After having been served a sumptuous main meal last Saturday with the brilliant Iniesta, Messi and Mascherano winning another Champions League at the expense of Juve, we are prepping ourselves for Oranje’s last game this season.
It was a great game. Happy for Barca and all the Barca fans. Happy for Xavi who leaves the club as a legend and realised last Saturday that Messi is only 27 years old so we probably have another 5 years of Messi to enjoy…
But from Iniesta, we go to Klaassen, from Messi we move to Promes and from Mascherano we focus on Bruma…. And co….
Latvia is our next opponent. We played them twice before, both times we won. We scored nine against them, and conceded none.
This is what we need to do again! Score and not concede. We are currently #3 in the group. Winning vs Latvia will get us closer to #2 ( 2 points) while we still have a game to play against them (Iceland). We also have the Czechs at home, so in theory, we could and should simply get to that #2 spot without too many problems.
Guus Hiddink has basically the same squad as LVG had in Brazil. Sure, Arjen Robben is injured and RVP is not 100% fit, but still. We played the World top in Brazil (well….Costa Rica…) and I do believe we should be able to beat Latvia sans Robben as well.
So what do we have now? A new coach and partly new staff. We lack Robben. We have a new team tactics (4-3-3, with emphasis on having possesion and playing “Dutch”). We have players like De Vrij, Janmaat, Depay and Blind whom all have improved over the year (one can expect).
So there is no need to not win.
Guus Hiddink made the decision about the players who will have to make way. Groningen midfielder Chery, Vitesse midfielder Propper and Ajax defender Veltman will be packing their bags. Ron Vlaar is still not 100% and has been training alone but Hiddink seems to believe he will be ready for the game. The Oranje Defense was seen as the culprit for the 3-4 loss against Team USA and it might be that Hiddink starts with a complete new line up in the back. Janmaat-Bruma-BMI-Blind out, and Van der Wiel – De Vrij – Vlaar – Willems in. Blind will most likely move up to midfield in the Clasie role.
I would personally use Janmaat as he has experience playing with De Vrij and Vlaar but I would certainly pick Willems as left back. The decision Clasie vs Blind will have to be made on the basis of their form and the type of opponent. If we need quick passing to take the few opportunities handed to us, we need Clasie who has very quick feet and a quick mind. But I am biased of course :-). Hell, I’d even advise Barca to buy Clasie :-).
It does look like Hunter and RVP will start again up front, in a 4-4-2 style system which will result in a 3-3-4 in possession. Huntelaar was one of the few who could look back with some satisfaction to the US game. “Well, I did score two but that is a poor consolation because we gave the game away. I am disappointed. We didn’t defend well but at the same time should have scored more. The US is stronger than Latvia and I do believe we will do the job.”
Huntelaar and Van Persie will both start under Hiddink, something the predecessors were not keen to do. “I am happy with this test, we did well. Robin van Persie played a lot of games behind the striker in his youth and early pro years. He can play like that and I don’t see why we wouldn’t be able to play together,” says the Schalke striker.
In transfer news, Rafa van der Vaart is talking to Betis Sevilla. The second club from Sevilla promoted to La Liga this season and wants to become a big rival of Sevilla FC. Rafa seems keen to move to Spain, as he is part Spanish and his grandparents live in the Sevilla region.
Some people claim to have seen RVP at Roma airport and a link to Lazio is easily made (RVP and De Vrij are good mates). Who knows. If I was Juve, I’d sign both Sneijder and RVP.