Since 1998, Holland has played so-called “uitzwaai” games, before a big tournament. This time around, Wales was the “Australia stand-in” and LVG was able to try his non defensive approach against a solidly defending, skill-challenged and physically imposing opponent.
Here are some atmospherics.
For a while it seemed like Van Gaal giving Hans Kraay JR hell (see below) was to be the high point of the night…
Or maybe Mark van Bommel’s farewell?
But all in all, the lads did the job. If we’d beat Australia 2-0 at the World Cup, we’d probably be ok with it….
This game can be seen as another boring game. In which we didn’t give much away. In which Robben missed a couple of good opps and inwhich Sneijder shows how creative and smart he can be.
We also saw RVP leave the field with a groin situation but LVG confirmed it is not a biggie. No worries, as the Ozzies say.
So Van Gaal lost it when Kraay kept on asking and nagging about individual players and was comparing Van Gaal with coaches like De Boer and Mourinho who are coaching really animatedly while Louis is the Sphinx.
“What do you think I can do when I am yelling on the sideline? It mostly means I have not done my job! If I do my job, the lads know what to do and I can sit and observe and analyse. Yes, I might go out there and let one or two individuals know what they should change maybe. But other than that, I don’t want to coach constantly. It is ridiculous and it doesn’t work. Only maybe to motivate them more, but even that should not be needed. I think I should be able to sit on the stands and chat away with Mr Blatter and Platini, actually.”
The game started ok with Janmaat finding Robben in the first minute, who was crowded out before he could pull the tirgger. In the 3rd minute RVP gets a chance after a dribble but goalie Hennessey stops the ball. In the 8th minute, it’s De Vrij’s pass bringing Robben free before the goalie but he just misses the target. In the 25th minute, the fans start to slow clap and whistle a bit until a good little combination through the middle gets Robben in a good position again, but the ball flies over the goal.
In the 27th minute, the biggest cheers of the night so far are for Robson Kanu when he changes shorts on the pitch. In the 29th minute Robben has another attempt but the ball goes corner. Vlaar almost scores as a result.
Two minutes later it is 1-0, after Robben scores a tap in after an RVP attempt from a difficult angle. The goalie stops but Robben is alert. The supporter start the wave and in the 40st minute RVP almost scores a second on a low Janmaat cross.
Nigel practicing his “studs in the chest” kick
During half time it is clear that despite good opps for our forwards (we could be 2-0 or 3-0 up) the game play is not crisp and sparkly yet. Suddenly Lens starts to go out as well, it is clear that either Robben or RVP will leave the pitch. Which means trouble, if its RVP as Van Gaal said he wanted Robin to play as much as possible.
The ManU striker has a groin issue and decides to take a break. Lens on for RVP and Wijnaldum on for Fer.
Oranje starts the second half badly and Wales even gets some opportunities. In the 70st minute, a Wales player can dribble past a couple of defenders and Vlaar has to bring resolve. The Aston Villa man explodes and is so angry that he rams the ball at Wales’ goal from 35 minutes. The ball ends up in Amstelveen but Vlaar does get applause.
Only minutes later, Sneijder finds Robben with a superb pass who offers the goal to Lens.
Nigel de Jong is then subbed for Huntelaar. It’s 4-3-3, with Klaas Jan in the center, Robben and Lens on the flanks, Blind in the De Jong role and Wijnaldum and Sneijder completing midfield. That last 15 minutes is a better and more positive quarter than the first 30 minutes of the second half, with Huntelaar being close to scoring a third goal for Oranje.
LAte in the game, Sneijder finds Lens again but the Kiev forward made hands and is called back.
And with that, the game ends….
Van Gaal was realistic after the game: “I expected this to be much better. I hoped for it to be better and I wanted this to be better. But….we scored to brilliant goals. We created those ourselves and we gave not much away. That was good. Wales was tough, they parked the bus and I wasn’t happy with the pitch. Very slow. But then again, we should have done better despite all this. Too much loss of possession. It was boring at times, but the players are making big steps up and we’ll keep on working on it.”
“I am prepping the team for opponents with more attacking power at the World Cup. And normally I would play 4-3-3 against an opponent like Wales but I am in a process so unfortunately for the supporters, we played a system that is difficult against defensive teams. We will most likely end up using 5-3-2 for the big games, turning it into 3-4-3 when we can or 4-3-3 against the weaker opponents.”
Asked why Van Gaal selected so many forwards when he wants to play with two strikers only: “Statistics will show that if you bump into injuries at the World Cup, it is amongst offensive players. I think we will be able to hold our own with our defence but I need three different types of forwards. Strikers, wingers and offensive midfielders. I have also looked at multifunctionality. Kuyt can play on many different spots, so can Lens, so can Depay, so can Wijnaldum…. This gives me ultimate flexibility….”
On RVP: “We took him off as a precaution. He does have pain there but I think with some rest he’ll be fine.”
Willem van Hanegem added some words as an analyst… “The more I see Holland play, the more I feel we need to have more creativity at the back. With all due respect, I would want to see Sneijder, sitting deep. Playing just in front of the defence. So he has a lot of the ball, he can accelerate the game with his pinpoint passing and we can more legs up front to support Van Persie with runs. We need a number 10 like Litmanen or Bergkamp. A moving player. It feels to me like Van Persie is constantly in Sneijder’s way and vice versa. This is why only Robben seems to benefit from Sneijder, because of his movement. With a player like Wijnaldum or as Cruyff said, Klaassen behind Van Persie and Sneijder sitting deep, we could use the strength of all players much better. Wes can move up at times for a distance strike or with corner kicks and free kicks but he should temper his urge to score goals and serve the team.”
Leroy Fer played his first 45 minutes since a while. He was subbed for Wijnaldum at half time. “I think it went ok. In possession I played well, I had some good through balls and playing with Janmaat on the right is really good when we have possession. When we lost the ball, I wasn’t pressing well enough, the coach said. I think he wanted to see improvement there and brought Gio for me in the second half. But I’m happy I got to play.”
And lastly, as a bit of fun trivia, you know about how the Dutch Legion gets all crazy when Orange is playing a tournament?
Whole suburbs turning Oranje? Stupid suits, dresses, glasses, hats, fuzzy animals, what not?
Well, in case your heart stops while watching Oranje win the first World Cup ever against Belgium, this Summer, this is how you can go out: