The Oranje team won an epic away match against the giants of Kazachstan (1-2) after suffering losses against Iceland, Turkey, the Czechs and Andorra.
Well…Andorra is probably an exaggeration. But we did lose against the other ones. And we have celebrated a much much needed victory over Borat’s brothers.
I do wish to be positive and I do believe in miracles but at the same time… Whether we qualify or not, this whole campaign was a joke cum disaster. A disgrace, really.
And I somehow fear that if we do qualify for France, the federation might forget all about it as soon as possible. “Ah, let’s quickly put that bad experience away and focus on the future”.
It is too early to lament now and this post deserves a new body text tomorrow should we not make it.
But for now, lets focus on the good things.
Coz in among all the bad, there was some good.
It seems Danny Blind quickly learned from his initial mistakes in the Iceland and Turkey matches and did what he had to do. He focused on his tactical set up and selected players who play on that spot and who have had a string of decent games in that position. It was made somewhat easy by the fact that Van der Wiel and Martins Indi were injured. but both players shouldn’t have played vs Iceland and I think Danny got the message.
Janmaat sadly got injured and so did goalies Cillesen (warm up) and Krul (second half). Sad, for sure, but most likely also the result of the weird artificial pitch. Something to analyze and maybe something to address at UEFA level.
The 4-3-3 worked well. Of course. the Kazachs are not very good. We were expected to win by 0-4 or so, in my book, and we could have but hey…let’s take the 1-2 and work towards the Czechs.
Blind played well in center of midfield and had a killer pass for Memphis who should have scored then and there. It would have been a sensational Mancunian goal. The midfield worked well, the full backs showed they have great potential for the future and debutant El Ghazi was lively and highly involved in the 1-0.
Virgil van Dijk, although sloppy at the end with all his colleagues, showed great composure and confidence and will soon be the man to assist De Vrij in the center of midfield, should coach Blind decide not to use son Blind as CB.
Huntelaar played a tough game doe Oranje, barely having a touch in the box but these games are not about individuals and even Robin van Persie won’t lament the fact he only got 2 minutes to secure his centennial cap.
Danny Blind: “Robin wasn’t fully fit. He would have come on earlier if we were level after an hour, or trailing. But with 0-2 on the board I wanted to keep him safe and fit for the Czech game and I told him I’d give him the last minute to get his celebratory cap. But only if the situation allowed.”
Blind also swept away the rumour that Memphis and Van Persie had a bust up at practice. “Nonsense. They had a football discussion. About a pass that should or should not have been given. It happens all the time. No biggie.”
I have to say, Danny Blind has scored some points with me. He was criticized by the media for the Cocu Phone incident. Frank de Boer said he was always contacted by Blind if the latter was keen to add a new Ajax debutant to the mix. Cocu said he was never contacted. Danny Blind: “It is a silly situation. You have to understand that I call every coach of any played I want to select for the first time. Because usually, I don’t know these lads. This is why I call Frank. About Riedewald, Tete and now El Ghazi. And I ask about their temperament, their training specofics, their mentality. I haven’t called Cocu because I am not selecting any debutants from PSV. I picked Bruma, but I don’t need to call Cocu to check how Bruma is doing. I know Bruma and I don’t need Cocu’s insights for this. This whole phone thing is a media generated thing to kick up a stink.”
Danny Blind was happy with the result. “We did what we had to do. At times we played well, at times we could have done better. The Kazachs used a lot of long hauls and physical power and at the end we were pushed back a bit. I could see the team was getting uncomfortable with it. But it was fine, we could have scored more and shouldn’t have conceded that last goal, but all in all I am ok with what we did and I now will focus on Tuesday.”
The main talking point after the game were the goal keepers injuries. Both Cillesen and Krul were injured and left Blind with no alternative to play Jeroen Zoet who will most likely start vs the Czechs.
“It seems Krul is out for a spell, maybe the full season. I don’t know what happened exactly but I won’t be surprised if it was the surface. Cillesen’s injury is less serious but he will not play Tuesday. Both Ken Vermeer and Maarten Stekelenburg are called up to complete the squad, along with Greg van der Wiel as right full back back up.”
The Turkish coach lashed out to coach Blind for sending an email with congratulations to the Czech team manager. The UEFA has since declared that it will be regarded as illegal for the Dutch to offer the Icelandic players a financial reward for beating Turkey.
Dutch Swansea board member and sponsor John van Zweden : ” I spoke to Gilfi Siggurson the other day and he told me not to worry. He is keen to beat Turkey as Iceland really wants to win the group. This is Iceland’s first outing to the Euro tournament and they want to make sure they do all they can to have the best odds.” Siggurdson was the man who slayed the Dutch giants and he is keen to do it vs the Turks. “I will send him a text to remind him but I know how he works and thinks. They Icelandic guys won’t throw a game. They want to win everything now as a preparation for the Euros. I think Holland will make it through thanks to Gilfi.”
Arjen Robben is less confident. “I am dying a 1000 deaths watching the team on the sofa. It is so much easier playing so you can do something about it. Watching it is a drama. I am not confident. I thought the Czechs would hurt the Turks but now I am not so sure. I am really concerned. Missing the Euros would be a drama for me, for Dutch football for the fans. I would be devastated and I am pissed off my body let me down yet again.”
Interestingly enough, Bert van Oostveen has declared he will not resign if Oranje doesn’t qualify and neither will he sack Blind. The KNVB CEO: “I think Danny did well in very tough circumstances. I work closely with him and his luck wasn’t there vs Iceland. We lost the game as a result of some individual mistakes and I won’t sacrifice the coach for this. We signed a contract until 2018. In 2016 we have an evaluation moment. But I am impressed with his way of working and will support him. As for myself, I am obviously highly concerned and would be highly disappointed if we fail. It would be a disgrace, I agree. But I was proud to wear the silver and bronze medal and I will not run to the exit when things turn south. We are building a whole new team at the moment and despite the results, the future is bright. I will take my responsibility and keep on working and building.”
Bert also said in a recent interview that the players lack fighting mentality. The young breed is too much focused on money. “It appears to me that young players leave Holland very young, lured by big contracts. The result is, they either warm the bench at big clubs or they get to play for smaller clubs. They should invest in themselves and get some more runs on the board before they go. We used to have players with the mentality of Wouters, Cocu, Van Bommel, De Jong… I don’t see these players anymore.”
Some Dutch analysts already started to see the positives once we don’t qualify. It will give two things to the Dutch: 1) humility (much neeed) and 2) time to build a new team. Which is interesting, and true because if we do qualify all will be focused on getting a good result in France. Should we not qualify, we can use the time to work on a new football vision, development strategies and select new talent to take over from the Sneijders and Van Persies….
But what do Dutch analysts know, really? One of them (Rene van der Gijp) famously said this when the draw for this qualification group was known: “My my, it will be harder NOT to qualify than it will be to actually qualify…” Famous last words.
I do believe we have a chance, though.
1. The Icelandic team wants to top the group which will help them with the draw in the actual Euros.
2. Iceland ripped the Turkish defence to pieces in the first game, winning 3-0
3. Iceland’s defence is tight and strong
4. Turks will self destruct
5. Holland will run over Czech Republic like a steam train
Coz, really….can you imagine a Euros without the Orange?
I will leave the analysis of where went wrong for later. Win or lose, we will have to go there.
For now, I want some positive vibes.
I can see Blind playing the same players, with only Zoet as new addition.
Early in the first half, Sneijder scores a zinger from midfield. A low drive. Turkey gets nervous. They need to make decisions now. Will they go for the 0-0 or will they attack. The Turkish supporters want their team to attack but Iceland is luring on a counter. Memphis scores a second goal from nothing and the Czechs deflate. Turkey is playing sloppy now and the fans are getting rowdie. Iceland is still poking and threatening and Turkey sees 5 players sit deep and 5 players pushing up. The hole in the middle is spotted by Siggurdson. In the second half, Huntelaar gets the third goal and Oranje dazzles towards the end of the game with RVP for Huntelaar, Afellay for Sneijder and Elia for Memphis. Late in the game, RVP gets a tap in on an Elia move and Holland wins 0-4.
The Turks make a mess out of it and in the 83rd minute, Iceland turns the game around and Siggurdson gets have a shooting chance and hits the ball in the near corner. Turkey loses. Holland goes to the Euro 2016 in FRANCE!
And then, I awoke….