Only Schaken will remember the Andorra game…

Ruben Schaken celebrates his goal in his debut game for Oranje with his idol Patrick Kluivert…

Through the ages, we have learned a great number of absolute truths: politicians lie, bacon goes with anything, foodwise and Oranje disappoints against minions.

And it’s not always fair to judge our elite on those “troubling” results.

Because to start off with: we did win. We did secure the three points. And we won with more than 1-0 (which is an embarassing result). I don’t think goal difference will really come into play in this group so the only reason we are disappointed is because we wanted more entertainment.

Playing with consistency, high paced circulation and flair is hard against these teams. Andorra players will consider this game (away against Holland!!!) as their world cup finals. And they probably would consider a 1-0 loss a victory.

So, they defend like horses and they will lash out at everything that moves.

If, like in this case, the coach (LVG) also decides to start with a B/C line up (Huntelaar is A for me, but at this point in time I regard Janmaat and Schaken to be C players more than anything else)…. No Sneijder, no RVP, no Arjen Robben… But more importantly, this team has never played together before. Huntelaar probably wouldn’t recognise Schaken if he’d bump into him in the elevator of Huis ter Duin.

And I guess that particular topic ( the starting line up) is – for me – at least, the topic we should focus on. Not the lack of sharpness of Klaas Jan ( yes, he could have scored three more) or the lack of creativity of Nigel de Jong.

They key discussion point for me is the decision making of our coach Louis van Gaal.

Eljero Elia is back

As Carlos already mentioned in his posts, he most likely would play with 3 defenders. As Andorra probably would start with…eh…zero strikers… I supported this style of thinking! Sure, 3-4-3. Creativity in midfield and skill in the final third.

But LVG decided on a normal back four but on top of that used two holding mids (Strootman and De Jong). I know Strootman is more than a holding mid and has good penetrative runs and passing etc but why did we need De Jong in this game?? To stop their world famous and ever dangerous playmaker??? Nothing against De Jong. You need him in big games, but I believe we could have asked Danny Blind to play against this Andorra…

De Jong saw a lot of the ball and wasn’t able to create a lot with it. If you have a player like Van der Vaart supporting the striker, you need a player sitting deeper with the ability to pick a killer pass. A player like Clasie, Maher or Afellay. The first two weren’t available but Afellay was. He played in the holding position before and has good vision.

We basically played with 6,5 defensive players ( Strootman is half half for me) and I wonder why?

Like I wondered why LVG used Schaken and Lens…. Both players are not renowned for their silky touch. And against Andorra you do need players who can take on a man in the confined spaces and master the one-touch-pass… Against Andorra, using Narsingh would have made more sense to me, and Lens would have been / is probably better suited to play the stronger and more adventurous Romanians… (Although they most likely will play like Andorra, but then like a better version of it….).

Those are the questions I’d like to ask LVG…. Why 4 defenders? Why Nigel de Jong? Why use wingers who need space to run into….?

Other than that…. whatever. Three points against Andorra. Let’s focus on Romania now.

A game in which we’ll most likely see Van Rhijn as right back, Van Persie leading the line and Narsingh for Schaken. The debutant Feyenoord winger left the Oranje camp with a knee injury while Van Gaal replaced Robben by none other than Eljero Elia, the one that got away… 26 international games, a World Cup campaign but hopelessly slipped away in the football swamp in Torino. The former Ajax and Twente winger is fighting his way back into the limelight in Bremen. Elia: “I was on my way to the wedding of a friend in Holland, when I got the call. Sensational! I knew I could get back to the top and I knew I was on the right track but that the call would come this quick was a big surprise… I’m overjoyed.”

Clasie taking Nigel de Jong’s spot?

Ruben Schaken won’t be replaced. Van Gaal will make do with Lens, Narsingh and Elia for the wings, knowing that Afellay can play there too.

Another lad being added to the squad is Young Orange player Jordy Clasie. The Feyenoord game-accelerator is most likely called up to add some much needed depth and finesse to the Oranje midfield (see above).

Van Gaal: “I had done what I could to improve the quality of the game against Andorra. It was not good. I even did a hair dryer speech in the half time break but the team couldn’t execute. It went well for 20 minutes and than it sort of came to a halt. I can’t blame the lads. They haven’t had much minutes together and Andorra is a very tough lot to break. You need to be 100% sharp and on the ball and we simply couldn’t deliver. I really wish we could have scored 5 or 6 and if we were totally sharp we could have… We had some 100% chances missed and a ball on the post…. Sad for the fans, but we need to know focus on Romania. I won’t go into this game much longer. We have the points, now we need to beat Romania. Which won’t be easy. They are in a flow and winning away against Turkey is a very good result for them. We can not be complacent.”

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  1. My “guess” for the Romanian game –
    van Rhijn-Douglas(6’4″)- Vlaar (6’3″) – Indi
    Strootman Clasie
    Narsingh – vP – Lens

    Why Douglas ? because its the least I expect – and thats what vG will do.

    1. Douglas/Vlaar in the middle… is something truly worth waiting for. Dominating pair of heads looming over the box! Isn’t Netherlands one of the tallest nations on earth? It’s time Oranje had a pair like this. 😉

      Strootman or Clasie at holding mid for Romania? (I’m just assuming we’ll stay 4-3-3.)

      Don’t know if LVG will stretch and start them both this time. He might start DeJong again: after all, 1-0 could be good enough; and it would jangle Jan’s nerves. 😉

      [Another prize post, Jan. Thank you! When will you interview David Winner?]

  2. Narsingh was a no-brainer..despite his decent performances i would start with Narsingh on the right and Elia ahead of Lens on the left 😀 what do u think guys? or do u think its unfair on Lens given he was officially awarded the man of the match against the number 202 😉

  3. not sure i agree with all the negativity surrounding Nigel. Sure, he is not the most creative artist in the world but we need him. LVG wanted to transition him back into the national team fold which is why he used him (don’t forget he hasn’t been playing regularly with the Oranje for quite some time). Now he will be ready for Romania.

    I couldn’t understand why Douglas didn’t start against Andorra at home. He is a future mainstay in our team and we will need his services against Romania so why not prep him?

    I am not too worried about the game against Romania, however I would be happy to see BOTH RVP & KJH play… that would be fantastic… RVP should take VDV’s spot…

    V. Rhijn–Heitinga—-Douglas——Bruno

    I would like to see Clasie come in for NDJ around the 65′ mark.

    Thoughts on this type of lineup?

    1. “I am not too worried about the game against Romania, however I would be happy to see BOTH RVP & KJH play… that would be fantastic… RVP should take VDV’s spot…”

      That could have theoretically worked 2 years ago, before RvP been used as a alone striker, when he used to run long miles during a game. Now, as I want every game of ManUnt he doesn’t run that much to play behind a striker. He still engages with other players a lot and so good at it, but I’m not any more for the idea of playing RvP and Hunter together. That’s my thought.

      I’d prefer RvP over Hunter anytime though 🙂

  4. I think NDJ should be taken out with Strootman taking his spot in the holding role. Strootman has the size, strength and technical ability to be a deep play maker. Clasie should be braught in as he is a player who likes to have a lot of touches on the ball and put through a well placed pass.

    Did anyone see Vlaar (Aston Villa) against Spurs? Vlaar kept Gareth Bale at bay and shut down nearly every attack. I was really impressed.

    Hoping for more fluidity…
    v.Rhijn – Douglas – Vlaar – BMI
    Clasie – Strootman – VdV
    Narsingh – Huntelaar – Afellay

    1. OB, your lineup is ok and offensive but the problem with teams like romania is that they can kill us on the counter especially with such an offensive midfield. we need NDJ there instead of Vaart or clasie….

      1. I think Strootman can do a better job than NDJ at holding midfield. At least once he breaks up an attack he can pass the ball forward. The opposition will also still have all their limbs in one piece lol

  5. we play 4-3-3 against andora. because are player have to know how 4-3-3 means, we can not play other type it means we have not to do that, 4-3-3 playing against andora can show something new about position to our player. it would be good.

      1. Jan, actually they beat Slovakia and not Slovenia 😉
        I am from Slovenia and would be there if they played here in Slovenia!
        But dont worry, cause the whole world does not distinguish these two countries. Our president already got used to listen Slovakian national anthem wherever he goes, though Slovakia is approx 500 km away in the other part of Europe..

  6. “Why Nigel de Jong?”

    * He’s our hard man. As such, he’s invaluable: WC finals are all about defense. BVM understood that, and it was the secret to his success.

    * The 4-3-3 that LVG feels he has to play at this moment — the “natural” Dutch formation that kids grow up playing — needs something more from a holding midfielder, doesn’t it? But this seems a key moment also to show real support for NDJ, and give him reassurance that’s he’s an integral part of the team. So why not let NDJ start against Andorra.

    * Will NDJ start against Romania? Maybe, maybe not. But his attitude will be better, whichever the choice, because he has already started for LVG for Oranje. And like VDV, he may not be the best at his position on our stellar squad… but VDV got to wear number 10, and NDJ got to start as holding mid in LVG’s new SuperDutch 4-3-3. 😉

    * NDJ was also a bit of protection against ankle-biting Andorra. He made a couple of well-timed hard tackles to cool them off. And he was available to serve up more.

    Perhaps the biggest disaster of all would have been if Andorra had scored a goal, or injured someone more pivotal than Schaken. With NDJ, we had an EPL hard man to help close that door while we let our wingers feel their oats.

    I may never forgive NDJ for his kung fu. But until someone else starts looking as hard as Jaap Stam, he has a place as one of ours.

    * And let’s face it: We may need a hard man against Romania.

    1. Well said.

      I think he’ll start against Romania, possibly to be subbed off when we’re not ahead.

      But we’re talking LVG. So we’re most likely all wrong 😉

  7. I remember those Romania games under Van Basten, they were pretty bad for us. But we did beat them in the euros 2008. I think we should have no problems now. King Louis knows what to do. I think the Andorra game was an experimentation as much as a training experiment to get the lot play together. I dont know why you guys fear Romania. With all due respect to them and their team (some of their clubs have made CL history), I dont think they can put up a fight against a well drilled oranje machine at its full force. Here’s to an amazing result TUESDAY. CANT WAIT:)

  8. Lens has sunk Napoli in EL (with Mertens, van Bommel and Strootman). Lens is the best forward of PSV and with Bony the best in the Eredivisie. Though Lens is more involved than Bony it seems. Lens does so much, including tracking back, holding on to the ball really well up front, allowing his team to move forward and get out of pressure situations. Lens is also faster than Bony. Lens might be the best attacker at this moment in Eredivisie.

    Meanwhile Huntelaar is missing giant chances at Schalke and Dutch NT. I see all Schalke games and he has costed Schalke points the season opening. Also scored a great goal by the way, but he misses some really weird ones. In Dutch NT he scored a tap in against Hungary, but after that he had that one chance where he went alone on the keeper from the left and missed horribly. Against Andorra he scored with the head, but with a ball later he turned around to the goal and from 5 meters he shoots over the bar. Andorra player and him laugh about it and I ask: “what is so funny?”. You think United laughed last EPL season losing on goal difference? You think Dutch NT laughed losing on scored goals from Spain in 1984 when they ran up the score against Malta? You think such scenario’s don’t happen? On top of that, Huntelaar is not able to play along. Not able to wall pass. Not able to even have a decent first touch on the ball. Now he is also missing chances that have to go in.

    I say, when RVP is injured, Lens should be striker over Huntelaar and let’s play Robben or Elia at left wing. Narsingh, Lens, Robben. Now that is speed at the front. One of the fastest in the world.

    This gift we get is called Lens. Under the radar for so long as he was misused by Rutten for so long on the wing. From that people believe he is inconsistent and not that big of a deal. But Lens in striker has always been good for PSV 75% of the time. He just “never” played there. Now he is so good that he plays well on left wing nevertheless. If Lens has made the “click” in his career and finally starts to fulfill his promise, we have one hell of a player for qualification and WC. The best thing is that we also have a Clasie that unlike Nigel de Jong can send him away with a creative pass. Imagine Narsingh, Lens and Robben with Clasie in DM being able to turn around quickly and send them away with every turnover we get? That’s counter alarm every 7 to 10 minutes for the opponent. People would stop mentioning Real Madrid as the most dangerous counter team in the world and start talking about the Dutch NT :). However Lens is also great in the small spaces. He is a good overall footballer and man of the match in our 2 last games of Dutch NT.

    Our defense will invite every half decent opponent to come at us. We might just start thinking about punishing that. Lens is part of the answer in my opinion and not just on the wing.

    1. Another fan of lens 😛 , like me .
      I agree with you , always thought Lens is a big player in the making .
      However , i’m not sure if he really deserves to be the 2nd striker in Oranje ahead of Huntelaar atm , not sure also if van gaal will take this step .

      1. 3 goals and 2 assists in three international games for Lens can tell you something .
        I remember when Robben got injured in the Hungary game before WC 2010 , Lens was a big possibility to replace him although he was only 20 years .


      Ask yourself these questions:

      1. How many people could have pulled off such a goal?
      2. How many players would have gone for the keeper send off, rather then for the unlikely goal?

      In these times, where players go quicker to the ground than you can say “dive”, I would love to have a player in the Dutch NT to counter cynicism. Yes cynicism. I do not know what there is not to like about Lens. He is not only a quality injection, but also a antidote against cynicism that is becoming a dangerous standard in modern football.

        1. wow that is a phenomenal goal. i loved how you just started with that video as a statement… amazing lens!

          lens is def one of a kind however, that ball should have been passed 🙂 very lucky… but beautiful nevertheless

  9. we can’t guess that LVG think about the spot for players. In my opinion Lens had done his job in left bank in the match with Andorra although Lens is the forward in PSV.
    In the match with Rumania, I think Classie will play on De Jong’s spot. With any team of LVG, the defensive midfielder always had the vision and technical.

  10. OK, sooooooo Jan I think I am gonna write a little piece on our old friend Babel 😛 With the aid of some old football magazines I have ! Good times. Holla!

  11. Lens is alright – he did well against Hungary and Andorra!!!! Do you really want to play him against better ranked teams? Listen, I am all for team spirit and production but there is no replacement for talent.

    Say what you want but Lens doesn’t come close to Robben, Afellay on the wings… and he’s no RvP to be CF.

    I still think last game was more or less a practice session with LvG testing some of his players.

    For those of you waiting for Douglas – I think he would play against Romania only if the score is secure (i.e. Oranje up 3-1 or 4-1 by the 75th minute.) Otherwise, you need to wait one more game for him to feature.

    In all honesty, I think we need to worry about 1 position. Number 10 – Wes is injured, VDV is aging like milk and Afellay is not the man for the job (he has no vision).

    Here’s my line up:
    vRhijn – Heitinga – Vlaar – M. Indi
    Strootman – VDV – Afellay
    Narsignh – RvP – Lens

  12. Wijnaldum would be a good #10 although he is in the process of winning a starting spot with PSV. With Toivonen’s injury he’ll play more often.

  13. “Gerrard is good enough to convert to a centre-half. He’s competitive, reads the game brilliantly and has a terrific range of passing. The Germans have done it for years – Matthaus, Beckenbauer and Sammer all went back there. We should do that more. Instead, we get a player, put him in a position, then say, ‘He’s tired now, he hasn’t got the legs, get rid of him’. You wouldn’t say Glenn Hoddle is a physical player, but he did it. You might get muscled out of a tackle, you might lose a 50-50, but in modern football, the aggressive centre-halves, the bully boys with split eyes, have gone. You tackle once, it’s a yellow; the second tackle, you’re gone.You want players who can intercept, who can read the game and nick the ball.”
    Chris Waddle champions the novel idea of deploying Steven Gerrard at centre-back for England.

    Didn’t we discuss having Strootman as a centre back? Like Rinus tried with Rijkaard?

  14. Would Clasie work in the nr 10 spot?

    Also, I’m not very convinced about Hunterlaar’s form at the moment. I think we will run into serious trouble if he performs like this against better teams like Germany or Italy.

    1. There is no “#10” spot in LvG’s system. We play with a left midfielder, right midfielder and a central DM. Clasie could probably work in the right midfield spot, and personally I would deploy Anita as the DM in that case.

      Agreed about Huntelaar. In BvM’s system he was the ideal striker, but in LvG’s system it’s extremely important that the striker be involved in the buildup which Huntelaar slows down way too much

    1. My guess is that it was about rewarding hard work, in this case, a whole career.

      Did LVG ever get called to play for the NT? I really don’t know… but there are a lot of players who labor hard, year in and year out, their whole careers and don’t get called up.

      It was Andorra. Schaken took an injury instead of someone else. And he scored a goal in front of his idol.

      Not bad.

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