First Oranje practice sessions – Van Ginkel called up

While I am laughing my arse off watching Louis van Gaal being interviewed by the English media, I am writing this. The first session of training for the PrePreLim squad and the reporters from Blighty gathered around the Oracle. The question: “So obviously you know about Man United, you played against them…” and Louis says “Now that is a stupid question”. Hahahaha, may the games begin! In all honesty, that clip alone would be enough for me – if I were the Man United decision maker – to pick another coach, hahahahaha.

Anyway, as Louis said “I am now Oranje manager and I will focus on my job here now” I will leave all that alone.

Now it’s 33 Days to Go to the World Cup and we are none the wiser!

LVG practice

“Don’t talk back to me or I will have you spend the afternoon in that corner facing the wall!!”

This week Louis started his first sessions with the players who 1) could make the cut, 2) are no longer involved in official games in their competion and 3) some filler players from Young Oranje to make the right numbers.

Remarkable names like Castaignos and Locadia are not that remarkable as they can be seen as the Young Oranje contingent. The same can be said for Terrence Kongolo but the in form Feyenoord defender played too well, has too much talent and too versatile to overlook. I wouldn’t be surprised if LVG used the tall defender as Strootman replacement in midfield….

Another potential replacement for midfield was on the list as well. Chelsea player Marco van Ginkel The first and only player coming in from another competition amongst the Eredivisie players. Without a doubt Louis has checked with the Annoying One what the status of our popular midfielder is and based on the response requested for Mourinho to release the former Vitesse man for Oranje.

Interesting… I am not surprised if Afellay gets a go as well.

luc zoet

“Castaignos, Zoet (l) and Martins Indi (r) didn’t want to play spin the bottle.”

So there are three practice sessions and on May 13, the future Man U coach will announce the preliminary 30 player squad. On June 2, he has to announce the definitive list and that list of 23 needs to come from the 30 in the prelim. Oranje has a training camp in Lagos Portugal for a week in May and will play two friendlies after that, versus Ghana and Wales. Oranje plays Equador on May 17 in Amsterdam by the way.

Terence Kongolo was nervous to meet Van Gaal and went to the first Oranje camp with team mate Jean Paul Boetius. His career goes really fast. “I noticed this in particular when I drove up to the hotel with all those media people waiting. It was intense. Feyenoord is big but this is humungous.” After the session the talented defender said “Mr Van Gaal is very direct but I don’t mind that. I really enjoyed myself and will do what I can to to stay with the group. I hope Mr Van Gaal is going to need me in Brazil and if he does, I will be ready.”

Before any World Cup, Johan Cruyff will be asked about Oranje. The Oracle this time wanted to spend some time on his relationship with Louis van Gaal. “People think we have this whole thing going on, as if I don’t like him or he doesn’t like me. That is not it. I do not have any issue with Van Gaal. He is a good coach. But, our football vision is totally different. That is all. Literally, totally different. People say “but you both play 4-3-3 and want to attack”. Yes, that is the only similarity. We need too much time for me to explain but I’m talking about specific roles and tasks, about positioning, about pace. In Van Gaal’s way of playing, the midfielder will open up to the build up from the defence with his back to the
opponent’s goal. That is 90% of what happens and then 90% of those times, the ball goes back to the goalie or to the full back. In my tactics, the central defender is a player who moves into midfield to become a midfielder with his face towards the opponent’s goal. I would use individual class to play fast paced pass and move football. Van Gaal is more a handbal type coach. With players wide, strictly on the byline and a more rigid approach.”


“Kongolo demonstrating how Louis van Gaal dances in the clubs”

Joel Veltman (Ajax) and Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord) seem to be tight buddies already. In tv interview Veltman gave a hint re: the tactics Van Gaal will try out. “He will play with more defenders. The 5-3-2, but with the emphasis on attack. We want to see the ball the most and this is a way of creating dominance. The principles will remain the same.” Stefan de Vrij: “Mr Van Gaal wants us to think, to use our brain as a tool and make rational choices in the games. He is working on that on specific situations and makes us pick the right decisions and offer up solutions. He is very clear in his instructions and that is always wonderful to work with.”

Luc Castaignos is used to working with great players and coaches. He was part of the Feyenoord squad, worked with Sneijder and Milito at Inter Milan and is now the main man at Twente. But working with Van Gaal is a level higher even… “Everything needs to be perfect. That is something… Everything you do needs to be good. Van Gaal demands a lot. I never expected this and was quite surprised. This experience is wonderful. I noticed it immediately, we had this practice where I had to use my left foot and I was instinctively going to my right all the time… But there is no time for those sort of moves at this level.” Castaignos had a tough season. “I had some ups and downs. I played ok but missed a lot of sitters. But still I did well if you look at the stats. But I do realise I got lucky to be invited. Mr Van Gaal was cool. He said “Enjoy yourself and show me what you got” hahaha. I do know I have many names in front of me, potentially, such as Van Persie and Huntelaar… But I am allowed to dream, right?”


Van Ginkel’s nightmare might be finally over now

Louis van Gaal is working behind closed doors for a spell but will open up the practice to the public on the last days of the trainings camp in Holland.

On June 3, Oranje trains in Alkmaar in the AZ stadium and on May 30 in De Kuip in Rotterdam.


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  1. Great article jan,

    I don’t know what anyone else thinks but I think it is awesome that this training camp is happening. It lets LvG do what he does best and that is coaching- when he said he doesn’t like the lack of coaching he is justified in that this kind of innovation hasn’t been seen before in our nt.

    Hopefully we will have players that gel well and can fit into the team, bit of a shame about van dijk though

  2. Imagine if we played van dijk in midfield with nigel de jong and sneijder

    nothing would go past , it would be like 2010 but so much more solid

    1. From the little I have actually watched (outside of stats) VvD is great, but may get annihilated due to inexperience.
      VvD scored in the 77th minute against St Johnstone, but conceded 2 goals within ten minutes immediately after. Can anyone comment on whether this was a result of loss of focus or…?

  3. Great article Jan.

    This 5-3-2 or 3-5-2, however you want to call it, is likely going to happen in Brazil. Curious how it will play out.

    Anyway, the U17 Euro is starting in a few minutes. I will post some links you can visit to get to know more about it.

  4. Thanks DRB300.

    Could you do us a big favour? Most of us don’t follow the U17 ( I won’t be able to see it). Could you give us some updates ( as you do already)?


  5. Bad game so far.

    Slow build up Netherlands. Attackers look unskillful on ball, bar 1 run from Slabbekoorn (who should have scored on another occasion). Right full back is an accident waiting to happen. Cross passes from the CB’s do not reach their destination. I do not see any real good combinations going forward. What van der Moot’s contribution is to keep out the better 10 players is a riddle for me. It’s not even like we are long balling towards him anyway for hold up play…


    Only player who looks a bit good is van de Beek, but not for his on ball skill, rather his intervention ability and general force on midfield. Turkish players look like being able to do more with a ball and able to keep it with them at times.

    1. Oke so the second half actually started where the first half stopped. Netherlands invested in slow build up and finally Turkey were able to open the score. We had it coming.

      After one attack was stopped, the second one followed with a high ball from the side front of the Dutch box, big Turkish players heads it back from the back line close to the goal box and the third man scored from up close. It was actually a big player like Berenstijn that lost the header dual in the box, not the little Verloo (love that little fellow). I thought Verdonk defended unlike his usual self. He turned his body before the shot was released. He should have defended more brave, doing everything to get a foot or body part against the ball. I am also not sure about the pressure that was applied on the crossing Turkish player. The Dutch right back van der Meer (who is not the usual choice, but ter Avest received 2 yellow cards against France in the final qualification game for this tourney) was maybe to blame for that. At least I think it was him, not sure. That player is by the way a walking disaster if it comes to defending. One time a Turkish player ran past him like he was not there. Verloo was not free of mistakes either (the other back), but left a much better impression on me and his side was often overloaded with Turkish action. Much to do. He is also fast and pretty nice on ball. More proactive also, more aggressive. Just ridiculously small, which leads to other problems like the second goal.

      We did not respond, or actually were not really able to respond, until 53th minute Bergwijn more or less won a penalty. Maybe it was a penalty, but first of all I am not sure it happened in the box and it looked a bit forced. He played the ball one side of the defender and went the other way, bouncing on the player. The commentators (English) actually thought it was a penalty and there is a case to make that it was indeed obstruction. I have seen ref’s not whistling for it though. Some ref’s would give a free kick somewhere else on the field, but would judge a penalty as too harsh. Verdonk (CB) scored the penalty, sending the keeper the other way. I thought that had the keeper dived towards the other corner he could have had it. The ball was not really that hard or really in the corner. Then again it was hard to judge if Verdonk maybe pulled a Mendieta, knowing that the keeper went the other way, as it was a very controlled penalty.

      Anyway after that goal Netherlands would truly start to play ball due to 2 immidiate subs. Nouri for Slab and more importantly Ould-Chikh for Moot. The English commentators repeatedly took the time to point out what a difference it made with those 2 and also with Moot out. Bergwijn, the speedy winger, went to the striker position and Ould-Chikh went on playing in the right wing. With more speed and football at the front Netherlands finally looked like they could push through and that also happened.

      The second goal was a very hard distance shot from Ould-Chikh that the Turkish keeper was not able to truly process all that well. The ball bounced then in front of goal, with the keeper laying on the ground and Nouri had sneaked to front and could easily tap the ball in. Quality with alertness/anticipation.

      The 3-1 was a turnover, good diagonal ball on Ould-Chikh (not sure who gave that pass) who then ran up, turned back when the keeper came out, turned again to then lob it over the keeper. Very well executed. No stupid blind shot, just overview and finesse.

      The 3-2 was in the final minutes, a cross with a very hard header. Little Verloo did not even jump to destabilize the big towering Turk. In extra time there was another cross brought back close to the goal box with a header that could have resulted in the 3-3 if it was not for 2 Turks trying to make the goal at the same time, frustrating each other. This all reveals what the Dutch Achilles heel is. 2 goals were conceded or started by lost header duels in the box. This makes every dead ball moment (corners, incoming free kicks) an hazardous moment for us. Go figure what the English will aim for….

      Next game is against Malta. I think a striker as van der Moot could excel in such a match. Close to the opponents goal doing his damage in the box etc. .

      I do hope to see more speedy skillful players against better opponents though. What use is van der Moot if he so isolated? He has now not scored or assisted in like 4 games in a row. I would play Slab up front first half, Nouri on 10 and if Slab is not able to punch though, then do what was done today, Bring Ould-Chikh, move Bergwijn to striker position. Maybe Berenstijn should be considered as an option for the bench (bad game today) and start with Ould-Chikh and play Bergwijn on the left. Bergwijn has been effective and I would keep him on. Was not good in the first half, but his action created a penalty, oping the match for us. Against France he was also important.

      Anyway, the game vs Malta is way different from the one against England and that should also be translate in the choices for the line up. Good luck Stekelenburg.


      1. Great analysis,agree on everything. It is really a riddle to me how players like Nouri and Ould-Chikh do not start in this team. The tactics of this team are playing long ball from the defence,and the result is an incredibly slow build-up. Kinda like Ajax this season…
        Van Der Moot did not show anything in a few games now and still he plays first team. Some coaches bench a player like that,but some just stubbornly stick to their tactics and plan even if it is obvious it does not work. Stekelenburg is the latter.

        But a really great second half from Netherlands,it could have been more than just 3 goals.
        When they do get close to the opponents goal then they are very dangerous,especially with Nouri and Ould-Chikh playing.
        It is
        just that they need to get close to the opponents side faster,with less long balls from defenders.

        1. > ” It is really a riddle to me how players like Nouri and Ould-Chikh do not start in this team. ”

          Ould-Chikh is rumored to have missed out on showing up for the NT after selection. Like really forgetting that he was called up. Thought that was very weird when I read that. Consequence was him not belonging to the squad for the Elite round and maybe until now he feels the ripple effect of that blunder, starting as a sub.

          Seriously, I don’t know what to make from such a player. Before turning 16 already been with like 4 clubs. Read that he had trouble with the B1 trainer at FC Twente, so they moved him up to A1. This could be another Leonardo case (that Feyenoord kid). Top players are build on a professional mentality. Not always looking to be understood, but also trying to win the trust of a coach and understand the other. If a player buys into the mindset that he moves or starts a fight when he disagrees with something then I am very skeptical he will become Dutch NT material. Maybe somebody else can reassure me/us that he is not what I think he is.

          Nouri is small and this coach is very much focused on balance, aka being on the save sight of things. Funny that it almost costed us this game, before he finally brought in players that can play football. Besides, Nouri is a players with enough skill to stay out of most duels and after observing him on the future cup I discovered that he is able to control a match with his passing. Something that vdV and Sneijder have never (fully) mastered. Not saying that Nouri is anything close to having mastered it, but he does look at setting up patterns to consolidate ball possession. He looks at ways to free himself up quickly again so that further ball possession in tight spaces can continue. Him and van de Beek read each other well, as they also play together on midfield for Ajax U19.

          My point is that he can actually offer more control in a game than they probably realize, but they do not dare to play the type of football to make that happen. How much control did those dozens of misplaced cross passes on Berenstein gave us? Imagine a team that has quick counter ability in them. Every attack would be dangerous. May Turkish attacks were actually quite dangerous. England might very well be such a team. They have some very dangerous attackers. So in that case why not play midfielders then, that can add in build up rather working with those cross passes and leave everything to the CB’s? I have seen far too little from Schuurman before the subs and also from Slabbekoorn. Van de Beek more with interventions rather than forward build up. So many back passes from him. A Nouri could provide much more control/safety on midfield (what the coach is after) if he is used in a proper way. However with the way we are currently playing, he might have a point, which reflects bad on Stekelenburg, not Nouri.

          > “Van Der Moot did not show anything in a few games now and still he plays first team. Some coaches bench a player like that,but some just stubbornly stick to their tactics and plan even if it is obvious it does not work. Stekelenburg is the latter.”

          Yes, however against Malta I would make an exception. Maybe.

          The striker position was an elite thing in the past. Netherlands have produced many greats. The most skillful players were put up front as kids, the guys not able to kick a ball were put on goal. Some kind of detour has been taken I suppose. It’s like youth development took a side road or something. The least capable players are now put on goal ór are tapping balls into the net as a striker. The skillful players on 10. The fastest players on the side. So getting caught up into these labels, NT coaches select their wingers, their strikers, their 10’s, their midfielders corresponded to how they play at their club. They apparently think that as they select 3 strikers from 3 different teams (also on stand by list) that they have to choose between those 3, as these guys are specialists on their position. they do not correct for the fact that these players can’t play football anymore.

          I say, stop selecting strikers in the Dutch youth setup. If you play striker in the Dutch youth setup, you are probably a clown. If we are lucky, they might be a bit better at converting a chance, but in every other department they suck. Without éven that bit of luck, they are also terrible at converting chances and just poor at everything.

          This is my theory of how it is possible that an isolated oak like Moot can play game in game out (plus van Bommel being his coach at PSV and being assistant of Orange U17 also), keeping gems like Nouri and Paal on the bench. Or, keeping Ould-Chikh on the bench, as we saw today that Bergwijn can play central as well. Of course he can. It’s not like that territory should be reserved for players that are slow, that do not have a first touch, or are unable to create something on their own. Not being helpless on your own should be a pro as a striker, not a con. Would it not be wonderful to have a striker that can run at people and get past them? Hold up play should be an argument for these tap in strikers, but where was it then in this match?

          We saw the same at the future cup. There Ajax U17 played with Walian as a striker and then later on during the tournament gravitating towards Cerny, El Idrissi and Dilrosun. Just 3 capable, fast players with personal technique. Football became much better.

          After this semi rant a player like Moot will probably bag in one goal after the other, but it’s about much more than just goals for me. I would like to see a new Aguero developed, not a new Huntelaar. I like to see good football, not the limited and poor play from the first half, where CB’s bore the opponent to death with their passes to each other. I love triangulation, quick build up, incisive passing also through center.

          Anyway, I hope Stekelenburg saw the improvement after his subs as well.


      2. The two weakness of this U17. Two full backs are liabilities and the coach still can not find a way to fit Nouri Slabbekoorn Paal together. Verdonk was below his usual level today, very bad aerial defending today.

  6. Very happy with Van Ginkle’s inclusion , he will be fit enough by the time the tournament starts and he gives Van Gaal options. I don’t expect that he would start against Spain but bring him into the game when the legs are tired and let him run.
    @DRB thanks for the links and updates on U17.
    Some people have commented that the NT lacks depth compared to other countries such as Spain , Brasil, Portugal etc, but I ask you can Spain replace Iniesta, Xabi or Argentina replace Messi, Agureo or Portugal replace Ronaldo? Not in my opinion, infact I think these players would be massive loses to their respective teams, greater than the loss of Strootman to the Dutch.
    We might just have the right combination of youth and experience to shake things up a bit at the WC. If we give service to Robin and Robben things will happen, if you saw RVP’s cameo for Manu last game you would have noticed how easy it looked for him to play after a long spell, his legs must have been fresh and his touches were sharp the goal he scored was icing on the cake for his comeback.
    352 wil be interesting, I wonder wether they will play with a sweeper and 2 markers? Time will tell.

    1. > “Some people have commented that the NT lacks depth compared to other countries such as Spain , Brasil, Portugal etc, but I ask you can Spain replace Iniesta, Xabi”

      I think Thiago and Isco are pretty awesome players. Maybe a bit different players, but yes they can reach iniesta’s and Xavi’s level in their own way.

      That Xavi/Iniesta combination as a duo has proven to be exceptionally well in controlling a match. Having and keeping the ball high up the midfield, so not sure if that exact mechanism will be in place in the same way with Isco and Thiago as a duo, but they can be spectacular. Isco is actually pretty good in carrying out in defensive duties, like tackles and stuff. Thiago has played the 6 role at times for Bayern I think and will improve regarding controlling a game. Isco is more the Inesta then and Thiago might become a bit of a Xavi. However I like both already in a way, that they should just go by their own name. They have their own profile.

      Regarding Argentina it’s good to remember how young Aguero and even Messi are. They can do another WC easily. A Messi is a once in a lifetime player, but I am also a fan of Aguaro. I would be over the moon to have such a player running around in Orange. I personally like seeing Aguero play more than almost any other player not being Orange. Replacement of these two is not doable, but Argentina does have a wealth of attacking players. Do Maria, Higuain, Tevez is doing well in Italy. More depth here as well than the Netherlands.

      I think Netherlands misses high quality players after the 1984 players of Robben, Nigel de Jong and Sneijder. To fit it in 1 screenshot I have a bit of cramped picture of an overview I made from Dutch NT players until a player like Strootman. With some good will it is still readable:

      I believe that Laurent or somebody else made this point in the past as well. The problem is that everything from 1984 to 1990 is not of true high quality players that have become pillars at a top club. Wiel is used a lot at PSG, but I consider his defending as mediocre and his cross not that good either.

      In those years there were no Robben, Sneijder, de Jong players. Not even 1 and that continued year after year. Strootman did well, but Roma is still only Roma. He has yet to make the step to a true top club, one could argue top competition. Has Portugal not surpassed Italy in the UEFA country ranking for clubs? Benfica beat Juve in the UEFA Cup. Go figure.

      We need more players that are the difference makers at European top clubs. Those that are, are fading and those few who can, have not reached it yet and are with too few (Stroot, Ginkel, Afellay).


  7. Awesome article, Jan- first time in several weeks that my positivity has actually increased. Great to hear these young guys so excited (and maybe a little awed) to be a part of the national team. I think that’s critical to success but it’s not always so apparent. Let’s hope that Louis is working his tactical and psychological magic.

    Love the van Ginkel inclusion and I’d love to see Afellay as well– if they’ve been training at top level but haven’t endured the wear and tear of a 38 game season, perhaps that can be used as a big advantage. One can hope, anyway.

  8. Daley Blind is player of the Eredivisie season..
    Honestly thinks he is too light weight, not fast, passing ok, don’t particularly impressed at LB and DCM.
    Don’t really think he is ready for WC14, but most likely he will be selected by LVG.

    I’m no expert after all and could be missing out on some details in his play.
    What you guys actually think of him?

    1. I’m a fan of Blind. He is modest and maybe needs to get more grit in his game but he is smart, disciplined, consistent, has great vision and tremendous ball skills. He’s not fast or tall ( heading is a problem at times) but I like him.

    2. Blind already built up a lot of muscle, don’t know if you watched his recent games or not. You can go watch Blind against Romania. Romania is known for playing physically and check how well he won the ball back by using his body.

  9. @DRB300 : Welcome back bro . Long time no see. Hope you’re fine.
    If Oranje is going to play 5-3-2 , What would be your favorite line-up ?

      1. It sounds like defensive focus with fast counter attack. I wonder if we pair RVP and Hunter for the 2 up front or Robben and RVP? You probably need Sneijder for those passing. Perhaps the Euro 2008 group stage version of NT with a tweak?

        1. defensive focus with fast counter attack = common WC strategy

          Keep the other guys from scoring and anything can happen. Most important players are valets who can park the bus. 😉

      1. This one:

        More classical block with Sneijder in the first 11. I rate Blind’s shielding of defense as a bit better as that of Clasie. Has a bit of a bigger engine for me. I saw Clasie complaining that the season was long somewhere. Feyenoord did not even play in Europe…

        Rekik over BMI as I am not a real BMI fan. I do think his incisive passing will be missed, Rekik’s build up is not all that fast or great either, but I have a better feeling with Rekik. This is a 50/50 case also after watching the France game where I thought BMI did not do well. For Feyenoord he has also been far from perfect.

        De Vrij/Veltman is 50/50 also. Veltman with his mistakes. De Vrij with collapse vs Estonia. I fear for de Vrij’s soft personality. After that blunder vs Colombia Veltman picked up where he left, which was a good level. De Vrij after a mistake I have trouble trusting on the WC. However that can be solved with a sub also, in case that appears again. Veltman is sharper with his interventions.

        Kongolo is the best left back we have now probably. I have no idea how he will act on a WC, which is totally different from Eredivisie. I think Kongolo acts weird in front of a camera. Actually he has a weird demeanor just when speaking in general. As long as it does not slip into his game.

      2. This is a different variant:

        This one comes into play if we have no chance of getting to the other side. Think of a Spain suffocating us and we need both defensive muscle, but also want to give ourselves a chance to hit Spain on the counter. Fer can bridge a big space between midfield and attack. Is able to give a through pass. I liked Fer vs Colombia, not against Turkey. So Fer in the way we used him vs Colombia is a real option for me. In the commuting role.

      3. This is something in the middle:

        Depay can do a bit of everything. He can turn away from a defender. Has a bit of vision for distribution. Can score a goal on his own. Has speed to bridge some space. Can work hard as he might be young, but is quite developed for his age.

        I just have a feeling that to win against a Spain or Chili that we need a maverick. Somebody that you do not know off what he will do. Depay is that guy for me. With U21 in Israel he was sub but for me did very decisive stuff in the group game and was the only one against Spain that looked close to being a threat. What if one of his shots go in?

        1. It has been entertaining to read the three formations. Thanks for your time and effort bro 🙂 .

          For me , I like the third one , But wouldn’t Wijnaldum fit in that Depay role also very good ?
          I mean he has the criteria you mentioned as he is also a good ball dribller , has some nice distance shoots , faster than Depay and is kinda more used to play in this spot than Depay. what do you think ?
          Also how about using Klaassen instead of Fer in the 2nd Line-up ?
          one last thing , Do you like using Juventus-like midfeild with one deep playmaker “Wesley or may be Clasie” and two runners like MvG and Fer or wijnaldum ? I know you’re a big MvG fan but it seems you don’t think he willl make the final cut , do you ?


          1. > “what do you think ?”

            Wijnaldum has missed such a big part of the season that I kind of excluded him as an option. I also think Wijnaldum is not a true winner. They energy he puts into a game is attacking. With Wijnaldum a team always risk of conceding goals, as mister was not prepared or even aware that he had to track his man or take over from somebody else who had to do react to a situation somewhere else. I know PSV made him captain, but he has everything to show me he is even close to being captain material. If Netherlands wants to do the impossible, they need at least as many winners in the team as possible. Depay is more of a winner for me than Wijnaldum. That is my personal opinion about Wijnaldum at least.

            > “Also how about using Klaassen instead of Fer in the 2nd Line-up ?”

            So Fer comes into the picture when we have trouble even getting to the other side and when we could do with extra muscle. Think of the Colombia situation when we had to carry on with 10 men. Fer is great in the commuting role. Klaassen has not yet the engine or speed on ball like Fer has. Fer can really burst forward with a ball at his feet. Klaassen has no dribble. Klaassen’s quality’s are more off ball, first touch to prep his goal attempt and scoring goals. How many assists and key passes has he delivered this season? Not many for his position. Also consider that from the two half players at Ajax Klaassen is the most forward one. Serero and Klaassen play titled. Serero closer to the CB’s who do the build up and Klaassen actually very advanced closer to the striker and right winger. Not always the case (against Nec this was not the case for example), but very often it is. Then I expect a bit better attacking stats like key passes and assists. If Fer is played in such a position, I rate his ability to produce through balls, assists and key passes a bit higher and also rate him as better in bursting forward with the ball at his feet to join a Robben and RvP in a counter.

            >”, Do you like using Juventus-like midfeild with one deep playmaker “Wesley or may be Clasie” and two runners like MvG and Fer or wijnaldum ? I know you’re a big MvG fan but it seems you don’t think he willl make the final cut , do you ?”

            Of course I would like to play the Juve way. Stroot, Ginkel and then with Sneijder in the Pirlo role. Love it. But Stroot is injured and Ginkel has barely played this season. Ginkel was not even invited by van Gaal until Locadia was too injured to continue the training camp. Van Gaal wants to play 11 aside or 9 aside games and needs to have a certain number of players. That is probably the reason van Ginkel is now in the camp. Same goes for Wijnaldum, though he at lest played some games for PSV at the end. If Ginkel turns out to be in much better shape than thought and van Gaal gives the green light, then sure I want to see him in the team.

            However that also brings the discussion back to the table if van Ginkel then not can play the Strootman way and if we have to switch system at all. The fact Veltman told us that we will play another system tells me that van Gaal does not think Ginkel is that ready….


  10. Sneijder always shows up in the big matches. It’s amazing he’s so much under discussion while he just keeps scoring those important winning goals in the biggest matches for Galataseray:

    And others like Lens? VDV? Are they scoring again? Or at least an assist or something, it’s awfully quiet around those 2 of our important goalscorers (important part of our goalproduction). You don’t hear anything about them being in doubt to go to the WC (not that I’m saying that they should be in doubt, just still comparing with Sneijder and hinting that Sneijder should be less in doubt for the WC than most of our players, considering his ability to score the big goals in the big matches and the others sort of being on a dry spell).

      1. Agree 200% even though sneijder is an ego monster ! He won some stupid Turkish cup and wrote a message on Facebook as if he had just lifted the WC trophy 🙂 love him nonetheless

  11. All 32 participating teams have until 13 May at the latest to hand in a 30-man provisional squad list, which FIFA will publish on the official tournament website on 16 May at 12:00 CET.

    The national associations then have until 2 June to trim their original 30-man squads down to a final group of 23 players, which must include three goalkeepers.

    A player from the final squad can only be replaced up to 24 hours prior to his country’s first group game if he suffers a serious injury, which must be confirmed by FIFA’s Medical Committee. The replacement player does not have to be selected from the provisional 30-man party.

  12. I only want to point out that in the past two days the site have been so much quiet!! Wich is something to be grateful after all!!
    Thanks for that Jan!!

  13. I missed Kenneth Paal in this game. Althought he’s a midfielder, I think he can be more dangerous on the left wing than Berenstein.

  14. I like the third LINE up you made DRB300, depay behind robben and rvp adds quality to the team. the team is already playing with 5 defenders plus de jong who gives zero addition to the attack phase, so we better at least have quality with the 4 remaining players who would be in this case robben persie depay clasie!

  15. @DRB300, thanks for sharing.
    For me, Depay is a pure wide player and not suited for 5-3-2 formation.
    This applies to player like Narsingh, Boetius and Promes etc.
    Lens, still possible as a wingback as he has the knack of taking ball away from opponents and has good strength.

  16. Thanks DRB, fascinating debate

    I will post my line up soon. I think Nigel needs to sit centrally in front of the defence and I do believe a midfield with him, Sneijder and Blind/Clasie is way to static.

    I personally believe Sneijder will start from the bench with Robben in the midfield no. 10 role and Lens (speed) alongside RVP. I think LVG will pick a player with lungs and legs next to Robben and Nigel and I think he’ll go for Fer, Van Ginkel or Klaassen.

    1. I’m positive that Robben will thrive as no.10, but I’m afraid that you would need a back-up plan in case you put Robben as no.10. As much as I know, AMs get the most tackles, aren’t they? Personally, I’m scared to entertain the idea of Robben being injured. That’s the least we can afford.

  17. I have one question. Isn’t it too dangerous to switch to 5-2-3 just one month before the World Cup? Wouldn’t 4-4-2 be a more natural alternative? The problem I see is that the front three (for example Depay-Robben-Van Persie) are left too disconnected from the defense/midfield.

    It’s strange because it seems to contradict Van Gaal’s football philosophy. It would’ve fitted in 2008 with Van Basten for example, where we were all about fast and deadly counterattacks.

  18. What’s up with all that Seedorf at Milan.
    Milan has been on a winning streak for 5-6 games including one over Inter.
    So wtf? Is there an issue between him and Berlusconi at the personal level?

    1. That was about 6 months ago, he said he was willing to join oranje and he was also capable to apply for Netherland Visa but KNVB was never interested.

  19. Here’s my 5-3-2.

    (considering Bruma didn’t make it, would have preferred him in the role of Veltman)

    ***Robben** Jong**Sneijder***

    You can swap N. de Jong and Sneijder and play more with the point forward in midfield and Sneijder on his nr.10 spot, you can also call it a 5-2-1-2 then (or 5-2-3). Instead of Sneijder you can also use VDV, Klaassen or Fer (with Klaassen you can swap Robben to the left cause Klaassen is rightfooted and I think vGaal prefers a leftfooter on the left midfield and perhaps he doesn’t want to use Klaassen out of his usual position for Ajax, but with Klaassen you’d have more defensive running ability in that area as well as some aerial defense, probably best used to defend a lead, but you can probably do that with Fer as well).

    1. Veltman would be the defender with a more advanced midfield role allowing Robben to be more of a winger in which case it would look more like a 4-2-1-3 again:

      **Veltman** Jong*****

      1. or actually that’s vMarwijk’s 4-2-3-1 as well if Sneijder moves more to the middle:

        **Veltman** Jong***

  20. I personally dont want any of the Vittesse players i the team, i only like Vejinovic, altought I realize he is not that good, dont like Propper and PVA is the real headlees chicken.
    On the other hand Zivkovic deserves a call up?? Only for gaining experience training with the first team of course but is Castaignos is in the camp, why not Zivco??

    1. it would be too early for zivko, like when castaignos was like this he was still nowhere near the NT. I think he is called up for the u21s which is still quite a feat given that he is pretty much at the age where he should still be in school

  21. if it doesn’t have to be 5-3-2 then I think at the moment I prefer 4-2-3-1:

    ***Klaassen** Jong***

  22. I hope Van Gaal let qualified NT player to play in the following 2 U21 games. It can be their good warm up match.
    Of those who are selected now, Indi Veltman Rekik Kongolo De Vrij Klaassen Vilhena Van Ginkel Promes Boetius Depay Castaignos can all still play for U21.

  23. Hunter is getting a lot of love. What are the chances he actually makes the starting 11? For all the talk about the back four, midfield seems like it might be the biggest problem area.

  24. Imo the Hunter had justified himself in his current form to have a starting spot on the big stage. In saying that it would be criminal to have rvp on the bench.

    If we could accomadate the two who knows what could happen.

    Would it be stupid to have robben sneijder ndj depay possibly running the midfeild with the hunter and rvp up top. Three lieutenants and a bit of young blood. Defensively a fail in the midfieldl but a huge amount of attack.

    Doess 4 -4-1 -1 even exist lol.. defence for me is our weakest link so we focus on attack and play to our strenths

  25. Has anyone consider ed the fact that since the last world cup we have gained ligue 1, champions league and Prem winners , so its only sneijder who knows how to win

  26. if suppose the news is true and they will play 5-3-2 ….i cant wait to see how it turn out … of the CB will be a ball playing def. we definitely need FAST experienced wingback e.g. VDW on right and maybe a surprise call up for emanuelson on the left becoz one of holland attack strengths are at the wing. My full squad for 5-3-2 are:


    The above will rely on vlaar or BMI to play the ball upfront in addition to the two wingback give support in attacking. Much creativity in the middle and deadly in the final third. but not much defensive minded line up or balanced so here is another version :

    ***Guzman**Sneijder**De jong***

  27. sad end to a horror season:

    BBC Radio 5 live are reporting that Norwich striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel has stormed out of Carrow Road and headed to the airport. The Dutchman had been left out of the matchday squad by interim manager Neil Adams.
    Is that the last we see of him at Norwich?

    1. Good, Fer and Van Wolfswinkel should not join Norwich at the beginning. Van Wolfswinkel should go to Spain because most of players that thrive in Portugal can thrive in Spain. Fer should have waited and went to Everton. And Buttner should not turn Southampton down at the last second and choose ManU.

  28. Great stuff here again. I thought I’d pinch in 🙂

    Totally agree with OhYeah in that there should be a way to play with both Persie and Hunter. So I came up with this:

    ……………..De Jong


    The idea being that with a great centre forward like Klaas there is always the threat up front and that keeps the centre backs at bay, which creates some room for the likes of Robben and Persie (or midfielders). Players that can really take advantage of that space.
    I dont like the concept of Persie in the role of a false CF, it makes it all way to crowded.

    1. fer is a great player..norwich is a horrible team with a sub standard new random coach, de guzman definitly doesnt desserve to be in the squad for the world cup..thats obv

        1. Fer had 31 start this season and suffered an injury recently . He was one of the few threat for Norwich. The last game has no meaning what’s the point of letting a player who just came back from injury to play? Especially WC is coming. VDW was not even in the squad for the last two games and he is healthy so he is also not good enough? Blanc put him out of squad for him because VDW just came back from injury as well and since nothing is at stake. He can get some much needed rest.

          1. How can you say that when norwich were fighting to stay up and they leave fer out of the team against Chelsea whichwas one of the most important games! he wasn’t injured then as he had participated in the last two..

  29. and i dont understand why people are mentioning van ginkel he hasnt played a competitive match for months! theres no way he can be in team

    1. There is a difference between being injured and not being in poor form. That being said it is a dire state we are in for us to almost be relying on van ginkel to make our starting xi.

      He is a quality player and the problem is a lot of the other contenders really aren’t as good and lack his potential.

    1. “de guzman definitly doesnt desserve to be in the squad for the world cup..thats obv”

      “Chris David the dutch youngster scores a brilliant goal for fulham, take him to brazil LVG! ”


      1. i was kidding mate >> if u cant sense the satire in times of great anxiety for us dutch fans then u clearly are not a regular here …and that wud be evident from the need to make a new post user name

  30. Schaars suffered another knee injury and will be out for half of a year. He is expected to return at the start of next year. This is a good chance for Hendrix to step up especially Park is leaving as well. From what I saw Hendrix has better potential at DM than Blind.

        1. You are right. His slender build confused me probably. Rekik is actually not that tall as well, but has a much stronger build. I guess that is important as also. I still remember how Pelle just pushed Hendrix aside 1 time and it looked painful for somebody who is supposed to cancel him out. A Rekik would not have been toyed with so much as he stands much stronger on his feet. Just packs much more muscle on his body.

          Anyway he is a very good footballer and could easily provide a perfect outlet to continue build up, while also being able to shield defense. I would love seeing him develop as a DM next season, with Bruma and Rekik behind him.


          1. Yeah I get what you mean, maybe if Hendrix gain some weight he could be a real competition for the DM role, maybe our DMs are too light?? Ake, Hendrix, Bazoer is more strong I think.
            Lets hope Rekik will stay another year at PSV because I dont see him playing to much time in England, It seems that the “retourning” of our youngster is a very good idea.
            By the way do you know something of the Rekik younger brother?? I heard he is England too!!

  31. those who think 5-3-2 is the way to go at World cup….you might wanna watch this game Man City and Villa in which villa used 5-3-2 formation and especially with Vlaar playing.

    you might notice how the AV defenders get clustered during normal city attack especially when coming from the flanks . The wings/fulbacks/midfielders. In this case jus watch how Zabeleta,Toure,Nasir and Milner toy with the defenders.

    De Jong in a three man Midfield is very very exploitable, especially when the possession is lost in the midfield. he is idealistic for only one task which is defending unless during set pieces when every one goes forward.

    we have to absloute make sure that no room in front of defenders for opposition to raffle long range tropedos. the same thing happened this morning when Nasir raffled the opener from the outside of the box for city with West Ham Defenders at his mercy. Silva is one players that might prove to be nemisis for NT when it comes to that cinical set piece moves outside of the box.

  32. will face the Dutch in a re-match of the 2010 final in their opening game, “I am sure they didn’t want to face us as much as we didn’t want to face them.”

  33. Just saw this on

    Karim Rekik is to be recalled by Manchester City this summer following a loan spell with PSV Eindhoven.

    The 19-year-old centre back has impressed in the Eredivisie this season, with his performances for the Eindhoven club earning him a call-up to Netherlands’ pre-World Cup training camp.

    City want to include Rekik as part of their squad next season to boost their homegrown list and have already knocked back a loan enquiry from mid-table Ligue 1 side Toulouse.

    PSV are also keen to take the promising defender on a permanent deal but Pellegrini’s side have set a valuation of €10 million, which is likely to deter the Dutch club.

    Rekik exclusively told Goal on Saturday that he is looking forward to being a part of the first-team squad at the Etihad Stadium and is dreaming of a potential place in Louis van Gaal’s World Cup squad.

    1. This is Ramy from very long time ago, ,the days of WC 2006, still post from time to time.
      Unfortunately, Rami is no longer with us. He passed away, as I think you know. God rest his soul.

  34. Oke so the final score between Netherlands and Malta was 5-2.

    Game reflects the strengths and weaknesses of this team, though I saw some new things.

    I always thought that Verloo was maybe small, but pretty sharp and proactive. Not so much. Both conceded goals he was too late to correct or prevent the situation. Little fast guys, low to the ground like him, must compensate their disadvantages in defense with more alertness and aggression. Actually also football. Take that ball he kicked over the side line at the end, to reach Moot. What was that? For me he failed in every category. This game altered my perception about him.

    Another player that was disappointing was Verdonk and more specific, his covering through. Every time he either did not do it or was too late. The second goal he had a big say in and there were many situations he let the team down because of his lack of ability in covering through.

    Now I have seen ter Avest for a full 90 minutes and I know his kind. I don’t like them, but he was not that bad. The captain Veendorp has a wrong locomotion for me also. I understand we need a bigger firm man at the back, but I don’t like his kind as well. Bit of an inelegant, almost clumsy CB that turns slow around his own axis. His long ball is not bad, also had an assist with his long ball on Schuurman at the start of the second half.

    I am going to downgrade this defense to what I thought it was. I know the subbing of the coach allowed far more chances in the last part of the second half to happen, but despite that, it was not as if no personal mistakes were made.

    Midfield also had to do with conceding quite some chances and the even 2 goals from mighty Malta. Nouri for me was too much retreated in midfield and left too much space to defend. Players being able to ru up freely without him dispossessing enough of them or coming close to do that. He might be a footballing gem, but that does not translate into a Pirlo player automatically when being played with 2 box to box players in Schuurman and van de Beek. His passing bar his assist early on, was uninteresting and at times robotic. Many back passing which worries me about the influence of the Frank de Boer system catching on with him. He already turns back a lot and was not able to speed up the game. He probably has the potential to control the game better than other small guys like Sneijder and vdV, but without a system in place that let’s the team play higher up and with more players up front that know what to do in the tight places, his ability to control a game with his passing and making himself available again is of less value IMO than playing him on 10 to allow him to give those through balls he is capable of giving. Netherlands used an ability of him that is not that interesting to have with the way they play.

    Van de Beek is the big powerful presence that has a moderate lower limit. Always comes in handy. The move later on, to play him as CB, was not a good one. He struggled at times to control a ball and he might not be the most refined one, or the one with the highest handling speed, but it’s good to have him running midfield.

    Schuurman scored a lot and missed some also. He is very eager to score and is also given the freedom to run up all the time as van de Beek and Nouri actually played more behind him. His field presence is pretty flat for me. It’s more that you see Schuurman when he scores, but he is ghosting a bit for me when he does not. Anyway, he branded himself as the new van Ginkel and that is a player I like a lot. He is an effective weapon in the way he is used, just might want to become a bit more ambitious in other dimensions. The goal from Ould-Chikh against Turkey started with him making an off ball run going outside of the defender so that Bilal could come inside and have time enough to strike, Nouri picking up the bouncing ball in front of goal. Berenstijn, Paal, Bilal, Bergwijn in this game, they were always up against 2 sometimes 3 backs. Clearly our brave coach had instructed the backs to not run up, so this is where Schuurman should have done much more, rather than preying on his chance in front of goal. I think he has the ambition to end up as top scorer and get his name noted. If he has not a more sacrificing attitude for the team there will not be many games anymore to score into. There was also this situation vs Turkey he wanted to score from a closed angle, while Nouri was right behind him after Schuurman had hit the bar from a Bergwijn assist IIRC. He is too fixated to score himself. Good up to a point, but he has to do more for the team. Going outside of double teamed wingers and pass balls in the box when others stand free. Have to say that Bergwijn ignored him being free in the box as well later on. That thing must stop from both sides.

    Bilal did some good things at the start, but completely faded. He was literally triple teamed at times. They must have seen some footage from the Turkey game. He then also became sloppy in the second half. Never attempted anymore to really get past his man, which is not entirely strange. I wished he and Schuurman or the back ter Avest could have worked something out, but this was not the case. Him in 1 vs 1 must be on of the top priorities for this team. Now he could not even hit a free kick anymore in the second half. Typical winger. Either grows into the game or gets cold after not being able to get his actions out.

    Bergwijn. Should have scored a bit more. At the start there were 2 or 3 chances for him. Made a nice one at the end. Also one in the first half that was not that easy. Pretty productive kid. Has delivers now time and again. Nice technique, though not outlier stuff. Scores goals. Has speed. Can play striker or on the wing. Ajax did not do themselves a favor with letting him go to PSV. Is he a lesser talent than Bazoer in midfield/defense? I don’t dare to say yes to that question right now.

    Berenstein is not a very cultivated player. Big strong runner down the line. His cross is not impressive. His speed is not that great for a winger. He gets the nod over Paal, probably as he is a bit faster and stronger and as Netherlands can do with a bit more size.

    Owobowale showed nothing.

    Moot is a puzzle for me. From the Elite round on he is getting minutes. Even full games until this one. However weak or strong opponent, he does not score or assist. He poses no threat as a target man. Not during corners. He is not dynamic. He is not a chaser. Not a worker. He is a statue on legs that is not a goal threat and is unable to play football. Yet there is nobody who has played more minutes in striker position than him since the Elite round. Even playing Veendorp, the CB, up front would provide more of a target man idea. What is the point of playing him? I understand he is a tap in striker, but the world is not perfect. There are so many opponents that do not allow Netherlands to hand him stuff on a plate, but even against Malta his value did not become apparent to me. I like players that can carry their own weight. I also would like Netherlands to nurture the next Aguaro, not the next Huntelaar.

    Keeper goes to the ground too easily and was not able to get his defense alert enough. Made some saves, but I am not sure it were very difficult balls. One time he made a so called save, but the ball would have gone wide in the side net. I want him to assess that better so no corner happens and Netherlands can attack again.

    The coach made things not easier again. His team should not have conceded goals and should also have scored more goals so that Netherlands would become first in the group after a draw against England. He was not able to do this same thing in the Elite round where we had to win against France to advance. He made things harder also with his subs. His switch at the back lead to disorganization. One time I thought Malta would manage to make it 3-4 and go for the equalizer. Bergwijn scored then after Malta missed a huge opportunity and killed the Malta momentum, but that momentum actually happening is something I put on Stek’s plate. His fascination to play an oak up front that has not scored or assisted in like 400 minutes is odd to say the least. Also where was the complexity in the Dutch game? The Eurosport commentator rightly noted that there were no one-two’s let alone double one-two’s happening. The Dutch wingers were made so simple to defend. No overlapping backs or midfielders going wide, assisting them with any consistency. I miss any complexity from this Dutch side. Build up is too slow and too many back passes make the game more boring to watch than necessary.

    Anyway, England is next on Thursday. With their power, speed and over the top balls, we will see exposure of this Dutch defense taken to another level. Every dead ball moment that is used to bring into the Dutch 18 yard box is immediate danger. The English probably know how to head a ball in and also have size in the team, so that should be fun. Last game resulted in a 2-0 loss, therefor this Dutch U17 should be aware of the danger. I even believe England even missed some of their top players back then. Let’s see if Stek has instructed Verdonk to help out Verloo with his man. Not counting on it.


    1. I largely agree with you, however, there was a fact that shouldn’t be ignored: the bad weather today. It was very hot and dry, the players seemed exhausted after half an hour. This might explain (partially) the lack of focus in defense. I was frustrated while seeing how every attack of the mighty Malta spawn so much danger. They could have easily scored four goals against us…and we are talking about Malta!!.

      Anyway, I share your thoughts about Van der Moot. He seriously needs to boost his performance if he wants to pursue a decent professional career. As of now, Bergwijn must be choice number 1 as a center striker, even though he’s not. Ould Chikh started very well today but quickly lost stamina, Nouri wasn’t nowhere to be seen and Berenstein apparently has had a serious injury, therefore, Paal will take on his place, which is good because he’s more talented.

      Looking forward to see the next game!

  35. Ajax have agreed a deal to sign young Bayer Leverkusen striker Arkadiusz Milik on loan next season with an option to make the deal permanent.

    By Michael Bell
    Follow Michael on Twitter
    The Eredivisie Champions wanted to strengthen their attack for next season, and seem to want to get their business done early, as Milik joins other new recruit, 17-year-old Groningen striker Richairo Zivkovic at the Amsterdam Arena.

    Milik, a 6ft 2 striker, joined Bayer Leverkusen in 2012 after netting 11 goals in 38 league games for Gornik Zabrze, and was touted as being the new Robert Lewandowski. However his first season in Leverkusen was a disappointment as Milik failed to net in any of his eight appearances for the club

    This season, the 20-year-old was sent out on loan to fellow Bundesliga side Augsburg, but again struggled to hold down a place in the first team. Milik made 20 appearances, mostly from the bench, and scored twice.

    Internationally, Milik is seen as a huge prospect in the Polish national team, with the striker firing nine goals in six U21 European Championship qualifiers. Milik also has seven caps for the full Polish national team, scoring his first goal in a friendly win over Macedonia last year.

    Ajax have pulled off quite a coup in landing Milik, who they have reportedly scouted for a number of years. According to De Telegraaf, Ajax beat off Real Sociedad and five English Premier League clubs, who were all prepared to offer Leverkusen more money, for the striker’s signature.

    De Telegraaf are also reporting that Ajax are ahead of a host of clubs to sign highly rated Dinamo Zagreb winger Robert Muric. The 18-year-old is also tracked by Manchester United, Chelsea, and Liverpool.

    1. Milik is the highest goal scorer in U21 qualification if I recall correctly. It’s strange how some players are better at scoring for their countries than their clubs.

    1. That would be a good move for him in my view, similar to Strootman’s move to Roma. Serie A teams are cagey, and Afellay would benefit from the tactical thinking. Also, Lazio is a fairly entertaining offensive-minded team. He could do worse than go there.

  36. Pictures from camp, along with inscrutable quotes from Cruyff:

    “Cruyff believes however that is will be an enjoyable test for coach Van Gaal.
    He added: ‘You’re dealing with a very nice puzzle, and anyone who knows me, knows I love puzzles. During the World Cup it will become clear whether you have worked it out or not.'”

  37. England’s 23-man squad for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil

    Goalkeepers: J Hart (Manchester City), B Foster (West Brom), F Forster (Celtic)

    Defenders: G Johnson (Liverpool), P Jagielka (Everton), G Cahill (Chelsea), C Smalling (Manchester United), P Jones (Manchester United), L Baines (Everton), L Shaw (Southampton)

    Midfielders: S Gerrard (Liverpool, capt), F Lampard (Chelsea), J Henderson (Liverpool), J Milner (Manchester City), J Wilshere (Arsenal), R Barkley (Everton), A Lallana (Southampton), R Sterling (Liverpool), A Oxlade-Chamberlain (Arsenal)

    Forwards: W Rooney (Manchester United), D Sturridge (Liverpool), D Welbeck (Manchester United), R Lambert (Southampton).

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