The victory over Poland doesn’t get us to the Euros… It doesn’t get us three points. But it will lift the pressure of Danny Blind and his staff. It will boost confidence going forward. And it gives us all a good feeling.
Poland is not France or Germany, of course. And they are simply prepping for the Euros. But it is a good win still.
Holland played better than against Ireland. The dynamics Blind wants to see worked out better. Crisper passing, better mobility and more courageous balls forward.
Vincent Janssen showed how useful he can be when used right. Against Ireland, he moved well but was never found. Against Poland, he still moved well and was given opportunities to score a couple. He is the real deal. Played at second pro level last year for FC Almere. And seems to make the steps up without too much issues. A glorious left foot, great positioning awareness and cool as ice.
Poland didn’t play bad but failed to register some real opportunities for themselves. A slip in the back (Bruma, Tete) was the lead in to their opportunities. And a perfectly hit corner kick from Milik’s glorious left foot and Van Ginkel zoning out got them their goal.
One has to say: conceding from set pieces is a worry. Van Dijk vs Ireland not awake. Now Van Ginkel… But at least we don’t concede from open play, which is good (always focus on the good too!).
Steven Berghuis was a bit hot and cold but for a young player without rhythm, it wasn’t bad at all. You can see why Watford wanted him and why Blind relies on him. His type is rare. He’s fast, has a decent dribble and a tremendous left foot and vision.
We need all sorts of players. The power and brilliance of Memphis (when in form), the length and leadership of Luuk de Jong, the speed of Narsingh, the vision and passing of Berghuis, the aerial threat of Dost and hopefully soon the experience and skills of Van Persie and Sneijder. Add to that the world class talent of Robben and we can look hopeful towards the future.
Kevin Strootman looks strong and confident and it will be a matter of time before he will be his own self. Wijnaldum, Propper, Van Ginkel, Blind… all decent utility players and if we can cement our back four a bit better (Vlaar, De Vrij, Bruma, Van Dijk, Willems, Riedewald, Kongolo, Van Aanholt, Veltman, Janmaat), we should be able to sort ourselves out.
Danny Blind is keen to use this period to cement his ideal September line up. I don’t expect too many changes in the line up vs Austria. Blind: “I think Austria is the strongest of the three opponents. They had a tremendous qualifications campaign and with Janko and Arnautovic up front and a player like Alaba at the back, they could well be the surprise team this Euros.”
Keving Strootman will come in again to start, as skipper, after his 20 mins sub turn vs Poland. This might go at the expense of Van Ginkel. “I don’t want to change too much anymore. We need to start solidify a team.”
Dick Advocaat spent his first week with this Oranje. It is not hard to see what kind of coach he is. The perfect field trainer. Like Blind he has a whistle around his neck, like Blind, but unlike Van Basten. The first days he observed. “That is key. Take a step back and watch them do their thing. Some of them had a disappointing season, some are not 100% fit, some are worried about their future… It was a long season.” When the players do an 11 v 11 game, Dick coaches one team, San Marco the other. Marco coaches with his normal voice. Talks a lot. Dick is more quiet but when he does say something, he uses the deep and hoarse yelling voice. “Bazoer! They’re moving away from you behind you. Pay attention!” or “Bruma, if you tackle, do it for a full 100%!!”.
Dick Advocaat took over from Van Gaal in 2002. The former Man U coach wasn’t able to coach Oranje to the World Cup and Dick needed to mend things. Jeffrey Bruma: “Yes, we spoke about that. We need this to happen again. Immediately back to the big stage.” Advocaat was given the job back then on the advice of the failing Van Gaal. “Louis felt I was the right man to take the older players and get them to perform again. We needed to squeeze all out of them and I did it. Back then, people wrote that that generation was done for. Like they do now. But I will never write off any player. They usually do that themselves by not performing. If a player is good enough at 18 or 38 years old, all fine by me.”
You sometimes need an old sly fox to come up with a tactical decision that can change things. Like Van Gaal demonstrated at the World Cup when he brought Krul for Cillesen at penalty time vs Costa Rica. Some people think Oranje should use the PSV core, as they have the dynamics in place already. Put another player for Arias, another defender for Moreno and Strootman in place of Guardado and Robben for Narsingh. Dick: “Really? So Bazoer and and Memphis and Janssen? That would be a shame.”
Dick Advocaat likes to taunt his players and the vibe in the group has changed with the former FC Den Haag icon. Van Aanholt worked with him at Sunderland. During the training game, Advocaat yells at Patrick: “Hey Van Aanholt, you’re up against Promes. Peace of cake, yes?” Danny Blind: “It is important to have someone like him in the group. I think Marco and I are more detached. We keep our distance a bit. Dick really is very open and warm with the players.” Jeffrey Bruma: “Dick is a very warm and friendly guy with great anecdotes, but watch out: he is also very direct and tough.”
Memphis is doing sprint training. Advocaat observes. Memphis steals a yard the first time. And the second time. And the third time. It’s not rare. Rafael van der Vaart used to do this. Willem van Hanegem and Johan Cruyff would hide in the bushes during running training to smoke a quick cigarette. Advocaat: “I see it. But I don’t say anything in the group. I walk over to Memphis after training and say “I saw you making short cuts. Fine with me. But show me in the match that you deserve it.”
Advocaat: “Normally, a group selects itself. Perform at club level, work hard during Oranje sessions and deliver. Usually, the right options present themselves. But this is a very hungry group. They love being here and we have some guys who love to laugh and we also have some odd types… I like that. There is a mix. I want them to give everything for themselves. And I leave them space to do so in their own way. But, it is quite simple: if you don’t perform, you’re out.”