Oranje and blog are back!

Hi all, my deepest apologies for leaving you by yourself for so long… It’s just life, I guess. Work was crazy and on top of that I relocated from the most Westerly point in Australia to the most Easterly point. As if you go from West Ireland to East Ukraine. It always takes its toll.

But with Oranje back, so am I. I hope you didn’t miss me.

Lets dive in!

In the past months we have seen some incredible progress in our players, and our teams. Really good to see how Van Bommel is injecting PSV with some venom, and with a lot of young exciting players! Also just amazing to see how Ajax is doing in Europe and how the international media and football world is paying attention.

At the same time, our lads abroad are establishing themselves well, with an exception here or there (Memphis in Lyon). But Cillessen, De Vrij, Virgil, Wijnaldum, Ake, Klaassen, Promes, our lads in Italy, most players are doing really well!

And the optimism around this Oranje is well deserved. We have been winning again and we see players with smiles on their faces. That is what we want.

The 4-0 win over Belarus was exactly what the doctor ordered. And it allowed Koeman to put some sharpness into the team by criticising them afterwards. Typically something he borrowed from JC, Van Hanegem and Van Gaal. When the team disappointed and the fans are down, you build them up. When the team cruised past an opponent, scores goals and excels in backheels and trickery, you talk them back down to Earth.

Because…. Germany is waiting!

In this qualification series, Germany and Holland are the two main contenders. So, winning once again Germany and simply winning all your other matches will get you safely to the first Pot of the Euro draw.

Koeman decided not to tinker. He thought the De Roon / De Jong partnership worked well and decided to start Propper off the bench. He also believes in the triangle of Babel, Memphis and Gini with Bergwijn as the free wanderer in the Promes role.

Oranje started on the front foot and Man of the Match Memphis scored within the first minute after a sloppy backpass. The Lyon striker still had a lot to do and took on the goalie, to finish off with a curvy snooker shot, inside post: 1-0.

The 2-0 was set up by Wijnaldum. He took the ball under pressure, found a free runner on the right and it was Dumfries who had the pre-assist, crossing the ball to Memphis, who backheeled it into the path of Wijnaldum again: 2-0.

With more than 30 mins to go in first half, Koeman wanted his team to be more business like and kill the game off. “I wasn’t happy in the break. I saw a confident and cocky Oranje, but it wasn’t time for gallery play. With 2-0, they can always get back into it, with a lucky deflection or something and then it is game on. You need to kill the game off: 3-0 before the break. Then 4-0 after the break and then you can play your backheels. I don’t think this stadium (Feyenoord stadium) ever saw this many tricks in one match!”

Memphis is one of the leaders of this new Oranje. Koeman made that clear when he started and he will not share in the doubts, expressed by Lyon’s coach. “Memphis is remarkable. He is top class and I don’t doubt him at all.” Koeman has the frame of the team in place, and he will be very happy indeed. Jasper Cillessen is in top form, even if he is #2 at Barca. De Ligt and Van Dijk are world class, Frenkie is key and with Memphis we have a forward leading the line with all his specific qualities. He can shoot from distance, he can dribble, he can pass and move, he can find the killer pass… He is the total package.

Around that axis, Koeman has wonderful options. Bergwijn or Berghuis. Different type of wingers. Then there is Promes. Babel. The two youngster Dilrosun and Danjuma and more coming through swiftly. In midfield, Propper, Klaassen, Vilhena, Van de Beek, Rosario and more in the ascendency. And the same can be said for our backline. Nathan Ake and Stefan de Vrij are our benchwarmers. That tells the story.

For the Germany game, Koeman had to call up Hans Hateboer of Atalanta. Dumfries is not 100% and Tete had to leave the pitch vs Belarus (after coming on as a sub) with a hamstring issue. I can see why Koeman wanted Hateboer over Janmaat, to take on Sane. The mercurial left winger of City is the biggest danger (with Reus) and Janmaat probably lacks the speed and defensive nous to deal with Sane. But with Dumfries not 100%, I think I would have called Janmaat anyway.

So far so good! We’ll probably see almost the same 11 play against Germany, as Koeman will want to work towards a team with some solidity. De Roon was taken off vs Belarus as he was yellow carded but I do expect him to be in the team again, as an extra safeguard in midfield, so Frenkie can play with some more freedom.


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  1. Jan, welcome back! I agree, the boys looked good out there. Looks like a group that enjoys playing together, where everyone understands and buys into their role, etc. I love Koeman’s comments for the guys to keep the tricks for when the game has been iced decisively, not only to keep their edge while the result is still in doubt, but to keep from provoking opponents into targeting our best youngsters out of feelings of disrespect. Reminded me of Frenkie during the last Real game fancy dribbling on the edge of his own box against two pressuring attackers. Confidence is one thing, cockiness is another. Cockiness gets you targeted. But they’re a football-smart bunch of of kids, and to me Ronald Koeman (pride of Groningen, my home province) looks the right man to groom them for greatness. Bring on Germany – Deutschland Unter Alles!

  2. Can anybody tell me why Berghuis never play for netherland?? I think he is a better winger than Bergwijn. Bergwijn wasnot good in last game for dutch. What is koeman problem with Berghuis? Just a try. I think he can do better than babel and bergwijn.

    1. Only koeman can answer that question. Could be what he see in the trainng run. My personal take, he hasnt been able to establish himself at top level. He only looks good when given space, if you close that you close him. He is good at set pieces and also can be detrimental when cutting inside from the right like Robben.its just that he doesnt have enough pace to complement these attributes and take it to another level.can be a impact player but will be swept aside when more speedy and tricky wingers jump onto the NT stage.stengs etc

  3. Second win for the u19s in euro qualifers and they only need to draw vs spain to qualify for the summer games. One stand out figure in side has been Juan Familia Castillo of chelsea.

  4. @ Andrew

    Part 2

    “What would be your proposal for how he should he go about building that chemistry given the restrictions of operating a national team”

    For me the one team that I always admire and their approach when it comes to international stage is the Italian team. If you compare the friendly that the dutch played with them last year, half of the dutch team is still intacted todate and are still playing together while jorginho was the only itlalian player from that game that featured in the recent qualifers for them vs Finland, the other day. I must say here that rotation has worked for Mancini big time and now things are starting to fall into its place. Like koeman, Mancini also had restrictions of operating the team but yet its paying dividends for him. If you think about it, players like Barella (cagliari),Biraghi( Fiorentina), Piccini( Valencia), they have all jumped onto the scene and nailed their spots. How has all this come about? Rotation and this just keeps building their depth. if you compare this to the dutch then probably groeneveld is the only one that would be in the same boat as them. And again Mancini doesnt seem to be stopping. Kean just played one game for juventus, one goal, gets the nod and rest is history.I dont think mancini will think twice now calling him again and he is still 18.

    This is where I feel koeman is on a different road like what you have mentioned.

    “Koeman is doing nothing more or less than NT managers have always done—selecting and starting the players he thinks will give him the best chance of winning the games that count, and hoping that his selection gels. So far it has.”

    I will say here it has worked for them because other teams are in transition as well except for France and they will come toe to toe at some stage and thats where dust will settle. This will define which platform was the best and which coach got it wrong.

    Looking at De ligts performance vs Belarus I wouldnt have minded giving Ake the nod with Van Dijk. You also said something about

    “Would you have started one of them against Belarus? Doesn’t it make sense that De ligt and Van Dijk would play together in the Belarus game so that, after not playing with one another for months, they can re-acclimate to each other as preparation for the Germany match?”

    Yes I would, it doesnt make sense, to get re acclimatize they have to play together. On a day if de ligt or van dijk is injured , its back to square 1.this is where by having depth through rotation can come in useful.I think any CB playing with Van dijk now has to play in his shadows simply because thats how it is. He is the captain, he calls the shots at the back and you just have to do what warranted. I mean for sure van dijk must be talking to de ligt when he puts a step wrong.I dont think thats getting re acclimatize but jus watching each others back.im sure van dijk would do the same if he is playing with any one else for that matter.

    On the other you look at the germans and jochim Low, on the eve of the qualifers he has dropped two of their top centre backs and has opted to go with entirely new backline except for Sule.

    Could koeman would have done this?

  5. Berghuis has has his matches for Oranje, but Bergwijn (and Danjuma, Dilrosun) are different players for that role.

    Berghuis wants the ball to his feet. He slows the game down a bit as he plays like a midfielder. He is not the hardest worker / runner in the game and doesn’t run in behind, as Bergwijn and Co do. Which is needed in this system (Memphis also comes into the ball).

    Berghuis would be best suited as the assist king for a striker like Luuk de Jong.

    With Bergwijn and Berghuis, Koeman has two different style of right wingers he can use.

  6. NT plays “a la Danny Blind” time football when nobody cared about anything… Too much given space….Curious to see what Koeman is going to do

  7. sofascore.com gives a rating to each player in a realtime. De Ligt and Blind have humiliatingly lowest scores 5.8/10 and 5.9/10, respectively.

    1. I dont kown whats wrong with de ligt but for blind its nothing new.these are the games where you expect the curtain to be raised which he is wearing around.

  8. Sane and Gnabry are causing so much problem. Loew’s plan in working to perfection so far because the Orange defense is leaving so much space behind them.

    Babel should have scored at least one of his chances. When strikers don’t convert, the pressing game doesnt work.

    Koeman needs to make some changes.

    1. Oh no, buddy. I will never blame our forwards in this particular match. All blame goes to defense and midfield: look how poor de Roon and Wijnaldum play. They do not move at all. De Ligt is so heavy as if he worked our all night and now can not move at all….Blind is completely outrun by Germans. I can blame Babel for unwillingness to go back and defend.

      1. I wasn’t absolving the defense or midfield. I’m just saying that when you press so much, it’s always a gamble because your defense is very exposed. Unless you score, you can’t make your opponent pay.

  9. As expected

    Leroy sane is our nightmare. He is playing like an “ operational knife” cutting inside our defense comfortable the whole 45 min

    As I have mentioned many times , our attaching force is simply not sharp enough. Our wingers don’t function

    Babel is playing good but not good enough.
    He should have taken those two goals

    Promes is not up to the level

    Depay seems not having enough sleep enough

    Koeman looks hopeless and out of any plan B

    Should Danjuma or dilrosun been here perhaps we can safe the game

    Except praying I don’t know what else we can do now

    We need a stronger midfield , someone more talent to replace Wijnaldum

    1. I think, it is not fatigue, it is an underestimation of the young German team. Dutch have an interesting mentality, the moment they get praised for a good game, they believe things are done and they can rest. Mentality has been the main issue of Oranje all the time…

      1. I said this before, it was coming. Teams will not be in transition for long. Soon or later koeman was going to be caught as he opted to build the team around a few players like van gaal and danny.

  10. I watched only 40 minutes of the game and can not comment on entire match but from what I saw we are back to our Danny Blind playing style. Except Depay entire team looked pretty bad.

  11. Koeman needs to work on team’s mentality. Despite victory against Belarus, he was not very happy with how Oranje played. Now I understand why….

  12. I don’t know what to say. This game was very winnable for Oranje. The Germans had so many problems. They were just hanging on for a draw. Their patience was rewarded. Best way to beat Oranje is to be patient. Wait for them to lose focus and pounce. Loew knows this better than anyone.

    Koeman really needs to emphasize structural discipline when the team doesn’t have the ball. There’s so much space for the opposition to operate. Players need to quickly mark their opponents and not allow them to dribble comfortably.


  13. I think frenkie is not really good player. I cannot see him in this game. He was invisible and never doing anything for us. Their third goal was not superb goal. It was really simple a little speed and then a accurate shot. Where were our defending mids. Except memphis all the team was sloppy. They really need improvement. Dumfries and de ligt and blind are really looking bad.

    1. I think Frenkie did well in second half , despite he has some errors

      He’s only 21 and still developing

      It was a bad day for Holland and Germans had been losing too many games . They were simply fighting for their lives , which Oranje was hard to fake underestimating them a bit

  14. A terrible loss and the pressure will be on us for the next half year as the next game will be away in Germany …

    We really shouldn’t lose this game a draw at least

    But being optimistic maybe it’s good that we lose this game , hoping it can be a wake up call for koeman

    He really needs to inject more new talent from
    The under 21 and under 19 coming in

    The English , Italian and Germans even the Spanish are doing a lot better in these aspects

    If we still see the faces of Luuk and strootman, then we won’t see much hope for the upcoming World Cup

  15. North ireland win in last minute against belarus. I just think can they be new iceland and new nightmare for netherlands?? We really need a draw tonight. Just little waste a time. Im very depressed and really dont know how to sleep

    1. It is this obsession about playing a certain type of football. Always worried about playing attractively or offensively. It is great to have a distinct style that you are known for but it also can hurt you and makes you very predictable. Opponents will know what to do against you and you lose the surprise factor.

      It is great when it works and you have world class players who can execute your plan, but it becomes a liability when you have average players. As a team you need to have flexibility to switch your style depending on the opponent you play and take more caution in certain games.

      Anyways, this team has made a lot of progress since that World Cup qualifying debacle. This game vs Germany was a wake-up call. There’s still a lot of work to be done.

  16. We had a good run and were fooled to believe we finally have a great team. Holland is only a good team. To lose in Johan Cruyff arena in last minute against Germany is depressing. A Germany with a bunch of unknown young players that seemed to be fluid and dangerous everytime that went in attack. We made a bunch of mistakes , were slow, no fantasy, tired and oftentimes lazy. That 3rd goal was embarrassing just like the 2 previous ones. Even against Belarus we were not great but had a huge luck in scoring early. The group becomes tough now. With Babel, Promes , deRoon we may not pass this group. I expected much better from Koeman. We SHOULD not have lost this game. It may a have lasting psychological effect on our players.

      1. @Wilson,

        the biggest difference between Dost and Weghorst is that the latter does not wait for service rather he develops an opportunity. He is a working horse. However, I still do not think that Weghorst is Oranje material.

        The problem of Oranje is mentality, which often is manifested in swagger, carelessness, and arrogance. Our captain said before the game:” We will beat THIS Germany”, after the game he reversed it: ” There is still way to go for THIS Oranje”…Make your mind, senior el Capitan.

        I am very angry and disappointed not because of loss but because of the way we played.

        1. Maybe our captain has become a little arrogant. After all he is hailed by many in england as the best CB in Europe or the Wolrd. But if Gnabry runs circles around you then you better bite your tongue. VVD has a lost a few points in my eyes.
          Holland will never find another opportunity to bury Germany. Germany is only looking up after this point. In the end out of 3 last games against them we ended up at 1-1-1 which could have easily been 1-0-2 if we didn’t get that miracle 2-2 the previous game. In that game we also we played crap.

  17. In THIS Oranje, Weghorst would be a good replacement for Babel. I do not think he would have missed one of the those opportunities that Babel got yesterday.

      1. Hello AZ Forever

        I was more talking about both in NT context. I agree Weghorst work rate is better than to that of Dost and but at NT level its all about goals and not just about workrate especially when you are playing a striker. (remember Janssens situation at tottenham). I think in NT, Weghorst will find himself in the (same boat as Janssen when he was at tottenham. the reason being No 1 because of Depay whom always will take the bigger piece of cake making him the focal point which koeman is exactly doing now and no 2 if he (Weghorst) moves around trying to services others around him then who will score the goals. this has been a feature of him at wolfburg and he is enjoying a lot of minutes because of this and plus of his work rate like you said. With strikers like dost and Weghorst you have to make them the focal point which aint gonna happen with the current set up in NT

        the idea of 4-4-2 would mean sacrificing a midfielder which intended will disrupt everything koeman has done and given the situation of the midfied in NT now I dont think koeman will wanna squash all the hard work he has done till thus far.

        Weghorst over Luuk defintely yes.

          1. Just forgot to mention,in a 4-4-2 formation I think Locadia would be the best option upfront with Depay.he has worked hard at Brighton and Hove and has finally come into spot light, fitting the bill which Brighton splashed on him.

  18. Everybody sees a game differently.

    What I saw was that in the first half the Germans’s tactics caused real problems for the Dutch. They started in a 3-5-2, and Gbnabry and Sane played more inside so that rather than running at the fullbacks, they were running in the channel between the fullbacks and the Central Defenders, and the extra man in MF was always an outlet. If I recall correctly, the Dutch didn’t get a meaningful possession until after 4 minutes into the match. And from the tactical platform, the Germans kept running MF’s into spaces created by the runs of Gnabry and Sane, cutting the Dutch defense open…I know that Babel had his two misses, but on the other end Cilleson made two sparkling saves just to keep the game at 2-0…I’m sure Loew was ruing those misses as much as Koeman was Babel’s.

    In the second half, two things happened they got a better hold of the German tactics (HT adjustments I presume) and they stepped up their pace. And even after they tied it, the Dutch kept pressing like they were certain the 3rd goal was coming. (I sure did.) Then they got caught out, and not sure whether it was fatigue or laziness or a lapse in concentration, but it happened. Tough to swallow.

    But give Germany its due. They are a good team, and their attacking group has a clear edge over the Dutch group. The one thing that did become The NT does not have outside players comparable Gnabry and Sane at the moment. And aside from Memphis nothing close to the 5-6 top German forwards. On its bench, Germany had Reus, Haivertz, Werner. Somebody may spring up out of the Bergweijn, Dilrosun, Kluivert, Groeneveld, Stengs, et al, group, to join Memphis, but as of now they are lacking a top level outside forward. Memphis has been magnificent leading the line; giving him someone to play off of, and with, could send this team up another level.

    1. I waiting for your analysis Andrew and I must say you are spot on. you just have take whats on the plate at the end of day and the Germans won the tactical battle with contingent they had . I said this before, no team will be in transition for long and I saw this coming after the second leg of the nations league.

      as I said it was tactical battle of the coaches and it was Low in the first half, tacticaly what you said about Sane and Gnabry and Koeman in the second half when he released Dumfries upfront with Blind, de ligt and van Dijk as Back three.the tide then again swung into lows favor when he brought on Reus.you have to give credit to Low here, he had the balls to bring on a Reus when the dutch were restlessly raiding them for the winner. any other coach would have brought on defensive utilities to see the game and thats what koeman said after the game that the loss was his fault as he wanted to bring on ake for an attacking mind player and see the game off as draw , but he failed to do.this shows how the two coaches were battling tactically. I suspected when reus came on, the german formation changed to some what as Schulz started to drift inside and Reus stretched the defense out. if you look at Schulz goal, all van dijk , de ligt and Blind were caught out together on right.well it worked for them and that was it.

      from another point of view if this game would have ended in a draw or if the dutch would have found the winner, the critics would have turned everything around in the dutch favour, I mean epic come back, dutch resilience compared to what we are hearing now Van Dijks weakness, making babel the scape goat and other loop holes in the team which has suddenly surfaced up.

      there is no doubt that koeman and this team will qualify for the euros but I dont think this team would have stand a chance if they would have had to start the euros tomorrow .

      1. @Wilson,

        Just to be clear, I thought the German tactics in the first half caught the Dutch out, but whatever adjustments Koeman made at half time were equally effective for the NT, and they had by far the better play in the second half. So, I’d call that aspect of the game a draw between Loew and Koeman. I don’t fault Koeman for not settling for a draw—as much as it looked like the 3rd goal was coming, I can’t imagine too many coaches who would have dialed back. Perhaps if this were the end of the group and the Dutch needed only a draw to qualify, it would have been different, but playing in only the 2nd game of the qualifiers, at home, in a group with three other teams that shouldn’t give them any worry, I’m happy that he didn’t settle, and was looking for the win. It didn’t work out; nothing to do but turn the page and get on with the Nations League and the remainder of the qualifiers.

        You are absolutely right though, had they found the winner, or even a draw, they would have been haled for their comeback. So, too, if Deligt hadn’t slipped, if Babel had opened his foot by another quarter turn on his first opportunity, or if, if, if…we would be toasting them.

        I guess my feeling is that it was a tough loss to take, but I agree with ycsng below, I liked what I saw of the team—their ability to ramp up, and their fight. They are light years ahead of where they were when Koeman took over, and, with the hoped for development of some of their young attackers, they’ll have an even higher ceiling.

  19. I just dont understand whats up with these dutch coaches.again van der looi started van drongelen at LB vs USA U21 instead of Malacia. How will the transition to NT happen if this kind of rotten selection keeps taking place. I mean clearly van drongelen is a CB material and he doesnt have the pace of LB, so why groom him at LB. Hoogmas selection is suspicious for me and looks like another daddy is working behind the scene to get his son into business.

    The lineup vs USA U21.

    NED: 1-Maarten Paes, 2-Deyovaisio Zeefuik, 3-Danilho Doekhi, 4-Justin Hoogma, 5-Rick van Drongelen, 6-Teun Koopmeiners (capt.), 8-Dani de Wit, 10-Ferdi Kadioglu (20-Abdou Harroui, 74), 7-Calvin Stengs (17-Tahith Chong, 76), 9-Donyell Malen, 11-Justin Kluivert (22-Cody Gakpo, 87)

    Subs not used: 12-Jordan Teze, 13-Perr Schuurs, 14-Armando Obispo, 15-Tyrell Malacia, 16-Jan Hoekstra, 18-Deroy Duarte, 19-Kaj Sierhuis, 21-Nathan Markelo, 23-Thumen Nijhuis

  20. Actually I liked what I saw in the Dutch play against the Germans, despite the loss. The play is forward thinking and purposeful. Admittedly, the defense struggled with Sané the 1st half, but we recovered very well in the 2nd to keep him quiet. Sané is a very good player and surely not easy to contain even if you are Van Dijk it De Ligt. It’s always going to be 50-50 in the duels.

    I am expecting the team to further improve with more players such as Danjuma, Stengs, Kluivert, Ihattaren, Zirkzee coming thru over the next 1-2years.
    Would love to see us winning the Nations League this year. It’s surely possible.

  21. another failure for Maarten Stekelenburg and another drought for the u19s.I think the KNVB should show him the exist this time around. he has now failed with some of the very talented contingent. both Redan and Zirkzee failed to live up to their high profile expectation while Thomas Buitink was overlooked to them.

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