Oranje making up numbers at Euros

Well, we made it. We qualified. But the performance quality – or lack thereof – doesn’t instil a lot of confidence in me.

I don’t think I have seen one match after the World Cup that gave me a good feeling. And sure, we miss a couple of big players, but I can’t see how Frenkie or Memphis would have improved the play much, all by themselves. I mean, there were games with Frenkie in the side post-WC which also didn’t dazzle us.

I do think Koeman is doing the right thing in his squad selection and today’s line up, for me, was quite logical.

I personally would have doubted to put Weghorst in, but he did score the winner so people will probably laugh at me.

But i just don’t like him. And I think that another player would have scored if we had Malen as right winger and Xavi as false 9.

I probably also would have played Wieffer instead of Schouten. I’m a big Schouten fan but to put him in in his second game after being shoved aside by Van Gaal quite rudely, I would have used him versus Gibraltar. I think Wieffer is settled more in Oranje and is known to be quite stoic.

I also need to add: I think Schouten played a very decent match and will only improve.

Lastly, I think I would have picked Bijlow over Verbruggen. The latter is a great talent but still so inexperienced. He had to field two shots on goal and one went in through his legs. Ouch. Luckily for him, the Irish attacker was off side.

But overall, I think Koeman’s decisions re: line up and squad are fine.

It’s the execution (and maybe the prep by Koeman) that leaves a lot to be desired.

The excuse that we miss so many players is not a real excuse for me. We missed a lot of central defenders ( Botman, De Ligt, Timber, Ake, Van der Ven) but that area was not where the issues were today. I thought Blind and De Vrij did well. De Vrij was probably one of the best. His passing, some of his footwork, obviously his defending too. No worries at all.

The issues were in build up and the speed of play. We played walking football. Every time there was a chance to accelerate the game, we seemed to not want to take it. Where Frenkie naturally turns “open” when getting the ball and pass through a line or two, the two “6”s were too cautious. Schouten did it a couple of times, but it still was a bit timid. The pass backwards was found too easily. A simple acceleration on the ball, either with the man or by the ball in terms of a pass, was constantly an option and mostly not taken.

Up front, Weghorst seems to “block” forward motion. Every time he comes into the ball, Simons and Gakpo would move forward for the flick, and every time Weghorst would simply bounce the ball back to the midfielders. No flow.

And most annoyingly, none of the players had the urge to make runs in behind. The corner triangles you see so fluidly at Man City, Feyenoord and Arsenal were not there. The only player at times to recognise the space was Reijnders who’d run into it, but the pass never came. It was sterile and flat. There were options enough ( for Hartman, for Xavi, for Weghorst or Dumfries) to make the dart into that space, even to just stretch the Irish. But no.

My biggest disappointment was the post match interview with Weghorst, who was angry at the reporter asking him a question about the lack of flow in the game. As if the great man is above critical questions after doing his heroics for king and country. Pathetic!

There is a lot of work to do. The good thing is: we do have the players. But we need these players to realise they need to up their game two levels if they want to compete with Spain, England and France at the Euros.


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  1. Thanks for the post. As pointed out above, the selection is reasonable but the gameplay is not there. There is no flow. While the squad has many injuries, not many of them will walk into the starting eleven except FDJ and the missing CBs but in those games, the CBs are not needed and we have adequate replacement.

    We seem to fill up the gap in midfields with Reijnders and Gravenberch. But the forward and goalkeepers are still weak. Malen has turned back into his old form. And Danjuma just disappeared from the scene.

  2. @Thanks Jan..
    We luxury of defenders,So injury wont affect us.,i see atrocious selection /cowardice approach by koeman.i was pissed of seeing De roon,Malen,yes partially for Blind too..We should have gone with maatsen as we had a back up in Hato…i like the fighting spirit of dumfries and Weghorst..but they are not elite players to hang on..
    Hartmann was livewere with Berjwin at left wing…Same hartman had to mark blind all the time ,because we know Blind is threat for us and ireland at same time..This slection blind put our left wing impotent going forward,so it went on to dumfries,whose first touch and ball controll is joke..yet he had a decent game…
    its modern day football and its time of rodri,kimmich,Decaln rice,etc we are playing with de roon…what is stopping us from de roon..We have exccelnt midfeilders for de roon spot…
    Weiffer,schouten,Jurrien timber,Quinten timber,Gravenberch,reinders,Frenkie,koopmeiners..i understand Frenkie and gravenberch was injured but,quinten is in terrific form..Weiffer,quinten ,reinders would have been better mid…
    Malen ,,what waste of guy,does he even work hard??/we cannot take this guy anymore,its time for Summerville and issac babbadi for pace and work rate…No more malen….
    Lang,Depay,Gakpo,Summerville,Babbadi,Berjwin,Dalinga,Luuk are better options than Weghorst,malen,Danjuma

  3. Good game vs Gibraltar. There was no need to overdo it (Veerman got injured). Stengs back in the spotlight, first goals for him (hattrick) and first goal for Wieffer. Dallinga and Hato debuts. Veerman strong, Reijnders strong. We are heading towards an interesting potential line up for the Euros.

    Timber – Van Dijk – Ake
    Dumfries – Frenkie – Reijnders – Hartman
    Simons – Memphis – Gakpo

    Van der Ven – De Ligt – Botman
    Frimpong – Wieffer – Gravenberch – Malacia
    Stengs – Dallinga – Lang

    Weghorst & Bergwijn/Malen/Danjuma/Blind/De Roon/Brobbey/Koopmeiners

  4. @ Jan
    I have 0 expectations from these guys but from lineup I would replace Timber with De Vrii,
    Dumfries with Frimpomg
    And if Stegns continues with his form, I would replace Xavi with Stengs. After all these games, Xavi hasn’t shown much. He hasn’t impressed anyone.
    Van Der Van and Gravenberch are 2 solid substitutes

  5. Always good to get your game reports Jan. Thank you.

    Pretty lackluster performance against Ireland. Not much intensity, just guys putting a shift in. And the stadium seemed like it had less atmosphere than a midweek reserves match.

    MF is looking crowded. After a long time of wondering who can play next to De Jong, now there are good options: Reijnders, Schouten, Gravenberch (if he continues his upwards trajectory at Liverpool).

    Agree with Jean Venette. De Vrij looked good, and should be ahead of Timber (especially given his injury) and Geertruida. A central trio of De Vrij, Van Dyke and Ake sounds right; no weak links, no one caught wandering out of position, no one a liability on highballs and set pieces.

    From Gakpo, Depay, Simons, Lang, Stengs, Malen, Dalinga…they need to find some combination of attackers that gel.

  6. @jean it is key not to have expectations. They will make you sad. 24 nations for the Euros, 1 will win. The odds are not with us. So no expectations is the go. Well done.

    Xavi hasn’t shown much? I think he is like C Ronaldo in the CL. He didn’t score in the first 20 champions league matches. Zero goals. To end up being the all time top scorer.

    @Andrew well said. My only worry with the 3 at the back is lack of speed. De Vrij is not the quickest (otherwise he is top drawer). If Reijnders keeps on going as he is he will be our top man next to Frenkie. I do rate all these midfielders though, I think Schouten is underrated, still.

  7. Good afternoon all,

    Sevilla has a red card, PSV only down 2-1 now. Lets hope for a comeback.

    Did anyone see Wieffers performance yesterday? He was sublime in a big champions league game, vs Atletico Madrid. https://twitter.com/fuadyabz23/status/1729810298565964039

    Anyone else feeling incredibly optimistic about the Dutch?

    Goalkeeping is fine
    Defence has so many options –
    Midfield – Wieffer, De Jong, Reijnders…
    Attack – We must hope Xavi Simons becomes world class. If he does, all of a sudden, Gakpo, Memphis ect become solid complimentary pieces.

    1. Was at work, so could only follow it online…but that was fun, watching each goal show up. Great comeback.

      Saw the Feyenoord match. Yep, Wieffer made plays all over the field, terrific all around game.

  8. Hi guys. Not much activity here lately. It’s unfortunate though, as there is much to discuss. For example Blind. Much maligned, a singular cause of dutch demise, daddy’s boy etc. Kicked out of Ajax last year despite many years of service. And now – where is Girona and where is Ajax? The brain and vision is never lost. Speed yes, but this is why you have a coach and the right system to play. BTW – he is a solid starter, rarely substituted. So, for all those badmouthing him – when Ajax loses another one to PSV 0-4 or 0-6 think about Blind.

  9. Hi AFC71, I love your comment. I think I mentioned Blind earlier on in a comment as well. He’s leading the charge in Spain with Girona and indeed, Ajax could do with intelligence and good build up play. None of the Blind haters here responded.

    I don’t think he was kicked out of Ajax though. He was benched and had a falling out with Schreuder and decided to leave himself. I think Schip wouldn’d mind having him back now, but that Schip sailed ( pun intended).

    Overall, PSV is playing so well and Feyenoord can’t keep up. Next week AZ – PSV. it
    ‘s about time PSV get an ass-kicking….

  10. De kuip in Rotterdam is everyone’s fave venue to play in. The pitch is top notch and the vibe is amazing. Even Ajax players prefer De Kuip over the JC Arena.

    But from an infrastructure perspective De Kuip is not favorite at the federation. The vip spaces are limited, the toilets are pretty grotty, the food options limited, it’s a proper vintage football venue and not a modern entertainment temple like the Arena or the Spurs home ground. I hope Feyenoord/Rotterdam will be able to “fix” it soon.

  11. Re Blind

    I have long said this + and – is zero. Some games blind can be a lion and in some games mouse. It makes no difference because when it matters the most it will all come down to the same outcome and as we have seen in last how many years. I still see critics turning a blind eye on this and complementing on his attributes being the reason why girona are flying high.

    Even at man United it was the same old story. Good team player but not good enough.

    This is what some of the critics can not to swallow and the fact that he is off no use in NT. If the management want him to play vs average team for the shake of his experience, it’s again a waste. It’s time to move on especially when now there are options

    1. @wilson. Cant you ever give credit where credit is due.

      I want to move on from blind in the NT. However, hes a massive part of a girona squad that is defying all odds to lead the league. Its a massive achievement and blind is a massive contributor.

      Does that mean he fits the NT playstyle or we should look past other options….no. But why do you feel the need to be so blindly bias agianst him. It’s ok to say “blind is having a good season during a cinderalla story. good for him”, rather than trying to tear him down at every turn.

  12. To be fair to Wilson, he wasn’t exactly overly critical, just saying his opinion. We are all allowed to have an opinion, that’s where debate stems. I think we can be happy for Blind, while also having an opinion that he could be a weak point for us. I hope Hartman keeps developing so it’s all a mute point.

    Did anyone watch the Wieffer link I posted earlier? I am pretty impressed. I do love Veerman, even thought he seems to struggle in the big games.

  13. Well, Ajax made it through. It is just the Europa Conference League, but after their start this year, it is a positive. Also helps the coefficient, right?

    @Jan, yes, thanks for the explanation of why most of the matches are in Amsterdam. I understand, but maybe they could at least play the big matches in De Kuip? I know, wishful (and wistful) thinking.

    @Sonneveld. I mentioned above that I thought Wieffer was excellent in that match. But I guess didn’t mention that I watched your link as well. It was good; confirmed what a good match he played. Thank you for the link.

  14. @anthony

    “Cant you ever give credit where credit is due”

    This is How I look at it in context to what you have said above.

    Credit shud be given when or where it matters the most and you legitly can argue this in context to blind that it’s

    Though we have talked about this many times I will try and put it differently.

    With or without Blind doesn’t make any difference to Girona, he is a good team player and even without him they have players who can fill his shoes and still maintain the current status

    What I see from some of critics is as if Blind is the main protagonist of the team and without him the team will loss its current trajectory. This is just a self complementary gratitude which is spurious

    You look back at Leicester city team that won the epl some season back. There were few key players that propelled that team to the title. Kante being one of them. The supporting players were all all good but kante was the of main protagonist of that team as when he departed Leicester couldn’t cope with the following season. The reason why I pick this is because this is where you give credit to somebody who is genuinely entitled to it.

    The coach of Girona is the one that deserves the due credit for their current status in la liga.

  15. As usual his stats are eye catching and ranked amongst the top but that doesnt tell the whole story. If you go and watch the match they played with real, it’s just ploughs the whole debate on what he does the best to what can happen when the table turns around on him.

    The difference is you guys want to see things with one eye closed while I with my 2 eyes far and beyond.

  16. @wilson – such a nonsense reply. You’re saying critics (who are much more accomplished than you), many fans, and the coach of girona all think blind contributes. But almighty wilson knows better.

    If the coach of girona deserves credit, he needs players to implement his tactics. Blind deserves credit for carrying out the coaches vision. You couldnt step into blinds shoes and do that job. Therefore blind deserves credit. Literally every single person at Girona deserves credit for their placement. The nutritionist, physio, scouts, coaches and of course the player. It’s a team game. If blind is so bad, how come barca cant beat girona with the obvious weak link of blind. Surely theres some team in the league who has someone faster than blind and yet girona keep winning in spite of blind being slow. Maybe football isnt a video game where speed is the only thing that matters…..

    As someone who thinks hes smarter than everyone else, i get why you have a hard time admitting its a team game where there are multiple avenues of contribution, but it gets so old. Get over your superiority complex, stop ragging on the same players. If they have a good game, admit it. If its bad, analyze.

    Again, Im not the biggest blind fan. Im just not arrogant enough to say a guy playing 90s during a cinderella story is garbage.

    1. I can’t stop laughing to this. The critics I meant was some of you here because nobody else where has the same opinion as what you and few others want to suppress in this context ( blind)

      I said it, he is a good team player but not good enough … adding on … to be commended or accredited for from one and two good outings and to rate him as key player of the team, which again is spurious and there is where I raised my argument whether is blind that important to the team that without him, girona will not be able to cope?To make it more hilarious, you swept this underneath the carpet and brought in nutritionist, physio and other associates of the team to be accredited to as well taking it into a whole new direction trying polish your argument.

      To the others arguments in context to coaches playing a critical role , look at the turn around of Ajax with the arrival of John van ‘t Schip to Maurice steijn and before. Van gaal esque coaches. I mean it has happened many times before. Mourinho- Porto, Claudio Ranieri – Leicester, Van gaal , Ajax , AZ

  17. Oh dear, the Blind bashing is going on? Statistics showed that Blind is in the Top 5 of platers in all major European competitions with forward passes skipping a line (from defense to attack). Top 5. That is why he is in the Girona team and this is why Koeman will keep on selecting him. Some people….

  18. Wilson your Ajax comparison (Steijn – Van’t Schip ) is another example that you really don’t get Dutch football and you probably don’t see enough or hear enough about what is going on.

    Steijn would have had the exact same results. Van’t Schip is a good coach for Ajax but so was Steijn. The latter didn’t buy those players but had to make it work. Schip had two weeks – international break – and got the players on the training ground, where Steijn had to immediately play competitive games. Schip also drew two games and lost in the cup versus amateurs. And don’t come back with “Schip wasn’t there when they lost”. It’s still his team, his tactics, his line up.

    I am a fan of Schip (and also of Steijn btw) but your reasoning is silly. It’s scoreboard journalism, as we call it.

  19. @ Jan

    Re: blinds stats

    I have already said it on top in context to this. Look at both sides of the coin and not just one side. The critics I mention here was also in regards to this.

    Blind will go to euros, yes only because that will keep everybody happy regardless of if he plays or not. Waste of a spot tbh and no his experience and presence in the dressing room won’t have any impact on the team. Now realistically what the use of taking him when he won’t play and neither he is an impact player of the bench. Hartman is likely to start all games and maybe the game vs the minors will you see him dazzle with his passing game. Maatsen is on the move from Chelsea in Jan. He has already being called up by koeman before. If he plays consistently at his new club, deploy him in the two friendlys before the euros, if he puts in a good show take him over blind. Good impact player, young versatile and be a good competition for Hartman in the after math of euros and WC qualifiers. The most sensible thing to do.

    Re: scoreboard journalism

    Well the new coach has picked up the pieces and turned it around. This was my main point and not about the drama that went behind the curtains or who is calling the shots and to who.

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