Oranje experiments vs Angstgegner Portugal

For the non  Germanic speakers amongst us. An Angstgegner is an opponent that seems to always get the better of you. An opponent that instills fears in the hearts of the Orange Lions. An opponent we share a history with, and usually with not-so-good outcomes. In English it would be “anxiety opponent”.

Obviously, it’s Portugal I’m talking about.

Ronald Koeman will not be worried about the end result. He wants to keep on trying out new players and see other faces. Apparently he might change the team on 7 spots. Jesper Cillesen will definitely start, as will Tete in place of Hateboer. Ake might step in as centre back. According to the spies, Memphis and Wijnaldum will start for sure, as may Ryan Babel.

Koeman will keep on working on the system he started with at England, but will demand more “compactness” from the team without possession and much better quality in possession.

As he said after the England game: “You can’t expect us to just play England off the pitch in our first match.” I think a similar comment will be applicable for this match: “You can’t expect us to play European champions Portugal off the pitch in our second match.” And rightfully so.

The game will be played in Geneva, by the way, for some reason. So not as festive as a game in Holland, but also not as annoying as a game in Portugal…

I personally believe this 3-4-3 is not that ideal if you don’t have the players to execute it.

To sum it up, we need at least one central defender to be able to join in in midfield, with good passing abilities. For me, De Vrij/Van Dijk/De Ligt are too similar. I’d like to see Daley Blind in there.

I also believe that we need more leadership in midfield, from a tactical standpoint.

Against England, Henderson would drop deep which took Sterling back to midfield. They stretched Strootman and Wijnaldum who again had difficulties with the amount of space. We had a player over in the back and were lacking one in midfield. This Tottenham Hotspur system works well for the Spurs, but they have players like Son, Alli and Kane… We don’t…

Stefan de Vrij might not play, as his head might be a tad on his move to Internazionale, if we have to believe the Italian media. Apparently, Barcelona and Man City have shown interest as well and the Milan behemoth wants to do business quickly. I would normally suggest any Dutch player to sign with Barca and stay away from Inter, but as De Vrij is a defender, Inter might actually be great for him…

Ronald Koeman about his “system”: “I don’t use this system as a response to the opponent or something. I want to use this as our autonomous system, meaning we need to create things as well. Not just stop them. We didn’t create a lot against England, but then again: neither did they. I hear the English media were negative about us, but if we’re that bad, why didn’t England score four goals or more? I see this compact way of playing as the key to qualifying. I have gone from man to man marking to zonal marking and that is a big shift. We do need some more games to perfect it. We have four games to do so, before the real deal starts.”

Asked whether the debut game vs England was a failure, he is resolute. “Absolutely not. One has to start at some stage. If we would have picked Andorra or Luxembourg, we could have won and be proud and speak of a successful debut. But I don’t care about that. I care about perfecting the style we want to play in and against a strong opponent you know two things for sure: you can really test your strength, and you may lose… I don’t care, I want to see the progress and I want to see our players perform under pressure.”

So Monday evening, it’s Portugal. We don’t have very good stats vs the Portuguese…

In 2004, at the Euros in Portugal, we lost 2-1 in the semi finals. Ronaldo and Maniche score in the first hour and the Andrade own goal didn’t do much for us. Portugal got into the finals and got embarrassed by Greece.

In 2006, the Battle of Neuremburg happened. The Russian ref Ivanov produced 20 cards in total and I think he red carded one player twice. Or he yellow carded a player thrice. Or he sent a birthday card to Van Basten, I can’t remember. Again, Maniche scores for Portugal. No one knows where it went wrong. Oranje was tight as a string, following some internal issues (Van Nistelrooy, Van Bommel) and Cocu famously hit the bar, as Tiju famously keeps on ranting about how Kuyt cost us the tournament. Or something. Or Memphis. Can’t remember that either. Trying to block this game from memory as I do with Tiju.

In 2012, Holland has a chance to progress but it needs to win vs Portugal, after having lost against the Danes and the Germans. Rafael van der Vaart scores the first one and hits a similar shot on the post. Two C Ronaldo goals from a counter later and Holland goes home.

In 2000, I think we lost against Van Gaal as well. Two qualification games vs Portugal. We lost 0-2 at home. Famously, the right full back Reiziger played on the left and his misplaced pass ended up in the feet of an opponent. The other goal came when the Oranje defense stopped playing as some moron (Tiju??) blew a whistle on the stands. The Dutch players thought the game was stopped, the Portuguese players didn’t. In the away game, we took revenge and were 0-2 up with 10 minutes to go. Van Gaal was keen to kill Portugal off and brought two extra strikers in the last stage of the game. When the last whistle sounded, it was 2-2.

Didn’t we ever win against these guys?? Yes we did. In qualifying for the EC1992 in Sweden. Portugal had won at their home, 1-0. And it was Richard Witschge who scored the winner for us in De Kuip, 1-0. Enough for us to qualify.

Lets add another win tonight.

I say: 0-2 for Holland. Memphis scoring and a debut goal by Justin Kluivert…

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  1. For the first time in a long time, I like our CB’s. But yes I think Ake is filling in for de Vrij this game. I also read somewhere that Vilhena will be filling in as LB for this game, which is an interesting experiment.

    I didn’t think the 3-4-3 worked for us, but also see flaws with a 5-3-2 which generally needs Strikers, which we actually lack. Van Nistelrooij and Kluivert or Bergkamp could have thrived in this system. But guys like Memphis and Babel want space to run at defenders, and will prefer to be out wide. Holland will always develop more wingers than strikers so I think we ideally would need to learn to play 3 up front.

  2. @ Jan

    I disagree with your comments on Hateboer ability to come with good crosses.if you look at england game one of the reason why wingbacks were not involved much was because there werent much interplay going on with midfielders. When you are playing 3-4-3, you have to bring the wing backs into the game and this was poorly utilized. There was one instance where Hateboer made the run and gave a pass inside to go on the overlap. I think it was Dost who instead of feeding him again gave a backward pass which went straight to a england player6.

    I dont think hateboer received any ball in open where he could cross as Promes to was dropping deep. Looking from some of his Atanlata games he is more a offensive player and I was quiet suprised with his defensive game which I suspected would be his downfall especially with sterling on his side.but he managed well.

    It will be intresting to see both him and karsdorp develop in Serie A.

    As for the left wingback, if there is any other player to be looked at, its this guy.


    A very versatile who can play anywhere on the left.is both footed and is a pocket rocket.

    1. Hateboer was notorious at Groningen with his poor final ball, sorry mate. He has improved already but he again had a poor ball from the flank when he got in a position to cross vs England.

      Janmaat and Karsdorp are definitely better in that department. Hands down.

  3. Also given the midfield is a concern I would like to see Koeman take a look at Joey Pelupessy of sheffied Wednesday.he was the captain of Heracles Almelo side that reached europa league in 2016-2017 season I think and was scooped up by the championship side. A defensive and solid midfielder who still is 24.could be an all time low for dutch football but hey look around there aint much on the plate either.you have established players who cant perform, some are injury prone so why not look else where and give them a shot.
    One feature of game is he likes to go into contact and has had good reviews since joinning wednesday. Worthy keep a tab on him.

  4. I know it’s still too early to say if Frenkie de Jong will be our best player in midfield but I have my hopes on him. He is a natural talent and really hope he can become a huge asset for the team.

    We are lacking a creative player in midfield who can actually change a game with a killer assist like Xavi and Iniesta for Spain, or Sneijder for us.

    I think our future is with Kluivert, Locadia, Bergwijn, Frenkie de Jong, De Ligt. These lads have tons of quality let’s hope they can actually become huge stars.

    1. I think he may not necessarily be some shining light for us, but I think having him to play in front of the defense will make selecting a formation much easier.

  5. @derekvdberg I don’t understand your comments about our strikers in the 5-3-2.

    At the contrary, I think this system fits very well strikers like Depay, because it offers him more space than the 3-4-3. In fact, I think that Depay played very well against England when Koeman switched the 3-4-3 for the 5-3-2 substituting Promes by Propper.

    Also, in 2014 WC, Depay played well there.

    Johan Cruyff used to say that if one player wants to help another player, the best way to do it is running far from him. And I think this could be done better playing with 2 strikers.

    I think we have dynamic strikers for this position in men like Promes, Depay, and Jannsen.

  6. De Ligt has secured his spot in Holland to me. And also probably a move to Barcelona after these two games. Great moving forward, awesome assist

    1. He’s now at the level of one of the best defender in the world i think, he can make Ronaldo quiet, that to prove his quality, no reason that he cannot play for Barca

      1. Yes it is basic thing.Danny Blind never understood it..many doent understand that..u start evrything from there..Do we need strootman??Dost????just for that he is playing protugal??thats a negative approach..
        Finally Memphis found where he can play well..As shadow striker/false striker is really handy than Dost..

  7. For the first time in 4 years, I actually enjoy the game play. It looks like we finally have a plan going into a game instead of backpass and sidepass

  8. 3-0 now. Memphis floats in the cross, de Ligt sets up van Dijk with a pass header the same quality as a world class striker and van Dijk hammers home.

  9. Depay and Babel is doing pretty well in holding up the ball. I think we should keep the same team for second half. Portugal will try to get their revenge and this would a real test.

  10. Cillessen 8/10
    van Dijk 8/10
    Ake 8/10
    de Ligt 9/10
    Vilhena 7/10
    Tete 7/10
    Propper 7/10
    van de Beek 8/10
    Wijnaldum 7/10
    Depay 8/10
    Babel 7/10

    de Ligt & van de Beek look like future regulars for this squad. Confident veteran type display from both.

    Not to take anything away from Oranje today but Portugal really looked bad. Chemistry was off. Ronaldo was handled very well by the Oranje defense.

    All this team needs moving forward are a few quality strikers.

    1. Propper was incredible last night!! You should have gave him a higher grade than that. Imo he was the main reason why we performed a lot better than what we have in the past.

  11. I know all of you guys are hyping up this win but to be honest Portugal isn’t much better than a team like moracco or Norway. Portugal has one player. Ronaldo. Asides from him a 6 year old girl soccer team could beat them. But all of you who doubted that Netherlands aren’t one of the best in the world should stop watching soccer because you don’t know what you are talking about

    1. Seriously.you jus have no clue what you are saying.koeman tatic of going with 3 midfielders was a master stroke to that of 2 of the portugese. The portgues midfield simply opened up and this is where their forwards to were dropping deep.but again it was rotation for santos too.they are a good side,with good depth, they jus need to find the right combination especially in the midfield.

  12. All I have to say is that I am happy with the result and with the player’s attitude.

    Van de Beek and De Ligt were really good so was Propper he gives speed to our midfield. Even Wijnaldum finally played well for Oranje!.

    Koeman is making some nice changes to the team.

  13. I just regret if we have Koeman instead Danny, Dick during qualification round then maybe we will see Orange at WC, we have to accept that now our Orange in the phase of transition & not good as we use to be, but if a head coach know how to utilize resource the result shouldn’t that bad, VanGaal is an example at WC 2014.

  14. @Kevin: “For the first time in 4 years, I actually enjoy the game play. It looks like we finally have a plan going into a game instead of backpass and sidepass”.

    Exactly!!! It looked like Koeman could actually make the team understand how he wanted them to play and what he expected from them. We finally played as a team.

    It’s only a friendly and we are far from being a good team but we are making progress.

    1. I think the wingbacks were involved more in this game compared to the england game and again this was due to the midfield.its no doubt koeman analyzed the Portuguese tatic well and their 2 men midfield were no match to the dutch midfield who outplayed them.if a midfielder like propper starts dictating the midfield then you know something is not right.A three man portguese midfield would have countered better koemans 3-5-2

      all and all it was battle of tatics which Koeman won. the positives form this two games should be base for the next games.

  15. Well maybe Rome can be built in 3 days…maybe not, but a good performance.

    Interesting (to me, anyway) was how deep Propper played. I thought he’d be pushed up behind Depay and Babel, instead he set up just in front of the defense. Not the most physical or dynamic player, but he seemed to always be where he was supposed to be, and he made a very good play/pass on the break out that led to the first goal.

    Backline was very good; a real foundation to build on. Much will be said about de Ligt, and rightly so, but Ake had an excellent game, too. He bottled up whoever ran at him (Ronaldo, Martins—who looks like a real player—anyone who came into his area), and looked good on the ball when coming out of the back. I thought the back 3 was better before they brought on De Vrij and slid VVD to the left. But the game was kind of falling apart by then…so maybe hard to judge.

    Liked the fb/wingback play, too. These guys looked to their defensive responsibilities first.

    I haven’t looked, but I am curious about the possession numbers…even when Portugal went down to 10 men, it seemed like Oranje never had the ball.

    All in all. Good for Oranje…already looking forward to the next matches.

    1. “Liked the fb/wingback play, too. These guys looked to their defensive responsibilities first.”

      well, that was expected, since it’s Vilhena and Tete. put Karsdorp/Janmaat or Van Aanholt/Zeegelaar, and it’ll be different. not saying that it’s bad thing, but as long as the passing sequence works, deploying defensive minded FB/WB is fine (and let the CMs run forward and do the crosses).

  16. We have a much more solid defence than the last 10-15 years.. problem is I can’t be excited about any of our players on the offensive side. I really hope Kluivert is as good as he’s being hyped.

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