Back in 1974, the Dutch team manager Rinus Michels was asked to be “coordinator” for the 1974WC campaign. The Barcelona coach took the job, although the players didn’t think they would need a coach.
The public opinion was negative. Oranje was never important enough for the players and we qualified thanks to a referee mistake in the last qualification game. It was Belgium who deserved to go to the tournament.
Michels did his assessment and found out all his experienced top defenders were unavailable. Rinus Israel, Barry Hulshoff, Theo Laseroms, Epi Drost, Aad Mansveld… These guys were sensational central defenders. Tough as nails. Experienced. And great leaders. All injured.
The old gang (Swart, Keizer, Moulijn, Van Duyvenbode, Jan Mulder, Nico Rijnders, Dick van Dijk, Lex Schoenmaker) was not available anymore and there were some new players making their way into the team, such as Haan, Rijsbergen and Rensenbrink.
Only a week before the start of the tournament it was, when Cruyff/Michels decided to put Arie Haan as central defender and to push the opponent so far up the pitch that the pressure would be off the last line of defence. This move, plus semi-sweeper Jongbloed in goal, were the two tactical moves that solved Michels’ puzzle. It clicked and the team won silver and most importantly the hearts of many generations to come.
By the way, RVP/LVG is the new combi (like Cruyff/Michels) as they discussed the 5-3-2 when they met to watch PSV – Feyenoord a month ago….
I didn’t like Michels. Just as I am not a big fan of the person Louis van Gaal. But I respect his skills. And he does want to play attractive football. I probably prefer him over Hiddink, in that sense. As a coach that is.
So I will – for now – support him, the team and his choices. I also rate Blind and Kluivert, so in Oranje We Trust!
As for the choices…
Van Gaal would have taken Van der Wiel if he was fit, I believe. But without him, the 2010 defensive line up is gone. A necessary move.
I personally would have loved it if Van Gaal would have decided to bring either Van Ginkel or Afellay, but the fact that he doesn’t means they’re simply not match fit enough. Van Gaal will know best, on this topic.
The exclusion of Stekelenburg and Vermeer is logical and one can only assume Van Gaal has made very well though through decisions with regards of Narsingh, Klaassen and the others… We might one day hear his thoughts, but as Vilhena is in, as are Fer and De Guzman, one can only assume that these players bring more to the table – at the moment – than Klaassen.
Vlaar is not fast enough :-)? Thanks for posting this, Steen!!!
We will see him (and hopefully Narsingh, Van Ginkel and Propper) back into Oranje under Hiddink in the years to come.
The inclusion of Kongolo makes perfect sense. For starters, we need a left back. Blind might be LVG’s choice for holding mid (either as starter or as sub for De Jong). Buttner hasn’t played enough. And Blind doesn’t fit the bill for the 5-3-2 role description.
The choice of Van Aanhold AND Kongolo tells you Van Gaal is looking for legs, lungs and offensive power on the flanks. Verhaegh and Janmaat offer this on the right. I do think Van Aanholt will be among the final seven who will not make it.
Kongolo can also play center back and midfield, so a safe bet. There is not much this kid doesn’t have, apart from experience. But he could well be the sensation of the World Cup for us and on his way to bigger things fast.
The goalie question is quite straightforward for me: Cillesen had a top season and is a very good goalie for the Oranje style of play. I can only assume playing EPL for years will give you the upperhand over a talented goalie who played for PSV only one season. So Zoet goes home.
In Defence, we’ll lose Van Aanholt and possibly De Vrij or Rekik. I think Veltman, BMI and Vlaar are certs for the CB role.
In midfield, I think we will not see de Vilhena go to Brazil and I don’t rate De Guzman too high at the moment either.
Lastly, Promes and Boetius will have to set their sights on 2016 for their first tournament.
This is what I think will happen.
I personally would prefer LVG to leave Kuyt home. I don’t see his role as a winger and as a central striker we have RVP and Klaas Jan (and even Rafael van der Vaart). I think Kuyt has a lot of everything, but not enough of one thing.
I prefer a young buck like Boetius in his place (he could be the Elia of 2014).
Rafael van der Vaart is the most experienced Oranje player with 109 caps to his name, although Dirk is the oldest player (33 years old) and currently has 98 caps to his name.
Van der Vaart hopes to commence his sixth (!) tournament and joins Aron Winter and Edwin van der Sar as record holders in number of tournaments. If he remains fit and valuable, he could easily reach seven in two years.
Sneijder and Robben can join Rafael in that exclusive club, by the way.
Oranje now has three debutants for the ball: Kongolo, Vilhena and Jeroen Zoet all have to collect their “hare”.
Van Gaal now only has 8 players who were present in 2010. Normally, Strootman, Afellay and Van der Wiel would have been part and parcel if fit and so could Stekelenburg have been, if if if….
Wesley Sneijder commented in his own style from Istanbul. He still has no clarity re: his position and he has not heard from the team manager about the tactical changes we might see. “Apparently, the hierarchy has changed.”
But, Sneijder can’t wait to go to Brazil. “It’s quite exciting. I don’t know what to expect. If I’m in, I will be joining the group in Portugal. I still have one game to play with Gala, but I’m doing really well. I am in form and I will keep that form as I am super excited to play this World Cup. That is just the best.”