Oranje gets 3 points and some valuable lessons!

After some solid performances by our lads in their club teams (PSV, Liverpool, RB Leipzig, Atalanta, Man City), it felt that we could have a good go at this Euros. The last friendly results were also pretty hopeful. Despite the absence of Frenkie de Jong, Luuk de Jong, Marten de Roon and Noa Lang, I believe we all felt that this could be our tournament. And… it still can be.

But the Poland game did put our noses on the some of the facts (Dutch expression).

If have to summarize the game, I’d say:

  • good start
  • some good chances
  • one moment of lack of concentration and Poland scores
  • we keep on going and get a bit of luck on the Gakpo goal
  • Oranje’s energy drops after 60 minutes or so
  • Koeman needs to make a change in the second half as Veerman and Simons (and others) are less effective
  • Wijnaldum comes on but isn’t found in between the lines
  • with 10 minutes to go, Koeman brings two secret weapons ( Weghorst and Frimpong)
  • Weghorst scores

We can be happy with the 3 points and we can be very happy with the performances of Ake, De Vrij, Schouten, Reijnders, Verbruggen and Gakpo.

We need to be critical on Van Dijk, Veerman, Memphis, Simons and Wijnaldum.

Van Dijk wasn’t terrible but showed some weakness in positioning. Veerman had to deal with a man marker (Szymanski) and had no answer to this. We saw this in earlier matches where Frenkie was manmarked and had to work hard to get away from his man. Veerman is a passer. Not a dribbler. And he doesn’t have the explosive runs Frenkie or Reijnders has. The switch with Reijnders back to the 6 position worked well, as he has more legs and can take a man on. We have seen Veerman struggle with this before and it’s been my ongoing criticism of him.

Simons started fresh but ran out of steam. Memphis tried hard and potentially too hard. That shot he hit hard over the bar was a 100% chance for a player like him and it didn’t need that power. Relax, Memphis!

Wijnaldum, finally, was told by Koeman to not drop deep to get the ball but to stay close to Memphis and find space between the lines, where the midfielders/defenders were supposed to find him. Sadly, they didn’t.

Btw, we did get to 21 shots. The highest number since that dreadful first game against Denmark in 2012. When we had 32 attempts on goal and scored zero goals.

Another fascinating stat: in the 90 minutes of play, Oranje didn’t use a single Ajax player. This is the first time in 95 matches!!

Some conclusions:

Joey Veerman struggles with man-marking

Szymanski wants to hold Veerman’s hand

You need to be dynamic to lose your man. Frenkie would move to left wing or right back or wherever he had to go to make the man marker uncomfortable. Joey is too static. Plays too much in one pace and lacks the dribble and speed to bypass an opponent and create a man over situation. Yes, against Iceland he played well. Why? He didn’t encounter man-marking. This needs to be taken care of.

I wonder if Koeman will use Veerman versus France. Their midfield – no, their whole team – consists of top athletes. My fave line up below.

We defend set-pieces terribly

A free run towards the ball for Buksa

Again, we have to mention Veerman. He was one of the blockers in that situation but he didn’t get a grip on Buksa, who could out-jump Dumfries and head the ball home. Veerman did try to pull Buksa’s jersey, only briefly, but Memphis was totally ball watching. Van Dijk: “We’re sick of that goal. In a dead ball situation, this has to improve. The goal scorer had a free run towards the ball. That needs to improve!” was his opinion. One comment in defence of the Memphis and Veerman (and Schouten). They were facing a number of tall lads in that box.

Nathan Ake is our playmaker

When Frenkie is absent and his replacement Veerman can’t get a foothold in the game, it’s good to know that one of our centre backs can play playmaker. The City player started so many great moves and basically had two assists. The second one for Weghorst doesn’t officially count as the ball got a slight deflection.  Frankowski decided to press on Ake, who was seen as the danger man at Oranje’s side, but that resulted in the Polish wingback to be drowning and offered Gakpo the time and space to shine. The result: Bednarek had to deal with Gakpo. Who is a very agile and elegant player, whereas Bednarek has trouble turning even without an opponent in sight.

Oranje has a strong bench

With Memphis upfront, we actually have Bergwijn, Frimpong, Malen, Brobbey, Zirkzee and Weghorst who can come in to change things around. Weghorst has made the difference already at the World Cup, some friendlies and now also at the Euros. Holland lost its grip slowly in the second half and Koeman has a nice menu of options available to him. Wijnaldum didn’t impress, but his little run was key for the Weghorst goal. In a way, that was an assist. Frimpong and Malen add speed and depth to the team while the strong Brobbey could well be a key player for us versus France.

Bart Verbruggen does his job

The youngest Oranje goalie ever at a final tournament had no nerves. He had 6 more than decent saves, which is the highest number for any Oranje goalie in 5 years. His footwork is also lauded and De Zerbi taught him well. Keep your foot on the ball and pull the opponent in, to create space elsewhere. It seems like the ongoing musical chairs of the keepers is well over.

My musings for the France game

I know it’s early days as the France game isn’t until Friday and lots can happen in between. But, I think the midfield we played versus Poland won’t be good enough versus France. I hope Veerman can accept it, but I would use a different line up versus France.

I’d opt for Memphis on the left. Against two big, strong centre backs, Memphis – who is not 100% – would probably drown. On the left, he will get a chance to roam and get touches. I’d play Frimpong on the right. Allow Simons a rest but don’t write him off! I’d play Brobbey as a 9. Strong, grit, fight, speed. Let him deal with these two monsters and let them deal with Brobbey.

I’d use Gakpo as a 10, with Reijnders and Schouten in the engine room. Gakpo learned to play midfield at Liverpool and will be key to give a 75 minute “give it your all” game. I would also opt for Geertruida as he can play into midfield. There won’t be overly much space for Dumfries, I don’t think and I find him still a dissonant in possession and not necessarily that good a defender.

If Giroud plays, I’d use De Ligt.

 

 

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136 comments

  1. Beautiful line up Jan, if koeman did not see all the issues that appeared against a less than average team like Poland and he insists on including all the same 11 against France then there is a major issue and stubbornness that will lead to early exit!!! Right side was extremely exposed by Poland, Dumfries can’t defend obviously so geertruida is needed there and Xavi Simon’s has nothing to do on the right side, it is clearly frimpong !!!

    Veerman also would be butchered against France , he needs to take a break…

  2. I am not a gakpo fan so I personally would love to see zirkzee there behind Brobbey but we know koeman is not a fan of zirkzee !!!!! So your line up taking into consideration koemans ideas seems to be the closest to reality ….

  3. Great summary, Jan! I loved “dissonant in possession” re Dumfries! And you’ve made me at least reconsider my harsh assessment of Wijnaldum 😆, but if we’re going put him in the squad and actually use him, I just think he has to do more! Memphis, on the other hand, I think needs to do less and be less ball dominant. I feel he and the team can be better / more efficient when everything doesn’t have to flow through him.

    Gakpo was so influential out left in space vs Poland, but I imagine France saw that too and will take steps to deny that opportunity again. So maybe it is smart to move him inside and create mismatches in other areas of the field.

    At the back, de Vrij seems like the reliable but slower option, whereas de Ligt is more mobile but dangerously unpredictable. Against the French attack it seems like we need both mobility and reliability. Any way we can work van de Ven in there with Ake and Virgil instead of de Ligt / de Vrij?

    At the end of the day, I think we just need to be competent, composed and cohesive against France, and maybe with some better finishing can work out a draw or a low scoring victory!

  4. I said this in the game thread yesterday and will repeat:

    I hate to say this but Virgil Van Dijk is the weakest link in the Orange defense. At this point he is playing on reputation only. I saw him live in the Merseyside derby where he was bullied the whole game by Everton’s Calvert Lewin while he kept yelling at his Liverpool teammates the whole game even when he was at fault. Saw the same thing yesterday, especially during Poland’s goal. What the hell was he doing especially if he said he saw the player going unmarked to the ball?

    Plus Virgil has lost a step. Imagine him against Mbappe. I would play Mickey over Virgil. He was the fastest player in the EPL this year, and that says a lot. If we need added cover, we may should three center-halves: DeVrij, DeLigt and Mickey.

  5. Thanks for the analysis Jan and with an either/or on Geertruida/Dumfries (still can’t over the fact that Dumfries have been our best player in all major tournaments) that lineup is near perfect.

    Takeaways:

    VERBRUGGEN . As you’ve suggested, the most impressive thing about this kid is his seemingly lack of nerves and innate calm. Not to mention some decent saves and our goalie issue may very well have been settled.

    VAN DIJK. He was badly caught out of position for a Polish chance and did not seem to be in command of his troops all game. Still good enough to be a starter but I hope and pray when the time comes(seem mighty close to me) that he would not be afforded the Blind special.

    DE VRIJ. Was decent but I worry about his pace against France. Never been a fan of de ligt but I would opt in for his pace and power.

    DUMFRIES. He had a curious game l thought. No danger from the right and struggled defensively after the Polish change and Koeman’s nonchalance in combatting the overload. Still knows he has an assist and odd goal in him.

    AKE. Oh What could have been. What could have been if only he had been allowed to grow into this team from five years ago. Simply imperious.

    VEERMAN. Without pace and power, a midfielder has to be on the skill level of Cruyff for me to give them a second glance. There are just to many scenarios that allows players like Veerman to be swept on the wayside. Will be suicide for him to start against France.

    SCHOUTEN. Did what he was supposed to do with little fuss. Made so wayward passes and has to be more conservative and disciplined against France.

    TIJJANI. My man of the match. Showed some silky skills and unlocked himself from some tight situations. His combinations on both the left and right plus his powerful bursts from midfield was something to behold. Defensively solid, he is the archetype of the modern midfielder.

    GAKPO. Had a good game and saw a ton of the ball. Seems like Koeman trusts
    him as he decided to run much of the play through him. Has a tendency of shooting first but would still start him against France to keep his momentum going.

    XAVI. Still waiting to be impressed by this kid. I think he could be amazing in a counterattacking team with free space to run into but otherwise… Frimpong is a better winger.

    DEPAY. He is playing for a contract and it shows. Any criticusm of his game definitely would not stem from a lack of trying. Not the ideal striker but possibly the best we’ve got at the moment. I won’t let him run the course of a full 90 though.

    GINI. No comment.

    MALEN. Had a livey game a strong contender for either wing.

    Koeman. Late on the substitutions and very late on reacting to the two substitution that put our right side under seige and had Dumfries in a fit.

  6. Mbappe apparently has a broken nose and may potentially miss the rest of the group stage. Poor guy! Just think how many ninja turtle references he’ll have to endure if he returns wearing some sort of mask 🤣

  7. Had to watch the highlights and though it’s early stages and considering first game first win is important, just would like to point out few thing and hopefully this changes with teams of different calibres.

    I did mention this before as well as how playing Ake at LB tactically works and how this gives Dumfries that license to play as high as he want. On the other side shud Dumfries is caught up front Ake drops back I that 3 men backline.

    You would remember what happened to Dumfries Vs Argentina @ WC when Argentina pressed on both flanks. The only difference this time around is instead of blind it’s Ake. Somewhat of same esque. Good with their passing games but can’t hold the ball long/ dribble. Again even in the highlights there was times when Ake with arches of space in front of him, instead of launching forward like to that of Dumfries, turned around and passed back wards.

    In other words and we have debated on how the tactic of one flank being more offensive and the other defensive backfires in those final stages where the opposition teams are basically overall balanced and attack in all fronts.

    Note I acknowledge Ake had two assists in the game but by no means the polish were comptent enough to take them on both fronts. This will change with dembeles,mbappes etc

    I hope koeman has learnt this the world cup and will alternate the lineup. Though this will disrupt the continuity which again tracks back to the very descion why go tactical in the first place.

    Finally Italy and Spain look impressive I would say from the first round. England, France are still in that cold start mode,Portugal still to play

  8. Jan, good shout on that lineup but we’d be overloading on that left side hopefully springing Frimpong so tgat Brobbey can run the central channel to tap in a cross. Screams for someone like Schouten or Reijnders to arrive late into the box for cutbacks or Depay to receive on the wide channel. Also in case of a recycle or rebound, Depay or Gakpo would be in position to receive that & execute a shot toward goal or a cross to the opposite post for a header

  9. Nervy game…superb post-match analysis. 🙂

    Like the lineup. Frimpong needs to be on the field; I’d rather have Geertruida defending against the French than Dumfries, even if Mbappe does not play. Nice if they get a point (or three) against France, as Austria with its energy and press will be a handful.

  10. I wonder if there’s not a disconnect or lack of chemistry between Virgil and de Vrij contributing to the problems at the back. I think Virgil has been in sync, in recent games, with Ake to his left and Geertruida to his right. Personally I like Geertruida back there more than either de Vrij (too slow) or de Ligt (still prone to errors and over-physicality).

    I’d love to see those three across the back with Frimpong as the right wingback (Dumfries as a second choice) and Maatsen as the left wingback (van de Ven as a second choice).

    That leaves Reijnders and Schouten in the engine room with Gakpo in front of them and two up front. Which two? That’s the biggest mystery to me. Depends on the opponent and our players’ performance on the day, but I’d imagine that you’d always have one there for strength/power/size/holdup play (Woutje or Brobbey) and one for skill/finesse/trickery (Memphis, Malen, maybe Zirkzee)

    And I’m very nervous about the strength that Austria displayed today. That looks like a style of play that will give us quite a bit of trouble unless we can break that press…

    1. Aanvalluh:

      I really like your analysis and suggestions as to line-ups, although I still lack confidence in virtually all combinations of our front line players.

      And for now, I’m just focused on France. I think Austria played them well and we can learn some lessons from their approach, but I’m not ready to game plan for the Austrians themselves until we get over the second hurdle 🙂

  11. I love stuff like this. Its from the Guardian’s coverage of the Netherlands-Poland match:

    “’Total Footie is only part of the story,”=’ says Jeremy Boyce. ‘They have also provided some sublime moments on the biggest stages (as well as an unerring ability to foot-shoot themselves) : Cruyff’s turn, van Basten’s volley (and his hat-trick v England), van Persie’s flying header, Bergkamp’s genius trap and shoot v Argentina…’

    And, as David Lacey reminded us after a particularly brutal game, they also invented the clog.”

  12. Portugal looking ever polished and striking with their golden generation .Ronaldo as well. That ex Ajax boy conceicao as stepped it up returning to Portugal. Started and scored the winner. They are looking contenders completing the first round

    1. Wilson, did you watch the match? The highlight reel probably looks good(some clever individual action and tricks as you’d expect), but the full game was not at all impressive.

      I couldn’t believe how unconvincing Portugal was. Their roster is totally stacked but the play overall was just not that great. They needed an own goal and one bungled over the line to pull out a win that I’m sure they assumed was guaranteed. Conceicao’s goal was a tap in that was teed up for him by the Czech keeper. I’m not saying he’s not a good player, but that wasn’t much of a goal, just a mistake by tired defenders.

      England, France, and Portugal were all quite lucky to get three points from their first round matches.

  13. If the group stage ended today, the Dutch would play Portugal in the round of 16 and then the Romania-Slovenia winner in the quarterfinals.

    Portugal should win their group meaning a match-up with Turkey in the round of 16 for the Dutch if they finish first

  14. Great comments y’all. I thought Wilson did try to tell me some months ago how I Was a fool to think teams overload one side of the field to open up for a runner on the other flank.

    i mentioned examples (Feyenoord, PSV, Man U, Arsenal) but now I think Wilson is claiming it as something he brought into the discussion? Hmmm…

    I do think Mickey vd Ven can play right centre back, if Mbappe plays. That would be a good option I think. Use Frimpong on the right flank as RB and stack midfield would be my idea now.

  15. Haha really with blind on the Flank. You might wanna go back and dig it up again. I’ve always being against it for very reason in which blind is accommodated making that left flank lag compared to dimfries on the right. If I remember correctly this was my argument and then you counter argued by bringing up teams you mentioned on top using it.

    1. It doesn’t matter with whom on the flank. Koeman did it with Ake as well. And reversed it with Geertuida on the right and fast Van der Ven on the left.

      My point was: this was not done to accomodate Blind, but to use this tactics as a lot of teams use this. You said this was not the case.

      Now you are making it as if you came up with it.

  16. Albania 2-2 Croatia, with Albania scoring in the 95th minute. Great game. Means Croatia has to beat Italy to advance (or Albania would have to beat Spain to advance, for that matter).

    The NT needs to get their best players on the field, that means Frimpong and Van De Ven. If they have to switch back to a 5-3-2, or play Van De Ven at rcb, or Gakpo play in the 10 role (provides a spot for Malen or Brobbey in the forwards if they go 4-3-3), so be it.

    1. Andrew:

      I missed this one but will maybe try to watch the replay. Sounds like it was a fun match! And it advances us further towards the possibility of your predicted Albania – Scotland quarterfinal!

      1. lol, JB. To borrow from Ron Burgundy, “So you’re saying there’s a chance…” 17 minutes to kickoff.

        btw, and OT, I saw your comment earlier that your son is playing college football. Where, if you don’t mind my asking? Playing any college sport (from D1-D3) is quite an achievement; huge commitment of time and effort. Congratulations to you both.

        1. Haha! I think Scotland may still have a chance to progress, but they’ll need to beat Hungary and have some of the other third place teams struggle. Ironically, I think both the Scots and Swiss benefitted today from each other’s defensive error.

          My son is currently the backup quarterback at a smaller D1 school and is having a great time there, but it truly is a full time commitment for him. We get to see him for about a month during the summer and then he goes back for summer classes so his workload isn’t so intense during the fall season. We actually hadn’t been able to go see him play live yet until their intrasquad spring game this year, where he threw 2 TDs against their first team defense, so that was a lot of fun (and may bode well for his future role)!

          My daughter is actually playing college sports too — she’s playing soccer at a D2 school and is just about to start her second year. Her time commitment isn’t quite so bad, but she still has to do a lot of independent conditioning work, so she’s (voluntarily?!) had me out running her through drills each night the last two weeks (I coached them both in soccer and basketball for many years).

          Ironically, we’d been working last night on how to take shots and strike the ball in different situations and from different angles, including running onto diagonal balls and taking them first time, so it was great for her to have a real time demonstration for her from Shaqiri 🙂

          Her response: “Bruh! That guy is jacked!”

  17. Gundogan with some real relentless energy and physicality to keep alive that opportunity and then find the pass for Germany’s first goal.

    But was it a foul?

  18. Looking back at our first match, I recall thinking at numerous points during the course of play, “We’re playing pretty well, but we’re not finishing our chances,” which at the time was a source of great frustration and nerves because the outcome was not yet decided.

    Now that we know the result, I went back to consider our performance again. The scoring of goals (or lack thereof) really impacts our impression of a match. Had we finished at a reasonable finishing rate, as Koeman has suggested, we might have been ahead 4-1 at the half, and we would all have a far different assessment of our performance and our prospects in the tournament. So I was curious as to how well we actually played statistically — putting goal-scoring prowess aside.

    As you may recall, at our last major tournament under LVG, we really struggled to even create shots and generate real goal-scoring chances (Senegal 2-0: 10 shots, 3 on target; Qatar 2-0: 13 shots, 4 on target; Ecuador 1-1: 2 shots, 1 on target, USA 3-1: 11 shots, 6 on target; Argentina 2-2 ET: 6 shots, 2 on target). But in these Euros, we’ve already created 21 shots in our first match against Poland, so perhaps we’re making progress.

    Further, its hard to say in the abstract how many total shots, passes, etc. should be considered good in a particular match, and so in an effort to analyze our first match stats in context, I took a look at Germany’s stats against Scotland — the tournament’s biggest blowout so far (5-1), and a match in which Scotland received a red card halfway in. So, needless to say, Germany’s attacking stats from that match should be at the upper end of what a team can achieve in this tournament. Below is a comparison of our stats against Poland (compared vs Germany’s against Scotland):

    Possession NED 66% vs POL GER 73% vs SCO
    Expected Goals NED 1.6 vs POL GER 2.15 vs SCO
    Shots NED 21 vs POL GER 20 vs SCO
    Shots (on target) NED 4 vs POL GER 10 vs SCO
    Shots (off target) NED 14 vs POL GER 5 vs SCO
    Shots (blocked) NED 3 vs POL GER 5 vs SCO
    Shots (inside box) NED 14 vs POL GER 10 vs SCO
    Shots (outside box) NED 7 vs POL GER 10 vs SCO
    Big Chances NED 3 vs POL GER 1 vs SCO
    Accurate Passes NED 514 (89%) vs POL GER 643 (94%) vs SCO
    Passes (own half) NED 230 vs POL GER 227 vs POL
    Passes (opp half) NED 284 vs POL GER 416 vs SCO
    Touches in Box NED 44 vs POL GER 31 vs SCO
    Corners NED 6 vs POL GER 5 vs SCO

    What stands out to me is that we generated 1 more shot than Germany did while playing against a tougher opponent fielding the full 11 players for the entire match. Where we fell short was shots ON TARGET (our 4 to Germany’s 10). But we created 4 more shots than they did inside the box, 2 more big chances and had 13 more touches in the box than they did. So it appears that we were very successful in getting quality shots in close.

    My conclusion, based on these initial statistics, is that we have clearly made shot-generation and shot-taking a priority under Koeman, and we were pretty successful in those endeavors against Poland. So in terms of those objectives, I would say that we had a pretty successful match against Poland. Now, if we just had some better finishing, we could have had a similar outcome to the Germany – Scotland match.

    Maybe our poor finishing is just nerves or external pressure. Maybe it was just a tough day for certain players. Maybe the missed shots were really just half-chances. But I distinctly remember multiple big missed opportunities from Memphis, Gakpo and Simons, in situations that truly should have produced goals.

    So the positive take-away for me (after all that statistical analysis), is that we’ve started the tournament playing high quality attacking football and producing numerous good scoring chances, but we have just not finished.

    Hopefully, that’s something we can improve on, but I’m very encouraged that we’ve been able to effectively generate so many quality scoring chances so far.

  19. Angry equivalent of JB on swisssoccersite typing lengthy diatribe lamenting the continued inclusion of Xhaka, Shaqiri and Sommer in the team, yearning for the bygone glory days of Stephane Chapuisat, and longing for a manager who will maintain adherence to the famed Swiss Bolt system….

    Shaqiri goal!

    Backspace, backspace, backspace….

  20. Question for you Jan
    Why did it take Germany so little time to rebuild? Germany looks like a big contender for the trophy.
    Than for the Dutch, it’s been 10 years since we had a decent team. After 10 years, we still don’t know what we are doing. Remember in between that, we have missed a few competitions. I would like to hear your thoughts.

  21. “so little time” for Germany to rebuild? Since reaching the semi-final of the Euro’s in 2016, the best that Germany has done in major tournaments is go out in the round of 16 in the 2020 Euro’s. They went out in the group stages in both the 2018 and 2022 WC’s, and they’ve never gone to the final rounds of the Nation League. So, we’re talking 8 years.

  22. Spain vs Italy has been pretty exciting the first 15 minutes in. Finishing is so important and both teams have already failed to convert pretty good chances!

  23. Andrew, why you’re always quick to open your mouth? Are you justifying our current conditions? Germany got knocked out of the last World Cup in group stage but look at them now. Germany has won 4 WC, 3 Euros and lost of German teams have made it very far in all the European competitions. What are you talking about man? What don’t you pray that one day, we’ll get our stuff together.

    1. Orangutan:

      What’s interesting to me is that in their first match, Spain played much more direct and was much more explosive on the counter than in recent memory. I think they lost the possession battle to an opponent for the first time in a number of years, but they still won easily!

      In this match, however, they’ve really kept the ball and been dangerous in the attack, and in so doing have almost entirely neutralized Italy.

      It’s great to be able with play with different styles from match to match, and even from possession to possession within a single match.

      Still I’m not fully convinced that they’ll go very far in these Euros if they don’t finish better. Nine shots so far, but nothing to show for it.

  24. @Jean

    The word “rebuild” is anathema to the powers that be. It would signify their failures and we know they cant have that.

    They would rather flounder in reminiscence of the golden age, quoting each other about how other countries look up to them for inspiration and tactical nirvana, still not quite of the acceptance that total voetbal has come, left, and teams like Spain have reaped the most benefit of its variation.

  25. @ jean_venette @ Andrew

    The way the question has been asked and answered is like without raising the curtin. Vague. Correct me If I’m wrong here and the question was subjected to under julian Nigelsmann era coming into euros and not as what Andrew answered going back to 2018. Because Germany were struggling under flick and then under JN as well given their losses to Colombia, Japan,Austria and turkey just over last year.

    I cant recall where I posted this and whether it was here. I think during or after NT played Germany1-2 friendlys just back in may.germany were struggling because they were trying to transition in the aftermath of flick and when JN took over and which was in the few position especially after kross retired from international scene. After euros.they just had holes in few position which nigelsmann addressed it by calling up new players and recalling ever green kroos who still is in top form.

    If you look the Germany side, nigelsmann pulled everything in the last international outings from beating France with New Set up, new players, cohesion, with kross call up, new backline, etc. It just happened for them in the last two and three internationals. Well I hope this is the short time Jean is talking about.

  26. Deschamps recalling kante again is in light to kross situation because the french midfield dipped after WC. He will be handful vs schoutens and germans. I will agin say this the midfield battle will decide the game and also euros winner.

  27. Just dropped my kids off at the Copa America opening match tonight. I figure if I had the opportunity to watch Cruyff play in my hometown, they should have the opportunity to watch Messi play in theirs…

    I told my son to tell Lionel that Wout says hello 😉

  28. @ Wilson
    Wilson- Any team can struggle. That’s not the point. Sometimes for whatever reason, countries stop producing talent. When that happens, they assess the situation. They look at their youth academy, they look at coaches, tactics. They invest more. They bring new faces with new ideas. That hasn’t been the case for Holland. This past 10 years, what have we done nothing differently ? We kept on recycling these same coaches. We’ve kept the same players from Ryan Babel to Blim to De Room to Gini ect..
    We’ve missed 2 major tournaments. That’s my point! We have not done anything differently. Germany struggled off course but I’m seeing a different Germany at this Euro. I guarantee you, they’ll get even better 2 years from now. As for Holland, if we don’t change course, we may miss another tournament again. You get it?

  29. Frimpong and Wijnaldum set to start. Veerman and Xavi Simons on the bench.

    I do wonder if people might realize Frimpong isn’t everything they expected today. After some great friendly performances I think the Frimpong hype might be too strong, but he deserves the start.

    Reijnders deeper will be beneficial today but I personally am a little dissapointed. I have so much faith in Veerman as a passer. And I hope Xavi Simons is the future of our team so I would’ve loved him to have a good tournament.

  30. The Netherlands vs France — the battle to see whose flag is hung the right direction! I kind of like Xavi Simons coming in as a super sub to run at people and create havoc. And think of the possibilities of a super sub dynamic duo of Weghorst and Simons! Opponents would have no idea how to respond. Plus the comedic benefits of an off the field Odd Couple style relationship would be amazing!

  31. It’s been well over since I last posted here. But I have been reading and watching. A couple things concerning todays match and Oranje.
    1) It’s a group game and not the Final. We need to play well, but remain pragmatic. The goal is to advance to the knockout stages. What good is it to thrill and be awesome only to go out in early in elimination rounds? 2008 anyone? The key is to gain confidence and set ourselves up well to reach the Round of 16 and beyond.
    2) Almost everyone on this board and in the national press has/had low expectations for Oranje in this tournament. So let’s keep it in perspective. A Quarter-Final finish is a logical goal. Although we all want to repeat 1988, we have to be pragmatic.
    Lastly, and this echos Jan, we all think we are Rinus Michels and we know better than anyone else about tactics and lineups. But it’s always easy to throw stones from the comfort of the couch and a day later. Just enjoy the players, the game, and support our boys. In the end, it really is just a game. What matters is family and health. No one dies regardless how badly we play, and if we win the Cup, my bills are not reduced.

    1. Haha Bret! It’s certainly good to keep things in perspective. But if we win the cup this year, my bills are definitely going to be INCREASED!

      As for away kits, I think 2006’s Battle of Nuremberg edition would like a word 😉
      I hear you can buy it these days with a selection of colored cards

      1. For that matter, 2014 and 2010 away both look pretty sharp too.

        And as for the true golden era, I actually prefer 1974 away with the orange lion over 78 with the black 🙂

  32. This has been a pretty entertaining and open match. Although, I’m sure there’s some benefit to us of a particular outcome, I don’t really have a rooting interest so it’s fun to enjoy as a “neutral”

  33. Let me add as a qualifier to my previous post, and keeping that at the end of the day, I hope we beat the crap out those snail eating frogs and crush their fans hearts.

  34. The left flank with Ake is already neutralized. Downside of this tatical play. On the other side saliba is playing on the left which is not his stronghold. Maybe some luck there for the dutch

    1. Simply because the dutch are not using those middle channels to bring Simon’s more into the game. I just hate lateral passing. Those one touch passong by french is what the dutch need to learn to do.

      The french easily defuse the dutch. Tempo is good. This is where everything is exposed

  35. Xavi and Memphis seem to be sharing shadow striker duties but neither is playing as the primary striker. As a result, we have no presence at the primary point of attack. Frimpong has been quiet since that opening action. Simons and Gakpo don’t look comfortable together.

  36. Not to be harsh, but what is Memphis bringing at the moment? Not a presser, not a finisher, not a distributor, not a target man. Further, we seems to have undefined roles and thus an undefined attack

  37. We have 40% possession and 100 fewer passes than France. We have to assert ourselves in this match or France is eventually going to score with as many opportunities as they are generating

  38. The whole team is playing scared and tense. Xavi and Memphis losing a lot of balls in good positions. Memphis is actually not suited in the center forward position for the modern game. He needs a lot of space to be impactful and he can only get that on the outside flanks. Unfortunately we dont have a right kind of striker for this game or even a false-9 type player. Weghorst will probably be introduced for the last 20 minutes and we may need to go with high balls for him. The only way I think we can score today is with a long range shot but not sure who can hit those except maybe Gakpo. The key will be to not concede especially with our slow defense and hope for a tie.

  39. I can’t believe no changes at the half!

    Reijnders essentially has been playing as another center back. We’re treating France like they’re Man City. They may have players of that quality, but they certainly don’t play that well as a team.

    If Xavi stays on, he needs a specific role. He’s just randomly impactful but with no support.

    1. My understanding is perhaps a little outdated. It used to be that the attacking player in an offside was seeking to gain an advantage. Or if they were obstructing the keeper’s line of vision. Here, it seems that they ruled sort of a combination of both…

  40. Fair result given the circumstances. The disallowed goal by Xavi was no doubt controversial but Griezmann missed 2 one-on-one sitters as well. This team in the absence of a playmaker like Frenkie needs to change the strategy if they have to progress deep in the tournament.

  41. I struggle to see a long path forward for us unless / until we can find a coherent midfield and defined roles for our front line players. The Frimpong – Dumfries idea was creative, but didn’t yield much. The Xavi – Memphis pairing was similar. They just play too similar roles and didn’t really work well together.

  42. To me, Xavi is the spark and potentially the future, but seems like he needs to be handed the keys in order to more assertively step into that role. In my view, currently he’s limited by Memphis’ presence in the same area / role. But I’m just not sure Xavi is ready yet. So do you just try to keep them separated or sub one for the other? That’s one of the many personnel dilemmas that Koeman faces.

    1. I agree with you about Xavi. He needs to be given more responsibility and room to operate on. I am sure that will enhance his spark. For this tournament however, we need to forget about possession and play a low-block counter attacking game using the pace of Frimpong on the right and Gakpo to some extent on the left. Keep Memphis on the bench and start with a big target man (Weghorst). Those of you who know me for long will know I am an Everton supporter (thus not a big fan of Koeman, lol). In this tournament though, Oranje needs to play that style that Everton played last season with Weghorst playing the Calvert Lewin role. Also, Wijnaldum is now useless. He shouldn’t even be on the substitutes bench.

  43. Relieved to get a point in that one. Sloppy play, way too many giveaways in the middle of the field; Depay was at the top of the turnover list, but so many others, as well. For most of the 2d half France just squeezed them down, and it felt a goal was inevitable. Looked more solid defensively when they switched to 5-3-2.

    Positives? Van Dijk. Verbrueggen. Reijnders is a superb midfielder, and was so again today.

    1. What do you guys reckon, would koopmeiners have been an upgrade in the midfield?

      The team needs some left foot architect. Agree on Simons roles, I think this was clear from the first day.he is better suited in that sneijder role as he continues to drift to left occupying gakpos territory. Gakpo on the hand like I have said is one trick pony and cant delivery always. Just flashes at times and vs big guns its matter of luck. You need wingers to go out as well and come up with crosses. Stretch the defenders so the attacking midfielders can move into spaces.

      Either way, Spain for me looks like a solid contender if they dont loss on penalties or some major injuries. They have everything you want a team to have

      1. Agree. Spain is the best team by far. Their total control and domination of that Italy match was incredible.
        What saddens me is that since 2008 Spain has taken the mantle from the Netherlands and it is they who now play “Totaal Voetbal”. The Cruijff effect was successfully implemented by Spain, and lost by us.
        Ah well, we’ll still hope and cheer every two years for a team worthy of their past.

  44. Absolutely mediocre midfield. Teun would have been a huge upgrade for midfield, particularly, in the absence of FDJ. I think 5-3-2 is the best structure for the games with very strong contenders. With that structure NED felt much more stable today. I am not sure why Memphis still plays: everything was so bad. Impression was that we played with 10 men when he was fielded. I am pretty sure with Austria we will play differently, but Depay should not be allowed to play anymore. However, knowing Koeman, he will stick to his plan. I really hope this Euro will be last for Koeman. Meanwhile, I am happy with one point. It will boost some confidence. I was a little surprised to see how quality of France dropped in the absence of Mbappe. For me, Spain is by far the strongest team in this tournament so far.

  45. It seems like, with the best strategic minds in football, the discussion often tends to be how their tactics create an ‘extra man’, typically in midfield. What it felt like today against a strong team (and what I suspect we’ll feel against the intense press of Austria) is that we’re outnumbered all over the pitch. It seems to me, still, that the solution is playing with three at the back. I think the three with the most chemistry are Ake, van Dijk, and Geertruida. That would allow us to have another player in a midfield role (at least in possession).

    And as much as I really always want Memphis to succeed, he just has really limited value at this point. I think Brobbey would be far better at back-to-goal play, but my choice would probably be Zirkzee, which I doubt we’ll see. But either of those guys, and even Wout, have the ability to actually stay up front and be the point of our attack. Memphis just doesn’t stay up there, it’s not his style. Nor is he a good target man if we send the ball in from the wings.

    I said before the match that I’d be happy with a point, but it feels like we could have gotten more out of that game.

  46. Aanvalluh:

    Fair points. I too thought that our midfield was outmanned and overrun. But I felt like a lot of that was the result of positioning and discipline as opposed to formation and numbers. Reijnders played the best of the bunch but was often very withdrawn, back among the center backs. Schouten was never really involved wherever he took up position. And Xavi / Memphis, whichever of them was supposed to be the 10, was far too advanced to disrupt the French progression up the field and saw too little of the ball. The combination of those efforts left gaping holes in our midfield for the French to exploit.

    A quick statistical comparison:

    Reijnders
    33/34 passing 97%
    44 touches
    8 passes in final third

    Schouten
    29/31 passing 94%
    38 touches
    3 passes in final third

    Simons
    16/20 passing 80%
    31 touches
    5 passes in final third

    Memphis
    12/19 passing 63%
    29 touches
    3 passes in final third

    In contrast:

    Griezmann
    35/41 passing 85%
    57 touches
    6 passes in final third

    Tchouameni
    103/107 passing 96%
    115 touches
    17 passes in final third

    Kante
    57/64 passing 89%
    74 touches
    12 passes in final third

  47. I also think everyone seems to be overrating Spain. They have an interesting mix of younger and older players and some exciting young wings, and they’ve played two seemingly quality opponents so far. But their scoring primarily came on the break against Croatia, in an otherwise relatively balanced match, and they really struggled to score vs Italy (finally breaking through on an own goal) despite bossing that contest and taking 20+ shots.

    Maybe I’ll be proven wrong, but I think Germany, France and England are all better than Spain in this tournament.

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