    De Jong probably didn’t have the need to get out of second gear. He carried the ball well, played without risk and linked up play as easy as he does. Would love to see him get into the goals but as this team is shaping up, one can see that he serves a far greater purpose.

    Klaessen- 9

    Could easily have been my man of the match if I didn’t have so much respect for goals(hatrick at that). Klaessen was a clad of menace, in a positional sense for the Turkish defenders. As quickly as they were pulled out of shape by Depay, he was running into gaps and spaces wreaking havoc in his wake. He can pass, works hard, has an eye for goal and yes, defensively also put in a shift. And this is where I am in agreement with Winston. Players at your disposal need to be tried out and see how well they do. DO NOT SETTLE too quickly. Wonder what difference he might have made in Euros in place of de Roon.

    Berghuis- 6

    Berghuis played reasonably well and was markedly improved from the last two encounters. I still feel he is not the answer moving forward. The 4-3-3 model is at its most devastating with quick, strong and direct wingers in the mould of Zenden, Overmars etc whom could also be disciplined to be useful defensively. Malen and Berjwin would be my choice of these model.

    Depay- 9.5

    Depay put on a clinic and was simply irresistible. He kept his game clean and without complications, always probing and most importantly focused. He has to maintain this standard for Oranje to do well in Qatar. Depay has to be wilfully responsible, cut out risks and not allow any kind of frustration to get into his game. Outstanding.

    Berjwin- 7.5

    I would start Berjwin over Gakpo or Berghuis. He has a low centre of gravity, quick, strong and a good delivery to boot. He lost a few balls yesterday that made it a little uncomfortable but his positives far outweighs his mistakes. I wish Van Gaal would continue on with him and see how he does.


    Malen- 7.5

    Oranje has to find more use for Malen than just a bit player. He can dribble, will keep defenders honest and pounced on his goal with aplomb. Play him more.

    Til- 7

    Til gives me a vibe of a player who is always going to score goals. Even if he is not playing well. I have to see more of him but he could very well be an important component off the bench.

    Koop- 7

    Kept the team ticking and his pass for the goal was absolutely outrageous. Very important he had some minutes under his belt. He just might be instrumental in any event of an injury.

    Van Gaal- 9

    The Iron Tulip seem to have stamped his authority on the team and it shows in the swagger they played with. Very happy that he made early changes and showed a willingness to look at other players. Hey gaffer, a little more of that and Karsdop might have a shot.

    1. Good ranking orangutan. However I think Bijlow deserves a 5.5 at most for his blunder which is also a cause for concern for the future. I think he had a solid game until that moment. Cillesen rarely has shown such loss of concentration and I am not his biggest fan.
      Malen doesn’t convince me and I think you graded him high. Yes he scored, but overall he doesn’t seem to be as dangerous as he showed during Koeman days. Is he even playing regularly for Dortmund?
      I believe you missed Rensch which surprised me and I would grade 7.

      1. I don’t think Bijlow deserves these harsh comments. Young goalie, 3rd game… he made a mistake. He’ll learn. He also stopped a number of chances in all three games, so I don’t think it’s fair to give him a 5,5. If he was perfect, he’d deserve a 10, right? So if he makes 1 mistake, I think a 6 or 6,5 is more fair.

      2. The sheer fact that he came out of his goal on a cross and left his zone to box the ball away. Not a lot of goalies do this. Not De Gea, not Donnarumma, not Cillesen… Only Onana and now Bijlow have the guts to do this.

  5. Thanks again for the post Jan.
    Here’s my issue with Berghuis, On the NT you shouldn’t be just ok. In your position, you should better than everyone else. It can’t be once in a while, you play an ok game. Berghuis does not impress anyone except maybe Van Gall because he picked him. I think if a coach is being forced to select him, he should be on the bench not as a starter. I have watched him game after game. He waisted most of the balls and can’t get a single cross out of him and that’s a fact. Nothing personal.

    How about keep Marlen on left as a starter and move Bergwjin on the right where he plays in the past? What do you think of that?

  6. Fantastic game After koeman era…and we are back on track..i was happy…10/10 to LVG….FDB or any other coward will be playing De roon all the time,they will never bench Frenkie or Gini or De ligt..it takes balls…Malacia,till,Rensch,Timber ,koopmeiners,Gakpo ,Berjwin (under FDB or other clowns how many would play?? ha ha)they all got time under LVG….its was not 6-1..it was destruction…the way they played….i think i should stop critizing Dumfries and klassen,they can contribute…klassen was so clever..We should not stop experimenting there is still quality out side karsdorp,Veerman,Danjuma,Noa lang…they should be looked as well..
    on right wing berghuis dosent have comepttion and thats why he plays there always…Hope Stengs comes back takes spot from Berghuis..or Berghuis need compettion…
    Hats off to LVG…

    Just have look at bleow link how the clown FDB team played VS turkey at march
    …Tim krul was ready to leak against a weak shot..

  7. As LVG said this can only get better and better.

    What LVG accomplished in one week is amazing!!!. He is my favorite coach of all times.

    I’m especially impressed with Depay. I personally don’t like players who rap and show many luxuries in their social media because it makes me think they are not focused enough but WOW Memphis is doing GREAT. Not only with the national team but also with Barcelona and if he manages to keep that form and mentality he can be a true Dutch legend.

    Obviously having Van Dijk back is helping a lot but someone who should get more credit is De Vrij. Even though I love De Ligt he will have to fight for his spot.

    And last but not least is Klaasen!!!. Has he been practicing behind closed doors with Sneijder or what the hell is going on?. He is doing great and the connection he has with Memphis is on fire!.

  8. I know, I know. Shouldn’t get too high or too low. But there have been enough lows lately, so I’ll enjoy the high.

    What strikes me is the way the team is coming together as a whole, and how you can see how they fit together.

    IMO, De Vrij has been the most consistent performer from the Euros through these three games. What a superb CB pairing; VVD and the man who was the Italian Defender of the year; very helpful fro Van Dijk to have such as he comes back into form.

    Bergweijn and Dumfries are good with whomever they pair as they each have such high work rates in getting forward and going back. When the

    Klaassen could turn out an excellent partner for Depay; both are so good in close quarters.

    Gini dropping to a deeper role to play closer Frenkie puts him a in a role more similar to what he thrived in at Liverpool. Creates problems for defenses in that runs can come from deep from each of them; can create offensively, and both are good at reading the game and can play off each other—ensuring defensive balance if one goes forward.

    I was skeptical about what Berghuis could bring going into the Euros. No more. He is not going to be a dominant wide player who tilts defenses, but he combines well in multiple player movements; he’s been in the middle of a number of the goals and chances the team has created over these past three games. Plus, he has good long range shot and can deliver a free kick.

    Looking at the rest of the schedule, the key game is in Montenegro. Their history shows they can be difficult at home. One step at a time though.

  9. @ Jan

    My Justification of my comment.

    This is what I saw/watched. of all the Turkish Attacks, whenever they did , it was mostly through the middle and off course which was taken care by the solid last line of defense. the reason why I said Wijnldum was masscared was because he ended up soaking up alot of those pressure because Klaassen couldn’t track back on time. im not being harsh on Klaassen given his offensive contributions was deceive but remember here Wijnaldum also in the past has shown and and has done the same when playing further up. eg his goal vs Montenegro.

    This was another player rating of wijnaldum

    ” 6/10: Did not do much wrong except pick up a yellow card that rules him out of the game in latvia. Wijnaldum struggled to get into the game for the most part and was substituted in the second half”.

    Kind of justifies what what I watched. but either way my point is with Klaassen, wijnaldum seems to fade out as both have similar strengths. (box). it would be more fitting to gauge them in tighter games and vs more competent defenders . again we have all seen this what happens in the past . if there is some short of consistency, it will be very good. if its a case where they only peak vs certain types of teams and you know what I mean here then we back to square 1.

    on the Griezman role, the only reason why I said about klaassen being a flase striker because it was his responsibility to track back as well which makes him more as a loss man but I see where you are coming in context to depay but you have to remember here he only drifts in the upper left quadrant and occasionally on the right. thats normal for strikers

    lastly I think this was a very important win for NT and now they can sit back comfortably and strategize on where to go about from here.

  10. For all the Berghuis criticasters: Oranje legend Van der Vaart said this after the game: “I was so impressed with Berghuis and the amazing passes he gave. If he doesn’t start for Ajax this coming weekend, I will personally call Ten Hag!”

    1. I think you have to look at this from a physiological point point of view. any body chosen/selected for N will always try to give his 100%, its the highest achievemnt in . there is no doubt that Berghuis does work hard. He does what he does the best but

    2. @ Jan I don’t know what game VDV saw for him to give such high praises to Berghuis. Yes it was a decent performance but given how low the bar has been set in his past two games, it only had to be up.

      You seem to talk about these ex-players and coaches as if they are infallible. They are not. Like I have stated in the past, a large number of them reside in this echo chamber of sentimentality and system-rigidity that sometimes, simply trumps common sense.

      When Robben, arguably our best player and undoubtedly the most dangerous against the Czechs in Euro 2004 was unceremoniously yanked by Advocaat, I really didn’t need Cruyff to tell me that was an idiotic move. And I daresay only a Dutch coach could have managed such blunder as he(Advocaat) garnered decent support from Dutch think-tanks who agreed that the midfield had been overrun.

      Fast-forward 17 years later and FDB was repeating the same mistake against similar opponents by subbing out Malen who was the one player keeping the Czech defenders honest. One is tempted to think there is a playbook, a tenet that has to be followed regardless of circumstances.

      It’s notoriously hard for an established national team goalie to lose their spot. Not with the Dutch. All that was needed was for FDB to start with the covid fiasco and now Cillisen is not even been considered for duty. Our two best defenders in de Vrij and VVD have similar stories of neglect to tell from different coaches suffering from similar mindset.

      I never played professional soccer nor have I coached in any capacity. I do understand the game though and trust my football sensibilities and instinct. I have been right more than wrong in my football opinions over the years. I don’t need Van Basten to tell me that de Roon is not the best option for that position he commandeered under three different coaches.

  11. I think you have to look at this from a physiological point point of view. any body chosen/selected for National team will always try to give his 100%, its the highest achievement in their football career and which motivates them as well . there is no doubt that Berghuis does work hard. He does what he does the best but then you have to look at his ceiling. is it limited, is it up to the par, is it above expectation level.

    The I way I see it is very simply , get a winger and let him compete with him. this will settle the dust.

  12. I just cant stop noticing how other big teams are continuing to build depth from rotating news players and again looks like Mancini will set a another record before WC arrives. Really lost count of where their winning streak lies but again they hammered Lithuania 5 -0 with only Donnaruma,De Lorenzo and Jorginho,the regular starters from Euros.

    The same was with England vs Andorra where they started with completely different starting 11 to the poland game and also euros but still thrashed them 4-0. It was like a England B team.

    Can somebody point out as to why the dutch coaches dont do this?

    For me this is equation to winning the WC. I hope vs Lativa and Gibraltar its gonna be different.

  13. @wilson…you have a good news..your Boy El ghazi and Mark Flekken on radar of LVG…..
    Then comes..unlike italy and other teams we dont have that many quality players as they have…We have arround 25 and they have over 30…..i do agree Some guys like karsdorp,Danjuma deserves shots as they are quality….Stengs and lang also needs a look in…..then somes Pascal struijk and sevn botman…then comes veerman..i think we studed with Dumfries,karsdorp,Rensch,Timber at right wing…We can tempororly stop there..Only Frimpong should get wild card entry….
    Then on left We only have Malacia,i dont think winjdal has quality to play for NT..Blind is on last stage…Then who?????? thats our area of conceren…I hope LVG takes terence kongolo for next 2 or three years with Malacia…With sinkgraven,Bakker,Jetro williams as stand bye..
    On right only berjwin ,stengs are the hopes,Berghuis seems better than El ghazi..Hope stengs and Berjwin cement the spot for better of NT..
    Left we have Malen,Danjuma,Gakpo,…i would drag Depay as false 9…or in centre…
    Veerman,botman,Struijk,Danjuma,karsdorp deserves call..

  14. Nice to read so many other options we can have. We certainly have many other good players to choose from, and under LVG’s supervision, they will turn out to be even better comes next year WC.
    Exciting times ahead for the Dutch NT. Guessed all of us, incl. the players themselves are all optimistic and pumped up after a long time.

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