Memory Lane: Oranje's 1990 World Cup campaign….

It’s a tradition I suppose. In the year of the World Cup, we do revisit the World Cups we have been to before…

I realise I have started with the 1974 one, in this series… And I actually should have started with the pre WWII campaign we had… Later I suppose….

I’ll stick to the “modern times” for now.

So here goes, by popular demand… What happened at (or rather: before) the WC1990.

Well, it all started in 1988 of course. Van Basten & Co stunned the world. With Michels moving up from manager to federation official, former Feyenoord coach Thijs Libregts took the reigns. The ex-Excelsior and Feyenoord player had quite a reputation as a coach. Arrogant and authoritarian, he had a title to his name, but no one thought he actually won it… He was Feyenoord’s coach when Cruyff decided to avenge his departure at Ajax and JC (and Gullit, Houtman, Hoekstra and Jeliazkov) won Feyenoord the title. Libregts was a suave operator, wearing the right suits and hairdo. But he was also a bit crass, with careless slip of the tongues… Like “Gullit is lazy, that’s what you get with those blacks…”.


Thijs Libregts being fired. The manipulator Michels in the background.

Gullit, Rijkaard and Van Basten were a force in these days. The Milan trio ruled. But so did one Ronald Koeman, Jan Wouters and Ajax captain John van ‘t Schip. And positivo Hans van Breukelen was a voice to be reckoned with as well. The big guns decided they didn’t want cold Libregts. They wanted to win the title and they pleaded with the KNVB to replace the unpopular Thijs by a coach they respected. Someone like JC for instance.

At some point during qualifying for the WC1990 (which we intended to win) revolted. Gullit led the players to a vote of no confidence and Libregts was told to go. But who would have to lead Oranje to the title? The players got to vote.

KNVB honcho Rinus Michels chose the side of his players and a ballot was made. All players voted and the top three was: on number 3: Aad de Mos. The former Ajax and KV Mechelen coach is a tactical wizard and a kid from the street, who spoke the players’ language. Wim Kieft and Ronald Koeman (having had some negative experiences with Cruyff who made them leave Ajax) picked De Mos. Leo Beenhakker came in at number 2, with a tad more votes than Haagse Aadsje. Leo is well liked by most. He can work on players’ confidence and seemed ideal for a short stint. Although everyone remembered how Beenhakker failed to coach Oranje to a big tournament in the mid 1980s (Mexico WC 1986, with the dreaded late header by George Grun). JC topped the list, of course. The Milan and Ajax clan in particular (Witschge, Winter, Schip, Van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard (despite Frank’s falling out with JC at Ajax). And JC was game. Or so it seemed.


Body language Gullit tells the whole story. Leo “Ok, Ruud… So you’re balls are this big. Fine.”

But Rinus Michels showed his true colors. He looked at the list and thought…hmmm…Johan…Can’t have him winning the WC and putting my EC trophy in the shadows… And Rinus vetoed JC’s appointment, giving the job to Don Leo in the meantime.

Can’t remember what Rinus said to justify this, but it was along the lines of “Leo is more experienced, Johan is an inexperienced coach. He never did the course. And Johan will cause problems with the KNVB, because Johan is expensive and he wants to pick his own staff. It’s not good to pick Johan.”

Later, off the record, he even called Johan Cruyff a psychopath…

The players were livid. The one-time schmooch-fest between Gullit and Michels was over. And before the WC a true trench-guerilla war began. Michels wrote columns in the Telegraaf (Amsterdam-based newspaper) and he leaked inside stuff to the press. Gullit wrote columns in the AD, the Rotterdam based rival of Michel’s on-the-side employer. A war began, resulting in the KNVB forbidding players to write columns.

So, the scene was set. Beenhakker – the fool – accepted the job and should have known he couldn’t win. And then, as they have done many many many times before, the KNVB in all their wisdom came up with their tournament preparation scheme… How they fucked up, again! In 1994 they would highly, dramatically underestimate the weather in the US for the WC (Gullit was adamant that the summer would be too much for a normal prep and – influenced by the Milan scientists – begged for a special approach… When people told him he should stick to kicking footballs, the dreadlocked one decided to withdraw from the Dutch team… We all know the result of that group phase…).

Anyway, the KNVB decided to book a monastery type castle in the middle of nowhere in Yugoslavia…

These top players, who had tough seasons with their clubs, were looking forward to fun and chilling out. To clear the heads for this WC. Some beach volley ball, a nice town nearby for the wives and girlfriends, maybe some golf-resort…. But they got medieval circumstances… Isolation and a full on training scheme…

Something broke in that period. The players were miserable, and some players started to rebel (again), breaking out of their prison and going haywire.

gullit michels

Now this picture tells a story. Gullit had a column deal with the AD newspaper (he is reading) and Michels had a deal with rival newspaper De Telegraaf (see Michels in the back with reporter). Both columns clashed tremendously and Gullit was forbidden to write columns while a national squad player. Something broke alright….

The performances were abysmal in this WC. Gullit and Van Basten weren’t able to deliver. Was it fatigue? Injuries (Van Basten’s right ankle was already in shambles)? Was it the Beenhakker thing? Van ‘t Schip and Wouters were the danger men for Holland, Kieft had a good spell, Rijkaard was solid, but it wasn’t enough. At one point, Leo Beenhakker left the dressing room with what seemed to be a black eye. Rumors started how Van Basten punched him out, but Don Leo said  “he’d bumped into to something”… Marco’s fist? Other stories related how Van Basten had thrown an ashtray to Leo’s head. Whatever it was, we’ll never know.

Don Leo sighed that “75% of what happened behind closed doors will never be revealed” but when asked about this much later, he claims he never said it. Players now balk at that quote, saying they can’t imagine what Leo had been smoking…

“We just didn’t have it. It didn’t gel. Gullit, Van Basten, Koeman…they all seemed tired. It’s one of those things…”

The first knock out game against Germany was a classic. Oranje could have won that, there were some good chances (Wouters, Winter, Schip) but the Germans scored twice and we only once. That sums it up. Although Rijkaard scored twice against Rudi Voller of course :-). But that didn’t result in us winning, it only resulted in both men being sent off.

Rinus shouldn’t have screwed the players over. And maybe the players should have gone on strike.

Maybe, they should have said: look, we’re the 3 from Milan. We won European cups, we won the EC in 1988, we have tremendously skilled players and we’re eager. We only need one thing: a coach we respect. Give us JC! If not, we won’t go.

That never happened. They went with Don Leo and stayed too long isolated from the world in some horrible camp. The spirit was broken. The mind wasn’t fresh. The legs refused to listen.

No gold and glory, only humiliation and mysterious insinuations of mythical proportions…


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  1. VDV subbed off at half time today after a poor first half. He hardly touched the ball during the entire first half. Now Pieters scored för Stoke

      1. Honestly I think this is just a game being played. There is a problem -Sneijder is not as potent as he once was and the wc is just around the corner. Sneijder is mentally strong look at what happened to him in the first season of being dumped from real… He bounced ba. Imo he needs the most motivation because as soon as we get sneijder invested in the wc the better. What Lvg is saying to Sneijder out of public could be completely different and Wes may be aware of it.

        Wes didn’t react adversely to being dropped as captain but did react badly recently for gala – there is clearly a bigger plan at hand here.

        1. Steen makes sense on this: Sneijder has been going through a rough patch that just keeps going, so a head-on challenge is in order, for LVG.

          Don’t know if you saw a couple of weeks ago when Sneijder declined to celebrate a goal with his teammates:

          If Sneijder wants out of Istanbul, he’s going to have to play his way out. Galatasaray don’t want to take a loss on him… so he’ll have to play at a higher level to earn a ticket out.

          LVG is supporting him in that effort. 😉

  2. To be honest, I’m fine with seeing Sneijder dropped. He can only perform in the 4-2-3-1 formation; he struggles with the 4-3-3 or a 4-4-2 (if we switched to that).

    The bigger problem is when he’s on the pitch RVP becomes invisible. Also, add to the fact that he’s not much of a goal threat these days, so why use him? If MvG has been getting playing time with Chelsea’s U21 side I’m all for taking him over Wes.

    If you look at this XI it’s hard to see where Wes would fit in for the betterment of the team:


    1. Was too overrated with Utrecht and his first season with Sporting, really really average player, he should come back to eredivisie and play with Heerenveen or Utrecht, that’s his real level.

        1. oh and Srinjoy about the flop contest, that was when I thought: so true, they’re both not cutting it over there and I never thought they would (allthough this bad? Especially vWolfswinkel, I was puzzled why Newcastle bought Luuk de Jong, or perhaps he’s on loan, I dunno, Newcastle would have been better off with Bony or Finnbogason/Pelle if they wanted a good CF from the eredivisie/eredivisie-level).

      1. so true! Both of you (Sam and Laurent). And then to think that there were some in recent years who wanted to swap out Hunter for either of these 2 (or Castaignos, but that’s the same level/tier, Castaignos would be at the top of that tier, but it’s still a different tier than vPersie and Hunter, who are both WC-material).

        I wouldn’t buy Castaignos (or Siem de Jong if someone was thinking about that option as backup to vPersie) if I were manager at a serious Premier League club (anything ranked above Norwich). Allthough I have to admit that Castaignos has a good year, he fits well in the eredivisie, should probably stay at Twente for a while, perhaps next year he can get up to 20 goals, win the league….and THEN we can talk about a transfer abroad again (and possible EC participation when Hunter and vPersie are getting perhaps a bit too old, but I wouldn’t expect too much from it). The next Hunter or vPersie hasn’t shown himself yet.

    2. and when saying “some…swap out Hunter”, I’m actually not thinking of Tiju (who no doubt everyone here already knows thinks Hunter is too static), but of the ones in the Dutch media who I heard during Hunter’s injury this year that Hunter was history and not needed at the WC (praising guys like Kuyt, Siem de Jong and Castaignos at other times), and a little later they complain about not having adequate backup to vPersie, yeah sure, if you ignore Hunter just because he isn’t playing.

    1. Van Ginkel, Afellay, Wijnaldum, Duarte…

      Unfortunetaly Van Gaal will consider none of them, the names in the pre squad will be Klaassen, Siem and Propper.

      That’s why dutch football is being so weak and boring to watch. 50 % because of the lack of talents compared to before, 50 other because of bad players developping (including injuries) and the choices coachs make.

      1. When dutch football will go back to technical and quick attacking football, even if we aren’t producing the same talents than Spain or Germany currently, we’ll be a good outsider.

        Now we won’t do more than 1/8 for sure, people don’t realize where we really are NOW. I don’t speak about 2010, in 2010 we were among the 5 best teams if not the top 3, and this even before the world cup. Because VP, Robben, Sneijder were 26-27, which is the best age for attacking players, and because Van Marwijk found a good system to protect them with Van Bommel-Nigel-Van Bronchkorst-Mathijsen.

        And also because Brazil, France, Italy, Argentina were in crisis period.

        Now we are in the same level than 2012. Even if Robben is probably better than two years ago. All the rest is less good.

        Germany, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Italy = 70/30 against us.

        Portugal, France, Belgium, Uruguay = 60/40 against us

        England, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Chile = 51/49 against us

        And I also think teams like Mexico, Croatia, Japan, Ghana, Nigeria and Switzerland can really disturb us, if not more.

        People will say “we did 0-0 against Colombia with 10 players”, yeah but that was a friendly. I don’t expect NT to beat Colombia with its whole team in Brazil. Really not.

        Even Ivory Coast, if Yaya Touré and Drogba are on the field they would kick us. Just look at their attack : Drogba, Gervinho, Kalou, Bony, Doumbia…Add even guys like Lacina Traoré or Giovanni Sio…they wouldn’t select Schaken, Promes or Boetius.

        1. England?? :O
          Seriously dude..?? England?? :O

          “When dutch football will go back to technical and quick attacking football, even if we aren’t producing the same talents than Spain or Germany currently, we’ll be a good outsider.”

          So you mean to say we’ll never ever be contenders again?
          I certainly don’t rule out that possiblity (GOD Forbid) but could you please provide any evidence to backup your claim?? I’m just curious!

          1. England had chemistry problems last 20 years but they currently have more good players than us. Also, we really have problems against them, remember 4-1 during Euro96, and last friendlies were all hard, we beat them in last minutes in 2012.

            About giving evidences, I will just say that dutch league will follow scandinavian ones in 10 years maximum, every year is worse than the previous one, I believe dutch players will leave sooner than now, like the swedish and danish players do to join Holland now, it will be the same with dutch players in 10 years.

            I think Switzerland and Austria can become the new intermediate leagues between little and big ones. What Holland and Portugal are now, I believe Switzerland and Austria will be in 10 years. And young dutch players will go there before to join England, Germany, Italy etc.

            The dutch league will be at the same level than swedish one currently, there will be no team directly qualified for CL (if they don’t change the system of course). That’s what Holland deserves actually. Because of Ajax, PSV and Feyenoord results, because of system of players exportation.

            Also I believe that the most talented dutch players will have many nationalities (mainly immigrants), and it will be a problem cause many will choose not to play for Holland. The morrocan are ok, cause they don’t want to play qualifying games in Africa. But the turkish and balkan ones (and they are a lot currently in youth dutch teams) can chose for Turkey, Serbia etc.

          2. “England had chemistry problems last 20 years but they currently have more good players than us”

            Looks like you’ve been reading too much Dailymail and other such British tabloids..
            Better players than us.?? YOU GOTTA be kidding me!
            A few days back, an English journalist penned an article opining that Oxalde Chamberlain would easily make the Bayern starting 11..
            HA HA HA HA!!
            I’ll tell you something! England’s problems lie in its grassroots! Its just ‘kick and rush’ from a very early age and all these talks of bad chemistry, lack of motivation etc etc are pure bullcrap perpetuated by the English media as smokescreen for the English NT’s failure in the big tournaments.
            Yes, our beloved NT is going through a very bad phase and I believe its a cyclic thing..happens with every other nation..We’ll bounce back!! But please don’t insult our NT by comparing it with that of England!

          3. The point is simply that they have easily 25/30 players playing in big PL teams.

            While our talents should go to Norwich, Stoke or Newcastle maximum. Seriously we only have Robben, Van Persie, Strootman, Nigel and being nice, let’s also to mention Sneijder, Huntelaar Emanuelson and Van der Wiel playing in good clubs. 8 players. In the whole europe.

            City = no dutch player but many nationalities
            Liverpool = no dutch players but many nationalities
            Chelsea = 2 dutch players but they don’t play
            Arsenal = no dutch players but many nationalities
            Tottenham = no dutch players but many nationalities
            United = Van Persie + one dutch players who doesn’t play

            Barcelona = one dutch player who doesn’t play
            Real = no dutch player but many nationalities
            Atletico = no dutch player but many nationalities

            PSG = Van der Wiel

            Bayern = Robben
            Dortmund = no dutch player but many nationalities
            Schalke = Huntelaar

            Juventus = no dutch players but many nationalities
            Milan = Nigel + Emanuelson
            Napoli = No dutch player but many nationalities
            Roma = Strootman

            Galatasaray = Sneijder

            Of course Oxlade, Ashley Young and many others are overrated, benefiting from the fact they are english and wouldn’t play in Spanish german or italian big teams.

            But still they have a biggest choice of players than us, just look at the RB spot Walker/Glen Johnson, while we have to call Verhaegh, LB Ashley Cole/Baines while we go with Blind, the midfield offers also a large choice of players with Gerrard, Lampard, Wilshere, Carrick…

            If they find a good way to use a 4-4-2 with Wellbeck and Sturridge forward and Rooney behind them, I’m sure they can eat us.

  3. John Heitinga
    Dealt easily with the threat from compatriot Van Wolfswinkel, and went about his business with authority.

    Leroy Fer
    Loose marking on one or two set-pieces nearly cost his side, and he was not much more reliable on the ball either.

    Ricky van Wolfswinkel Flop of the Match
    Nearly scored with a clever close-range volley, but wasted a great opening with a poor pass. Subbed off after another poor showing.

    Christian Eriksen
    Gave Reid have too much room for his cross for the second and should have closed him down. Made some neat passes in the second half and fired home the equaliser.

    1. Came out from nowhere after Dijks injury, very solid performance today. He has been playing well since his debut but we need to watch more of his games to determine.
      A lot of young players that have not been selected by any of the youth Dutch teams popped out from Eredivisie this year.
      Jordy van der Winden(20) from Utrecht played really well in his debut team but was sent back to bench after Bulthuis’s recovery.
      Hateboer from Groningen has been impressive as well, he already won the RB position. He played a good debut game but was sent off for a very bad call from the ref and then he come back and keep impressing.

  4. I have to say, some of you are smoking some serious sh#*T.

    Wesley Sneijder has proven himself at every major tournament he played in (bar the last Euro but that was more of a collective failure).

    We simply do NOT have options in the CAM position. We need a proven midfielder to have even a hair of a chance to advance out of the group. Many of the kids you mention have barely played this season let alone in big games (Van Ginkel, Afellay, Wijnaldum, Duarte, Klassen to name a few) so NO, it wouldn’t be wise to have them start in WES’ position. Yes, this is WES’ position to lose. Even VDV does not have the kills or know-how to play this position anymore as @Dozer mentioned.

    I agree it was horrible and sad to see Sneijder leave for Galatasaray but he did play some big games and actually won against rivals Fener last week. He beat Juve too, remember?

    No, he is not the star he once was but he is certainly the high-caliber, big name & big-game player we need to risk playing for us. Like it or not, it’s all we’ve got for Brazil. Sure, we have a few guys waiting in the wings but they aren’t ready to step up. Sneijder will need to take the bull by the horns and lead us out of our group because NO ONE ELSE you mention can justify his spot. NO ONE. 0. NADA. NIENTE. @Tiju, sometimes you make good points, other times you don’t and now you sound like a complete whack job in your futile attempts to provide an able replacement for Sneijder.

    @Laurent, No way Afellay and Van Ginkel are ready. Have you seen Afellay play this year? Neither have i. How about Van Ginkel? Good. Me neither. So take a seat, buckle up and enjoy the ride because Sneijder is all we’ve got.

    @DRB, @JAN, @STEEN, @ STIJNIS, @HIEN, @GABRIEL, @SRINJOY – I would greatly appreciate more insight from those of you who do contribute productively to these comments. What are your thoughts on Sneijder? Realistically we do NOT have someone who can fill his shoes for this tournament. In the future it will be a different story but based on VDV’s recent poor form, the lack of experience from our youngsters as well as the inactivity from veterans on big name teams like Afellay, please she some light on this subject so we can put a cork in it and move on. We seem to be going in circles about something that is a NON-ISSUE.

    1. We seem to be going in circles about something that is a NON-ISSUE.
      Sneijder is a must since our midfield is too week, he will provide the necesary spark, I dont know if consistent but he sure is a better option than all of his alternatives.
      The player that I think could fill sneijder boots in some time is Wijnaldum, maybe he could learn the trade just fine, his vision is not spectacular but he can dribble, shoot, and has an ok pass. In a 4-3-3 Wijnaldum could fill just fine
      Pd: Sneijder oveer VDV any time

      1. Thanks for validating above post. It’s good to know there are a few people with me down here in the real world. Sometimes I think certain people on this site go off into space listing lineups for FIFA 2018 on their Xbox systems not taking into account we are still in 2014 with very limited options. They seem to be living in Lala land. I agree there are some promising youngsters for the future but nothing we can gamble with in 2 months time.

        1. Calm down I have never said that we should drop Sneijder. But just I don’t think he is sooo important for us. He can score goals, give good assists, especially in crucial moments, I agree with it.

          But still we will play an ugly football with him, like in 2006,2010,2012. 2008 being an exception cause VDV had the keys. So I’m a bit indifferent to his presence.

          About Afellay and Van Ginkel, I haven’t seen them for long months. But I saw Sneijder recently against France though…

          Afellay, Duarte, Wijnaldum and Van Ginkel have more interesting profiles than Sneijder for me, especially considering the 4-3-3 we’re playing. That they play or not with their clubs don’t change their profiles. Afellay and Wijnaldum are still 2x faster than Sneijder with the ball, no matter sitting in front of their tv all the year or not. It’s in their bodies.

          The thing is that we know what to expect with Sneijder, we use him for 8 years. I don’t doubt that he will be good during WC games, but we will play the same boring football with him. There will be absolutly nothing new, the same movements, the same useless shots and lateral passes…He will shine on some isolated actions as always, but the global level of the team will be poor.

          Maybe he will be worst with Van Ginkel, Afellay, Wijnaldum etc. but at least we would have tried, and we can also consider it as a choice for the future, preparing 2016.

      2. The problem for Sneijder is he did not combine well with Van Persie and Robben on the left. It is not quality but chemistry. From the whole team’s point of view Van der Vaart should start. Netherland did not play many good games except first several games(when he is captain) when Sneijder starts at 10. Currently, VDV fits better in Van Gaal’s system than Sneijder. If we are going back to 4231 then Sneijder should be given anther shot of starting at NO.10 or else Van der Vaart should start.
        Here is the comparison.
        Netherland 2:4 Belgium VDV Sneijder both start
        Netherland 2:0 Turkey Sneijder start 1 assist
        Netherland 4:1 Hungry Sneijder start 1 assist
        Netherland 3:0 Andorra VDV start 1 goal
        Netherland 4:1 Romania VDV start 1 goal 2 assist
        Netherland 0:0 Germany VDV start
        Netherland 3:0 Estonia Sneijder start sub out because of injury VDV come in 1 goal
        Netherland 4:0 Romania VDV start 1 goal
        Netherland 3:0 Indonesia Sneijder start
        Netherland 2:0 China Sneijder sub in half time 1 goal
        Netherland 1:1 Portugal VDV start
        Netherland 2:2 Estonia Sneijder start
        Netherland 2:0 Andorra Sneijder start
        Netherland 8:1 Hungry VDV start 1 goal
        Netherland 2:0 Turkey Sneijder start 1 goal
        Netherland 2:2 Japan VDV start 1 goal 1 assist
        Netherland 0:0 Columbia VDV start
        Netherland 0:2 France Sneijder start

    2. here’s my list of names that I’ve heard in recent months that I consider to be unrealistic either because they didn’t have enough playing time or only played in the eredivisie without impressing enough, in order of the ones who I thought by myself (how can someone even suggest that player for this WC-team with the other options available?):

      – Affelay
      – Wijnaldum

      then there’s a bit of a gap cause the following players did get playing time or showed something impressive earlier on

      – Gudelj
      – Clasie
      – vGinkel
      – Maher


      – Narsingh (Narsingh is maybe the only one I would consider cause he’s proven himself in Oranje, unlike vGinkel or even Maher, who didn’t convince me completely in his one friendly game vs Italy)

      I think everyone agrees Schaars isn’t WC-material and I don’t think anyone actually suggested to take Schaars to the WC, at least not on this blog. Is there anyone who wants to take Kuyt? If it comes down to a choice between Kuyt and Lens, Promes or Narsingh, I wouldn’t pick Kuyt unless I’m short on defensive midfielders.

      I can’t say much about Kishna, haven’t seen much of him. But for that reason and cause he played and lost big against Salzburg and because it’s eredivisie I also wouldn’t pick him for my WC-squad which I’m ready to give another try:

      keepers: Krul – Stekelenburg – Vorm
      RB: Verhaegh – Janmaat (I was really dissapointed with vdWiel)
      RCB: Vlaar – Douglas (had to think long about Veltman, Douglas or Bruma, but I think Douglas might be able to bring something extra to the table in his birthcountry)
      LCB: BMI – Rekik (a real lack of choice, Mathijssen is too slow and still too small, we might be best of with Vlaar there but I guess that depends on the opponent if that’s tactically possible to have a rightfooter there)
      LB: Pieters – Emanuelsson (if you use Vlaar as LCB you might not need either of these if you use BMI as LB)

      midfielders: Klaassen – Sneijder – VDV – Fer – deJong – deGuzman (I’d still play vPersie as midfielder though, with at least de Jong to add defensive strength, if you play point forward, vPersie is the point with runner Klaassen and destroyer de Jong backing him up on either side, point back vPersie would move towards the left, especially with rightfooter Depay on the leftwing)

      LW: Robben – Promes
      CF: vPersie – Hunter
      RW: Depay – Lens

      The names I’m least sure about are Fer, deGuzman and Emanuelsson, but then as choices I only see Schaars and Blind as other options (because of how I started this comment), I’d like to take a gamble on vGinkel, but it’s a REAL gamble. Kuyt I’m also considering as a def.midfielder (or midfielder that would improve the defensive side of the midfield, but Fer is left-footed like Strootman right? So I guess that’s the better option and Kuyt would be competing with deGuzman, who is a bit less of a gamble than vGinkel). I always overlook Anita until the very end of my comment, I wonder why…

      1. that’s basicly saying that the best replacement for Strootman is vPersie if you’re thinking about a left-footer (who at the same time can do sneijder/VDV’s usual job of creating chances), and to get some fresh young legs in the midfield I would add Klaassen (who can also score just like Strootman has done for us and Roma in the past).

        Of course without changing my 23, you can still use Sneijder in midfield or leftwing, many options available. Let me try a line-up that I haven’t posted before I think with Sneijder in it, assuming that he will bring his usual decisive attributes to the WC (of which I haven’t seen much reason that he wouldn’t considering his goals in the big games vs Juventus and Besiktas this year):

        Sneijder – Hunter – Robben
        de Jong – vPersie – Klaassen (point forward, vPersie on nr.10)
        BMI – Vlaar – Douglas – Verhaegh

        You can swap Sneijder and vPersie in this line-up as well, or give them the freedom to do so themselves depending on the spaces available at the time. de Jong and Klaassen will be mainly focused on defence, which I’ve seen Klaassen do really well in big games such as the game vs Barcelona (positional wise, anticipation, physical strength and the guts and understanding/vision to turn defence into offence by taking the ball and doing something useful with it, shifting the pressure in the process).

      2. oh and i got Duarte and Kishna mixed up, I was talking about Duarte I think, well for both count similar things, eredivisie, still somewhat unknown to me, don’t understand why they would be named as possibilities for the WC, perhaps I should watch them, but how can you guys even bear to watch a game like the 2nd game vs Salzburg (Duarte was in that one right?)?

        I can’t stand to watch Dutch clubs in Europe perform so poorly compared to what I remember. Had the same thing with Ajax vs Celtic at Celtic once I realized they were going to crap up the place.

        PSV – Ac Milan looked decent early on in the season (at least I learned Zoet wasn’t WC material either and Bruma was, WC are all big games like that, similar pressure), Ajax got screwed in their first game vs AC Milan, but those games were at least watchable.

  5. Barcelona is on a downward spiral, losing game after game. Messi has been off but Neymar has been far worse. Should Argentina and Brazil drop them? No, of course not. Either way it bodes well for Oranje’s chances 🙂

    1. Barcelona is always struggling towards the end of the season. The only difference year on year is when they peak. This year it is sooner than usual…

  6. Hi all, just some comments. Sorry for a long post.

    1. Here is the link to Van Gaal’s preparations for the WC, posted by Laurent recently ( He will start with the best of the Dutch league players plus some from the country’s Under-21 side who will be preparing nearby for European Championship qualifiers. I wonder if U21 players are friendly opponents or he is seriously taking his wild card player from U21.

    2. I simply do not see NT at this WC without Krul, Sneijder, VDV, RVP, Robben, Huntelaar and possibly Nigel De Jong. At attack midfield, VDV and Sneijder are our best 2 options. At striker, RVP and Huntelaar. We can argue Van Ginkel or any other young players but they should be at different position (like Strootman’s, wingers, defensive midfield, defenders).

    3. Have you watched Brazil team profile at ( I like what Scolari did. He recognized that he needs strong defence as up front they can score. This is what I like and it is similar to “defense win championship” philosophy for North American football (one game elimination playoff like world cup) and ice hockey (best of 7 series playoff).

    4. I do not think we can criticize Dutch clubs’ performance in Champions/Europa League. We have been dealt a terrible draw for a while and realistically, it is the rich club league. Let’s take a look at the quarter final teams in the last 8 years.

    2013-2014: Real, Barca, Bayern, Borussia Dortmund, MU, Atletico, PSG, Chelsea
    Ajax was in Barca, Milan and Celtic group.
    2012-2013: Real, Barca, Bayern, Juventus, PSG, Borussia Dortmund, Galatasary, Malaga
    Malaga was in Milan, Zenit and Anderlecht group. Ajax was in Dortmund, Real and Man City.
    2011-2012: Real, Barca, Bayern, Milan, Marseille, Chelsea, Benfica, APOEL
    APOEL was in Zenit, Porto, Shakhtar group. Ajax was in Real, Lyon, Dinamo Zagreb group. Benfica was in Basel, MU, Oetlul Galati group.
    2010-2011: Real, Barca, Inter, Chelsea, MU, Schalke 04, Tottenham, Shakhtar
    Twente was in Tottenham, Inter, Werder Bremen group. Ajax was in Real, Milan, Auxerre group. Sharktar was in Arsenal, Braga, Partizan group.
    2009-2010: Barca, Bayern, MU, Inter, Arsenal, Lyon, Bordeaux, CSKA
    AZ was in Arsenal, Olympiacos, Standard Liege group. CSKA was in MU, Wolfsburg, Besiktas group.
    2008-2009: Barca, Bayern, MU, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea, Porto, Villareal
    PSV was in Liverpool, Atletico, Marseille group. Villareal was in MU, Aalborg, Celtic group.
    2007-2008: Barca, Schalke 04, Roma, MU, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Fenerbahce
    PSV was in Fenerbahce, Inter and CSKA group.
    2006-2007: Roma, MU, Milan, Bayern, Chelsea, Valencia, Liverpool and PSV.
    PSV was in Liverpool, Bordeaux and Galatasary. .

    Why did Ajax did not play well in Europa League? Well, since they do not have big bank, they have to set their priority. When you crash out of CL, their priority is to win Eredivise so they can get back to CL next year.

    Eredivisie club simply cannot compete because of money and cannot keep good players long enough. The luck of draw was not on our side. FDB has done a very good job at Ajax but it is very sad when we read about Eredivisie quality ( This reconfirms my point #2 above. We should not take young Eredivise players over Krul, Sneijder, VDV, RVP, Robben, Huntelaar and Nigel De Jong. I have hope for 1 break through player and it is Depay. You look at the past success, the 70’s was carried by good generation of players/very strong club. The late 80’s we were lucky to have the Milan trio plus strong Ajax/PSV. The mid to late 90’s we were carried by Ajax and their players. The 2008-2010 we were carried by players who excelled at non Eredivisie club. The trend has changed due to financial aspect of Eredivisie clubs and European football so I think this WC team needed to be carried by those 7 players.

    1. oh, I stand corrected, there’s at least 1 person still suggesting Schaars…then I would fit him in (in my list from my previous comment) somewhere between vGinkel and Clasie.

  7. @Bitterballen & The Midfield / Sneijder Crisis

    Firstly there is little point in mentioning that our beloved Wes certainly has digressed surprisingly fast physically. The key word here is physically. Technically he has not digressed one bit! Why am I so certain? Well it takes a player to know one. I currently play varsity level here in the US so I know 1 or 2 things about how physical fitness can affect how your technique looks for onlookers. When you are out of stamina, or the ability to run around 45 mins. then often times, you are trying to pace yourself so as to not burnout. Often that burst of speed, that nutmeg, or the spring in your step need to suddenly make a quick turn or 360 in between a crowded midfield is not possible anymore. These are the symptoms that Sneijder is suffering from. At Ajax, Sneijder was young, at his physical fitness, so he was quite the “dribbler”! His long range technique often took a back seat to his pure ability to take on players and dribble past for fun. At Real Madrid, he began to focus more on long range passes, and some long rangers from time to time, but still was quite the dribbler, and focused his energies on a brilliant curling freekick! At Inter, his fitness had begin to dwindle so he adapted! Superbly mind you! He became a counter-launcher, using his mastery at curving the ball (from hours of post training free kick practice) to launch through balls over the top for Milito, Robben and co. However the runs, and dribbles became shorter. Why you may wonder? Well when a player realizes he has the ability to be more effective in a more efficient way, and in that season, he found the most success (Ballon D’Or season), he let down on training physically to sprint and practice laps in training, to focus on long range passing. Slowly but surely, the dribbles that were on display even in the initiial Inter years, the quick one twos (evident even in that San Marino game) was dwindling. On top of this, Sneijder is short. Unusually so. So when he had that huge fall out at Inter, which led to the consequent lack of match practice, demotivated training sessions, it became fatal to his mobility. At the start of each semester, when I start my season, I can barely move, without burning up and panting like a dog. The treadmill hours seem like torture as I count down each second on the electronic display. This reflects on the pitch. A ball that I can chip over 2 defenders and a goalie becomes a ball that I stretch to barely reach, with the tip of my boot. A volley which I can smash into the top corner, becomes a volley I barely connect with. These symptoms are prevalent no matter what the skill level of the player. An a lack of average length in sneijder’s legs, simply complicate the problem. Having said all this, I have watched Sneijder’s performances closely, and despite his star quality, he will definitely struggle to put in MOTM performances unless he has more dynamic players in and around him. VDV started of the season really well and could have gone on to seal a starting spot in Brazil, but this is not the case anymore. From being their talisman, he is now not even a certain starter. When Wijnaldum and Fer were both on form, I did not think Sneijder woould start. Now, not only has Fer been in and out of the team, and Wijnaldum out with long term injury, the Strootman ACL fiasco happened. In the current scenario, it is pure folly, and Xbox One fantasy to think that Sneijder will not start, whatever LVG may be saying.

  8. Tomorrow as you all know is a huge game, PSV vs Feyenoord, I say huge because it will probably make a lasting impression on an onlooking LVG’s mind, on who will sit next to him on the flight to Rio.

  9. LVG said exactly true ,we cannt wait for 1 thorugh ball in a game,what if kuyt gets it and not finishing it???or RVP or Roben….
    its all about chemistry,team plays better with out wesly its a fact.undeniable fact,no matter how classie he is,am not saying dropping sneijder,but for him we need to change the system etc etc.He has to sit in bench for Van dervaart (if vaart is fit).
    Vaart has amazing chemistry with Roben and RVP whne lenz joins them they are tremendous group,while sneijder looks for slef glory and avoids persie and sneijder is more of a lampard and vaart is our zidane.We zidane to win Wc not lampard….

  10. LVG said exactly true ,we cannt wait for 1 thorugh ball in a game,what if kuyt gets it and not finishing it???or RVP or Roben….
    its all about chemistry,team plays better with out wesly its a fact.undeniable fact,no matter how classie he is,am not saying dropping sneijder,but for him we need to change the system etc etc.He has to sit in bench for Van dervaart (if vaart is fit).
    Vaart has amazing chemistry with Roben and RVP whne lenz joins them they are tremendous group,while sneijder looks for slef glory and avoids persie and sneijder is more of a lampard and vaart is our zidane.We need zidane to win Wc not lampard….

  11. @ Bitterballen,gladstone and Gabriel……..this is the latest from Turkey…..Besiktas have taken over Gala at 2 spot and are in contension for the CL qualifers. What you people are not realizing is that humdity level will be very crucial as that will be the driving factor for the players and both vaart and sneidjer will definitely struggle unless they are 110% fit…….10% for conditioning. looking at both their situation respectively at Harmburger and Galatasaray both look out of form and if it comes down to who is abetter all rounder then we all know who it is. vs France he again was non instrumental given him and RVP were the two most experienced guys on the pitch. he was the focal point in 2010 and in 2012 that shifted with is declining form and trust me it has further declined going into the WC. his only positive games came in that 1-1 draw vs Man City in which Gala played 3-5-2 and he was used on the far left. even if you look at lampard and Gerrad are in a better form than him. His compatriot Filipe Melo who was in the Brazil squad in that 2010 WC has also same status like sneijder after joining Gala. Gala has put a staggering 15 millon dollar price tag on Sneidjer and given his form and age top clubs will definitely think twice before buying him.

  12. At present both Vaart and sneijder plays with lesser players in both clubs,though Galatasarey has better players;so it helps wesly than Vaart gets from team mates.
    All i found is that class is permanent and it is there ,if i was LVG i would separate Vaart and Sneijder from group and all they need is Athletic training to increase their stamina which is very achievable, if they are not injured just 1 month is enough for them to get in to good shape with accurate diet and should be given mental peace..
    I really wish that both shows die hard determination to overcome this lazy devil,then mark my words it is going to be more spectacular than EC2008.

  13. Hello guys! After long spells on the “sidelines” I am back reading and enjoying your great posts.
    IMO LvG should go with the following formation to balance the team:






    By the way I am coming to Holland In MAy to attend match against Ecuador in Ams Arena. Please let me know if anyone is going too 😉

      1. Dear Tiju,
        I was thinking of 3 centerbacks, with Nigel nad Daley covering the flanks when defending and going more centrally when in possesion. And we all know that Clasie is able to deliver when he is not under pressure – or to say in different words: when he has support of the both defensive beasts. IMO this would help him to have a liitle more freedom to release the fast guys and cool finisher up front.

  14. Hallo everyone!

    I have an idea, and maybe it might be too big for this comments bit, and maybe it needs another page, i don’t know.

    Everyone loves posting their lineups – sometimes several different ones in the same day (or hour, Tiju I am looking at you, buddy), and i was thinking…
    All so different, but many with great theories woven into the fabric of the teams you guys create.

    There is something called the ‘wisdom of crowds’ – which, to be short, states that whereas the chances of one person’s guess being correct are very small, the chances of the average of everyone’s guesses being correct are high, and get higher as more people are added.

    So, then I was reading another site – and they had conducted some voting polls for who should play where, but never really full teams – and again, to be short, the average results for some positions started to become eye-opening.

    Therefore, ALL it would take here is for everyone to post the following in the comments section:

    a team of 11 players.

    no substitutes, no alternatives (/), JUST 11 players.
    11 PLAYERS ONLY!!!

    If you post a slash(/) only your first player will be added to the average.
    If you post a second team, only your first team will be added to the average.

    11 players only.
    It is important for the mathematics.

    Of course, there is a problem, the formation. We all agree to disagree on the formations all the time – haha!!
    BUT LVG does not.
    He will still probably play 433 – and it is the DUTCH way – and until we know differently (nearer the WC) this could serve as a test run.

    So, there you have it.
    We can all count, so there is no need for an arbiter or referee.
    And we can work out averages as we go. The player with the most selections in a position becomes the current selection for our ‘wisdom of crowds’ team – which should, in theory, also be eye-opening. And hopefully fun.

    We play the WORLD CHAMPIONS in our opening game.

    Who are your 11 players?


    I’m not posting mine right away because
    a) i haven’t thought about it enough yet to be final
    b) i don’t want to be the only one who posts, and look like a muppet (which i probably already do) when no one joins in
    c) an experiment like this probably needs a new page itself! over to you, Jan! 😉

    Hup Holland.

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