Friendlies Schmiendlies for Oranje…

eleven start


I have been having a go at friendlies for years… I do see the point of them, for sure. But it’s not for us, so much. It’s usually for the coaching staff and players to test things, to get rhythm, to play together. Sometimes it’s a benefit game for something…

Holland will now play two friendlies in this international break without any meaning whatsoever. And it shows. Numerous absentees… And the media turning this into a “Farewell for Dick” kindagame.

Farewell for Dick? Gimme a break… One farewell for Dick (in 1994) was more than enough for me.

Yes, he did what we felt he should be doing, at least. Lose vs France, win the rest.

But he didn’t qualify and he made some awkward mistakes in the games played. Not that he is to blame for the Big Mess, but he definitely didn’t do a great job, all in all.

advo coaching

Dick Advocaat was even giving silly soundbites at the press conferences… “I will tell everyone after the two friendlies what I will do!”. Huh? What do you mean? It’s not up to you, Dick, to see what YOU want to do.

The KNVB needs to 1) appoint a TD first, then 2) the new TD will select a coach. No one is interested what you want now, because your contract is done after Romania. Don’t flatter yourself.

Dick is starting to take himself very seriously.

And to make it even funnier: Ruud Gullit let slip in another tv program, that he will stop as assistant coach “and go with Dick”. So, Dick is trying to keep us in suspense, for some reason, while Ruud spilled the beans.

Does it ever stop?

So now the squad has to travel to Scotland. To play on that paddock of a pitch in Aberdeen. In the cold. Against a bunch of Bravehearts! And then we get Romania. Because there is no real football nation anymore in the world keen to play against us…


I can totally understand that players like Janssen, Locadia, Dost, Hoedt and Tete decided not to come. Some are desperately trying to get playing time at their clubs and can fully appreciate a week off, instead of being knocked about by some Scots in kilts or Romanians. Some are obviously actually injured. But if we played the play-offs this weekend, I’m sure Dost and Janssen would be present.

Advocaat got Tim Fosu-Mensah in as replacement for Tete and Luuk de Jong for the striker position.

Gini Wijnaldum has a point to prove. For starters, he’s a regular at Liverpool so no worries there but in Oranje, the former Feyenoord junior needs to step up. With an ankle injury on the way out, he came to the Oranje camp. “I told the coach I wasn’t 100% but I want to be here and play with Oranje.”

Some players are keen, on the other hand. Steven Berghuis wasn’t part of the Oranje squad for a spell but the right winger is in top form for Feyenoord and Oranje does lack its regular right winger. What’s his name… ? Eh… Robben! Steven Berghuis: “I’m really happy to be back. I feel good and Oranje can use a new right winger, right? Not that I’m Robben… There will never be a new Robben, he was off this planet, but I think I can offer my qualities for the team.”


Memphis Depay is another player happy to be in the Oranje camp. “I want to show myself. I had a difficult time but I’m getting stronger and stronger. I enjoy playing in Lyon and I am important for the team. I want to do the same for Oranje. I still feel so much joy when I’m on the pitch or even in training. I am very eager to play and very grateful to be here.”

With the key strikers missing, the big question is, how will Dick staff his forwards?

Some options.

Luuk de Jong, the obvious choice. He’s a classic number 9 and won the golden boot in the Eredivisie in the past. He had a goal drought for 8 months but scored last weekend again for PSV. He scored for Oranje in the past vs another British nation: Ireland (1-1).

Memphis Depay, not obvious but he has played central striker before. He played there for PSV and he played there in Oranje. Against Italy in the friendly right after Blind’s exit. And that went well. He’s eager, he can be physical and is always threatening.


Quincy Promes, quite obvious. As he scores prolifically in Moscow and plays easily in different roles in different systems. He might not have shone as much in Oranje, but he would definitely suit the #9 or #10 role.

Ryan Babel is the fourth option. He is “a typical winger” said Dick Advocaat last time around. But, the tall athletic forward has played in the striker role for Ajax and he demonstrates week in week out that he can score goals.

The final option is: no striker. Using the space for the running man/men. Memphis, Promes, Wijnaldum, Sneijder… Oranje might be able to play more compact and use that pocket to come into, instead of being there already.

Another big name is Virgil van Dijk. Belonging to a big guy, with a massive future. The 26 year old seems to have the right attitude, physicality and role in the team to become our next captain. With Arjen Robben gone, the hierarchy is going to change. “I have always coached and stimulated colleagues. I play central defender so I will have to. Whether I wear the band or not. But yes, if the staff thinks I’m ready for it, I won’t say no.”

players schot

The last word is for the current captain. Wesley Sneijder, he doesn’t know when to stop… “I won’t be seeing these friendlies as my farewell. I will stop one day, but that day is not now. So I will not answer any questions about that any more. This week is not about me or my final match.” Arjen Robben said his farewell after the game against Sweden. “I would have loved to be there for that. Well, also to play of course but it wasn’t to be. We had a wonderful partnership all these years. But hey, I didn’t play, so that is all behind us now. I play now and I’m fit and eager. It hurts not to be there but it also stimulates me even more to make my mark now.” He’s not open to what his future will hold. “I want to play as long as I can. Simple. And yes, the next big tournament is in 2020, I’m 36 years old then. We’ll see.” And on the question who he’d like to see as his new coach. “I want a coach who can bring us to the next big tournament. Whoever he is. Ronald Koeman? Great choice, but I would say that about any name you bring up. Because it’s up to the KNVB, not me.”

wes sneijder



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  1. Please, don´t play De Jong. Dick should try something different!

    The only reason I have to watch the game is to watch Van de Beek debut. I hope Dick doesn´t disappoint me.

    On other matter:

    Eric Gudde: ”We will look to appoint Dutch national manager by March 2018”

    Gudde left his position with Feyenoord to take charge at the KNVB at a time when he needs to appoint both a technical manager and a new head coach with Dick Advocaat’s contract ending after next week’s friendly with Romania.

    He told NOS, ”We are looking for a new technical manager and Dutch national team manager and we have had a lot of discussions about appointing a technical director. But I believe that for that national youth teams and the training over the managers here at the Dutch FA that one is needed.

    ”We hope that the technical director will eventually appoint the Dutch national team manager.

    ”Today is day one and I believe that between 80 – 100 days are needed to observe and talk with people to really get this decision right in terms of going forward.

    ”The technical director and Dutch national team manager do not necessarily have to be Dutch. Quality is the most important thing and also understanding the situation we find ourselves in.

    ”We have to analyse what we need and then we can fill in the potential names. We will look to appoint a new national team manager by March 2018.

    ”I will be speaking to Dick Advocaat as he is the current Dutch national team manager.

    ”We will be looking at how countries such as Iceland, Serbia and Belgium have conducted their business and the stability and continuity that they have shown in recent times with a reasonable small squad and a clear playing style and also playing with a lot of passion. These are facets that we must must strive to emphasize.

    ”If I watch Iceland and Serbia play. They play with a lot of passion but the Dutch national women’s team have shown that as a nation we can play with passion.”

  2. I don’t mind friendlies in the sense that it gives fringe players an opportunity. Get Sneijder out of here for these two.

    I’m hoping for lineups to look like such.

    Keepers: Rotate them all, we have 4 halves of football to play, let each of them get at least a half in there.

    Defense. Lets go with 3, van Dijk flanked by Ake and de Ligt. Get them some chemistry as that will be the back three going forward.

    Wingbacks. I think this is a position to fight for, Blind, Tete, Karsdrop, Veltman, probably in the running so give everyone a chance. I think ideally it would be Blind and Karsdrop, but lets see.

    Midfield. Again give everyone some time there. I like the idea of van de Beek with Wijnaldum, but van Ginkel’s having a good year. Strootman isn’t our future anymore.

    Forwards. Play with 3, and a false 9. I like Depay-Promes-Berghuis personally, but again give everyone a shot. Except Luuk.

    1. Hahaha, because he was ridiculed in Holland for making those bold statements. Van Hooijdonk on tv said: “There is nothing HE needs to say! He’s out after this friendly break.”

  3. Next post will be an impressive analysis by Liverpool assistant coach Pepijn Lijnders on why Oranje fails to impress! Can’t contain my enthusiasm for this piece!!

    But first a review of Scotland – Oranje and then Romania.

    So keep on watching this space!

    1. Keep the posts coming Jan, it’s all we have to hang onto at the moment!
      It would be cool if we have two big wins in the friendlies even though they mean nothing. It would give the players and the nation something to feel good about, I hope to see some fresh faces get a chance, no point playing old guys in these friendlies, let’s test some future prospects.

      1. Not happening. Dick is all about his resume and stats.

        I also think it’s wise not to give new players a start when the new coach might want to do different things.

        Playing new lads in this team might result in two more bad results. I don’t think Dick or the KNVB would want that now.

  4. Jan, what is your opinion about Van Hooijdonk?

    I have heard that his analysis and opinions are very controversial and sharp.

    Do you think he would be a good assistant coach for the upcoming NT coach?

    1. Probably not :-). I like him a lot as analyst but he has a difficult personality. He used to be youth coach at Feyenoord and was told to choose between tv work or coaching and he picked tv work.

      He sees it well but he is not easy to deal with and I think he might cause controversy.

  5. I just read this article too and have to be very honest with you that I did not like it. I normally do not like when media creates a big fuzz around young players who have not proved anything yet. I would seriously consider them only if they have shown that they could make a difference. At this point there are only three players out of ten who have done that at club level. Player number 1 is Calvin Stengs. If he was not injured, AZ would have been leading Eredivisie by now. I am not exaggerating anything. I think he absolutely brilliant. He resembles me Adam Maher but Calvin is much more creative and excellent team player whereas Adam is more on individualistic side. After Stengs there is a big gap. Then Guus Til comes. He is a solid player but not brilliant. He might and might not grow into good European level. So far, he has not make any difference in U21. Til is closely followed by Teun Koopmeiners. I honestly like him more than Guus because of his mature way of play. He is very strong physically and I have no doubt that he will grow into excellent European level player. Finally, Myron Boadu. Boy has a lot of potential but he is too young and anything can happen to him: he can go “Freddy Adu” or “Patrick Kluivert” rout. It is hard to predict anything at this point.

    The remaining players are nothing special at this point in my opinion.

  6. I was about to post the lineup but Jan posted the photo of it already. Looks good with Blind as #6… So let’s see Strootman in a more natural position for him and see if there are any excuses left 🙂

    Post a photo of the locker room in Aberdeen too… Talking about spartan there ha !

    58% of Oranje supporters will not watch the game 🙁

  7. 1-0 Depay. Midfield still non existent. Blind is creative as #6 but not a great defender (reminder vs. Mexico 2014 Dos Santos’ goal) and Strootman is not there whether he is 8 or 6 or 10 or whatever number you can think of.

  8. Very boring game. Too many dutch players unwilling to run at defenders. As soon as they see someone in front of them, they turn and pass back. Memphis was working hard, but him, Promes, Ake and Karsdrop when healthy are the only players willing to dribble past someone.

    Really disappointing to see Advocaat leave a bench full of hopefuls with no minutes in a friendly match.

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