Frustrated Oranje struggles to get a point

All the ingredients were there. A full De Kuip (yes, 50% Dutchies, 50% Polish fans as Rotterdam has a big Polish contingent), nice football weather and Team A on the pitch. And no Lewandowski!

Van Gaal: “I have to say, the training matches were just fantastic!”

Before the game, the interviewer asked a prickly Van Gaal: “With the great match v Belgium in the back of your mind, are you interested to find out how low this Team A could go?”

Van Gaal: “What? How low? No, of course not! I don’t want to find that out. I want them to play that level of Belgium in every match. Why would I want to know how low we can go??”

Well, it seemed the interviewer had a crystal ball.

For some reason, Oranje started the game abysmal. It usually takes a while to see where players are at, but as Poland sacrificed a midfielder to cover, mark and follow Frenkie de Jong, the player where your creativity should start, Holland never got into their rhythm.

The usual problems. No depth. Very slow ball circulation. Indecisive. Wrong decisions.

With all the practice in the world and with players who get their salaries paid by Barcelona, Inter Milan, Man City, Spurs and Ajax, you would expect more, but somehow it felt the players all have 10 kg backpack on their backs.

And sure, the season was long and players were tired. Van Gaal subbed Timber as he felt the youngster was “walking on his last legs”. Bergwijn is not able to perform at level for more than 70 minutes.

And yes, Poland came to disrupt the Oranje flow and played a 4-4-1-1 to frustrate us and close off the spaces.

Still, one would expect Oranje to find solutions quicker.

Everything went through the centre, in the first half. While Blind – who played one of his worst games – and Dumfries were constantly open on the wings, but either players didn’t see it (not good) or didn’t dare to play the cross ball (also not good). I see Virgil do this time and time again at Liverpool.

There were times in the first half, when Timber got the ball and for some reason our forwards sprung into life, with runs by Bergwijn and Memphis simultaneously. Some good moves came off it but never resulted in a full on chance.

Poland executed the “lure them into one side and open up to the other” better than Holland. They got their first goal from that situation, something they almost were able to do some 5 minutes before hand as well. Blind should have been warned! The ball was played from the Polish left to the right, where Matty Cash had all the freedom to take on the ball. Blind decided to keep on covering the goal instead of pressing on the ball but made the error of opening his legs. Rule no: 1 for a defender. You block the shot so the goalie can cover the other angle. Opening your legs means the goalie sees the ball late and has to cover the whole goal width.

Now, Flekken didn’t cover himself in glory either. His positioning was off and you’d normally expect a keeper to do better.

Blind had a dreadful first half. Looked off the pace and his trusted left foot let him down numerous times. Balls that would normally be bread and butter for the passing expert went awry. You’d also expect more from him in the situation where the Polish goalie blocked a Berghuis shot and Blind needed to snap-shoot the ball on goal. Yes, the ball bobbed up but with Blind’s left foot, you do expect better.

When Frenkie is not in the game, someone else needs to step up. Blind wasn’t that player, Dumfries can’t be that player (I love the guy, he scores again, he fights and rumbles, he runs like hell but he’s not a gifted player…) so it would be on Berghuis to show how creative he really is.

In the first half, there were some highlights, some good passing, shots from distance and some balls whipped in, but it all lacked precision. He is forced to play too deep in that role and should actually play as #10 in my view. Now, Klaassen was in that role and as Rafael van der Vaart said after the game: “You only really notice Klaassen when he scores. If he doesn’t score, he’s invisible.”

The first half, Klaassen had the least # of touches.

Bergwijn showed some of his class and demonstrated a couple of things: 1) he’s got the skills, 2) he has the strength and speed and 3) he lacks match rhythm.

The second half started with the knowledge that LVG would have fixed some issues. But the team didn’t start in the way you’d expect and a series of defensive errors gifted Poland their second goal: 0-2. Where their first was a result of a good move from the training ground, the second goal was totally avoidable.

A ball in midfield bouncing around. Berghuis heading the ball in the blind back towards his own goal. He had a team mate next to him, that ball should have gone square. But his back header got Ake totally out of position, who had to make a snap decision: step up for offside, or drop off. The Citizen made the wrong choice: free field for two Polish forwards who didn’t have a problem finishing off: 0-2.

There were some more frightening moments for Holland at the back, but the offside rule helped.

Oranje got straight back into the game thanks to some nifty footwork by Timber and – finally – a proper cross by Blind. The ball dropped in the path of Davy Klaassen who did what he can do so well: arrive right in time, unmarked. He simply bounced the ball off his inside foot and scored: 1-2.

This seemed to have ignited some fighting spirit in the team and the 2-2 came after a good Ake pass – the Man City player was one of the least bad players for Oranje – and a smart Bergwijn flick, the ball ended up with Dumfries, who does what he does really well: score.

It seemed Oranje was ready to completely turn the game around, as they did so often already, and against Wales most recently. Koopmeiners came into the team for Berghuis, Gakpo for Klaassen and Teze for Timber.

The latter change got people’s brows to frown. Van Gaal: “I was not happy with Timber. He played very un-Timber like. He usually finds the forward pass quickly, but now he kept on dribbling and getting into cul de sacs. I subbed him for Teze, who is also good at playing the early pass and I think Teze did better than Timber!”

Koopmeiners was expected to use his passing range from deep and Gakpo went to play in the #10 role. Initially, Memphis thought he was going to play there and pushed Gakpo to the side, but Van Gaal intervened. Eventually Gakpo did find most space on the right wing, where the in-demand PSV winger had some decent moves and crosses.

Koopmeiners disappointed yet again. It might well be the long season for him, as he looked quite leggy.

Oranje kept on pushing and Daley Blind was close with a shot which would have given his performance a bit of a glitz but the ball went a tad wide.

At that point, the Polish players do what they can to disrupt Oranje’s game play. Play-acting, drama, upsets and the likes of Dumfries and Frenkie were keen to join in the huddles.

Memphis missed a late chance after a good Gakpo move but the VAR detected that Cash handled the ball – ever so slightly. Penalty for Oranje.

Memphis is the penalty king for Oranje and as he’s chasing Huntelaar in the topscorers list, it was logical he took the ball in his hands. However, considering his form of the day it would not have been foolish to let a guy like Koopmeiners take it. Not that Teun was in good form…

And thus, Memphis tried too hard. Wanted to hit it too hard, too much in the top corner. Why? Unnecessary and the ball clipped the post.

He did get one more chance to score the winner, with a glorious header. The Polish goalie had the save of his lifetime though.

By the way, a certain Wout Weghorst was on the pitch already, for probably 20 minutes. The lad literally got ZERO service. Not once were his team mates able to present the pinch hitter with a playable ball.

After the game, Van Gaal was proud on his players. The usual sound bites. “It’s not easy when the opponent parks the bus” and “their spirit was amazing” and “these players are tired” and “when you score the penalty, you take the 3 points” and “I think Memphis won’t miss the penalty at the World Cup”.

He also criticised Flekken for the 0-1 and was harsh on Timber.

Furthermore, he lamented how Bergwijn is not able to play 90 minutes at full intensity and also gave absent Danjuma a warning: “When you are injured you drop on the hierarchy. Scoring a couple of goals doesn’t just bring you back into Oranje. The players need to perform consistently. Cillesen has a slight problem now and it doesn’t give me great confidence.”

Van Gaal also lashed out to the De Kuip situation. “This stadium, it’s just rubbish. It’s old and tired. Not fit for modern football. Pitch is good, yes. Atmosphere too, but the rest….”

Player ratings by yours truly.

Mark Flekken – 6

He did show some class with his feet, he blocked a shot from a Polish player in offside position, but he also was partly at fault of the 0-1 and still comes across a tad insecure.

Dumfries – 6,5

He had spirit, he had fight, he was constantly available on the right (although he does drift inside too often, which brings him into confined spaces where he is out of his depth). Scoring goals is not his task, but we’ll cheer them all of course…

Timber – 5,5

The Ajax man had a good first half, with some good passing initially, but took risks in possession and dribbled into cul de sacs too often. Had some early fouls which could have resulted in an early yellow, like Teze had vs Wales.

De Vrij – 6

Solid in defence, not offering much in build up. Organised his back line well, overall and strong in the one v one.

Ake – 6,5

The City man made some wrong decisions, one of which helped Poland to the 2-2. Overall strong on the ball and with some good passes forward. You still expect more from a player of Manchester City. He does seem a bit timid in possession.

Blind – 5

Worst man on the pitch. Weak in possession in the first half. At fault for the 0-1. Partnership with Memphis seemed as if they played together for the first time. His second half cross found Klaassen for the 1-2 but that was not enough to get a better grade.

Frenkie – 6

The Barca man couldn’t find the space, nor the time. Got hacked badly in the first 20 minutes, with gasps of terror coming from the stands, but the mercurial midfielder was ok. He couldn’t make the difference, but kept on playing and trying.

Berghuis – 6

Worked hard in the first half, wanted the ball and tried to create things but he was too much off his game. Crosses didn’t end up where they needed to go, his left-foot curler signature shot ended up two yards wide. Intentions were good, execution was wanting. His versatility ( holding mid next to Frenkie, playmaker, right winger ) means he can expect the invite for Qatar.

Memphis – 5,5

Terrible game for the Barca man. Nothing worked. Dribbles, passing, shots, chips, even the penalty. The only good thing about the skipper: he kept on going, he kept on working and trying. He got the 0,5 point extra for his work rate and that unexpected header in the last minute. The captain’s band is maybe to heavy for him.

Klaassen – 5,5

I’d give him a 5 normally, but the 0,5 is the result of his goal. You have to give it to him: he can do this like no other (well… Donny van de Beek is as good). But otherwise, there was not much joy for Klaassen in this match.

Bergwijn – 6,5

Showed class, strength and resilience. Not playing his greatest game (for example: a good piece of trickery on the wing to get the space to cross the ball in, but then the cross flies over everyone…) but demonstrating his skills and threat. More of this please, and as LVG said: for the full 90 minutes please.

Gakpo – 6,5

Hard to come into a team that struggles, but the PSV winger/playmaker demonstrated his potential with some excellent moves.

Koopmeiners – 5

Didn’t offer anything. Slow on the ball, playing one in first gear. Not finding solutions. Overall disappoining.

Teze – 6

Played terrible versus Wales but Van Gaal sees something in him. He was active in this match, with some distance strikes and some good passing attempts. A good sub turn for him.

Weghorst –

No grade for Wout. He should have had a 9, as he made zero mistakes. But that was because he was never found or included in the game. With him, Oranje played with 10 men.

Van Gaal – 5

I’m harsh on Van Gaal. He failed to give the simple instructions to the team and he failed to get them motivated and inspired enough. He should have subbed Blind at half time to give a strong message to the rest and put Malacia in. He brought Weghorst but failed to change the tactics to a 4-3-3 to allow the team to use Weghorst in a proper way. The tactics failed and Van Gaal was not able to change it.

So what does this mean?

For me, it means that this Oranje when in full form and with the key players available, we can be a surprise, a dark horse at the World Cup. But it also means that if we get it wrong, we could go home after the group stages. Losing versus Chile, drawing versus Qatar, losing versus Senegal. Bye bye.

At the same time, these Nations League games are a bit like friendlies. Most of the players are at the tail end of a long season. And playing terrible but still getting a point (and being able to win it!), well… we’ll take it.

I do think that the availability of the likes of Danjuma, Gravenberch, Malen, Karsdorp, Bijlow and Van de Beek will be key. A midfield with Klaassen and Berghuis is simply not enough. We’ll need all the big guns there to have a chance.

The Wales line up might well be:


Teze – De Ligt – De Vrij – Martins Indi – Malacia

Schouten – Berghuis


Janssen – Weghorst

Let’s hope Wales is not too focused on a result and let’s hope we get some positive result, to end this campaign on a high.

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  1. @ Jan

    This is where you and I disagree. You said ” we can be a dark horse when key players are available”
    The name that you are referring to, you have seen them all. What are you talking about? I have seen all these guys for the past 4 years. Van Gaal can’t do anything with them. It is not a matter of tactics. These guys are simply horrible, they are mediocre. Why can’t we accept that and hoping the next generation can be better.
    Van Gaal have decided to play 5/3/2. In that formation, the team can at lease have numerical advantage in attack. So now you have Demfries as the worst right back Holland ever produce. Blin slow as fuck. In the midfield, you have Berhuis a freeking waste of time “useless”. Klassen is another slow. Menphis Depay, sometimes you wander what the heck he’s doing on the field. De Jong is good but very inconsistent. Those that are coming of the bench are as bad. I don’t know what you are talking about. We’ll be lucky if we don’t go home after the first round. Ya need to stop dreaming. No matter which coach you bring, this generation does not have it PERIOD.

  2. @ Jan

    This is where you and I disagree. You said ” we can be a dark horse when key players are available”
    The name that you are referring to, you have seen them all. What are you talking about? I have seen all these guys for the past 4 years. Van Gaal can’t do anything with them. It is not a matter of tactics. These guys are simply horrible, they are mediocre. Why can’t we accept that and hoping the next generation can be better.
    Van Gaal have decided to play 5/3/2. In that formation, the team can at lease have numerical advantage in attack. So now you have Demfries as the worst right back Holland ever produce. Blin slow as a turtle. In the midfield, you have Berhuis a big waste of time “useless”. Klassen is another slow. Menphis Depay, sometimes you wander what the heck he’s doing on the field. De Jong is good but very inconsistent. Those that are coming of the bench are as bad. I don’t know what you are talking about. We’ll be lucky if we don’t go home after the first round. Ya need to stop dreaming. No matter which coach you bring, this generation does not have it PERIOD.

    1. If we are that pathetic, why don’t you quit watching? What is the point for you whining here like a baby girl all day long? If football is all based on the player names, then Greece would never win, we should give up every time when we face Brazil or France. And by the way,based on player names we should have won a WC long time ago. If you can not accept anything can happen in football then just don’t watch. You would know the result of every game already lol.

    2. @Jean you are not very clear:

      “The name that you are referring to, you have seen them all. What are you talking about?”

      Not sure what you mean. Sorry.

      I think you are too harsh. From 1974 onwards, people have always criticised the team and questioned why they had to go to the tournament. I am not kidding. In 1974 as well! And in 2014 too.

      I will explain it one more time: it is the team. Think Greece 2004.

      If you think Berghuis is useless, you have no football mind and I should not even debate with you. Klaassen slow? Check Memphis stats in Oranje and you know enough.

      I’m sorry, you’re a vinegar pisser as we say in Holland. Just being negative and bringing the vibe down. I know Blind is slow, can you imagine how good he can be if he was fast? He would be in Real Madrid.

      I do agree, we could well go home after the group games, but… we could also get to the semis.

      The glorious teams of 1974 and 1988 came together DURING THE TOURNAMENT.

      Don’t be surprised to see a line up in November with a couple of names no one expected.

  3. Agree with you Jan about Van Gaal’s rating. I thought his subs disrupted the game, we were getting very good momentum and new sub came in, took time to settle in the game and by that time, Poland is finding a way to get back into the game.

  4. Lack of courage, bias, stubbornness, sticking to what you know, call it what you will, but LVG have never, truly experimented with the player capital fate has handed him.

    You don’t even have to take a keen look at how things are unfolding in terms of the team structure to discern that there is not much difference in personnel from the time he took over, to this last game. Every “change” he’s made seemed forced and performative to me.

    Cillesen-LVg big shakeup when he came in was to continue on with the spiteful decision his predecessors made against Cillesen. We all know how that played out though. He had his tail between his legs when he found himself facing the abyss. Cillesen was quickly recalled.

    Dumfries-LVG’s wasted a year to do something about that RB position. We are an injury away from having Hateboer as our starting RB as he is a player “the team knows”. Either that or a makeshift RB as Karsdorp has only now been called up at the eve of a world Cup campaign.

    Blind- I would say that Blind is at least 90% responsible for Oranje’s flexibility issues. The inability or reluctance of this team to play 4 in the back and utilize wingers, all comes down to the inexplicable decision to accommodate Blind at any cost. Think of this for a second. A whole system, a whole playing style, is hinged on an athletically-challenged LB who is at his last throes of high level football. And Jan, I see what you have to say about Blind after his horrendous performance in the last game. Appreciate your honesty, and soothsayer I’m not, but I have a sneaky feeling that you, like LVG, would still find a way to play him inspite of the fact. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    CB- we have too much quality for LVG to get this one wrong. Van dijk, de Vrij, Ake, de ligt.

    FDJ/???- If you ask LVG who should partner FDJ at this point, I think he will be hard pressed to give you a convincing answer. One would think Teun but another day it’s Klassen, Gini(remember him) and Berghuis. There seem to be a willingness to try things but there’s no conviction behind it. That’s why that two spot(if that’s how LVG has decided to go) is still up in the air.

    RW- For much of the qualifying campaign, Berghuis had been our go to man. His Qualifications? He is a left-footed right “winger”. You know, the ones Dutch management loves so much. Never mind he is not Robben. Never mind he doesn’t have the pace to beat no one on the outside. Never mind how abysmal his assists stats are. Gakpo came in yesterday and played a REAL right winger role. How many players could have been tried in that role over the many wasted months… As it stands, Whoever we play there would be fairly new to that role in context of fitting in this team.

    #8/9/10- This hybrid positional situation that fluctuates and floats amongst Berghuis, Klassen, Depay, Gini etc is a hit or miss for me. Their roles are clearly not defined and some players are simply not good enough to jump on the bike and pedal off with gametime decisions and instructions still stinging their ears. I mean, Klassen is a good player. But where was he yesterday?. He was following the exact instructions(or not) the gaffer dished out. So was Depay. Drifting in so deep you, so many times, you would think he was Berghuis. And of course Berghuis was somewhere away being Berghuis. Very worrisome.

    LW- Is it Gakpo, Bergwin, Danjuma, Malen or? We don’t know yet. And you know why. Because known of them have worked and grown as a tandem with the untouchable Blind. None of them have been free to operate in a true offensive sense because Blind has to be accommodated both defensively and offensively. None of them have had the opportunity to play with Malacia and have a feel of how things go.

    These are all observations that any person with an inkling of football knowledge could come up with. LVG and his ilk have and will always complicate issues because they want to show up the commoners that football is much more esoteric than they would ever know.

    LVG knows more than me(about football at least) But he cannot change the fact that I know that 1+1=2 Any attempt to do that and you will end up with Berghuis as your Pirlo and an aging LB(not even a midfield influencer) as your team’s anchor.

    1. You are wrong in saying we are playing 3-4-3 to accomodate Blind. That is ridiculous and you made this up.

      LVG has always preferred this system and with the top qualify centre backs we have, it is a smart move. We’re not the only one playing this you know? Do all countries who play 3 or 5 at the back do it to cover for 1 slow player? IS that the norm?

      It’s sad that you throw in these personal attacks on a player, because it devaluates the rest of your rant.

      I think you are wrong re: Cillesen and Frenkie in your analysis. Berghuis is not our right winger, so why you are harping on about this I don’t know?

      LVG knows that most of the players are currently not 100% fit anymore. He also has to deal with the results (Nations League is still a trophy) and he is analysing players for the World Cup.

      Take into account the return of Gravenberch, Van de Beek and Danjuma and you’ll see a different story.

      I personally don’t think Berghuis or Klaassen make it in the starting line up in November.

      This would be my personal fave line up, provided these cats are all fit.


      Karsdorp – De Ligt – Van Dijk – Ake – Malacia

      Frenkie – Gravenberch


      Bergwijn – Danjuma

  5. Only a stupid full will believe that the formation change was not to do with accomdating Daley Blind. It’s beyond clear blue skies that it was precisely to do with him and again at the expenses of Malacia and even Bakker who could have complemented the team better in any formation.

  6. No matter what they do. The scenario will be the same. + and – is equal to zero. You look at the critics on Hateboer and his weakness. It’s the same as Blind both Blind gets the pampering and Hateboer bashing. Can do the maths here.

  7. I think you have to be a special kind of moron to think that one of the greatest coaches we have had will change the system of the team he is coaching and risk his reputation and risk winning trophies to field a player who happens to be the son of his assistant coach….

    Louis Van Gaal knows it’s not the best solution, he knows that with 4-3-3 and Bakker as left back he has way more chance to win anything but he has a secret love affair with Danny Blind and Daley is their love child…

    Or… Danny has footage of Louis van Gaal doing something naughty and Danny blackmails Louis. That must be it.

    And all the Dutch analysts and former Daley coaches (Hiddink, Ten Hag, De Boer, Advocaat) are all in on the act.

    I cannot take Wilson serious anymore after this exchange. God Help Us.

  8. If you meaning fully pretend to blind yourself over a fact. I will say you are. Not to say in actual person. For years we have debated on this and again we come to the same cross road.

  9. There is absolutely no logical sense, justification of starting Blind over Malacia. An inspiring upcoming LB to a declined mistake, prone, slow LB.only the greatest coach in the world thinks its perfectly ok to do so.

    I once again challenge you prove what Daley Blind has brought to NT for all these years. Except for 2014 which you often use to portrat his greatest achievement which again was the expense of others.what I mean here is in comparison to other fullbacks.

  10. I also intrested to know since you always bring up “Dutch Analysts” arguement. Are they still of the same opinion about him todate. I dont think so. Obviously At Ajax there is no upgrade to blind and even in NT there wasnt for a long time.there were but some how were not deemed good enough but that situation has changed. You cant just be dragging what somebody said years ago.

  11. @ Jan

    I am with Wilson and Orangutan on this one. Why Blin until now have started every single games? Please tell us why? By the way, I am a bit surprised that you’ve picked De ligt over De Vrij. De vrij is a far better defender then De Ligt and De Vrij is far more comfortable with the ball on his feet moving forward. Stefane De Vrij with the ball on his feet moving forward reminded me of Jaap Stamp.

  12. @ Jan

    Where is the personal attack I threw at Blind? I have never been one to support ANYTHING blindly.

    You’ve agreed with me in the past that Dutch management have a long standing problem adjusting in real time, during games. And Blind is a prime example of that accusation and how he is a stumbling block towards that flexibility. They could have gone 4-3-3 yesterday for a better offensive fluidity and Poland being on the backfoot. But no. The worst player on the pitch has to be accommodated because he needs cover and the up and down would be too much.

    And forget the Poland game. When has Blind been involved in any mid-game shakeup however woeful his performance have been? It’s unthinkable. That preparation and eventuality has never been catered for and thus will never happen.

    How are my wrong about Berghuis? He got off the right wing only when Ajax made the switch with him. He was our right winger for most of the qualifiers. Are we missing something here? Can we get hold of some videos?

    You also said I’m wrong about Cillesen and FDJ. Yet for FDJ the team you chose supports my claim. How many times have FDJ played with Gravenbeech in a competitive game? So you can add Gravenberch in that mix of the candidates unsure of partnering FDJ.

    How am I wrong about Cillesen? LVG went crawling back to him when he was faced with a do or die situation. Cillesen played a better game against Belgium than all the goalies they have been trying to force down our throats.

    And you claim that you don’t think Klassen and Berghuis might make the lineup in Qatar. Players that have been mainstays through the qualifiers and even this present competition. What am I missing here? Are you claiming that the great LVG have got it wrong all this time? Are you agreeing with me that a lot of these positions might still be game time decisions?

    I keep emotions away from my criticism. I am a practical, clinical observer and student of the game. Always clear-headed with receipts. Always the receipts.

  13. @Orangutan the funniest thing about you is that you’re so cynical towards Blind that it clouds what could be good forethought.

    You yourself stated that LVG “can’t mess up the centre back issue because he has too many options”. Yet, you sit here and state that the reason he is playing 3 centre backs instead of 2 is because of Blind. Maybe van Gaal is trying to use a formation to accommodate all of your world class players. If you had a team with Benzema with Lewandowski, you’d play a 4-4-2 to accommodate them both.

    I’ve been saying for years they should play 3 at the back because of the fact that it appears CB is where we have the most quality and most depth. But you think that we should switch out one of our world class CB’s to put in a winger who is of less quality?

    1. I dont know what to say to this maddness. Which CB has most quality or is world class apart from van dijk and also which winger is of less quality that you are talking about to that of a CB. Are you telling be the CBs will play as strikers. This is stupidity at its best. As much as CBs are integral part of the team and on set pieces they can be decsive but the most chances created is always the forwards and you are saying its ok sacrifice a winger for a CB when you have wingers of gakpo, Danjuma, Lang and Bergwijn calibre.

      The Nations league under koeman, prime NT reached the finals with the promes, Babel, Danjuma, Dilrosun, Bergwijn all playing crucial role on and from off the bench. And you are telling koeman should have played 3 at the back. My friend these are all evidences to show that the formation change by Van Gaal is unjustifiable. It is not as if the Back line is shaky like in 2014 and neither they are inexperienced or have not played together. Again under koeman, Van Dijk and De ligt were commanding as ever. Why not continue.they know each other very well.

      A backline of dumfries, De ligt, Van Dijk, Malacia would have comfortably complemented the team same as now with wing backs or even better. You can not put up any argument here, if you can I challenge anyone.

      To say there is less quality wingers right now in NT and hence the team should be built around CBs which has depth is absolutely sickening and worthy of farting.

  14. @Derek

    I sometimes hope you would cope. Nobody is against the Dutch playing to their strength. That’s why the Blind conundrum remains baffling.

    You can start with three world class centre backs as suggested. And as the game unfolds, and say you are chasing it, 4 in the back, instead of a 3-5-2 or 5-3-2 or 3-4-3 variation would be the best DEFENSIVE decision to maintain pressure from midfield and have an extra player in attack.

    Oranje have never had that option, that 4 option in defence, since the decision to accept Blind as untouchable was made. Once in a while they would resort to it against a sub-par country and minnows.

    If Oranje have to abandon such a viable option, regardless of real time circumstances, makes me thinks something is terribly wrong with management.

    This is the best I can do in explaining this. Hopefully you get it.

  15. Well this is an easily refuted argument.

    Why doesn’t LVG switch to a back 4 when he’s chasing a game? You can’t possibly know that he won’t because since LVG has taken over he has been either tied or winning at the 50 minute mark (excluding a friendly against Germany). He may be flexible to change to a back 4 but he just hasn’t even been in the position to do so, because he’s never NEEDED to score a goal to stay in a game. Sure against Montenegro it would’ve been nice to win, but he’s not gonna sub Blind out in the 90th minute and hope that works. Who knows, maybe if Holland is down 1-0 and chasing Wales with 20 minutes left then Blind comes off.

    Also, this is the same formation that LVG played in 2014. Was he accommodating Blind then too?

    At the end of the day, most of what you guys say on here is criticism for the sake of criticism. Holland picked up 7 points from 3 games against top European teams. Wilson will say that other Top Nations never have bad results but meanwhile France and England sit at the bottom of their groups. Every “top” team throughout history has had to battle for wins. They have to deal with feisty draws and heartbreaking losses. A 2-2 with Poland does not demand this much criticism.

    You sit here and pretend like Holland is the only team winning games by one goal and all the other “Top Nations” are cleaning up 4 or 5-0 in each game, but its not the case, and all of this negative commentary around what has been so far a very successful year under LVG is absolutely asinine and its beginning to show the football knowledge of the group.

    If LVG campaign was a league, he’d be 9-3-0, 30 points from a possible 36. Goal Difference of +24. Or you could look at it as 2.5 Points per Game.

    If we look at past world cup winners:
    2018 France – 2.3 Points per Game
    2006 Italy – 2.3 Points per Game
    2002 Brazil – 1.66 Points per Game
    1994 Brazil – 2.15 Points per Game
    1990 Germany – 2 Points per Game
    1986 Argentina – 2.16 Points per Game
    1982 Italy – 2.125 Points Per Game

    So Wilson or Jean, please tell me how this current crop with their current results (Against good teams), does not have ANY chance of winning this particular World Cup, having performed better in the lead up to the World Cup than all but two of the world cup champions in the last 40 years. Please tell me how our results are less significant than all of those results.

    1. My simple answer to you is this Argentina and Brazil whom NT is expected to meet in QF and SF is not depleting Belgium team or any other team NT has played under van gaal.

      It’s obvious van gaal is trying his best to fine tune the starting 11 vs Belgium to be be the main stay and increase the formidabilty aspect of the team and this is can also be one of the reason why he is not changing the formation when chasing the game. If he changes the formation, it will cause disruption on the other side as they are still in that early stages of the transition to 3-5-2 and not yet fully furnished or in top flight especially with0 what Poland did.

  16. If Blind kept on playing like this, he should not be brought to Qatar, this is not like 8 years ago, when we do not have other good LB options. Mitchel Bakker has made huge progress in recent years, his passing ability has improved a lot(before his passing success rate was pretty poor), he is strong, tall and fast. He never stop his overlap runs in attack. The kid got talent to be a top LB star in a couple years. And Tyrell Malacia also looks good and seems to have gradually getting comfortable on the National Team level. We have already qualified for Euro U21 championship next year, so there is no reason for Bakker to be overlooked in September. Let’s hope he gets his chance, but time is running short.

    For Midfield, we need Gravenberch and Van De Beek in good form next season and also Wijnaldum needs to move to a place where he can play and find back his form. These three are the answers for our midfield, they should be the partner for Frenkie De Jong not Klaassen or Berghuis. For LCB, let’s give Botman a chance in September. He does not need to play for U21 in September as well.

    In my opinion these players should be brought to Qatar.

    To Start

    Depay Bergwijn

    Gravenberch Van De Beek Freenkie De jong

    Malacia Botman Van Dijk De Vrij Dumfries



    Danjuma Gakpo

    Koopmeiners Wijnaldum De Roon

    Bakker Ake De Ligt Timber Karsdorp


    This is under the condition that all these players are fit and in form. If some are not fit or in form, below are two reserve lineups we can pick up players from.Also if we really need a pinch hitter, than we can sacrifice Timber for Weghorst, we might not need to bring that many CBs.

    Malen Lang

    Klaassen Schouten Veerman

    Blind Strujk St.Juste Teze Frimpong


    Kluivert Brobbey

    Matusiwa Til Berghuis

    Wijndal Rekik Schuurs Veltman Geertruida


    There are even more player that we can try in the national team after these 4 lineups, like Boadu, Hateboer, Stengs, Zirkzee, El Ghazi, Rosario, Piroe, Rensch, Van Den Boomen, Riedwald, Dirlosun, Kerk, Vilhena, Bazoer, Hoedt, Ihattaren, Van Aanholt, Luuk De Jong, Boetius, Tete, Doekhi, Quinten Timber, Gouweleeuw, Drommel, Clasie, Vincent Janssen, Ouwejan, Indi, Scherpen, Flemming, Vormer, but unless we have very long injury list or not in form players, then we should never dig this deep into our lineup.

    1. So taking into account of injuries and U21 Euro Qualifiers, what Van Gaal selected still mostly make sense. Blind is our third option for LB, and he was selected because Bakker was in U21. Hateboer is our 4th option for RB, and he was selected because Karsdorp and Frimpong was injured and Geertruid was in U21. However, in September when U21 games is not an issues anymore, Van Gaal has no more excuse to include Blind,Hateboer and Berghuis in our squad.

        1. Depends on how fast Bakker get used to playing in NT. I would have hoped Bakker got call up earlier but I think Van Gaal wanted U21 to qualify for next year’s final tournament this is also a justified reason. Plus Bakker at the beginning of the season was not this good. He made huge progress this year. I hope he get the nod over Blind in September. And it does not seem we would have any other warm up match before WC except for 2 more Nations League game in September. Maybe KNVB can snick in one more warm up match before WC. This is pretty bad because all of our preparation matches are Nation League matches against European teams, and we would not face any European teams in the group stage. We better do some great scouting beforehand.

    1. @ Lucas
      Agree about Bakker. He certainly has showed alot of improvements in the u21 qualifers.

      I remember the debate on him here, and saying give this guy some more time and as he plays more. This was just his first full season at Leverkusen. They will also be in CL. But I dont think he will get the nod over blind.

  17. @ Dereck

    Please do not compare the result. Let’s compare the squad. That is why I say you are dreaming.

    Our current squad can’t get close to any squad on that list. There is no comparison between out current squad and any of the team on your list.
    Let’s take Brazil 1994 for example. They have Cafu, Aldair, Dunga, Mauro Silva. There is absolutely comparison between Dumfries and Cafu my friend. ZERO
    ZERO comparison between our our defensive Mid and Dunga or Mauro Silva. Let’s be real!
    The Brazil squad had Branco, Romario, Bebeto and many more. There is no comparison between Romario and Depay my friend. Let’s be real. My point has always been about the current quality of this generation. These players have fallen so short compare to what we have used to and that is a fact that you have to accept. If you go back to at least 35 years or so (since 1988), this is the worst generation Dutch football have ever produce. Why can’t you accept that. I don’t even think the issues are the coaches. Maybe we need to stop arguing and wait.

    1. It’s not so much about the quality of the individual. It’s about the quality of the team. LVG said this many times and he is correct.

      You know how many big name teams were kicked out of the tournament at Group stages.

      compare the 2018 Germany team with the 2014 Dutch team, player for player.

      But the 2018 Germs were kicked out and the 2014 Oranje got close to the finals.

  18. There is alot of ways to see this On one side you saying you dont quality individual to make a quality team and then on the other side you are claiming the big guns were kicked out because of ……..? Fill in the blanks pliz.

    You can argue that you dont need quality individual to make a quality team and a good example would be 2010 where the average CBs of Mathijsen and Heitinga reached the finals on the back of cover up from De Jong and Van bommel. But this is certainly not the situation now that you need to provide cover up. There is more better options and this is the main talking point.

    Again back to square 1 why overlook somebody who can complement the team better (Malacia) to some body who needs protection. (Blind). It’s obvious a better player will enhance the quality in the team. If there was no options, then it becomes an argument point. On top of this Which coach will not wanna have all top players in every position in the team.

    “compare the 2018 Germany team with the 2014 Dutch team, player for player.”
    The Germans after 2014 had started decling. Ozil ( Arsenal crisis),Hummels ( become slow)and Khedira (Recovery from ACL injury) were just below par and then came the shocker by low to drop Sane and while not calling up Gnabry at all in the provisional. It all back fired on him.

    The 2014 dutch as discussed had a mixture of both young and old and then certainly you have to consider the influence of Robben in the team in that tournament. Even if do player to player head to head, Robben 2014 would have taken the whole Germans of 2018.

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