Oranje finishes campaign on a high!

Another match played in the “old rubbish stadium” of De Kuip. The final match of these series, after two wins and one draw. Oranje had to play in Rotterdam, much to LVG’s chagrin, as the Stones were supposed to play in the Johan Cruyff Arena in Amsterdam, but due to a positive Covid test, Jagger had to cancel. How Rock & Roll is that? They performed for years in a state of drugged up drunkenness but Covid positive? No rock, no roll.

Van Gaal re-iterated before the game, that yes the pitch is amazing and yes, the fans and the vibe in De Kuip are brilliant, but he has no place to put his 50 odd staff members. WHAT?

Van Gaal fielded a team with players who 1) hadn’t played much yet and 2) players he wanted to test (in partnership and by themselves).

Cillesen was back from a slight knee injury (hit his knee to the post at practice) and De Ligt got the nod to play skipper and centrally in defence. Jordan Teze got a chance on the right hand side with right back Hateboer next to him. Martins Indi was our left centre back.

More importantly, Vincent Janssen got the chance to show himself. An “exam” is how Van Gaal put it.

Sadly, no Schouten next to Frenkie, I would have liked to see that combination.

The away game versus Wales was slow and boring to watch, at times. This time around, the pace was way better and the intent was clearly there. As was Wales’, who didn’t park the bus like the Polish, but who wanted to be adventurous.

This resulted in a fun match.

Vincent Janssen needed some time to settle and his hard feet did indeed show themselves early in the game. But as the game went on, the former Feyenoord prospect did better and better, resulting the assist for the first goal, by Noa Lang. Lang is a player who will always try something. Playing “normal” is not good enough for the cheeky fan favorite. He too needed some time to settle but demonstrated his talent at numerous times. None more so with the goal. A swivel, a chop, a turn and a shot: 1-0. In that move, Jordan Teze needs to be mentioned too. His forward press resulted in turnover of possession and got the ball to Janssen for his assist.

Not much later, Vincent also won two headers in a row, getting the ball into the feet of our #10 Cody Gakpo who scored the second time of asking: 2-0. Earlier versus Wales, it seemed the orange jersey was too heavy for the PSV star but this time around he played a great game. Demanding the ball, finding spaces and basically hardly losing possession. He’d end the game with a 90% pass accuracy rate!

We expected Oranje to push through and we did get chances. Vincent Janssen was close too after stealing the ball after another good pressing moment but the shot sailed wide.

It took a series of Oranje mistakes to gift Wales their goal. Teze, playing in Timber’s place, did exactly what Van Gaal didn’t like about Timber! He dribbled into midfield, without knowing what the plan was. He didn’t see an option, he doodled a bit and lost possession against Dan James. Still, there were 5 players (!) in the rest defence and a goalie. And they all failed to help Teze out: Hateboer could have squeezed, De Ligt should have stepped in, instead of dropping back and Martins Indi made a strange diagonal run which didn’t help. Last but not least, our goalie Cillesen made a little jump up right at the moment the shot came in. As a result, he was not able to be in time with his dive sideways and block the shot: 2-1.

Cillesen and his little “hop” right when the ball is shot on goal… costing him seconds…

Van Gaal would have been pretty peeved with these series of mistakes.

For the second half, Van Gaal made some statements. De Ligt was punished for his lack of leadership with the Wales goal and was moved to the right, in place of Teze. De Vrij came in to take care of the leader role centrally in defence. Hateboer was also subbed, for him came Dumfries, who’d play a key role in Oranje’s final minutes.

Both Hateboer and Teze couldn’t impress. Hateboer is not Oranje material. No idea in possession, wild and reckless in defence, positioning is awkward. He seems out of place and he seems to know it. Teze will be Oranje material in the future, but the Oranje right hand side was so impotent, even the Oranje players in midfield and on the left seemed to hesitate to pass the ball wide to the right.

Oranje got more control, with an outstanding Frenkie de Jong in midfield and a very busy Vincent Janssen up top. We’re waiting for that third goal, really and after a bit more than an hour, Van Gaal brings fresh legs for Noa Lang and Vincent Janssen, who both leave the pitch with an ovation from the fans. Both these lads are popular amongst the fans. Despite his arrogance and obvious skills, Lang also works very hard, something the fans appreciate.

Memphis and Bergwijn, the dynamic duo, came on and Van Gaal wanted to make sure we’d win the game. Memphis in particular had something to set straight with the fans, after his penalty miss versus Poland.

But the next goal was a Welsh one. With Bale and Aaron Ramsey on the pitch, Wales went for a late thrust. The cross came in and Roberts jumped backwards to head the ball on to Bale, while Tyrell Malacia jumped a bit towards the ball. No clash of heads, but a clash of elbow and head, with the Welshman coming off worst. Not a foul, in my book. A mere collision. Stopping the play for the physios to come onto the pitch, yes, but a foul? Not for me, and thus not a penalty either.

But the ref gave it, the VAR supported it and Bale converted the penalty.

Cillesen again demonstrated he’s not the penalty killer we need. His reach is limited and when you wait that long to react, you can only stop a penalty which is through the middle or chipped Panenka style. But we won’t be too harsh on Cillesen.

It seemed Wales did it again: a late equaliser.

And surely, Oranje would never again manage to score a winner in the next seconds.

The players thought differently. They huddled together quickly, and without interference or help from the coach, they came up with a plan. First ball back to Martins Indi, four players chasing forward to the right hand corner (Gakpo, Memphis, Bergwijn and Dumfries). The Inter man is strong in the air and he headed the Martins Indi hail Mary into the box, where Memphis was right on time to slot the ball under goalie Henderson: 3-2.

De Kuip exploded!

After the game, Van Gaal was – again – proud of his team and the spirit they showed. “Never give up!”.  Van Gaal explained his subs (see above) and he confirmed that Vincent Janssen did everything he hoped for (“Except score, but he was very close and we know he can score”).


Jasper Cillesen – 6

Did most things right. Took his time when played in by the defenders, resulting in some nervy moments. He doesn’t look very confident, but that can be deceiving of course. Didn’t do too well with the first Wales goal (the hop) and was powerless against Bale’s spot kick.

Hans Hateboer – 4

Doesn’t add much to the game. No comparison to Dumfries, really. Good club footballer but not Oranje material.

Jordan Teze – 6

Teze did well with his forward press this time and was key for the first goal. He did loose the ball clumsily which got Wales on the board, but he wasn’t the only one at fault. Subbed to make way for De Ligt.

Mathijs de Ligt – 6

Another player for whom the band might be a tad heavy. De Ligt wins most of his duels and is ruthless and strong. Good on the ball too, confident and collected. But still making some errors. LVG moved him to his preferred position in the second half.

Bruno Martins Indi – 6,5

Started weak and off the beat. Handling speed needed improving, and he did. The game went on and Martins Indi grew into his role. The elbow attack which gave him a yellow was a high risk. Could have been a red. Played a solid second half and played the long ball to Dumfries, resulting in the winner.

Tyrell Malacia – 6,5

Show much promise. Confident on the ball, Davids-like mentality, had some good defensive tackles and plays along well in possession. His final pass needs work but he will make it hard for Daley Blind, I think.

Frenkie de Jong – 7,5

Strong on the ball, always on the move, always prowling and scouting for options. Some nice interplay with Janssen, Lang, Koopmeiners and Gakpo. I think he can still do better.

Teun Koopmeiners – 6

Didn’t do much wrong but isn’t playing to his usual strengths. Plays at one pace, square passes and dwindles a bit on the ball. Quite anonymous and he should fear for his spot, when the likes of Gravenberch or Van de Beek return.

Cody Gakpo – 8

Played a smashing match. Confident, demanding the ball, finding space and mixing up his passes, from short play to long passes. Great stats, high pass accuracy and creating good opportunities. Gakpo is close to a starting role.

Noa Lang – 7

Hardworking, always “on”, always trying to create. Showing some nifty touches and highly unpredictable. The type of player you want in the squad, to bring on to the pitch when things don’t flow.

Vincent Janssen – 7

Janssen needed some time to find his feet, but was key in the two goals and was close to scoring himself. Worked hard as per usual but could have played a bit higher up the pitch, in the #9 role. He did have some good sliding tackles to regain possession. Popular amongst the fans.

Denzel Dumfries – 7

We all know his weaknesses in the pass and move game, but compensating this with his great energy, work rate and explosive runs on the flank. Always keeping two opponents busy. Was instrumental in the 3-2.

Stefan de Vrij – 7

Came in to organise and lead the defence. Did a good job in replacing De Ligt who failed for his test in the first half. De Vrij is never “remarkable” but does everything business like and solid.

Steven Bergwijn – 6.5

Demonstrated his skills and speed. Always a threat. Clearly enjoying his time with Oranje and based on his recent games, he’ll be in the team.

Memphis Depay – 7

Needed to fix the miss versus Poland and was immediately in the thick of things, trying to make a difference. Typical strikers’ goal in the dying minutes, with a sense of timing and place. Oranje’s talisman.

Van Gaal – 7,5

Solid coaching at half time, taking Hateboer and Teze off and injecting some experience and quality later in the half by subbing Lang and Janssen for Memphis and Bergwijn.

Next up, the LVG’s Oranje Squad and an analysis of Louis van Gaal The Coach…

Watch this space….

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  1. The best thing about the wales match was watching noa lang, and by the way someone on Twitter out a nice video of all his touches from yesterdays match a 4 minute video, I have to say he is the best and most talented kid we have only if he focuses on his career and he keeps it up, his dribbling is top class and his vision is amazing he sees his team mates very well and knows where to pass the ball and always plays forward,
    In a 5-3-2 , I would love to see


    I think a trio of frenkie gravnberch and lang would be lovely to see behind the two strikers !!!


  2. @Jan, as usually nice analysis. One comment: instead of presenting Janssen as “the former Feyenoord prospect”, please in the future introduce him as “former AZ Alkmaar star” which will give him much more credits.

    1. Yes, I usually mix them up. Monterey forward, AZ star, Spurs signing, Feyenoord talent, etc etc. When I start using my “Aliases” I do not know yet how often I will mention him. I didn’t get to the AZ thing, but you will appreciate that I prefer NOT to use the obvious ones.

      With Tadic, I’d say “the former Groningen winger” and not “Ajax left winger” or something like that.

  3. Good analysis Jan. I agree that Lang and Gakpo are now first 15 material and close to first 11 depending on tactics. The remaining question marks are the left FB position and the two midfielders next to Frenkie. Maybe after the September matches we will know Van Gaal final decision about these positions. The other 8 positions are an obvious choice I think.

  4. I’m very interested in the Dutch scoring race. Memphis is at 42, 8 behind van Persie. He’s got lets say 7 games left this year (if Holland makes the QF), and realistically he could net 4 or 5 in there. I imagine he’ll probably be the striker through our Euro 2024 campaign, so that, plus the Nations League would 18 games (10 for qualies, 2 for Nations League, 6 for Euros). If he’s fit for most of that he could be looking at at something like 55-60 goals by Sept 2024.

    After him our next current highest scorer is Klaassen with 9 (excluding Wijnaldum).

      1. Not impossible. If we get a San Marino for Euro 2024 qualies then that’s probably like 6 goals in those two games. I’m just trying not to speculate too far in advance. I’d like to think by WC 2026 qualies Brobbey or Zirkzee have become real number 9s

  5. https://www.vi.nl/nieuws/bakker-laat-zien-waarom-van-gaal-hem-in-de-gaten-houdt-voor-qatar

    Bakker shows why Van Gaal is keeping an eye on him for Qatar

    Bakker shows why Van Gaal is keeping an eye on him for Qatar
    Through Lentin Goodijk Lentin Goodijk
    Mitchel Bakker once again proved in the past international match what steps he has made in recent years. He has plenty of speed and power, but at PSG and especially Bayer Leverkusen the left-back has learned more and more how and when he can best use those weapons. That was reflected in the international matches of the Dutch Juniors.

    “That is what a year of playing in the top of the Bundesliga does to a player,” says national coach Erwin van de Looi of the Young Orange in this week’s VI. ‘Mitchel also has an excellent kick, his crosses are becoming more and more accurate.’

    It is not without reason that Bakker was the most important informant during the qualification series of the Dutch Juniors with four assists. ‘I am quite satisfied with the role I played’, says Bakker himself. “I haven’t played top every game, but I’m on the right track. That actually applies to the entire team, everyone knows what they want and how the system works. I think we have a nice team, you can see that on the field, we give each other the ball,” said the back, who is also in the picture at Van Gaal.

    When we confront Bakker with the words of the national coach, a smile appears on his usually stoic face. ‘Suddenly I saw it on my phone, that’s quite special. But the national coach also had a clear opinion: he said that I had to do my thing at the Dutch Juniors, because we had to qualify for the European Championship. I support that one hundred percent.’

    Or did he secretly dream of being called up to the Dutch national team after his excellent season in the top of the Bundesliga? ‘Of course you hope so. Then it’s a shame, but everything in its time, right? Apparently we are being watched closely, because Jeremie was already there of course. That is nice, because that is also your goal: to play for Orange. Especially with the World Cup in Qatar coming up. We will see. If it shouldn’t be, I’ll just be here again and do my best for Jong Oranje. There is of course also a European Championship in front of the door. The last time was a nice experience, but the end was a shame. Now we want to take revenge, we hope we get far and maybe win the European Championship.’

  6. agreed with almost everything you have written Jan.

    The one player that really kind of has me wondering is de Ligt… he IS strong but he doesnt look collected and in control and that surprises me. I dont see too much italian football so i have no idea how he plays for his club. Anybody here can share some thoughts about that?

    1. De Vrij said in an interview that defending in Italy is done differently compared to Holland. We put pressure on the ball, they protect the centre. De Ligt played a lot as assistant to Bonucci or Chiellini and took their instructions.

      Both are being phased out at Juve (Chiellini is gone already) so De Ligt needs to step up.

      Juve had a mediocre season and so did De Ligt. He is solid in the 1 v 1 but he might not be the real tactical leader that De Vrij and Van Dijk are.

      He didn’t start all games, but if you check his highlights on Youtube, you’ll see he’s a rock.

      And he is still young.

  7. I think Lang had a great game but he needs to be consistent. He dribbles well and he doesn’t keep the ball like Depay. He plays one touch, keeping it simple Barcelona style. Depay tries to keep the ball for too long and looses it too often. You are not Leo Messi. LOL

    Jan, have noticed that no one on this team or generation like to shoot the ball from a distance lets say 25 to 35 meters. I don’t see anyone hitting the ball like a Sneider or Van Bommel, Seedorff or Van Broncos, Overmas just to name a few.

    1. Jean you are spot on. I noticed this too. I think Barca was one of the first teams to stop playing corners into the box or shooting from distance. You are so right, you hardly see it. We do have good hitters of the ball. Koopmeiners, Gravenberch, Berghuis, De Ligt can do it. Gakpo for sure. But some of our players have quite weak shots: Blind, Frenkie, Lang, they do not have what Mahrez has, or Mount or Mane.

      it’s sad because those distant strikes with today’s balls can be a weapon. Ihattaren can do it :-).

  8. @Jean venette,

    I was thinking about that few days ago how every oranje generation had a couple of amazing long distance shooters, I always remember wim JOnk shooting from the outside unlocked a game sometimes for the Netherlands like he did against Saudi Arabia in 1994 if I am not mistaken, and in every generation there was two great players like that with all the names you mentioned above, but man this generation lacks all those extra qualities ….. you feel like they are just basic players , what happened for those skills to disappear like that !!!!!???

    Let alone how we dropped from strikers like van basten, bergkamp, kluivert van nistelrooy to the mediocrity that we have now!!!! Is it possible that the last great striker we had was ruud van nistelrooy who retired 15 years ago????? After him we got huntelaar who failed in Spain and Italy , and if we consider van persie a striker , he started his career as a winger then van persie was the last great one!!!!

    And what about the fancy wingers we had ??? Robben and overmars to who? To bergwijn and gakpo that is a major downgrade with all due respect for all the current players !!!!

    Netherlands now produces only great defenders ? Can we for gods sake have a couple of great midfielders along side with frenkie ????

    1. this is about to change and like I have said 2024-2026, there shouldn’t be any sort of excuses given the options and the players that are in the current team and those who are knocking on the door. I think Lucas has been posting on this for quiet some time now.

  9. The Netherlands winning percentage is high in past one and half years. They have won 11matches losing three and drawing the rest. As discussed above, midfield, left and right back needs to be fixed, with a fit Bijlow back as goalie. Form of players also needs to be ascertained when the world cup squad is announced by Oct 20 deadline set by Fifa.

  10. I missed this game but really happy that we won. Noa Lang won me over regardless of being a prick and full of himself but who cares. If he can make those lightning turns and score I am a fan.
    However winning both games with a goal in the last minute against a team like Wales who both times came from behind to tie the game is a bit worrisome. We need to score more and put the game out of reach. Nations league is probably the only competition we have a chance of winning. Deligt is back to his early days of having goals drilled between his legs. He doesn’t convince me, I trust DeVrij better.
    It warms my heart to see Davids on the bench next to Van Gaal, it reminds of the awesome times in the 90s.
    It seems like Ten Hag is trying to create a Dutch Man U. I can’t see him succeeding in that toxic pit but I am mostly concerned of FDJ joining that club. If Ten Hag fails and is out in 1 year we know what could happen to FDJ career as we’ve seen it before.

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