More Oranje Stats

Football has done a long time without the plethora of stats that seem to dominate other sports, particularly American sports like American Football and Baseball. But stats have crept into the game and are getting more and more important to see patterns and understand how teams play.

It’s relevant to use stats alongside the usual insights, useful to look at your own team and players, and useful to analyse the opponent.

I don’t think Van Gaal and Co (or me for that matter) will go overboard on stats, but it’s a fact that most of our younger players (Danjuma, Malacia, Noa Lang, Frenkie) are all known to be very involved in analysing their own game using the numbers.

These are the stats that FIFA came out with recently from the Senegal game. Interesting indeed.

Two key results: our forwards do not play well together and Daley Blind is the key man for the press.

Steven Bergwijn was on the pitch for 79 minutes and only played the ball to a fellow attacher once! The Ajax forward himself never received the leather once, from a striking partner!! In the fourth minute, Gakpo almost assisted a tap-in for Bergwijn, but the ball was intercepted. There were only four passes between the forwards during the whole game.

From \ To Bergwijn Janssen Gakpo Depay
Bergwijn 1 0 0
Janssen 0 1
Gakpo 0 1 1
Depay 0 0

Another remarkable statistic: Gakpo made 59 runs in order to receive the ball and was only found four times!  One of these four times was the cross by Frenkie, resulting in the 1-0. 30 of the 59 “offers to receive the ball” were runs in behind the Senegal defence and he was more than not ignored, because the team mate with the ball didn’t see the run or didn’t dare to play the ball. The only good thing is that these runs usually result in space for an opponent.

Steven Bergwijn was the quickest Oranje player, with a top speed of 34,6 kilometers/hour.

Player top speed (km/hr)
Steven Bergwijn 34,6
Virgil van Dijk 32,8
Cody Gakpo 32,8
Vincent Janssen 32,7
Matthijs de Ligt 32,7

Yes, Daley Blind was the slowest of the team, but he did have the most sprints of all (59), just behind Denzel Dumfries (60).

Frenkie de Jong had the most kilometers with 11,4 kms with Daley Blind second (11,2 km) and Cody Gakpo third (10,7 km).

Daley Blind was the press king, with 39 press moments and he had the most tackles (5). Frenkie had the most interceptions (2) and re-possessions of the ball (9). Frenkie also had the most passes and the highest pass accuracy and was able to break through an opponent line the most too (16 times).

What does this mean for Van Gaal? Who knows :-).

I think he will use the same eleven vs Equador, with the exception of De Ligt, who will make way for Timber. There is a chance that he rests Daley Blind and will use Malacia against the physically strong South Americans.

Equador is a tough team to beat. In the last 7 matches, they didn’t concede. They’re strong, athletic and resilient. Their coach has a simple philosophy: football is played in blocks. There is High, Midline and Low. Equador will put compact blocks against the way the opponent wants to play and with lots of positional changes and hard work, they will want to wear the opponent down.

Coach Alfaro likes to talk his team up. He plans to defend like Spain does: high up the pitch. And he is proud that he has the youngest squad of the World Cup. Alfaro uses zonal defence, where ever on the pitch and the distance between the players is always very small. There is not much known otherwise, as all public training sessions were cancelled and there is rumour of some key players (among them Valencia) being injured. I think these guys can all play though.

Here you see the aggressive press by the team in yellow vs Qatar

Key for Holland will be the running in behind. Their stern defence likes to push up and the way to deal with it, is by dirty runs. Gakpo did this constantly and I believe Bergwijn and Dumfries will need to do the same. Van Gaal might even consider bringing Klaassen on #10 for this and use Gakpo as forward in place of Janssen.

The offensive strength of Equador is limited. Their forwards play in mediocre teams, Valencia in Turkey, Ibarra in Mexico and Plata at Valladolid, mid tier in Spain. The left side of Equador has the most threats and we might need a more defensive option for Berghuis as the communication between full back and midfielders will be key, for Oranje.

Another aspect is their behaviour when they lose possession. They aggressively want to get the ball back asap and they will use physical strength and duel power to get the ball.

This is the option to run in behind for Bergwijn and Gakpo, as shown by Argentina

As they already have 3 points, I don’t think this will be a game where Equador will want to take the game to us, and play open. I think this Equador will play a bit more compact and deeper than against Qatar and use their counter strength to take us on.

For the Dutch, we need to make sure our passing is crisp and accurate, as we can pass our way through their system, but if we are sloppy, we might get hammered on the counter.

I’d like to see this line up. I think Equador will want to absorb pressure and counter against us. So Janssen can play a role up front. I’d play Koopmeiners for Berghuis and Malacia for Blind. Timber for De Ligt is a non-issue I think.

Do I believe LVG will play like this? I think he’ll probably use Blind instead of Malacia.

Either way, I can see another 2-0 win for us. I hope Bergwijn will score, which will lift him up a bit and who ever scores the other one, I don’t care :-). I hope Memphis, who will get another 30 mins I think.

Tell me your predictions!

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  1. Thanks Jan! How come Luuk doesn’t get considered to be a starter ? What does Janssen do better than him?
    Based on what I saw from Ecuador vs Qatar , I would say a 3-0 or 3-1 score.
    As I was watching Brazil vs Serbia earlier I was trying to picture how NT would play. There were wide open spaces in Brazil back and a good team would have been able to penetrate and score a couple. I can’t stand Brazil, a bunch of clowns with no class.

  2. The Dutch media make mention of Gakpo next to Bergwijn, instead of Janssen and Klaassen in on #10.

    i had this originally as well, as Equador has a physical team but I do believe they will absorb pressure and counter. They have 3 points already, so will be keen to let Oranje have the ball and make mistakes.

    I think Luuk is seen as our aerial weapon for last stages of games where we need to force the issue. I think LVG believes Janssen is better in small spaces, playing with his back to goal and launching runners around him. I personally would have used Luuk in that role and would have preferred Danjuma over Janssen but that ship has sailed of course

  3. @Jan

    Re: I think he will use the same eleven vs Equador, with the exception of De Ligt, who will make way for Timber. There is a chance that he rests Daley Blind and will use Malacia against the physically strong South Americans.

    This is exactly the kind of potential shuffle and reshuffle gaga that Wilson spoke about in the last post and he was decried.

    And yes, it is only in Oranje that this so-called tactical method is considered simply because the best options are not played in their positions.

    Blind is as crucial to Lvg as any player in the team. And in the context of the attack so is Berghuis.

    Now, would France drop Kante from midfield because he is not that adept going forward? Or England Rice because he can’t defend well as a defensive midfielder? The whole idea is absurd and goes against all momentum building.

    The great teams usually choose players who can do their primary designated jobs best and everything else is a bonus. Balance. And this is only possible because the level of favoritism that exists in Oranje is not present in these other teams.

    How is it tactical to be hiding your midfield and defensive fulcrums whenever there is talk of a tough task at hand?

    A so-called big team can go defensive as a tactical manoeuvre. This is understandable.

    But if you have to worry about Ecuador because an “untouchable” can’t run or conversely have to leave out your Pirlo because he is that defensively inadequate and not worth the risk of his attacking output, you do, then, have much bigger problems.

  4. Another thing. It’s funny how the narrative is centred around Timber going forward in that back three.

    We have a player in de Vrij who played the whole qualifiers and nations league without so much as a blemish. Not to mention how well he did in the last Euros.

    We look at that as fans and management and go naaaah🤣

    Did the same with Cillesen.

    Did the same with de ligt over de vrij and then back to our senses. And then did it again.

    And now Timber.

    How is it that our aversion for change is only present when it comes to positions that positively needs change? Like our left side of defence and players like Berghuis?

    But players like de vrij are not even rewarded for their good work but have to face the chopping block as Oranje shows it progressive tendencies for all to see..

  5. I actually think that Ecuador may be the biggest threat to us in this opening around. I’m concerned about their speed and physicality against our back line and their quickness on the counter. It will also be interesting to see how the formations match up and whether we will have the space and time to get our midfield in better sync with each other. I agree on moving Gapko to the front two and on de Vrij also making an appearance, but not necessarily to the detriment of Timber.

    I also think we will need speed in this match, and certainly don’t have any problem with modifying the starting XI from match to match to address opponents’ strengths and weaknesses. I think LVG considers himself a master at doing this, and although he’s had success doing so in prior tournaments, it remains to be seen whether he can do it again this time.

    I really think this match will be a hard fought and intense one, but hope that we show more of an ability to retain possession, and can use Ecuador’s aggressiveness against them. Finally, both teams will have the benefit of the result of Qatar and Senegal, which, although last minute information, will certainly help at least Senegal determine how to play in this match. Personally, I want to see us play all out for the win in every match.

  6. I think Malacia speed is useful against teams that attack us and expose their back, and Blind build up skills are better for teams that park the bus.

    I will use Blind today and De Vrij or Timber. If this will be a physical game, De Vrij will be better.

    Good luck buys. Let’s will this game!

  7. Despite effectively buying themselves a World Cup tournament, Qatar just can’t seem to buy a goal against Senegal.

    They’ve had numerous opportunities in the last few minutes, and have actually looked decent in their ball movement, but just haven’t been able to get a quality touch on frame

  8. We need to win back the midfield.

    I don’t know if we need De Room or a more creative player like Berghuis.

    But we need to change something. We cannot continue this way in second half

  9. Great performance of our three central defenders, but our midfield and attack was nothing.

    We need to make changes, while in tactics or in players. Maybe time for Simmons or Lang?

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