On the road to Qatar: Noa Lang

LVG has made his final decisions. Lots to discuss. I will give my insights here, and will continue with the Road to Qatar series discussing a suprise – for some – inclusion: Club Brugge’s Noa Lang.

But first the 26 squad.

The shock was the omission of Cillesen. Something that would have made the goalie furious and I get why. The argument that Cillesen is not in form is BS. He is as much in form as Pasveer, who had some howlers in the past months. Cillesen is playing really well for NEC Nijmegen, so this was a white lie.

Later in the presser, Van Gaal let slip in between the lines, that Cillesen is poison in the squad when he doesn’t play. I think this is the real reason. Wesley Sneijder opened up about Cillesen’s behaviour at the WC2014: “When Van Gaal subbed him for Krul he got really mad. We all remember the kick against the water bottle, when he walked off. But it went further. He didn’t congratulate Krul afterwards and kept away from the team celebrations. He called his parents and his management and they went back to Van Gaal. I remember the coaches were about to send him home, but decided against it due to the media spectacle that would become. He is not supportive towards his colleagues. When he is #2, he will undermine the #1 goalie. I can understand why he is not part of the squad.”

Ok, so can I. But if this is the case, why wait so long with letting him know? That was unnecessary. When you have good options in Bijlow, Pasveer, Flekken and Noppert, why not let Cillesen know weeks ago that he won’t be in the plane? Strange.

Then for some (me too), the exclusion of Danjuma seems odd. He is fast, explosive, strong in the duels, he makes runs in behind and he has ice in his veins. When you need good penalty kickers, he’s one of your men. But Van Gaal opted for an extra midfielder in Taylor. I would have taken Danjuma as replacement for Memphis who simply is not fit and could well be a huge gamble. It’s a muscle injury. Muscle injuries can look like their gone, and then suddenly return with a vengeance.

Janssen is not a replacement like-for-like for Memphis.

The reasoning to leave Danjuma out: he was not part of Oranje when Van Gaal made his big shift from 3-4-3 to 3-5-2. He said it then: players who were part of that experience – which LVG sees as crucial – have an extra plus behind their names. Danjuma was not there due to injury and will have missed the tactical instructions.

Whereas Noa Lang was part of that squad. Even better, Club Brugge plays in that exact same way! And even betterer: Noa Lang excels at Brugge as a sub, which is exactly what LVG has in mind for Lang. A game changer off the bench.

Janssen v Brobbey is another debate. The Ajax man is more explosive and quicker and a better header of the ball. But… he wasn’t part of Van Gaal’s “masterclasses” and Janssen was. It’s also a known fact that Janssen is a popular lad amongst the players and the coaches: articulate, intelligent and loyal. Brobbey can be a wild card in this respect.

For me, there are not any more surprises. I would have loved to see Clasie but not sure who I would have sacrificed.

Lets look at Noa Lang. The rebel forward who started his career at Feyenoord, made the move to his fave club Ajax, and from there got himself a transfer – sort of forced – to Club Brugge.

Last season, he established himself as a force to be reckoned with, both in Oranje and in Club (remember the PSG games in the Champions League), and he gambled on a transfer. He felt AC Milan would be a nice next step on his way to Real Madrid.

But the transfer didn’t happen and he got injured in the summer, which cost him his spot in the starting line up. Despite being fit only for a month, he made it in the WC squad.

It may be a surprise for many, but not for me.

His Dribbles

We used to have many players in the past who could take on opponents and dribble their way to success, from Rensenbrink, Cruyff and Van Basten all the way to Robben and Elia. Today, we have a couple of fast paced, direct forwards (Malen, Danjuma, Bergwijn) and a couple of target men (Luuk, Weghorst, Janssen, Brobbey) but we desperately need a guy who can take on an opponent to create a man more situation. We have Gakpo, Memphis and, yes… Lang who can do this. Of all the Oranje potentials for attack, Noa is the number 2 on the list of successful dribbles, just behind Gakpo, and in front of Depay. Bergwijn, Brobbey and Luuk de Jong are quite a way behind.

Van Gaal: “Noa has always delivered in my teams. He is a creative player who doesn’t need a lot of time or opportunities to break open a defence. And at Brugge he now demonstrates he can do it as a sub too, which is exactly what I have in mind for him. He will be my impact player off the bench.” As mentioned before, Lang also is accustomed to the 3-5-2 LVG is planning to use at the World Cup. Definitely a plus.

Running in Behind

It seems LVG sees the trio of Gakpo/Memphis/Bergwijn as his preferred attacking three. With subs like Luuk de Jong and Wout Weghorst and Vincent Janssen, Oranje has different types of strikers, but still need a player with speed and depth, with the ability to run in behind. Malen is considered not good enough at the moment, so it was between Danjuma and Lang. LVG chose Lang.

Lang has explosiveness also without the ball. Most of his goals come from his runs in behind, from the left flank. When Oranje is pushed back against strong opponents, Lang can definitely be a strong weapon.


LVG loves multifunctional players. The likes of Blind, Klaassen and Berghuis fall in that category. When Lang was used in his debut v Latvia, Van Gaal put him on the right wing position. He was clear in his pre-match announcements: “I want to see how Noa plays from the right”. Within 5 minutes, the extraverted rebel pushed Gakpo to the right and went to play on his fave left position. Van Gaal was gobsmacked! “Isn’t that incredible? I had to correct that immediately. That was not my plan!”. LVG could laugh about it though, and have him another chance later. Against Wales, LVG changed his system from 3-4-2-1 to 3-4-1-2 and Lang’s introduction was key to that. As Van Gaal has three traditional central strikers in De Jong, Weghorst and Janssen, Lang offers the veteran coach something different, with the various positions Lang can play in. Even a return to 4-3-3 is an option with Lang in the squad.


Van Gaal likes to use the “plus” and “minus” labels when explaining his selection process. He wants the following aspects: form, rhythm, personality and tactical knowledge of the LVG Philosophy (huh?). It seems form, rhythm and personality are quite on par between Lang and Danjuma, but the Brugge forward has an extra plus as he was part of the squad that worked on the 3-5-2 model ( 3-4-1-2) LVG prefers these days.

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  1. Apart from the usual suspects, the only encouraging thing about LVGs squad selection is the inclusion of Frimpong and Simons. This bodes well for the future of a new and improved NT that has, over the years, found it quite hard to welcome transition.

    The omission of Cillesen is a disgrace and creeping excuses to justify this travesty is even more pathetic. This was the same goalie that LVG, with tail between his legs, crawled back to when WC qualification was hanging in balance. The same goalie with the necessary calm and experience that alleviated his anxiety. And now dumped like a rag doll because of behavioral issues?

    Dutch management is the only environment that players are infantalized and talked about like naughty boarding home children that need to be constantly put in their place. Ironically, it’s arguably the most volatile international football organization, a trait as well known as its footballing exploits. I wonder why.

    There is not a single goalie amongst the three selected that I trust. Couple that with the added pressure of not knowing where they stand in terms of first team inclusion and you have a recipe for disaster. Mark my words, goalkeeping might very well be the undoing of LVGs plan.

    Taking the trio of Weghorst, Luuk and Janseen is overkill. Three semi-mobile pinch-hitters for what? Where is the supply coming from? Blinds marauding run from the left? It’s a weird decision and makes absolutely 0 sense. I don’t care what plan the great, infallible LVG has for them, common sense will always remain undefeated.

    And to add insult to injury you leave out Danjuma, one of the quickest footballer in world football. Let’s face it. Come the knockout stage, Oranje is going to be on the back foot in most duels. A player who has the speed to run behind, and the individual skills to rip apart defences is what’s needed. Not a trio of six-foot five Dutchmen who will be waiting for service in a game that you have no control over.

    My expectations are tempered. I won’t be surprised if we fail to make it through the group stages. Nor would I be if we are in another semi-final.

  2. I am with you on the Cillesen and Danjuma arguments.

    If Cillesen was dropped because of his conduct, why put him in the pre-squad in the first place?

    The three centre striker choice has been justified by Van Gaal, but in earlier pressers. I can write more about this later. The Man has A Plan.

    As for your distrust in the goalies: I don’t think that is warranted. They are all (Flekken and Cillesen included) similar in quality for me. It’s not like Cillesen is WAY better than Bijlow.

    I don’t agree with your ongoing attacks on the Dutch management culture. You made your point a lot of times and you seem to think that by repeating it will make it true.

    There have been many other nations and coaches who left out top players because of their character or even his looks (Batistuta and his long hair :-)). It’s not fair to keep on harping on about the Dutch as if we are the morons of International Football. I mean, come on!!

  3. It’s simple you can’t drag all the way to win the world cup and this is what van gaal seems to flaunting about saying NT can be world champions. Well he thinks he can pull it off but the team certainly is not in that mould to be genuine contenders and neither from the form of players point of view.

    Being said this the good part about this outings is that it’s gonna be good built up for the future. Frimpong, Lang, Simons,Gakpo, malacia

  4. Summerville has been scoring against every top team in the premiere league he just scored a beauty against Tottenham, can we just kick out Jansen and take him instead :)?

  5. No a fan of Cillesen but it is a weird situation. The more important thing about him is his experience. And if he suspect about behavior if assigned number 2, he should have been asked in advance whether he accepted the role or not.
    Danjuma should be there. He could stay on the bench and brought in desperate situations when tactical instructions are out of the window. I guess same reasoning can be made for Crysencio Summerville who is on fire for Leeds. I used to be a big fan of Weghorst but he has expired. We are wasting a full spot and space with him. If LVG is looking for cheerleaders he has a nice group with Weghorst, Janssen etc.
    On the other side Van Dijk could be exposed. A few minutes ago he again was caught out of position for Liverpool and Southampton scored a header. Too many errors by him since a few months now.

  6. There was a time when Holland couldn’t find space for some amazing attackers such as Roy Makaay who was on fire for Bayern and best scorer in Bundesliga. Same for Hasselbaink or Van Hooijdonk or the most famous of all Huntelaar. Now we have less than half footballers to lead our attack. Sad times. But we have a good defense or so we think.
    Like a famous friend of mine used to say “To win a football game you simply need to score more than your opponent”. If he still were around he would probably say “To win a football game you simply need to allow less goals than your opponent”. Let’s hope this is what happens with this team.
    But those who believe this team can win a WC or even get to quarterfinals I would say “adjust your expectations”. Look around what other teams have, from England, France, Spain maybe Germany let alone Brazil, Argentina etc.

  7. @Jan

    Re: I don’t agree with your ongoing attacks on the Dutch management culture. You made your point a lot of times and you seem to think that by repeating it will make it true.

    All what I have ever said about Dutch management is grounded in TRUTH. Not malice. Not vendettas. Just cold hard facts that any neutral mind could discern for what they are: TRUTH.

    You see this as an attack because, like LVG, you would rather cheerleaders, even as the emperor increasingly appears stark naked.

    Dutch management is unusual and in most respect not in a good way.

    I’m not making up the fact that Oranje is known the world over for infighting and that foreign pundits never fail to bring that up in their pre-tournament analysis.

    I’m not making up the fact that there is widespread bias in team selection and the Ajax influence hangs over the NT like an albatross.

    The fact remains that Dutch coaches
    are generally arbitrary in their actions, bordering on being bullies. And many a tournament have been lost before they even begin because of this.

    As an individual, even in my everyday life, my loyalty has always lain with the TRUTH.

    What you are grappling with is this TRUTH, as I see it. You want your truth to be mine. And mine, yours, as you see it.

  8. I am curious Where are you from? And yeah that’s true I’ve been a crazy oranje fan since 1988 and the foreign media I follow (English and Arabic) always bring that up when there is a tournament oranje is in, they always say the Dutch always lose to themselves not other teams, and they bring the famous fights up (davids-hiddink) in 1996, (gullit-advocaat) and many more …

  9. @ Jan,
    Any word from your so called experts about Van Gaal’s selection? What are the people in the Netherlands are saying? I’m just curious. Now imagine the team is down a goal and it’s 15 to 20 minutes to go, what impact do ya’ll think Werghors or Jensaan can have on any defense to rescue the team? Like Oragutan stated in it’s earlier post, you bring these 3 characters
    (Luck De Jong, Jensaan, Werghorts) to the WC, who’s going to feed them? I think dropping Dajuma was the most ridiculous thing Van Gaal could have done and we are going to pay for it.

    1. @jean. I see your point but I think that in the last 15 minutes having Weghorst,Luuk and janssen are better for pinch hitting as Jan calls it. Danjuma mobility would be better when teams aren’t parking the bus inside their own 18. As for who feeds them. Wingbacks, lang, depay, Bergwijn. Danjuma in the 60th is better than the 75th.

  10. I think frimpong would be the triumph card for Van gaal in those situations. His bursting down the flanks and crossing could be descive and this could be the reason why van gaal has opted for hieght in the form of luuk and weghorst while janssen if he has to hold the ball and allowing others to come into spaces. So can blind from the side.

    Being said this it’s not just a matter of saying or thinking it will work. On the day it also comes down to who your opponent is and how they play as well. Argentina 2014, LVG tatical genius had no impact and was just left to watch from sidelines.

  11. I also believe the exemption that’s being given to depay should have been given to danjuma as well. In crucial stages you did a player like him who can to add more spark to the ongoing one. The excuse that he is not familiar to the set up is bullshit as ever.

      1. Well fitness is his only issue. In terms of being no 1 or no it all about what he can bring. Luck, weghorst, janssen Vs Argentina and Brazil, I don’t know what to say.

  12. Hope no one gets injured with the last round of club matches.
    Sven Botman’s Newcastle continues to soar with the latest win Vs Chelsea. Really happy to see the NT now so well stacked at defense.
    Botman’s chance will come on the big stage eventually if he continues with this projection. 💪

  13. One senseless stupid mistake is that you have weghorst and luuk together… It should have been Malen.. As Memphis is still not fit.. Could get injured again.. Thats scary part..graven berch bottled his chance by going to bayern… He could have been star at ajax and hence in dutch Nt.. Timber did right thing to dumb Manu..

  14. Fascinating weekend in The Netherlands, with Ajax dropping points again versus Emmen this time around while PSV loses versus AZ (Veerman’s mistake let do the AZ goal… yes I like Veerman on the ball but I said it many times, he’s a liability defensively….).

    This means that a draw for Feyenoord today will make them the winter champions, which is quite telling for a club with a budget a third of that of Ajax and which lost 8 (!) starters from last season. It tells you Arne Slot is a magician of a coach and it tells you the Eredivisie is quite weak.

    I can only assume the Qatar players were cautious in the personal duels…

  15. Totally of topic guys
    Some of you have mentioned on this blog several times that the Netherlands were robed of a penalty during the 98 semi final against Brazil. Can you guys remind me of the action because I don’t remember. I have spoken to many people and no on remembered. Please!

    1. @Jean_venette,

      It was in the last moments of regulation; score was 1-1. An accurate cross into the box towards Pierre Van Hooijdonk who had made a quick move and cut across the face of the Brazilian defender and had a half step on him goalside. Depending on which team you were rooting for, he was either tripped or their legs got tangled. 🙂

      The incident is at around 9:20 on this video.


  16. Selection Ramko pasveer is Justified after all he was who keeper during Last two games if Netherlands. He seems to be a cool and level headed player. He can find his rhythm in group matches with such a strong defence unlike Ajax situation. While Noppert was much expected selection given his performance during the penalty tests. With Bijlow in form, the other two wete naturally left out.

  17. I’m amazed at some of the people that spend time reading this blog and then posting really long opinions, regularly, who just seem to have an absolute loathing for the management, the coaches, and the players. It’s bizarre. If I had as much bile in my throat as you do whenever I thought about a particular topic, I think I’d avoid that topic rather than obsessively reading and commenting about it. Maybe you could find a blog about something else to fill your time. Like knitting or home improvement?

  18. the only good selections are Xavi Simons and Frimpong. But Xavi is still not experienced and on the big stage, he may either shine or flop.

    Not taking Danjuma (or Malen) may cost us the World Cup.
    Malen, he has been very disappointed me since he moved to the German League. But Danjuma is proven he’s a true warrior. From EPL down to the English Championship (scoring over 2 dozen goals) –> then to The Spanish League , he had ups and downs, but he’s proven he is a forward with the X factor. and that is his main difference compared to Malen or the other forward.

    I dont know why Van Gaal didn’t bring him. Maybe he’s not a team player enough or not fitting in his plans?

    But Vincent Janssen, what has he done so far? why him, he’s the flop of the EPL during his time with spurs. Weghorst, i like him a lot, but same if you bring Luuk, there is no need for him ya?

    Now then we only got Noa Lang left, but he may have moments where he is completely quiet. If Depay or Bergwijn gets injured, can we really rely on Lang / or Weghorst?

    1. @yan
      “The only good selections are Xavi Simons and Frimpong”.
      What?!? So Frenkie and Virgil aren’t even good selections?? That seems like kind of a nonsense thing to say.

      That said, I’m also a little surprised by Danjuma’s omission, though it’s worth noting that he really has been pretty quiet recently, certainly largely due to his injuries and lack of game fitness and rhythm. I always try to watch Villareal when he’s on the team sheet, but he hasn’t been producing a whole lot lately in any of their competitions.

      As for Malen, he just looks lost recently— I watched him last week and he just looked like he had no idea what to do, very little confidence, did not look at all like a top player. He has given no reason recently to justify a call up, and unlike someone like Memphis, who has proven himself time and again in the Oranje jersey, Malen doesn’t have the track record to fall back on.

  19. Watched PSV vs AZ. Some observations. PSV looked sloppy in the first half and also which resulted in the AZ goal as well.yes it’s was veerman’s back pass on which AZ capitalized and scored but it was also Obispo who failed to track pavlidis run after Ramalho was caught out. The CB pairing of both have come under spot light for some time now and are getting mistake prone. Ramalho looks to have put on weight and can get caught out cold if ball is played behind him. He couldn’t react faster to Veerman’s mis judged pass which karlsson beat him to it and then Obispo didnt track pavlidis run leading to the goal from karlsson final pass.

    PSV looked more sharper after the break when Simons moved to AM and veerman further behind in his preferred CM position and with the introduction of el ghazi on the right. I reckon once gakpo departs, EL ghazi will become an important player for PSV. Like gakpo his strong hold is on the left as well but at the moment has being rotated around. Not quick as gakpo is but his crosses and set pieces deliveries are excellent. Luck De jong could be beneficiary of this when El ghazi takes up that LW spot. On the right he is pretty much average. Wasn’t much lively but provided more physicality than simons and really made his presence felt in duels especially with kerkez

    Watching luck de Jong is just depressing man and you wonder when the Dutch football will move on from the pinch hitter tradition. Once again if PSV wants to dream big in El,CL they need to bring a profilic striker and have luck as backup ( pinch hitter) for closing stages and which serves him the best.

    PSV were unlucky not to score. Guti’s header came of the post in the first half ,Gakpo goal was ruled inches offside, he also squandered some good chances from in side the box and philip Max’s deflected lob over AZ Gk was cleared in the nick of time.

    Nothing to be taken away from AZ though, they scored and held on to the lead. They were better in the first half. Clasie seems to be back to his old form. Had the captain’s armband and marshalled well from the back. Couldn’t track down gakpos runs though other wise like veerman his passing game was the highlight of his game. AZ is a good team in building under Jansen.

  20. And Feyenoord did it: blasted Excelsior 5-1 in De Kuip. Two Kokcu goals and two goals by Poland Qatar-traveller Szymanski. Good player that. Feyenoord on top, winter-meister. But, we are only 1/3 along the way and I think the title is a bit too much for this Feyenoord. Still a fun spot to be for them. Arne Slot is impressive.

    As for Orangutan’s truth… I think it is maybe a combi of The Truth and his truth. But there are also things missing in his thinking.

    Re: infighting

    There has not been that many infights in the past 20 years. The biggest issues we had were in 1990 (Beenhakker v Cruyff debacle) and 1996 with Davids calling out Hiddink. In 2006, Van Basten had a problem with two players (RVN and MVB). That happens, I don’t see this as particular infighting.

    Refresh my memory, but there was not much infighting in 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012 and 2014?

    So where does this mantra of Dutch infighting comes from? Do you follow the antics in the French squad? Benzema and his dickpicks of the little fella (forgot his name)? Or the Italians, or the Argentines for that matter?

    Have you followed what happened with Muller and Hummels in Germany, with that nose picking ass smelling coach (forgot his name)? Low!! That is him…

    Do you think the England squads had smooth sailing the past tournaments?

    The Dutch do have more discussions internally than – say – the Belgians and its a cultural thing. When JC worked in Spain he noticed that whenever he said something to this players, they would say “Si mister!”. In The Netherlands, its always “yes, but….”.

    I personally believe the “infighting” claim is exaggerated and abused by the media as they always need a story. It’s like Italy being a nation of defenders. Or Germany always capable to score in the last minute. Or England bottling it later in the tournament because of booze. Etc etc.

    As for the Ajax bias… Bias = “inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair.”

    Calling it bias is not fact or truth. It’s opinion.

    Because a coach is responsible for making a selection. So he has bias. Or preferences. Some coaches (Mourinho) like tall, strong, physical central defenders. OThers (Pep) like players who have amazing ball skills. LVG has a preference for Ajax players because he 1) knows what they can bring and how they are developed and 2) wants to play like Ajax plays (there is a lot of LVG in the Ajax culture).

    How is this bias? it’s his job to pick the team HE believes in. You wouldn’t call it bias when Flick picks players from Bayern?

    Based on your last comments, I believe you are parrotting what the media say about the Dutch (the infighting). I think you are not fully up to speed with Dutch culture? Are you? Can you elaborate?

  21. @jean venette

    Most pundits and experts felt this is the logical selection of players, with the exception of:

    – the Cillesen/Flekken situation.

    Most people feel that they can understand Cillesen might be toxic when not playing, but why get him in in the first place, if that is the case? You only select Cillesen if he is the clear and undisputed #1, If not, don’t even consider him. Flekken was scouted by Danny Blind (after a Van ‘t Schip tip) and although he was praised up the gazoo by Van Gaal he too is out. Strange.

    – The Danjuma exclusion

    Danjuma is a popular guy in Holland and that is also because of his intelligence and composure in interviews. He has his own opinion, he’s smart, he studies football and statistics and comes across as a true winner. So most people felt he should be called up.

    Other than that, no one is complaining. Frimpong is seen as top, Janssen/Weghorst is understood, the inclusion of Lang is applauded. There are no voices claiming Struijk or Botman should have been selected.

    The only player that some pundits felt should have made the cut (in place of Taylor) is Jordy Clasie. He has experience, is a perfectly loyal soldier, has grit in the personal duels, reads the game very well. But no one was going to march to Zeist with tar and feathers, though.

  22. Oh, one more comment:

    Rafael vd Vaart is big fan of Malen. He said he would always find a place for him in the squad as he thinks Malen can be a game changer.

  23. van Gaal used to say (in 2014) that to be selected in the national team the player needs to be playing in the same position in his club.

    However, only Simmons and Berghuis have been playing as 10 in their clubs lately. Gapko and Noa Lang play as left wing.

    How do you think this can impact Van Gaal decision and the players performance?

    Any comments on Gapko and Land playing as 10?

  24. Im just thinking about the physical battle between NT vs senegal and if this could turn out to be like the Czech game in euro QF. I was watching some videos about the Senegal squad and the whole country is looking upon them with the agency and sense of belief that they can finish group winners. I have seen alot of their players play for their respective clubs and if this team clicks as a team like in 2002, they will be gunning for the top spot . This is the next golden generation for senegal and plus their coach Aliou cisse has been at the helm as coach for the last 5 years and worked as assistant coach with up to 7 former coaches whom he has succeded. He knows in and out of the team having also guide them to the victory in Afican Nations cup

    On paper this group looks easy but could be hotly contested with Ecuador also a dark horse in this group. I was looking at their qualifers, they have some good stats as well having drawn with both Argentina and Brazil in qualifying rounds.

    I recall in the past when NT played with physical teams it was the cutting edge of players, which proved to be decisive in the outcome of the games. I see that in the Senegal team and not so much in the NT this time around. Lang???

    1. @Wilson, agreed . I’ve been concerned about Senegal since the draw. Fast, athletic, physical, and if Mane is healthy, a world class striker who will never stop running at the defense. Ecuador, too, is a fast, aggressive side. Saw them earn draws against Brazil and Argentina at home. But for some questionable referee decisions near the end, Ecuador would have won the Brazil match. Not saying they are the equivalent of Brazil or Argentina, just not to be taken lightly, and marked down a sure win.

  25. 1998 🇨🇵 : Wins the World cup
    2002 🇨🇵 : Eliminated in the group stage

    2006 🇮🇹 : Wins the world cup
    2010 🇮🇹 : Eliminated in the group stage

    2010 🇪🇦 : Wins the world cup
    2014 🇪🇦 : Eliminated in the group stage

    2014 🇩🇪 : Wins the world cup
    2018 🇩🇪 : Eliminated in the group stage

    2018 🇨🇵 : Wins the world cup
    2022 🇨🇵 : 🙄

    1. Yep, the ebb and flow of football. Holland wins silver in 1974, disgrace in 1976. Holland wins the Euros in 1988, disgrace in 1990. Holland wins silver in 2010, disgrace in 2012.

  26. Eduardo, early in this qualification series LVG has announced he will have to drop the demand he had in 2014: players will only be selected if they play regularly and at their own spot (or the NT spot they usually have).

    These principles are out of the window, due to the limited world class players we have and due to the rotations that coaches use more and more.

    LVG also had to learn that systems and shapes are not key anymore. In the 90s he was very strict in his 4-3-3 and the way that was played. Not anymore.

    1. Thanks Jan,

      Nice to see the new version of a more flexible Van Gaal.

      Are you concern about our number 10 position? Last games Van Gaal have tried Gapko and Lang as playmakers, but they didn’t show so much. I think they need more time to settle in this new position.

        1. Yes, Simmons is an excellent no 10, but I am not sure how he can perform under such pressure.

          My options for this position, in order, will be:

          1. Gapko (he doesn’t play there regularly)
          2. Noa Lang (He doesn’t play there regularly)
          3. Berghuis (he has player a lot there)
          4. Klassen/Simmons (I am not sure which one to pick)
          5. Depay (if needed, he can play there)

          The two main options for this position doesn’t used to play there, and its not his natural position. I don’t know how this is going to result.

          It will be interesting compare these players to see how should be our playmaker.

          1. I think it will be Gakpo. Lang is my second choice. He is an option for several positions: forward, no. 10, or in the role Berghuis plays when he is in the lineup as a mf in addition to the no. 10.

  27. apart from Danjuma I dont have much to say about the selection which again has been discussed in depth , but certainly this is not the team that can go on to win the WC. No Matter what Van Gaal does, Timber is still vulnerable aerially, van dijk wont be able to bail him out every time especially in set pieces, corners etc. creativity still is a question mark as well. we have seen how gakpo stalls in tight games, berghuis enough has been said (tempo dictated) and you cant expect much from him come big games. lang and simons are legit options but are still question marks, they will give their all (warrior spirit) but having not played much could be a downfall for them. I wont be surprised if either of the two end up bailing van gaal out when it comes down to the wire.

    the biggest concern for me is the goals, big goals in big games. who can give that? depay is the no 1 contender but his status again is a question mark. if he cant, no one else can. bergwijn is next and even though he has been scoring consistently for NT in the qualifiers, its well documented come WC it becomes a totally different competition and looking at his form at Ajax especially in CL, its again a question mark. like I said during his days at spurs and the reason why he flopped there. his consistency level drops when he plays game after game .defense can win you games but goals is also a prerequisite and important as well.

    there is too many question marks and like I said you cant drag on to win a WC . Well thats whats on the menu again in this WC. no plan A, only plan B and c

  28. @Wilson

    No Plan A? You underestimate our coach enormously Wilson. If anything, there is too much detail in Plan A. You should know LVG by now, he will analyse till the cows come home and try and plan a game plan for the game. Whether its a good plan is a different matter but he will have a Plan A.

    Goalscoring…. These are the goal stats of the WC 2022 qualification matches.

    England +36
    Germany + 32
    Denmark +27
    Netherlands +25
    Belgium +19
    Croatia +17
    France +15
    Switzerland +13
    Spain +10
    Serbia +9

    I think we’re doing just fine in the goal scoring compartment

  29. What I meant was a consistent or best starting 11. Like you said berghuis vs certain teams, Malacia vs Brazil. It’s gonna be changing as per vs different teams while teams like Argentina, Brazil have been building and playing together with their best 11 and coming into the WC and will continue with the same as they progress. They have also gone with rotations and whom to replace if there is injuries.

    The same can’t be said in context to NT. Injuries will be fatal for NT and plus looking the bench it’s not quality pack either.

  30. The Goals. You saw what happened vs Belgium without Depay. You can’t be relying on van dijk to come up with goals on behalf of strikers when it is needed the most . Do you.

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