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.

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