Oranje builds foundation

The big word after the France game, was “hopeful”. Somehow, we lost again. But instead of the drama after Van Gaal’s loss (“we can’t play 4-3-3 anymore but we can’t play 5-3-2 either…”) and the despair after Advocaat’s loss (“I really thought Sneijder in a three man’s midfield vs Kante would work”) we now have hope. We have light. We see the future.

And maybe it is justified. We were played off the pitch in the first stage of the game. We never looked like being able to compete. But when France took their foot off the gas, Oranje started to dominate the rhythm of the game. Or…did we force France to take their foot off? Hard to say.

But fact is, we did ok in the second half. We scored a good goal and we could have more.

And after the game. Ronald Koeman was quite clear and transparant. And angry as hell. “Two bad goals conceded. In games like this, against top nations, we need players who have the courage and mentality to put their claw in the challenge. And we didn’t. Blind didn’t in the run up to the first goal. Promes didn’t do too well. And Blind lost Mbappe, allowing him a tap in. And the second goal, Tete doesn’t put Mendy under pressure, while Van Dijk allows himself to be surprised. That cost us points.”

Koeman was pretty livid and it seems quite reasonable that Tete and Blind will have to watch themselves. Quincy Promes also didn’t impress but we know he’s quality and he just made a move to Spain etc etc. But with Bergwijn on the up and up, it might well mean the PSV winger will take the Promes role in a future match.

Tete lacks rhythm, and yes, he’s a good defender but no, he didn’t defend that cross. And moving forward, he was not as threatening as Janmaat or Karsdorp. In the first half, he was timid. In the second half he did run forward and immediately had the assist for Babel’s equaliser.

Koeman spoke after the game of “players having to put their claw in” referring to the lacklustre defending of Blind and Van Dijk (with the first and second goal). It’s a typical Dutch problem. It’s not just them, I think Janmaat, Propper, Frenkie de Jong, they all have that. The almost polite “after you” mentality.

Obviously, Frenkie de Jong was the highlight in the match. A debutant demanding the ball and always playing with a swagger. Good to see and we expect more from him. I thought Babel put in a real shift for the team, while Memphis also had good spells as the lone striker. And as someone noticed on the blog earlier, Wijnaldum is helped with a player like De Jong behind him. Gini gets involved earlier now and can use the space he finds.

I think the “Ajax” model Koeman is using can work well. But I also believe we need some changes. Blind is a question mark. Yes, he can be used on many spots in the team but he doesn’t excel in any of them. I think Van Aanholt and Kongolo are better left backs in Koeman’s system, while De Vrij and Van Dijk and De Ligt are better centre backs. Blind can play holding mid, but at this stage Propper and De Jong impress more.

I would love to see Karsdorp or Janmaat on the right. More threatening going forward. Frenkie de Jong should always play and I really like Donny van de Beek as well. Babel or Kluivert or Vilhena on the left flank, Bergwijn or Promes on the right and Memphis is a shoe in for central. I personally don’t see it in Ruud Vormer. Not good enough. Nothing special. No speed, no precision passing, no killer shot or extreme free kick. A good club player. Nothing more. We have many like that. Guus Til. Marten de Roon. Jorit Hendrix. Kevin Diks. Bart Ramselaar. Not Oranje material.

This team will most likely qualify and then we might see some underdog magic at the next tournament. All the lads will be 1.5 years older by then and we might even see some of the future stars make their way into the team. Let’s discuss these kids in a next post!

The first goal in the making. Promes heading the ball to Matuidi. Propper responding. Mbappe sprinting away from Blind. Who is glued to the pitch.

The second goal in the making. Benji “hit the cross early” Mendy is going to…well…cross the ball early. Tete keeps his distance. Van Dijk is surprised by Giroud who scores a goal he will never ever again score.


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  1. Donny van de Beek and Frenkie in midfield for me.

    For not with Wijnaldum. I personally am still not seeing what is so great about Propper.

    We really lack aggression in midfield. Not just tacking aggression, but pressing aggression, harrying aggression, interception and reading of the game aggression…. aka Davids, Nigel, van Bommel, Neeksens type. Up for the battle.

    That vibe in midfield would give people like Frenkie, Wijnaldum, Donny etc. And even the back four more confidence.

    Look at any team when Kante is around! Or Keane for Man U, Viera for Arsenal etc. back in the day.

    Do we have any youngsters (I know it’s early to say how they’ll develop) with some of those attributes coming through?

    1. Teun Koopmeiners.

      He is the best-kept secret for a modern controlling midfielder, but won’t be for long. He will be a household name soon. If he played for the Big 3 (Ajax/PSV/Fey), his name would have been all over the news already. A former defender, solid in tacking and marking. Also has a sweet left foot that can launch passes and hammer long-distance cannon. Would be a dream-pair with Frenkie De Jong.

      1. Its is defensive game that is a question mark.A modern day midfielder has to be round and have the ability to do dual function.at this point I dont think he is any different to hendrix and Blind who was often deployed at CM jus because of his ability to provide those overhead kick.

        Being said this he is defintely a player to keep a look out for.whats missing in the NT midfield is that grit and pysicality factor. Hendrix, van der beek, eiting, Blind, clasie, van ginkel simply dont have this and the others dont have what the above guys have.

        1. the whole video is about his attacking capabilities and very little on his defensive qualities. what you wanna see in there also his the other half, and only vs PSV, Ajax and Feyenoord, this can be determined.

        1. I am a big fan of Koopmeiners, but I have to admit that there are opportunities for improvement in the way how he defends. That is not only his problem, it is a problem of entire Dutch football which was built with the focus in attack. In the game with Heracles, e.g., his bad defending led to the second goal as he opened too much space. Many AZ fans blame central defense (Vlaar and Pantelis) for all conceded goals, but in reality the reluctance of the AZ right back (Jonas Svensson) to come back and the mistakes made by defensive midfielders (Teun and Fredrik) in positioning themselves during opponent attacks leave both Ron and Pantelis face to face with 2-3 attackers. Theoretically, these mistakes could be corrected easily and VdB always talks about those mistakes but in reality players, including Teun, do these mistakes over and over again. I think Dutch football lacks discipline both at club and national level.

          1. Well sumed up and this is pretty much the same story in NT. At best they need somebody like van Bommel.

    1. I didnt see it vs Portugal, even though the portguese played with 2 man midfield and man less . but still too early to judge. its not gonna get any easy for VDBeek at Ajax either. Neres , Ziyech and Tadic are lock. depending on the formation, schone, Frenkie, Eiting and VDBeek will have to fight it out for the remaining two midfield position.frenkie stamped is mark in the internationals and depending on whether Ten Hag uses him at CB or CM will determine the faith of others. if frenkie is deployed in the midfield then, out of schone, Eiting and VDBeek, somebody will see less game time. I cant see schone being benched by Ten Hag so most probably eiting and VDBeek will have to play second fiddle to the rest.

  2. In my humble opinion, Koeman doesn’t need to have a “perfect” player in midfield – player like this comes in a blue moon. It’s all about balance/chemistry and adaptability to the opponent’s game plan.

    Frenkie De Jong is a must in midfield. He is a deep-lying playmaker. His tasks are to
    dictate play from a rather withdrawn position (when compared to typical “10”) and to spray the ball forward. Think of him as a version of Pirlo/Xabi Alonso (not Sneijder-type).

    Koeman will need one attacking-minded “runner”. Speed and eye-on-goal are important attributes, as this player will be charging from midfield to the box as a second/third option behind the strikers. Wijnaldum is a near-certainty for this position. His form for Dutch NT is erratic, at best, but his experiences and inherent advantage playing for Liverpool (top club in tough league) are appreciated.

    The third player in midfield can be a number of options. Playing against “big guns” that likes to keep possession (France/Germany/Spain), I can see Koeman go with a “hustler” or “aggressor”, like Vilhena or Hendrix, to disrupt the flow of the game.

    Against other “normal” opponents, Koeman can either go with another energetic midfielder (Van De Beek or Vormer), or a more all-around midfielder like Propeer, De Roon, or Koopmeiners.

    I personally like to see Koopmeiners getting his chance, and sitting deep next to FDJ… almost operating as a second/back-up playmaker. Both players are extremely comfortable with the ball which helps with the ball retention, and both can deliver long passess to open up the field. Also Koopmeiners has niche skill in shots from distance, a really nice advantage (and a luxury) that Dutch NT hasn’t had the days of Wim Jonk. This kind of shooter will demand respect from the opponent’s defense, and prevent the strikers gets double-teamed.

    1. Agree but you need somebody to break the play down in middle. Prilo thrived in that deep lying player makers role simply because that extra CB used to provide cover for him. Thats how Conte master mined the juventus 3-5-2 formation with Chielleni, Bouncci and Barzagli at the back.this also became the spine of the Italian side when Conte took over the italy job.for the dutch side I cant see that working simply because the current backline is not up to par as what the trio of juventus were during Pirlo’s time. The gaps need closed and you need somebody with a big lungs who continuously runs with marker like a shadow and keep distracting him. This is what kante does the best. You will never see him standing. He keeps running and running. This is what you need in the midfield.

  3. I am actually feeling excited with the team..haven’t been so for a long time. 3-5-3 seems the formation to go. Love watching https://youtu.be/r2fFpZjQpr8

    Karsdorp/Janmaat for the RWB spot and Vilhena/Blind? for LWB spot
    Ake/Van Dijk/De Ligt/De Vrij for the 3 CB spots
    Bergwijn/Depay/Kluivert/Promes for the front 3 spots. The pace in among any of this trio will be frightening.
    FDJ/Wijnaldum/Propper/Strootman/De Beek for the 3 CM spots.

    No Babel and Vormer. And no Blind in the back 3.

    1. No strootman in midfeild as well…..
      We need to call back agile and fast defenders ,i mean tough nuts like Mensah and Bruma needs to be recalled…
      St juste and Ake ust be our breaker DM…they would be awesome..
      Virgil needs warnging for his complacency as does it very often….if Not we must start Devrij ahead of him as Devrij so alert and feel more safe and squre with devrij–Deligt comboination…
      De vrij may not have dreadlock hair…But he dont betray us…
      i can understand Daley blind issue as he is small and too slow hence he is helpless…But Van dijk needs sharpening in concentration…
      Please Promes lacks quality we dont need him…
      —-Frenkie———-Van debeek———-
      ————–Cillssen to start 433
      on bench

  4. Those Dutch players who are under pressure or are unable to perform to their best can follow the example of Roman burki the swiss goalkeeper who regularly consults a mental coach. NT players can also get into meditation as well as Yoga to gain mental health.

  5. I liked Dilrosun’s debut goal vs Wolfburg. A typical wingers goal, left footed, strong run and powerful shot.this is something I earlier mentioned is missing in NT. I wanna see Depay on the right doing simple things rather then on left where he looks predictable. Hope this guy will bring more to his game às he plays more at hertha.

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