Lots of work to do for Oranje

Not a title you would associate with an upcoming game vs Andorra.

But the State of the Union of Oranje is not too positive after the shock draw against Estonia.

And it’s not like Holland is not allowed to draw. After the amazing run we had under Bert and under Louis, it’s not a drama to not win for once. But what is a drama, that it happens in a game where we led 0-1 after 2 minutes. A game inwhich we dominated in the first 20 minutes. And a win would have secured our spot in the top 7 of the Fifa Ranking and would have given us that record to snatch away from Ze Zjermans.

The way we let this game slip away and the way we had to salvage a point were embarrassing, really.

Johan Cruyff is per usual the biggest contrarian. Where people only see good things, he sees negative elements. And the other way around. “It’s probably a good thing that Holland is not the first nation after Brazil to qualify. In all honesty, if we would qualify that easily and quick, people might believe we are really good. And we are not. Now, Van Gaal can work on the elements that need improvement, without bringing the qualification in trouble. This is maybe a blessing in disguise, this draw. Because now everyone realises: oops… We are not that great….”

JC Est

The oracle talks on: “Take Tiger Woods. If he plays without concentration for one day, he can simply tumble from the 1st to the 10th spot. The differences are minimal in the top. If we want to go for silverware in Brazil we will need to work really hard. And that is easier for Louis van Gaal now. Because if we would have won, criticism would not have its desired effect.”

The other Dutch icon, Willem van Hanegem, spoke as well. “I like Louis and I can’t really criticise his football vision. But the last weeks he seems to be losing it a bit. He has lost his consistency, it seems. First he claims he doesn’t need a type like Sneijder anymore. But when Wijnaldum gets injured, he calls Sneijder up. At first he’s not fit. Then he is fit enough? And the result? Sneijder feels the pressure and plays his own game. In order to prove himself. You could have predicted that. And Sneijder does play too close to Van Persie, basically suffocating the Man United striker. He needs movement around him and space. Sneijder doesn’t offer movement and doesn’t allow space. When Kuyt came to play centrally, things changed a bit. Another problem Van Gaal generated is that weird switch of Robben and Lens. Why? He was adamant that Robben should play on the left flank and now that is not needed anymore? Sure, Robben scored. It took the Estonia coach a couple of minutes to realise Robben played on the right, but since that goal Robben and Lens did not produce one single cross for Van Persie and Robben blocked Janmaat too. I think Van Gaal should sit down with his key players (RVP, Sneijder, Robben) and determine what system will be used. And lastly, De Vrij vs Bruma. Everyone who watches the Eredivisie can see that De Vrij is not in his best form, while Bruma is very strong. Why would Van Gaal use De Vrij and then sub him when he made a mistake? This is not good for the lad, not for the team and not for the coach… He should have simply said: Stefan, you will be rested, I wanna try out Bruma for this game.”

Oranje needs to regroup and will do so by acknowledging the weaknesses of the team: defence. With players like Van der Vaart, Sneijder, Van Persie, Kuyt and Robben, most international opponents will be very careful. But with big names like De Boer, Stam, Rijkaard and Reiziger missing in the current squad, most opponents feel there is something to be had against this Holland team.

robben est

Skipper Robin van Persie does not allow criticism to creep into the camp. “It’s normal that the fans and the media are unhappy with that performance, but internally, we are not negative. The last thing we will do is point fingers. We need each other. We need to play and act like a team.”

The media asked Van Gaal about his substitution of De Vrij. Was it because he was to blame for that first Estonia goal? “No. I subbed him not for that. If someone makes a mistake, the team makes a mistake and the team will need to resolve it. I subbed Stefan because he lost confidence and didn’t play the vertical, deep pass anymore. That needed changing.”

Kevin Strootman: “The Feyenoord lads have been starters this whole qualification series. We did very well. Do you seriously think they forgot how to play football?”

In 2004, Holland played an away game against Andorra, and that was a special game. The 34 year old AZ midfielder Barry van Galen made his debut in Oranje under Van Basten. The current AZ scout would never be called up again. “I am eternally grateful to Marco for this. I think he simply felt I deserved at least one international game. And sure, I’d love to have played that game against Brazil, like Bart Latuheru, hahaha. But it was the best day in my whole career. And Marco asked me after the game: what did you think? And I said: I was shit. Because I was. I didn’t do anything right. And Marco nodded, hahahaha. And after the game, I was interviewed, and who was standing next to me? Johan Cruyff. My hero. Ah, those memories. I played with number 10, even. Van Basten made me the happiest man ever.”


Barry van Galen against Andorra, 2004

A won against Andorra will give Holland a ticket almost for certain. Romania would have to bridge 6 points and 15 goals in two games, something that is highly unlikely of course (*cough* Spain – Malta!!! * cough*).

If Romania drops points vs Turkey, Holland will be definitely certain of Brazil.

Van Gaal has to make some changes, as Arjen Robben and Bruno Martins Indi are suspended. Ruben Schaken is the obvious replacement for Robben. The Feyenoord defender will most likely be replaced by Vlaar. Karim Rekik is an option too although he is not 100% fit. However, Van Gaal could decide to play with three defenders only, taking into account that Andorra will probably only field one striker.

In this case, we might see Janmaat – De Vrij / Bruma – Willems/Verhaegh

And maybe four midfielders, with De Guzman to support the build up. I wouldn’t mind seeing Sneijder, Maher and Strootman together.

And Lens – RVP – Schaken upfront.

RVP most likely wants to play, as he is only 4 goals away from Patrick Kluivert’s record of 40 goals in the Orange Jersey.

rvp kluiv

Arjen Robben is the unlikely vice captain. The egotistical self kicker Robben, as vice captain. “I like the responsibility. I love coaching and supporting the young lads. And it gives me great honour to wear the band, you know.” Robben’s drive has not diminished after winning the CL at last. He was furious when he left the pitch against Estonia. “If you score after 2 minutes and you are the better team, you simply need to win. Period.” Asked about his drive and his loathing of losing….” Ask my wife. I haven’t changed a bit since winning the CL at Wembley. I still play as if it’s my last game. But Guardiola said something interesting to me. We had a good chat and he said: you have nothing to prove. If you simply play good football, I will put you in the line up. Just enjoy yourself. I loved that…. I need to learn how to do that.”


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  1. Nice article. In fact I would have loved us to rob ze zjermans of that title. Then I wouldn’t mind if we lost against Andorra. In fact in this case we would have the record and also start looking at the mirror and see what is seriously wrong.
    One thing I want to mention about this team is that it cannot be compared to pre 2010 team for a simple factor. Around 70% of today’s players play in Eredivisie or with average teams in England except of course the big names. Pre 2010 team had players from top clubs in Europe who were also important players at their respective clubs. Hence the gap is huge. Some of these kids may turn into really good players one day but today they are just average. Market doesn’t lie.

    1. on paper (entirely in the sense you just described) it would look a lot better if the following players were there and possibly in the starting line-up (ignoring injuries):

      N. de Jong and Emanuelsson (AC Milan)
      Pieters (Stoke, one of the best defensive teams in the EPL last season btw)
      Elia (Werder Bremen, especially if they can do a bit better than last year)
      Huntelaar (Schalke04)

      Those clubs next to Robben and vPersie’s clubs look somewhat decent on paper (ok, it isn’t like 2010, no need to point that out again ;)). Strootman with AS Roma fits in nicely in that list, somewhere between AC Milan and Stoke. Same level as Schalke.

      Stekelenburg (Fullham)
      Krul (Newcastle)
      vGinkel (Chelsea, yeah, sure…like Affelay at Barcelona, ok, this one does not count in my example, but I’ll mention it anyway)

      on paper, if you just fill in the clubs, you can still make a decent line-up with Dutch players. But I think I’ve mentioned “on paper” enough now haven’t I?

    2. I left out VDV’s Hamburg btw because it’s an absolute mess over there (bad coach and bad players except for VDV) so I find it a poor example.

      The coach at Werder Bremen isn’t much better I suspect but I think their team is still a better example of a somewhat decent team, at least the potential is there (‘somewhat decent team’, which is the class PSV barely qualifies for, even though I still think they are the strongest eredivisie team at the moment, I just don’t see how Ajax can keep winning eredivisie titles without a proper top goalscorer à la Suarez, but somehow they still manage because PSV keeps screwing up, must be Vermeer or something, don’t follow eredivisie that closely, not that I don’t see some of it occasionally, Ajax to me at the moment doesn’t look likely to be part of the class “somewhat decent team” in European terms, Schalke/AS Roma level, but let’s see what happens in the CL and Europa League at least hopefully, Schalke looks to have lost some good players as well btw, will have a difficult year and may rub off badly on Hunter, at least they still have Draxler and Farfan).

      1. quote myself and addition: “because PSV keeps screwing up (which made Feyenoord look better than they really are in the last 2 seasons, but that sort of counts for all the clubs in the eredivisie)”

  2. Thanks Jan. I saw this article in ad.nl but I don’t speak Dutch and Google’s translation is not too good so thanks a lot 😉

    I like what Cruyff said that it is better to lose some points now so we stop with the cocky attitude and realize we need to work harder.

    De Vrij is good but he’s not in top of his game. I believe Feyenord will get better and also PSV will be very hard to beat in the Europa League, Cocu wasn’t lucky to face Milan so soon.

  3. I loved the story about Barry van Galen and Marco van Basten. That really was a nice touch to let Barry get an international appearance.

    As for the team? Cruyff and Hanegem are both right. They need to know they have to work, and LvG has to be consistent. Go down in flames if you have to, but don’t mess with your philosophy and confuse everyone.

  4. ——————Stekelenburg———




    I really don’t see a world class winger for the other wing and I believe we need a stronger midfield.

    Fer, Strootman, V.Ginkel and Sneijder are players capable of scoring so it’s a strong midfield but also creative players. Although I like more the 4-3-3 system with 2 wingers I really don’t rate Lens, Wijnaldum or Narsingh as top players.

  5. Very nice article, Jan. Thank you.

    As others say, LVG has much to sort out. Players aren’t taking positions by the throat and making it theirs, and that is tough on a NT manager.

    One thing I’d like to see is one of the FB’s to be Blind or Verhaegh; maybe not on both sides, but it would be good to have one player in a FB position who will look up, and see the possibility of the space in front of him for build up and bringing other players into the attack. an Rhijn, Janmaat, VDW on the right, and Willems on the left; they seem to simply run as fast as they can into space until there is none left or they have gotten themselves into a bad position. Verhaegh, and Blind—to me—when they have the ball at their feet they are football players with a little bit of vision, not just athletes.

    1. No doubt. That is awesome. That guy looks absolutely terrified.

      Maybe we don’t need quite this much terror, but I do think it’s an unbelievable contrast with the current mentality. We don’t have the attitude of Stam, of Davids, or even of Kuyt. Now that the players are not guaranteed their spots (as they were in the BvM era), I honestly thought that the more experienced players would be giving or their all to fend off the youngsters and that the newbies would be playing beyond themselves to prove their worth on the world stage. Instead, the played like it was a friendly against Estonia. Makes no sense to me.

      Hopefully van Gaal has a plan to inject some of that winner/game killer mentality. I honestly believe that to be a bigger issue than the lack of talent that’s so often discussed here.

  6. One interesting contrast between the 95 Ajax and the current Oranje is that in the 95-Ajax we had older players who brought consistency and younger players who brought flair….

    The 2013 Oranje has older players who bring flair and younger kids who bring inconsistency.

  7. The 95 squad has 22 Dutch players and 3 non Dutch players in its 1st team. They can dress 11 good Dutch players: Van De Sar-Borgade, Blind, Frank De Boer, Reizinger-Davids, Rijkaard, Seedorf-Overmars, Kluivert, Van Vossen (he is not on the wing so I just use him instead of Litmanen, Kanu or Finidi George). I can see that LVG is trying to replicate his 95 success, young players where he can mold + some veteran/experienced players. Many members of this 95 team won CL, went to the CL final the next year, crashed in 96 Euro, rejuvenated and went to WC semi final in 98. However LVG have more time to do this in a club then with national team. The squad now, only a few in Ajax will compete in CL, many of PSV will compete in EL, and the WC is in 9 months. I have no doubt this team will qualify, but to win the WC, we need a lot of luck, starting with a good draw (perhaps in a group with Colombia as the seed), some referees’ help,…(anything…). I pray now as I really want NT to win.

  8. > “Oranje needs to regroup and will do so by acknowledging the weaknesses of the team: defence.”

    In 5 years time I really hope we have put this behind us. Frank de Boer and Stam was the last robust paring at the back that made you confident.

    I think the triangle Rekik, Bazoer and Ake can become a very powerful block in the future. I hope Bazoer is somehow pushed back to defense at Ajax, despite his midfield aspirations (Lobotka taking that spot from him?) and develops as a right center back. Then we can start dreaming again to be really solid at the back again.

    The new problem will be the striker position. Portugal is a country that has problems for that position as well. After RvP the drop in quality is pretty big. All of them are semi target men with no magic to show. Or we have to think about Lens, but in the end he is B quality and not a great finisher. At Feyenoord they have Slabbekoorn playing as a striker. He will not win headers in the box, but he sure can play football and knows how to finish. We can only hope they develop him as one. Maybe Zivko is up to something, but for now he is more benefiting from media attention that is alarmed by his age, than his output being the cause to be optimistic.

    1. LOL. Right on queue about the lack of finishers in future generation.. this is the match summary from the U21 game today:

      The 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship finals contenders dominated throughout, having 31 efforts at goal, but broke through just once, courtesy of captain Marco van Ginkel’s first-half penalty.

  9. Tonight is the big game.

    No, I’m not talking about Andorra – Netherlands.

    I’m talking about Brazil – Portugal. The outcome of this game can make or brake or WC. We should be cheering on Brazil, we need at least a draw. I’ve said enough about the subject: why.

    If Portugal wins, prepare yourself for a similar group and result as EC 2012 (this time, France and Brazil/Argentina will be the ones kicking us out).

  10. well, I’m up a little early, thought it was morning already, lol

    It’s about 26 hours away still. I’m actually nervous for a Portugal game, who would have thought that.

          1. let’s hope they’ll lose, cause, as a reminder (and to get an idea of the matches the FIFA website won’t allow you to precalculate):

            ranking points


            Their 2 remaining matches considered for the draw/fifa ranking:

            Israel (ranked 63 now)
            Luxembourg (140)

            We have

            Hungary (31)
            Turkey (58)

            Meaning we can get more points (number of goals doesn’t matter, winning and opponent ranking does), but we also lose some points from 4 years ago (as will Portugal, so let’s see if I can find those…

            For us that’s (and I’m not sure about the timing, nor the exact points/effect, but it’s somewhat negligable compared to the new points gained I hope/estimate, because old games count less in this calculation):

            5 sep.2009 – friendly win against Japan (ranked 37 now)
            9 sep – WCQ win vs Scotland (50)
            18 nov. (draw is in dec.) – friendly draw vs Paraguay (49)

            For Portugal it’s:

            5 sep. – Denmark WCQ draw
            then a whole bunch of WCQ wins up till nov.:
            Hungary 2x
            Bosnia-H. 2x

            Now if the fact that Portugal has more games in this list than us than it might mean in the calculation that the toal number of points they have accumulated over 4 years are now (in nov./dec.) divided by a smaller number of games. Mathematically, that’s in their favor if you consider that old games count less, so they won’t lose that many points, but the number used for the division still drops for the same amount of games. If Fifa wasn’t that vague about the following statement in their calculation explanation I could give you a good example. Fifa says:

            “the average number of points gained from matches older than 12 months (depreciates yearly).”

            Just imagine that games of four years ago have depreciated in value by 50% (I think I read somewhere it’s actually 75%).

            1000 points, 100 games (you got 10 x 5 points 4 years ago, that would count as 10 x 10 if they were earned/played recently), average ranking points = 10

            you play 2 more games and earn yourself 2 x 10 points
            you lose the 10 games of the same time period (50 points)

            (1000-50+20)=970 points, (100-10+2)=92 games, average ranking points = 10.5 (you’ve raised your average half a point without actually getting more than 10 points per match)

            I hope my example helps demonstrate with what I mean by saying that Portugal losing more games for ranking calculations is in their favor, and at the end of my comment I can conclude that it’s probably not as negligable as I hoped somewhere in the middle of my comment, it might completely cancel out the advantage we have in having Turkey and Hungary as opponents left).

          2. oops, forgot to fill in the ranking points i wanted to fill in at the start of my comment, 2nd try:

            Portugal: 1081 (if they win against Brazil)
            Netherlands: 1058 (if we win vs Andorra)
            Portugal: 1046 (if they draw)
            Portugal: 1029 (if they lose)

            So as you can see, in light of my other comment, a Brazil – Portugal draw may not even be enough.

          3. Croatia is at 1051 ranking points now.

            Has Belgium (ranked 6) and Scotland(50) left (more possible points than us)

            loses 4 games from 4 years ago (1 more than us, including a loss that you want to lose in this type of calculation to gain even more advantage). So that’s all in their favor, suffice it to say, if Belgium doesn’t save our asses in their upcoming game against Croatia (let’s hope they haven’t qualified by then), we can do nothing about Croatia passing us in Fifa ranking. And since this is all about the nr.7 spot, we can’t lose to either Portugal or Croatia in that race. So all hope on Belgium to do us a favor as well. Sadly we are not dependent on either Brazil or Belgium, we’re dependent on both.

            Anyone still think that draw against Portugal was a decent result?! grrrrr

          4. I’m saying that last thing cause that friendly match should have been treated as a WC knockout match.

            And we’ve been knocked out cause no one told the players (I didn’t hear anyone mention it, and it certainly didn’t show, by the players or the coach/substitution choices).

            The only reason we did so well in 2010, everything went our way in terms of the draw, easiest group ever, a defensive non-scoring Italy as seeded team in the next neighbouring group against a very good defensive underdog in that group, Slovakia and I believe even a team that had already won against Italy in the Confed Cup 2009, also on the side of Brazil, who tried to copy Italy’s 2006 defensive style and was becoming complacent and offensively unimaginative because of that, not to mention we had already broken Italy’s defensive style twice in a row in 2008, by doing it to France as well, so Brazil was ideally suited for us, Suarez red card another vital event in our favor).

            In short, draw is vital, as well as the next neighbouring group at least.

          5. another look at Italy’s draw in 2010, yep, they had another good defensive team in their group (which isn’t good for Italy’s style back then, now they have Balotelli to save them):

            Paraguay (best defensive team in South America and that style got them to the South American Cup final in 2011, Italy would have been better of had they had Uruguay in their group, even though Uruguay made it further in the WC and won the South American Cup).

            But it was all in our favor, we knew how to deal with defensive teams like Slovakia, we had the tools for that. Our weakness (defence) was exposed vs Uruguay (a good attacking creative team, already visible in their qualifiers before 2010, they also had more trouble preventing goals than scoring them, so once more underscoring the importance of missing Suarez in their match against us, that would be the ecquivalent of Italy missing Buffon in 2010, or perhaps I should say 2006 if anyone thinks Italy was so much worse in 2010 than in 2006, my opinion, nothing much had changed, luck or referee decisions just went the other way for them in 2010).

          6. ok, correction, Buffon was returning from an injury and therefore only played very little (I think his back sarted acting up again).

            He was substituted in the first match and didn’t play again.

  11. @ Miguel Rosado
    Just to clear the benefit of doubt. Van Gaal will never change the 4-3-3 formation. he would have changed it long time ago , if he would have wanted it. with 10 month to go , i dont think so, But I like your formation, look very formidable.





    What about the subs??????????

    @ Laurent and DRB 300

    Pieters is no more in Eredivise, EPL is diffrent planet, new environment and top ,competitive level of soccer. Im 101% sure and guarantee a player like Pieters will re write a new chapter come WC 2014 given his calibre and experience.The only thing that has let him down his injury and tempestuous behavior. I still remember just before the the WC 2010, he was dubbed as the next raising star.Giv him till January, then you change your tune.

    Sneidjer i s a perfect example, he didn’t play for months and now his performance has dropped significantly but the fact remains the same , he needs more playing time at competitive level. Gala is in CL so it is matter of time when he will claw his way back.

    @ Laurent

    this was the squad that started against Beligum


    Van Rhijn -Heitinga – Mathijsen – willems

    De Jong

    Van Der Vaart – Sneidjer

    Narsingh – Huntelaar – Robben

    I watched this game and I think this was good NT (without van perisie) till after half time when van gaal made the stupid , substitution.

    Come in De vrij – Nick Viergever ,Maher

    Go out Mathijsen and Heitenga , Van der vaart

    The Belgians show this and starting bring in t in their super sub ,Kevin De Bruyne ,Mousa Dembele , who outclassed sneidjer and Maher- (collapse of NT attack – first phase)

    This is where Huntelaar started fading , But he did score, that is what matters

    It was was not until narsingh sub with Lens after both teams were levelled 2-2 that killed of the NT attack totally as both Romelu Lukaku and ,Dries Mertens dismantled the sluggish defence of Devrij and Nick Viergever and won the game. I have always emphazied on the super subs, and that is why the Belgians won that game, the NT had none. If Im correct then only BMI made impact on the left when he came on for Williams.

    For me again this was the best game NT played till today even though they lost, after Van Gaal took over from BVM. Since this game we have been dodging bullets here and there, but yet calming tag for top contenders at WC 2014. (not considering the Asia tour -waste of time)
    I think Narsingh is definely part of the puzzle for NT for 2014 especially with Lens performance dropping at Kiev. Don’t forget he is two footed. Good luck in his recovery.
    BMI should start at left back rather than CB.

    Any doubts watch the replay……………….

    1. I think it is fair to say Pieters should be offered more time to get back to his old level and that also means being easy with the memories where he failed past year for his club PSV.

      However I have also memories of Pieters in good form and he always struck me as an awfully mediocre back. Weak on ball and weak in attack. Combine that with him accompanying his winger to the back line to let him cross the ball into the box and I would actually like to ask you what website or paper repped him as the next rising star? Pieters and star don’t go hand in hand.

      I will share with you why I am not that fond on Pieters apart from being a mediocre footballer. In the Brazil away game after the 2010 WC in that friendly tour where we also got to play Uruguay, Neymar was diving and cheating like I have never seen before. Brazil wanted to settle a score with us and they did everything they could to do so. When there was another shameful act Netherlands got the free kick as the ref finally understood theatrics were into play. Pieters had the ball in the hand and a Brazilian player demanded to hand it over to him while Netherlands was granted the free kick. Pieters handed that ball over like a 12 year old kid being reprimanded by his dad. I thought to myself, “boy, show some pride, you are wearing the Orange shirt”. He embarrassed me and all of us IMO.

      I don’t like the wood chopper footballers that have trouble performing a decent first touch. However I can understand that many mangers choose these brand of footballers to mix into the team as often carry a that brought them far in life and the sport: The “over my dead body” mentality. “This is the line I draw and you won’t make it past it”- mentality. Again, not a fan of them, but I understand their place in the game. Pieters in that moment plus being infected with the walking back disease does not really deserve that label anymore. He should have shown more pride and he should start to defend in a forward aggressive way.

      He is neither a good footballer nor a warrior IMO.


      1. I disagree with almost everything you say.

        To be honest, your head has grown too big.

        You need to be more selective about what you write. It’s turning into a prolonged wank session.

        I will, however, commend you for writing with clarity, and for expressing your views as opinion. There are others here who could learn a lot from that.
        But really? Pieters isn’t a ‘good footballer’?
        I think you are just writing for the sake of writing sometimes.

  12. Van Gaal had a good press conference re the Andorra game:

    “Andorra only has 1400 active players and is as small as Texel. But we will not underestimate them. If they make the space small and gamble on a counter, you can always get in trouble. But we will obviously want to and need to win this. But it won’t be an easy game. We have analysed their players like we do with any opponent and I have to say, they would probably play second or third tier amateur football in Holland.”


    “I will not sacrifice Stefan de Vrij. Why would I? The media was harsh but I was not and his team mates were not critical either. You know why? Because, yes, he made a mistake, but it was a mistake in a chain of mistakes by others too. Football experts see this. We didn’t pressure enough on the left flank. Our midfield was too late. Stefan was too late. And Vorm was not quick enough. So why would I punish one player? Who has done so well for us in earlier matches??”

        1. So Bruma gets no credit for tidying up the defence and keeping a cleansheet with Vorm in the goal as wel being part of a semi-comeback (running out of time for a third goal)?

          Or for almost bowling over the Milanese keeper?

          What happened to just picking the best player and nobody being secure of their spots, not even Sneijder?

          Will Vorm play again as well? So it doesn’t really matter whether or not someone screws up?

  13. OK

    I’m not happy either – but there is no reason to throw the entire team, coach players and staff – under a bus!

    Point 1)
    Van Gaal is correct to experiment, he has no choice he has to find something that works.

    Point 2)
    Take everyone available for selection to Oranje except RvP and build a credible version of ManU …anyone? If you can do this you’ll have solved the RvP Puzzle. Maybe it is possible, but then again…(see point 3)

    Point 3)
    Take everyone available for selection to Oranje except Robben and build a credible version of Bayern Munich…
    well I’m sure you see my point.

    Point 4)
    We may have some of the best players on the planet but the thrive in different leagues under different coaches and with different players around them…

    Point 5)
    Our defence is inexperienced, they need confidence and the team needs to grow as a unit – they need to play – but (see point 1)

    This is a very difficult proposition all around and I think Cruijff has said it best.

    “If we want to go for silverware in Brazil we will need to work really hard.”



  14. Since everyone threw a team/formation out, well, I can’t resist … Here is mine and some reasoning 🙂






    This form of 4-4-2 will fill the gap that our inexperienced/weak defense leaves when they are not in a good day, the get scored on first and lose confidence, etc etc etc …

    3 athletes covering up all the space in the middle and leaving Vaart space and ways to create himself and/or serve RVP

    Midfield covering up for Robben when he decides not to track back (often)

    Robben can play left or right, switch at will based on communications with Vaart and RVP.

    There is enough Dutchness IMO in this … We have 3 pure attacking players. There are usually 3 defenders on Robben, 2 on Persie and 2 on Vaart. Come on, these 3 should be able to create a goal or two and the rest will hold the lines tight. If Robben needs 3 Estonians to cover him I am sure Vaart and Persie have the intelligence to take advantage of it. If the defense zooms on Vaart/RVP, pass to Robben. If you do the math it takes about 6-7 players to be effective defense on these 3 guys. How long could the Estonians hold these 3 back? Right, just like the first game in Amsterdam.

    Rhinus Michels himself played 4-4-2 in Euro 88 … I will bring up later an old article from Jan who explains all that in more detail. In between lets hope we improve no matter who is playing and whatever system we chose.

    1. @Demi – I think you are correct and unless a miracle falls from the sky this is the kind of formation that we’ll see (in the end)

      Who knows maybe it would even be effective too! Strange things worked for Michels in ’74


    2. This is almost exactly what I was thinking for the 4-4-2. I’m not sure about Vlaar or Pieters, but I think your formation indicates the player type for each position quite nicely. The exact player choice will depend on their performances in the coming months.

      I’d like it if Sneijder could be an option for the creative part of the center midfield duo, but it’s getting harder to see him meshing with RvP and Robben as well as VdV or Maher might.

      Ask long as the total number adds to eleven and we’re playing flowing, attacking football, I think that’s all that matters. Given that LvG is still experimenting with players, I don’t see why a formation all shift would be out of the question at this point. C’mon Louis, give it a try.

      1. The entire defense is a makeshift one so I agree with you, we should determine the “least worse” 4 when we get closer to the World Cup.

        Most countries would be thrilled to have just one Robben or just one Van Persie …

  15. Its simple to be frank, with Ajax, Bacelona and Bayern , he had the luxury of dynamic and upcoming talents who delivered it at the end of the day.(golden generation era) At present he is feeling the heat with NT especially with the past results(check his face out on the top picture). Im not criticizing him, but this time he will really need sweat his ass off, it will not be served to him on the plate.


  17. Holland is almost qualified. We drew against Germany, Italy and Portugal.

    Yes we didn’t win against these top teams but they couldn’t beat us either. Against Italy we played some wonderful football, against Portugal we played good for some periods of the game.

    What makes me positive is that I know there’s a lot of room for improvement, it’s better to reach top form when the WC begins.

    1. no, it’s better to be at your best (at least try) when it matters in a friendly against Portugal instead of settling for a draw and a ‘we played good for some periods of the game’.

      So you can sneak through the WC with an easy path and win it without ever having been at your utmost best except for maybe a few key moments (Italy 2006, 2002 there was no WC, France 98, Brazil 94, Germany 90).

  18. Considering the current mediocrity of the wingers we have, a 4-4-2 with Robben and Persie can be interesting indeed.

    But who would be the two lateral midfielders ? Sneijder can be one, on the left, like he played during Euro2008 and against Portugal in 2012. Strootman, Schaars, De Guzman are real axial players, not fast enough for sides. Van Ginkel can be good on the right one, like Wijnaldum.

    That would be :

    Axial midfielders, 4 players among: N.De Jong, Strootman, Schaars, De Guzman, VDV, Clasie, Fer.

    Right midfielder : Van Ginkel, Wijnaldum

    Left midfielder : Sneijder, Maher (if he finally proves something coming year…)

    People here don’t agree about Kuyt. I’m also a bit confused with him, he is just not good enough for me on the wing and I suffered so many games because of his technical mediocrity. But he always fight and has a good spirit. Taking him as Van Persie sub in forward position is more interesting for me than the winger role he had. It’s him or S.De Jong, I don’t like both as footballers but they definitly have more chances to save us against a good opponent than Huntelaar, Van Wolfsinkel, L.De Jong…

    Well, I won’t be so happy cause I personnally don’t really like Robben, Sneijder, Strootman and some others but we don’t have better.

    I’m really disappointed about Afellay and Elia, two players I really enjoyed to watch, had big hopes, but things went wrong for them, especially for the second one. I remember how he started to impress me with Twente, those games against City and Marseille in Europa league, his first selection against Japan, his terrific beginning with HSV, his skills during the world cup…He really could kill Ramos during that finale if he had more time, Ramos was suffering to follow him, Elia was really bringing danger every end of game.

    I don’t believe Depay, John or Narsingh are able to bring the danger Elia was bringing. Schaken and Kuyt are of course not able. I wait to see Boetius a bit more.

    1. “”””It’s him or S.De Jong, I don’t like both as footballers but they definitly have more chances to save us against a good opponent than Huntelaar, Van Wolfsinkel, L.De Jong…”””””””””””””

  19. its not that good to call of LVG.ofcourse he also has fare share of mistakes by slecting wrong players.The problem with NT is not just LVG.its quality and mentality of the available players.
    I am just thinking how Corpot made joke of decision by throwing Bruma out of U21 Israeal since Bruma played most of the qualifications.Th idiot selected MVH.and you know the result.this is what happens when you show blind eye to some good talent.I really dont rate well some players in NT for their lack of footballing intelligence and lack of work rate.i have mentioned those already.
    Problems of orange ATM
    De Vrij as RCB-The guy is slow but a good footballer.if you are playing with him aginst any top nations you are going get raped.
    Williams-Like DRB seems like headless,but might improve.
    Lenz-Completly out of touch.must be dropped
    Wesly-still doesnt have the stamina to play 90 minutes and he is over pressured to score.Reminding me of RVP against denmark EU2012.i mean eager to score due to pressure from own team than opponent,this is bad and he must approcah with clam mentality.
    vaart-The best player to play with Roben and RVP,very goof threat aginst Top quality teams.unfortunalty cannt play 45 minutes.
    Narsingh-Dont expect mush from him,he is not the class of fab4.will struggle against top teams in important matchs.ultimatly lacks footballing intelligence to cop with fab4.
    kuyt-this guy brings everything except creativity up front ,still a better option than Elia,afellay etc.But you know u need goals and at least you should be able to give redcard for ur opponet fullbacks.he also needs to be dropped.
    Vorm-This guy is inconsistant ,one day you see hell of Vorm and on other day he makes horrendus mistakes.should make a way for Vermeer.
    these are all the problem with current team alonng with
    LVG is not selecting the real stuff guys,i mean guys who are more competent and efficient but got over looked
    Those are
    Urby emmanuelson as Left winger
    Marco Vanginkel-Dropped coz he doesnt play often(Corpot mistake-bruma)
    Reikik-this guy is better than Vlaar and Joris
    Leroyfer-Dont konw why he got dropped.
    Some guys are injured.
    Seim dong-Lung collapse

    1. ‘kuyt-this guy brings everything except creativity up front ,still a better option than Elia,afellay etc.But you know u need goals and at least you should be able to give redcard for ur opponet fullbacks.he also needs to be dropped.’


      The rest?


  20. @LVG
    FIX 23 man suad like this
    1Van persie
    2Seim Dejong
    6Van ginkel
    9Nijel Dejong
    10Leory fer
    Vernon Anita
    Bruno martins
    karim reikik
    Jefrry bruma
    Ron Vlaar
    Van Rhijn
    Tim krul
    Keneth vermeer
    stand byes
    Jean paul boetius
    Jordy Clasie
    Dirk kuyt
    Johny heitinga
    Want to add Wesly to the squad but then u must forget RVP.
    LVG go with the foremtioned players and then you will have competent team.then you can fight..so GO GO go…..

    Style, Strengths & Weaknesses
    Karim Rekik can be described as a proper modern ball playing centre back. Rekik’s natural position is at the centre of the defence but he can be used as a make-shift left back whenever needed. Despite his young age, he has already acquired some handy experience.

    Karim Rekik comes across as a very dedicated and passionate footballer. When he first joined, Manchester City, he was prone to mistakes when playing for the reserves, losing every challenge on the field and getting dispossessed easily which greatly affected his confidence. He has worked real hard since those early days, for which Manchester City should be equally given credit since they formed a personal program for him to recover his morale and gain strength. His hard work has paid off and is now seen as one of the best defenders in Eredivisie in his debut season itself.

    Standing 6 ft 1 in tall, Rekik uses his height to good use for aerial duels and headed clearances. He is very strong in the air, winning 73.67% of his aerial duels in Eredivisie as testament for it. Karim is capable of playing from the back, an attribute which is gradually gaining real importance. He averages 9.75 long balls attempted per game this season, most of which have been decisive in starting a move and few of those eventually resulted into a goal like Wijnaldum’s strike against Ado Den Haag. His enthusiasm to help the team is visible by his tactical awareness. Rekik’s physique and tremendous strength makes it very difficult to him push off the ball. He is extremely comfortable in possession and is an accomplished passer of the ball, possessing a rich variety of passes averaging 70.8 passes per game and completing 89.4% of them this season.

    His reading and understanding of the game is already top class and was visible from his performance against Fenerbahce in a pre season friendly. The following image sheds more light on his immense reading and positioning sense.

    The image shows how Rekik (marked) reads Fenerbahce’s next move and swiftly positions himself ahead of Raul Meireles to nullify the attack.

    To add to it, his brilliant anticipation and intercepting skills makes him capable of handling any striker. Rekik is well composed in any situation but at the same time does not shy away from sliding in to a tackle. His tackling technique is clean and is rarely seen in clumsy positions. It is often seen that many defenders commit panicking or headless clearances which ultimately leads to a goal. Rekik’s presence of mind makes him very solid in clearing the ball. He alone made 11 clearance in his debut Eredivisie match and all of them were effective ones. One would expect a defender with physique like Karim to be on the slower side in terms of his pace. But thanks to his gifted body balance and structure, he has good pace to cover the ground throughout.

    Rekik is a real commanding leader at the back, a trait which he shares with his City teammate and captain, Vincent Kompany. He is as calm and composed as one could get and is rarely seen caught in possession or divulging in reckless plays. He is always up to challenge for ground or aerial 50-50s and his leadership qualities can be seen in the way he conducts himself on the pitch. Being robust and backed up with his awareness, he can be very effective for countering any target-man. Rekik classifies as one of those defenders which every team requires in set piece situations for their physical presence.

    One common drawback that is seen in most of the young players is concentration. This City defender isn’t much different. Another drawback of his game is his tendency to pass the ball back to the goalkeeper often, given the relentless pace at which football is played in Premier League, teams can ruthlessly expose this drawback. At times Karim tends to commit early which gives the opposition player an extra split second to make a decision. His decision making can be susceptible at times like shown by the following image.

    The image is from the Champions League qualifier against AC Milan at the San Siro. Here, instead of closing Boateng down, Rekik tried to back off and block the shot which turned out to be a poor decision as Boateng scored from 20 yards out.

    Since joining PSV Eindhoven on loan, his consistency and understanding with Bruma has been remarkable. The best thing about Rekik is he hasn’t allowed his recent success to get into his head, a factor which has led to faltering of many promising young players in the past.

    “Karim has the natural air of a central defender. This boy has so much talent, if he doesn’t make it, it will be a big failure for us.”

    — Patrick Vieira, Man City Football Development Executive, quoted by De Telegraaf (via Goal.com)

    “Karim Rekik is very young, only 18, but he has good quality. He’s a central defender but he can play left-back – we are very happy with him”

    — Roberto Mancini, ex-Manchester City manager, via Yahoo! Sports“

    “Although Karim is a boy in terms of age, he is physically a man. He is built like a brick out house. He is a big lad with a lot of quality.”

    — Michael Appleton, ex-Portsmouth and Blackburn boss, quoted by Lancashire Telegraph

    “Rekik is someone who despite his age, naturally takes the lead immediately and gets engaged in the organization.”

    — Philip Cocu, PSV Eindhoven manager, quoted by Voetbal Nieuws

    Transfer Status
    Karim Rekik renewed his association with Manchester City in December 2012 with a long term deal running till 2017. Currently on loan at PSV, Manchester City rate him and his brother, Omar Rekik, very highly and Karim is likely to be a squad member or maybe even compete with Nastasic for the centre back role once he returns. Karim Rekik once said in his interview that his dream is to represent the Netherlands in next years World Cup. It’s fairly safe to say, he is on the right path to achieve this dream.

  22. with the players available to vGaal the only formation I can come up with is:

    Janmaat*Bruma*Schaars*Willems (or you could say you’re playing 3 defenders)

    (that last line was in order of preference, that’s not always the case when I post a line-up, I think this game is a good chance to try Maher on either wing, if plaing with Lens right, try Maher left, if Affelay can do it…)

  23. “available” in the sense that they’re not there, not that he couldn’t call up perfectly good leftwingers (under the current situation/choices) like Emanuelsson and Elia to fix the issue, or Pieters for that matter in case Willems gets injured or otherwise unavailable.

    1. actually if those players were there, I’d just play:

      *****Vermeer***** (assuming Krul is injured)
      Maher*RVP*Elia (/Emanuelsson if he’s playing better in training)

  24. The sad thing is that tonight we will win comfortably, and tomorrow you will all watch the youtube highlights and be hailing our world-beaters again.

    You will do this because it gives you more crap to talk about.


    Raise ’em up so you can tear ’em down!!
    Same old same old.

    1. I think you’ve underestimated the folks in this blog here. That one game didn’t change our expectations. Most of the folks have stated long before the tie that Oranje isn’t one of the favorites to win the WC. I actually find your comment somewhat insulting.

        1. Correct. I very much enjoy watching all you morons (medical term, look it up) trash-talking my heroes and squabbling amongst yourselves.
          You remind me of children.

          I particularly enjoy it when you supply your youtube highlights as ‘evidence’ of watching a game. That’s the best bit. No, really.

          Of course I intended it.
          She knows that.

          1. Ahhhh, and now the man who insists on factual and direct replies to all of his posts lumps me in with the YouTube highlight brigade (I rarely even watch them, other than the recent Jaap Stam one, which was fantastic) and with those ‘squabbling amongst’ themselves. I also am not prone to squabbling, though I’ve occasionally engaged after a Tiju rant (specifically if it’s Jesus based or if he continues with the Wesly/Vaart not fit repetition) and now I’m squabbling with you, but only because you’re being a total tool. –do you really think that every comment needs to be preceded by “in my opinion”? It’s the comment section of a blog, for god’s sake, not Wikipedia. Jan writes great articles– why don’t you just read those and move on? –I’m guessing that it’s a deep seeded need to feel superior.

            If I close my eyes, I can almost picture you there in your IT help desk/comic book store/mom’s basement, kicking back in your chair with pride each time that you think you’ve really been clever with a retort to someone on this blog. You’re momentarily happy each time, then you return to being a bitter little man.

            IF you continue to feel the need to comment, why not just keep it about football. Your themes are as repetitive as some of those that you’re annoyed by, and your vacillating between “this group has no real talent” and the rest of you are “trash talking my heroes” is as annoying as it is pointless.

            While we’re on quasi-medical terms, it seems that you’ve taken it upon yourself to clean things out down here in the comments section. Medically-metaphorically, that makes you a douche (look it up), which seems really apropos (look that up, too).

          2. I don’t need to ‘feel superior’ to you, Aanvalluh. I am superior.
            It’s simply the position that your ignorance allows me to hold.

            If you close your eyes, you might actually type up a better response next time.

        1. Are you suggesting that Howard Webb was not paid for his written work for the Daily Mail?
          Are you actually suggesting that?

          You’re funny. I like you.

          1. Please link to Howard Webb’s “written work for the Daily Mail.” He’s a referee, not a columnist.

            Bet ya can’t provide links to all those columns. 😉

      1. ‘underestimated’?
        I actually find your mis-use of language somewhat insulting.

        ‘Most of the folks’? Perhaps you should spend more time reading their comments and less time responding incorrectly to mine.

        ‘favorites to win the WC’?
        What does this have to do with anything? Who mentioned a WC? I did not. Stick to topic.

        When you respond to a post or comment, it is always best practice to actually respond to what was said, not what you incorrectly inferred.

        I look forward to you proving me right.

        ‘I think’
        That’s where you went wrong.

          1. My reply appears to be awaiting moderation indefinitely, so I will repost it and see if that works.

            I do love it that you accuse me of trying to sound smart, and yet you clearly know NOTHING about which you speak (including football).

            I’ll paste my unmoderated comment below, and remove one link so that hopefully it is now posted.

            *paste below*

            ‘Moron’ IS a medical term, you moronic dolt.

            The terms ‘idiot’, ‘imbecile’ and ‘cretin’ are ALSO medical terms.


            Thank you for displaying sufficient examples.
            Now, go back to school.
            If you play with the big boys, you get hurt.

            I expect a full apology.

            I can do this all day!


          1. I never started it.
            But I am quite capable of finishing it.

            Are you aware that by calling me a ‘douche bag’ you are accusing me of the same insulting comments that you JUST MADE??

            Didn’t think it through, did you?

            Now go away and cry some more.

  25. ok, I’ll give some further argumentation for that line-up:

    – for Schaars it will be educational (there’s a nice view from the back, everyone is in front of you)
    – using Maher as a LW and Schaars in the back will comply with this quote from the article above:

    “And maybe four midfielders, with De Guzman to support the build up. I wouldn’t mind seeing Sneijder, Maher and Strootman together.” [cause they’ll have a nice triangle on the left, and I’m sure Maher’s first touch will be better than Lens’ was on that beautiful flick by Sneijder in the Estionia game, as can be seen in the video someone posted here recently with Robben’s highlights in that game]

  26. Against Estonia we were like Lambik trying to make fun of aunt Sidonia (while doing something really stupid himself), tonight we must be like Jerom vs some unnamed bad guys.

    1. Why refer to a player like Keane if Netherlands have produced a player like Rijkaard in DM (could also play CB). Arguably the best defensive midfielder in the historie of the game.

      If you like the Keane type, look no further than Edgar Davids.

      1. i like keane more coz he was neglected by idiots coz he was small.when u look his time at Manu u can understand that he hates defeat.Stam was the real gritty boy for than Davids and Raijkard.

  27. some of you are just amazing….

    BvM played 4-2-3-1…. everyone was screaming PLAY 4-3-3… now LvG plays 4-3-3 and do I hear people screaming play 4-4-2?????

    Make up your minds…. will you?

    1. I’m not screaming, SamNY, just trying to look at what’s the best option, given the players we now have. If some of the youngsters had evolved a bit further at this point (both in the defensive line but also in the wings), a 4-3-3 might be looking better right now, but it doesn’t, because the outside backs aren’t that solid, and the best winger we have for either side (Robben) isn’t really a contributing winger, he’s more of an individual danger-man.

      The thing that I didn’t like about Bert’s formation was the two DMs, though it made sense with what he had to work with, and it was obviously very effective. The goal, in my mind, was to move to a more positive, flowing, and attacking style of play, and I believe that there’s more than one formation that will support that, not just the 4-3-3. Think about the difference in the offensive threat in switching from one forward (BvM system) to having both Robben and RvP engaged fully on offense.

      Both of these players like to have room to move, and I believe that having only two on the front line would allow more movement laterally rather than forcing them to drop back into midfield to try and find some space (and consequently interfering with the central midfielders, who will also be constricted).

      If there was only one formation that worked, all clubs and nations would be using it– we’re discussing tactical changes as the capabilities of the players on the roster become clearer.

    2. SamNY,

      4-2-3-1 worked great because of DeJong, VanBommel and Sneijder being in top form. When the situation changes we have to adapt.

      I not really insisting in changing the system. I really don’t want to come across as opinionated about this. But, the current situation doesn’t seem to work very well. And I am not saying this just because the Estonian fiasco. I am sure I am not the only one on this board who had a simmering worry about all this LVG/4-3-3/Eredivisie based system.

      Our best showing was with Italy and in the last 20 we collapsed. How far can we go even if we do repeat that performance?

      I hope you understand what we are all reading/commenting here is not opportunistic just because the Estonian fiasco. There have been concerns from the very beginning, even about qualification to the World Cup. The Estonian game shows lots of the long term underlying issues.

      Not sure if the 4-4-2 is the right thing to do but I am very worried we are not heading to the right direction no matter what happens tonight or in the next 2-3 games….

    3. I was never against 4-2-3-1. That whole “systems” debate is bollocks. It matters what you do, with who, when in possession and when you lost possession.

      I have always said: sure, play 4-2-3-1 but use Van der Vaart as one of the “holding mids”. Whenever BVM did, we played better (Brazil, WC2010, Sweden).

  28. Candella ” the former Roma star” on strootman :
    “Vidal ? yes a great player , But Strootman is 10 times better” .

    Van Breuklen is not a fan of the “attacking” GK or the sweeper-keeper : ” A GK should just keep the ball out. Vermeer at Ajax has more touches than the no.9 “

  29. Too late to switch formation now IMO. We have to remember most players are inexperienced. They need a lot more time to learn and adapt then experienced squad like 2010 or 1988. If Lens, Sneijder, Vorm, De Vrij needs to get a message from last game than bench them and start Kuyt, Maher, Vemeer and Bruma in their place. I know it’s Andorra but the message must be clear.

  30. Ok, I just seen the highlights from the Estonia game on this link


    Couple thoughts:

    1. Willems awful pass at 1:31 contributed to the first goal. Say what you want about Blind, but he never made an error that bad.

    2. Vorm dealt with both goals badly. They both could have been saved.

    3. Lens was nonexistent in this game. Until he starts getting playing time at Kyiv we shouldn’t use him in the starting XI. I’d rather take Kuyt or Narsingh, when he gets back in form, over him.

    Vorm and Willems shouldn’t be selected again. Lens can stay because we’re so short on wingers, but I’d use him off the bench.

    1. Around 1:31 Willems did excellent, Lens messed up the pass. Willems is also one of the best players in eredivisie at the moment. He was not good on ball in this game or a big force in attack, but defensively he did oke as in this moment taking the ball from the Estonian player.

    2. I agree with DRB that it looked like a Lens error in controlling the pass (he seems rather cavalier) rather than Willems error. Willems cleared it decently.

      I didn’t see the full game, but just on the video highlights those two goals by Estonia were quality and due to some great individual inspiration. Sometimes the opponent is just on a good day. Of course we should have responded better but you have to give some credit to the talent on the other team in this case, even though they are a small country in football terms.

  31. Does LVG have ANY IDEA who would start if the WC started today? We have a lot of young players, new faces, and a lot of uncertainty that will add up to chemistry problems if our best players don’t emerge–or are chosen–soon. Just read this board–with the exception of maybe three players, the squad is completely up in the air; everybody has different ideas about who should be playing, best positions, etc. So many question marks. It’s a worry as I’m not sure LVG really knows. I think he will end up just making picks and hoping for the best. We will never be confused with, say, Spain, where the best players were known and played together brilliantly for years.

  32. A lot has been said about how weak our defense is.

    My worries for the future is about who will replace RVP and Robben

    In case of RVP, Even though he hasn’t performed his best for Oranje as he has for his club teams, he is still a world-class player. He still commands immense attention and respect from opposing defenders and keeps them in check or at least think twice before leaving him to press more forward. Even if RVP isn’t scoring goals, he keeps opposing defenses occupied.

    Once, he retires, we don’t have anybody of his stature or skill ready to take over at least immediately. Oranje has always had a world-class striker available up until this point. I hope we find the next one soon.

    1. I completely agree. RvP was a left winger until Wenger brought him to center after Adebayor left Arsenal. I think we might have to look at this option again.


      * Huntelaar (no footballer)
      * Dost (no footballer)
      * Luuk de Jong (semi footballer, low handlin speed)
      * Siem de Jong (semi footballer, low handling speed)
      * Locadia (semi footballer, low handling speed)
      * Hoesen (does not score, can play football)
      * Castaignos (bad technique and finisher)
      * Achahbar (is not fast enough)

      Under the surface

      * Ajax: Walian (not technical enough/involved enough)
      * Feyenoord: Idrissi (probably not good enough, not sure)
      * PSV: Moot (only a deadly finisher)

      There is nothing complete on the way. Somebody who is a good footballer and a good finisher.

      Maybe Zivkovic or Slabbekoorn (who is short and not a real striker). I won’t go further back then U16/U17 as that is a serious gap and things are too uncertain to say something sensible about.

      Basicly we have a huge striker problem, while I don’t worry about defense. Defense and midfield look at least covered (we can debate if it’s the necessary level to compete for trophies), but attack and especially striker position I am worried about.

        1. Brings nothing so far. I think he is just another finisher. Not the complete package. Deserves more time to prove himself, but don’t have a feeling we are going to be surprised by silky touches, vision and dribbling skills. I believe he dropped himself the name Huntelaar when describing himself, a player I exactly do not have in mind.

  33. When it comes to playing formations, a good team and a good manager should be able to adapt to situations. 4-3-3 is our favored style of play but sometimes it can leave us exposed. There are opponents who love to control possession and are extremely stacked with talent in midfield. In these situations, a coach would be wise to put in an extra midfielder or a winger who will backtrack and cover.

    I get tired of listening to so many people here saying we have to play this formation alone and that one etc…

    Attacking free flowing football is our identity but results also matter. I am not saying lets revert back to BVM style where everything is sacrificed for the result but be flexible and unpredictable to opponents and make adjustments in real-time as the game unfolds or depending on the specific type of opponent we play.

  34. Robin van Persie does not use speed in his game. He also has a lot less mileage in his legs than other players. I could see him as our main striker for quite a while. This isnt to say it is a good sign that there are no up and coming strikers, it just means that RVP can be the man for a while.

    Jordy Clasie,. MOTM vs Italy if my memory is correct. Can somebody explain to me what has happened to him? Often people look at an attack that is failing and blame the strikers and wingers. The truth is football is a game where you attack as a team. United have Carrick, Real have Alonso, Barca have a bunch, Dortmund have had Sahin and Gundogan Juve have Pirlo. Every big team has a similiar type player.

    I am not saying that Clasie is on these peoples levels but I want to know what has happened to a player I was genuinelly excited for. A player I hadnt seen much of but looked like the type of player needed to be a succesful attacking team.

    1. Hamstring injury.

      No need to apologize when you compare him to those other players. It’s his physique that prevents him from being equated to these players, not his football ability. I agree with you and like him as well. When I say physique I don’t even mean his size, he’s just not build well. I would almost say bad biomechanics. Anita for example is small as well, but much better build.


    1. I’m having the same problem with ESPN3. They probably under-estimated the demand for online soccer. But not many TV stations are picking up the games so it shouldn’t be a surprise to them.

  35. Interesting – no DeGuzman, Maher or Bruma in the lineup. I would have thought that things would be mixed up a bit after last game, and more creativity added (or in Bruma’s case more solid defense).

  36. What are we doing?

    I’ll reserve judgment because this isn’t our full squad (missing Robben, NdJ, Narsingh, and VdV) but we look really pedestrian.

    Just for the record, Andorra hasn’t scored yet during these qualifiers, and they’ve conceded 22(!) goals but its almost HT and the score is still 0-0.

  37. Who is this number 7 (Schaken….or whatever). He can’t even control the ball. The midfield is invisible. All I am seeing are long lobs into the box from the two wing backs.

  38. we need a right handed passer to be on the right handed side, it’s still an uneven distribution between the left and right sides where the attacks try to squeeze between it through the left side

  39. schaken is world class,so is lenz.plenty of movements in back between Schaars,Vlaar and De vrij,they are so fast.anytime dutch will score.Wesly wants to shoot when ver he gets the ball.
    things would change once maher and kuyt comes in for schaken and lens

  40. fuck 0-0 at halftime to Andorra! that’s unbelievable.

    Schaken has nothing to do with the NT, Schaars needs to be benched and Lens is so predictable with his runs.

    Put in Maher for Schaars. Kuyt for Schaken and yell at Lens to wake up or he’ll be axed!!!.

    I am now getting worried. By the way Hungary is 3-0 up against the great team…Estonia.

    1. Estonia played above themselves against Holland, so it is no surprise that they are brought back down to earth. What is more worrying is that our team seems to be staying down too after the last sub-par performance.

  41. 0:0 at half time ? Aginst Andorra ? Really ? Even with C team we should be at least 2 goals ahead whit these kind of team. Instead, we are struggling to score even 1 goal…

  42. I’d like to see Wolfswinkel come in at center, and RvP move out to the wing. We seem to be relying a lot on crosses and the Wolf is good in that department in terms of finishing.

      1. I only watched the 2nd half.

        Work to be done for sure, but Andorra parked the bus. They didn’t get a shot at goal in the 2nd half that I can recall, except for Vlaar’s wayward header. They were also slowing down the game with pulls and cheap tackles from behind early on until the ref pulled out some yellow cards (this was already after we were 2 goals up). Andorra goalie made 2 fine saves – a Sneijder shot and a RvP header to the corner. Lens hit the woodwork. So we created many chances.

        The thing that worries me is that we don’t really seem to have a guy that is both willing and able to take a good power shot from 25-30 meters when the opposing team is playing deep. Sneijder was perfectly set up to do so at one point with an opening down the middle but for once opted not to shoot at chance and passed instead. But with a team that plays deep we need the ability to score from distance.

        1. Fair enough. That’s why we need someone both willing and “able” to shoot on target from distance. I’m a bit surprised we don’t have more developed players in this area. That’s why I actually like Bruma’s audacity with his distance shooting– with a bit more practice he can become an effective range shooter, like Lahm, Luiz, or Alex for instance. Roberto Carlos is another good role model.

          1. i’m sure if they had some lanes strootman and sneijder can hit some good long distance shots. and robben can hit some too

  43. i’m out but hey, look at it this way, if we play to our strengths and pass really fast we should do great, i mean honestly, whats faster? a ball or a person? i’m sure 100% of the time a ball kicked at 48kmph or 30 mph is way faster than usain bolt, so we need the right mix of players to play circulation football and unlock defenses. too many lefties for my liking

  44. Seriously we are in deep trouble. I watched the game and it was even worse than the Estonia game because Robben was not there. There was no penetration from anyone except VP who actually tried. The ball movement was so slow and predictable that we could have fallen asleep waiting for the ball to reach a player. There was no creativity from anyone. I cannot understand why we played with Willems and Schaars on the left flank. This was perfect for a Maher or de Guzman so they could show what they could do. I know it is not easy to play against a 10-man defense but still, I mean this is Andorra! A team made of semi-pro players. My goodness this is not good.

    1. I only saw the 2nd half but Sneijder imposed his will and grew more influential as the half wore on, until he was subbed with Kuyt. I thought he should have stayed on the field.

      Maher was apparently asked to play a deeper role and he looked a bit lost out there. He is better on the counter-attack against a team that isn’t parked, and when he is playing more advanced.

    2. As a Sneijder fan I say Sneijder did not do well. I did not like him against Estonia bar the start maybe. The action that disappointed me in this game was in the second half where Sneijder on our half received the ball after a turnover and tried to open up with one of his splitting passes. It got smothered and converted to a throw in. A fit and sharp Sneijder despite being chased would have solved that problem and given us a break out. This used to be his forte.

      As a Maher critic I say Maher sucked. Also pale at PSV atm. His corners are bad. His distance shot in this game ended up somewhere on an even higher mountain if there was one. He runs around with that schoolboy face who is out there to be the teachers favourite, but really fails to impress me. Passes over more than 5 meter are highly inaccurate as the pass on Lens (?) showed. Maher has a very high handling speed and first touch and excels in rondo’s. That is seen by many as the test of how good you are, however he so fulfilled with pride that he is better in it than many others that he has become complacent to grow in other area’s as well. In his first year at AZ I saw some fire in him, even tackles and sharp interceptions, but he maybe thinks he is too good for that now and focuses on being a wall pass board. His dribble does not beat anybody anymore and if it would he can’t score anyway. Maher needs to stop gloating over his pure football skill and improve drastically in corners, free kicks, distance shots, long aerial passes, grit, dribbling, clinical scoring, presence and leadership. Maher showed nothing on the Euro U21 and continues to be underwhelming. Just my opinion, people are free to disagree.

      1. I hope for change on this, but for now I agree about Maher, particularly on the ‘lack of fire’ bit. Look at the photo that’s at the top of Jan’s article above- his body language really says a lot to me, and I’ve seen this posture quite a bit. He looks like his mother is forcing him to go to a piano recital or something, not like a guy who is representing himself and his country on the world stage. In that picture it’s made worse, of course, since he stands next to Kuyt who always looks like a dog waiting for his owner to throw a tennis ball.

  45. Better than 2002 is a good start for LVG. Italy and Netherlands are the first 2 European teams to qualify for WC. From goal.com: “Both international giants have become Europe’s first representation in next summer’s finals, joining Japan, Australia, Iran and South Korea as the only other sides to have guaranteed their place alongside the host nation.” I may disagree on “both international giants”. 1 international giant and one “need a lot of work to do in order to be a contender next year”. This team need RVP and Robben to carry them passing the group stage.

    1. Italy needs a lot of work too btw .
      you may be surprised but even Spain needs a lot of work , although they have 2 world class players in each spot in the midfield , but their GK , Defense are not that great.
      Germany is the only perfect national team atm , Brazil and Argentina come after them.

      1. Germany ?

        They took 20 goals in 14 games since last euro… they lost 1-3 a friendly against Argentina, 4-4 qualify game against Sweden, lost 3-4 friendly against United-States, 3-3 against Paraguay…

        Not so surprising when you see how defenders like Hummels and Howedes are doing with their clubs, especially in high level european games. They’re bad. I won’t say that we have a better defense but they’re not the example to follow for that.

        They do have only two real good defenders : Lahm and Boateng. The two other spots are empty. And as long as they’ll use guys like Metersacker, Badstuber, Hummels or Howedes, they won’t reach any finale.

        Brazil and Italy are the most complete teams. Spain can still win it but it depends on the players which will be selected. I think they should use more players from the -21 generation and should stop with some “old” ones.

        Argentina and Belgium are to look foward.

        1. I wouldn’t count that USA game. Germany had its B team (or worse) on the field. And Hummels is good on his day.

          The 4-4 Sweden game though is really interesting. Germany failed to win after going 4-0 up. If you can’t hold onto a 4-0 lead then something can’t be right.

  46. My honest opinion is that this wc we havent got the players or the team to go the distance but when i look at the players as individuals we have enough to become a force in the future. OK maybe the talent seems to have dried up in the attacking regions that worries me. BUT with the defence , de vrij – people have already mentioned CBs tend to mature and in his case something may just click and he can be our ball playing cb, Willems is still 19 – no excuse but he cant really be compared directly with others because we dont have a full senior lb and willems wont be a finished product come summer 2014.
    In midfield we have lots of very solid players : stroot, ginkel , fer and we should wait for clasie to come good really but i think he is due a good season.

    Even if this batch of players disappoint somewhat, remember that our young young players are actually something special.
    DEPAY, AKE, BAZOER, REKIK BOETIUS VILHENA MAHER ETC are all very good talents who are relatively amazing but it is up to them how much they want to develop
    The wc will come soon just when i dont really know

    1. He knows he’s toast. I’m skeptical he’ll be able to attain the level of fitness required to fit LvG’s profile. Under LvG he won’t have the luxury of 2 DM’s to cover for his low work rate.

    2. Too many tattoos on his right arm.

      But seriously, hard to say as looking at the shake it is just past it and eye contact has already happened. I guess he is not too happy about his performance. Sneijder should have scored against Estonia and against Andorra with that shot in the first half maybe as well. His play was not optimal, bar some good touches and passes.

      saddens to see him struggle.

      The reason I am also a Sneijder fan is because I remember the post Ajax 1995 group with Davids, Seedorf and others. I felt 2004 everything accumulated to a toxic atmosphere towards the outside. Kuyt after 2004 coming in was so refreshing. He made me breath again. A player that showed he was proud to play for Orange, hungry and hard working. Compare that with the attitude of Seedorf on the field in the NT. Day and night. In the same extend I feel that Sneijder is a player that is good for the atmosphere. Was a bit difficult at the start (have to be fair), but I feel he has become a drama diffuser instead of an instigator. Somebody who promotes unity rather than little islands in a group.

      Look at the French team and all their divisions. Look at Ribery who made the life of Gourcuff a hell in the NT. Making his ugly personal agendas more important than the team (at Bayern he could also not keep his hands off Robben and delivered him a blue/swollen eye). In their 2010 campaign they just enjoyed fighting among each other far more than playing for country and there is still something smothering in that NT. I remember that sense from the past and I don’t want it back.

      1. Talking about french team, what do you think about it currently ? How do you rate their chances for next world cup, and which player do you like/don’t like ?

  47. I saw parts of the whole 2nd half.

    We do have list of things to work on.

    We pass the ball a lot to the sides. Especially to the left as some of you guys have noted. Once the wingers get the ball, there aren’t any decent crosses to create chances.

    We also need players who can also play/pass/dribble/create through the middle. It seems like players are scared of taking any contact. It is understandable to avoid injuries and protect themselves. If that’s the case, then we need some young players to play in the midfield who are willing to do the work.

    I don’t like comparisons or excuses about how others teams performed (Germany, Spain, etc.) It doesn’t make me feel better if I got a C on my exam and my friends/classmates got a D! I know it’s a tournament and our progress is also dependent on how others are. We have to strive to do our best and not count on others to stumble. Always be accountable for your performance!

    1. “We pass the ball a lot to the sides. Especially to the left as some of you guys have noted. Once the wingers get the ball, there aren’t any decent crosses to create chances.

      “We also need players who can also play/pass/dribble/create through the middle. It seems like players are scared of taking any contact.”

      You know, you say nothing new, that’s exactly how we play for years when a player is here : Sneijder. He does two things :
      -Lateral passes
      -Shots from long distances

      When I said that this guy is a BAD playmaker, some people came to calling me “crazy” but those last two games won’t change my mind.
      He is unable to keep the ball on his feet, unable to create space, doesn’t bring any percussion, and his shots give nothing most of the time.

      And it’s not a question of form, it’s just the way he plays.

      You can take a look at some recent qualify games :
      -Romania 1-4 4-0 both games it was VDV playing
      – Estonia 3-0: Sneijder went off during half time, it was a sad 0-0, VDV came and scored, we played better.

      Even in qualifications 2010 and 2012, many times it was VDV playing and not Sneijder (injured), and we always played a beautiful football with VDV.

      Yes Sneijder was good in 2008 (on the left), he was really efficient and saved us in 2010, he was not bad in 2012, but when he is here, we almost always struggle and play bad. Especially against teams which stay behind like Estonia did the first game and Andorra tonight.

      About crosses, as long as VP will be our forward, we don’t need them. Better to play on the ground with him, he doesn’t get that much air balls. That’s why we need a right footed on the left side and a left footed on the right one to come inside and combinate. The work Schaken was doing tonight was totally useless.

  48. We didn’t start performing well until Willems got taken off and Schaars moved to LB. That first half was some of the worst football I’ve seen – almost every offensive attack looked like a corner into the box from Schaken or Lens.

    I agree with whoever said we should have used de Guz and Maher from the start. I thought today was a perfect opportunity to give van Wolfswinkel some time in the last 10-15 minutes or so.

    In the future, I hope Lens gets phased out for Narsingh on the RW. Schaars, Willems, Schaken, and Vorm shouldn’t be in a starting XI ever again however.

    1. It seems like some of the criticism levied at Willems last season has cut a bit too deep. He used to be more offensive, but he is playing it very safely in the last few games (for Oranje and v Milan). Critics said he was “naive” and “non-chalant”. In the former case, perhaps they meant that he was too adventurous going forward. It would be interesting to find out what kind of feedback he’s getting from his coaches recently. He needs to find the right balance as right now the pendulum has swung too far towards conservatism.

  49. Congrats on the qualification. I hope LvG doesn’t feel his mission is complete. I still have no clue who our real starting 11 are. It will be a long wait until June 2014. I would like to see Holland play a friendly with a south american team as they always give us a tough time.
    Here’s hoping we pass the group stage.

      1. That’s odd indeed, cause the KNVB agenda makes no mention of it (perhaps they aren’t as up to date as they used to be).

        ESPN doesn’t mention it either but from them I’m used to not giving me accurate information/statistics (they have a tendency to leave out stuff when it’s not the Premier League, especially international friendlies and U21 stuff).

  50. @LVG pleae drop some guys like Vlaar,schaken,Wesly,kuyt,Maher?? and bring Bruma,Duarte,Fer,when fit bring Seim etc,they are the ones goin to give u some hope.
    if we face Arjentina with vlaar,devrij at back then it will be 5-1 for thenm or may be 5-0.

  51. lets us think what will be our score if we play
    Score would be
    Vs Chile=0-3
    Vs Arjetina=0-5
    Vs brazil=0-4
    Vs spain=0-2
    Vs italy=0-1
    Vs urugay=0-2
    Vs columbia=0-2
    Vs swizerland=0-1
    Vs france=0-2
    this is where we stand now…its the time to forget lesser players.and dont expect afellay,elia,Joris will be better than these 11 players.

      1. Laurent there is problem with some players.thats what i meant.many having false hope in some mediocre players.LVg keep on selecting some mediocre ones that should be avodide,i wouldnt mind if welsy/vaart doesnt get a call.

  52. I’m very worried about Clasie. He seems to be a brilliant player with a lot of footballing intelligence, but at the same time he seems to be so insecure and chokes very quickly under pressure.

    Also, where is Fer?

    Why is Willems still on the team? He needs a couple of years to mature and gain experience. If all goes well he will be a solid choice for that position.

    Last but not last, I hate the current “4-3-3 above all” mentality. Holland should be able to switch the tactics every single game, no every 15 minutes! Start with 4-3-3, then switch to 4-2-3-1, then to 4-4-2. Confuse the opponent, try different things, try to be creative, control the flow of the match. Isn’t this what “total football” is all about? If there is any team on Earth that can pull it off, it should be Netherlands.

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