Oranje simply not up to it

The cliche “men versus boys” has been used here a lot. In the past. And how I hoped that would remain a thing of the past.

But the games versus Croatia and Italy have yet again demonstrated where we go wrong. Again.

And I wonder who or what is going to change this!

The System

Lets start this two-match review with the obvious: some people claim that due to the losses and the conceded goals we will need to consider a switch back to the 5-3-2 of van Gaal.

One photo will show you why this is nonsense.










As one can see: we had enough defenders in the box (5!). It’s not about the number of defenders. It’s about how the defenders defend and about what they do.

Combine this insight with the fact we conceded two downright idotic penalties versus Croatia and the analysis is done: stupidity, complacency and laziness.

Gakpo trying to turn the best midfielder of the past decade on the edge of his own box. Gakpo losing the ball and then trying to pick up the little maestro from the back (and what… bring him to the kids’ stands??)…. And late in the match, Malacia with a lunge in the box. I mean, a rush of blood to the head of course but I could accept the explanation of Malacia: only minutes left to score a goal and we needed the ball so I took a risk. And failed. But either way: two cheap penalties and very unnecessary.

The Croatie second goal was a typical example of alibi defending. Or pseudo defending.  Making people believe you’re doing what you can. Dumfries, in this case not putting any pressure on the ball and staying at 1,5 yards from the forward. In his own box! That is not something you see Croatian or Italian defenders do. And Ake, Virgil and Koopmeiners all looking at each other. Typically something that happens even more with a 5 at the back system.









Not enough pressure on the ball. No communication. Ake can see it all happening in front of him,

Versus Italy, same old same old. Two early goals because no one really defends! No one attacks the ball, no one clears the ball, no one puts pressure on the ball and the key forwards who should track back to cover the Italian wing backs: absent!










Dimarco gets time and time from Malen and his defender mates were not able to recognise or communicate the danger to him. Where is a screaming Frank de Boer when you need him?

We didn’t lose because of the system

The quality of the players

I think we all know we have a lot of players who can play some neat, nifty football. Xavi Simons, Noa Lang, Donny Malen, Joey Veerman, Frenkie, all gifted players. But tenacity, leadership, personality and mentality are also part of the complete package of qualities a player requires.

And we lacked it. Again. We did see some good moves, we did see some decent actions and at times we played some nice football. Sure. But it’s about when things don’t go your way. When the opponent finds spaces where you didn’t expect it. When team mates get sloppy.

The quality we need then, is not the step-over of Noa Lang, the shimmy of Frenkie or the dribble of Xavi. We need the leadership of a Roy Keane. The big mouth of Gatuso. The piercing look of Mark van Bommel. I can fully understand that Wieffer, Geetruida, Dumfries and Lang are not the players to demonstrate this part of the game.














But Virgil. Nathan Ake (treble winner!), Frenkie de Jong ( skipper at Barca) and Koopmeiners should do more in this domain. Captain Van Dijk should be in Malen’s face, if he doesn’t track back! Frenkie should be ready to make the tactical switches where need be.

It’s all too sweet. We’re too friendly. We play too many card games at training camp and we focus too much on funny youtube clips with quizes, or raps with cigars and fashion shoots.

Mentality, commitment, leadership

And these are the elements that are missing. Some players came to the Nations League final round complaining that the season was too long and if we don’t win versus Croatia, we can’t be bothered to play the Losers Finals. Koeman should have sent these players home!

If you can’t get inspired for a football game, not hoping the coach will do it for you, then you have nothing to do in an orange jersey.

Every single player of Spain, Croatia and Italy has had a long and tough season! Man up!

We believe we are great football players. But we are only great on the ball. And not great. Above average. And we suck in the mental department.

And this is not something we fix by changing systems.

The Coach

I never believe in getting a coach back for a second stint. It was a success with Michels and Oranje, ok. But not in any other instance. Mourinho at Chelsea. Van Marwijk at Feyenoord. Van Gaal at Barcelona. Van Gaal with the Oranje/Ajax contingent in 2000.












There is a sense of “comfort”, working with a coach you know. Whenever a coach says it feels like coming home, you know you’re in trouble. It shouldn’t feel like home.

Why pick Koeman again? Because it worked so well before? Well…. did it? He bailed before the Euros. Not really a success. So in my book, a big cross should have gone through his name.

Peter Bosz was available. Just sayin’.

Koeman has end responsibility and he needs to get his players mentally ready for a match or send the ones that can’t be bothered home. And when Malen doesn’t track back twice in 15 mins and we get hammered twice: immediately sub the dude. Show grit. Show courage.

Just like our team wasn’t able to show courage versus Croatia, our coach lacked courage in his choices.

The Future

I do believe the youngsters we see in Orange will grow into good solid players for the team: Wieffer, Veerman, Geertruida, Simons and even Malen, Gakpo and Lang are still youngsters, compared to Blind, Van Dijk and Memphis. We need to give them a chance.

But we need to give Botman, Frimpong, Schouten, Dallinga and Spierings a chance too.

Bijlow was not 100% top, but was only really at fault with that third Croatia goal. It wasn’t an easy one, but it was stoppable.











A back line with Ake and Botman, De Ligt and Frimpong should work. Or Malacia, Ake, De Ligt, Frimpong.

A midfield with Veerman, Frenkie and Wieffer should work. A forward line with Lang, Gakpo and Malen should work. We do have enough quality on the ball. But we need to turn it into a team and we need to wise up really quickly now and start switching that button on in their heads.

Playing for Oranje is not a summer camp outing after a tough season at the club.

It’s do or die now.


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  1. I won’t sugar coat my words and if the policy of this blog doesn’t accept I don’t give a fuck (I never spoke like this before but this is too much)!!!!

    I never ever in my life skipped a game for oranje, I even ended up booking tickets and flying to Amsterdam many many times to watch them play in the arena in big games, but for the first time I was home when they played Italy and I didn’t even bother to look at the game because I knew exactly what was going to happen!!!

    this generation of players and their mentality makes me want to throw up, a bunch of bitches nothing more (no exclusions) , starting with the super star frenkie de jong who was crying about having to play nations league as if it is not good enough for him, he made me feel like he already won two world cups and one euro with oranje!!!!! Meanwhile Rodri who just won champions league with city and was the scorer of the goal in the final should’ve been totally drunk and not interested instead? He scores his penalty in the final and scream and jumps out of joy like it is his first game of the season….who else? Luka Modric the 37 year old man from the age of dinosaurs plays like he is an 18 year old kid invited for the first time to the senior team and leads his team close to glory after he plays two full extra time games , did he bitch on tv about having to play for his national team after a longer season than frenkie himself since Luka had to go all the way to semifinals in champions league while frenkie got kicked out first round? And then their behavior after they lose the matches ??? What’s that?? you see them having fun and joking as if nothing happened!!!!! They just don’t care it is shocking …. Then frenkie after the Italy match he goes to say I am not worried we still have time (time for what???) but now I am ready to go on vacation , we don’t give a fuck about your vacation frenkie, no one does !!!!

    I’ve followed this team passionately since 1988 and had a heart break one after another but everytime I looked forward to the next tournament to cheer up, but this generation with their lack of personality , lack of dignity , lack of interest in playing for oranje, not honouring the Jersey they’re wearing (once was johans and Marco van bastens jersey) made me lose all interest in oranje, I am beyond disgusted with them, you could lose everyday in soccer I know that, but you lose with personality and with passion after you drop some sweat but for me I am done with them, this will be my last comment, I really don’t give a fuck about this team anymore until a new generation full of men comes up and reignite the interest in me …. Till then I wish you the best guys of this blog we had a nice 17 year run together , will be back when a new Davids, a new Kuyt and a new van Bommel with personality join this spiritless team !!!!!

  2. i heard that quinten timber will lead the team today vs Belgium u21…quinten is a good player agreesive,work horse,can dribble past two or one ,carry the ball and pass..low center of gravity,physically strong..amazing package and blessing for NT..when u add graven berch with /timber thats formidable combination.

  3. u21 is really a good team on par with nations…while in seniro team we on par with other nations in midfeild and defense(not with geetrudia or dumfries)..i saw highlights of japan match…that Japan would easily beat anu european team..still we had better cahnces to win against them..i think this u21 team will go far…they have quality…only sepp van berg injury was a set back..

  4. Malen needs to be informed tat he has work hard and help defense if not he should be kept out like Danjuma..i hope both guys increase their workrate..if they come up with relentless work rate that would be a blessing for NT..
    Rensch/Frimpong–De ligt-/shuurs–Botman/Virgil–Malacia/Ake-8
    Joel piroe,Summerville,Gakpo,Simons,Berjwin,Noah Lang–6
    4 suqad members
    Thijs Dalinga,Memphis Depay,Dumfries,Joey veerman..

  5. Anyone watch the U21 match against Belgium?

    Ended at 0-0, but an exciting game. Netherlands was better in the first half, though Belgium had some good chances—including one where Verbruggen stoned Openda one on one. Second half was the opposite; Netherlands had some good opportunities, but after Belgium subbed at halftime, (Balakwisha came on and was a handful), they were the better, more dangerous side.

    The NT’s offensive players were decent but nothing to get overly excited about. Hartmann had a good game at left back. Van Hecke (very composed) and Van De Ven made a good partnership as CB’s. Verbruggen was superb; three big saves, including twice when Openda came in on him alone. Excited to see how he does in the EPL.

  6. Finished watching the replay of the game and tbh it was like watching the senior team ( clone). lateral pass from this end to the other, going forward, turn and back pass. I don’t understand why the coaches dont emphasize on playing through the middle channel, one two, triangle passes etc. this was very evident in the NT games as well. Well Simons did have few interventions in the middle. Like I said Van der looi is not the guy to lead this team to glory. He started ekelenkamp a midfielder on the wing with both natural and solid wingers tavsan and Manoef on the bench and started Taylor at 10. Ekelelenkamp ended up drifting into the midfield and was anonymous. First one to be subbed off

    Brobbery was the biggest disappointment of all and still he was not subbed off and instead Van der looi switched to what looked like 4-4-2/ 4-2-2-2 bringing on zirkzee.

    The subs again was ridiculous LB maatsen for winger Summerville, most probably to get the crosses in with two strikers up front but the Belgians took full advantage of this on turn overs.

    Van hecke and van den ven as mentioned by Andrew being the standout players , probably verbruggen as well otherwise none of these players deserve to be playing in the NT.

    I like maatsen when he came on. His crosses in the box were dangerous and neither rensch or Hartman if I recall correctly delivered a good cross for brobbery till the time they were on the field. Hartman had some good intervention linking up with Summerville and on few occasions in the box but with the beast up front the crossing from the flanks were poor and overall brobbery as well who squandered a lot of good chances.

    I’m sick and tired of seeing the back and lateral passing and no to very little exploitation of middle channels. You can only wonder if this is because of the mid field set up. I mean the point forward which has become a feature of Dutch football. Gravenberch also failed to make much impact either starting with Timber and Taylor on either side. Timber as well, not a NT material. All over the park leaving is position vulnerable and when trying to recover was involved in clumsy tackles.

    Both teams have good chances and squandered it. Battle of each halves. I don’t think this side has what it takes to win and plus the coach. A good team like Spain or Italy will beat them.

  7. There will be alot of scouting in this championship and it all gonna come down to individual performances. Was looking around to find out why van hooijdonk is not in the team. Nothing much.

  8. @Wilson, I think it is talent. The offensive players worked hard, sometimes got themselves into good positions, had some dangerous chances (Taylor could have scored a couple of times), but they couldn’t get the ball in the net; a quarter step slow or a half second slow to react at times, nor did they have anyone looked like they could go by a defender one-on-one. Certainly they didn’t play anyone at the level of Openda or Balakwisha.

    Gravenberch continues to be interesting. He was quiet yesterday. But I wonder (or maybe just hoping) if this has to do with his development at Bayern; making him more responsible and reading the game as opposed to the way he played all over the place at Ajax. I still think he could be a superb holding mf—big strong, on the ball skills, sharp long range shot, and the ability to cover ground going from defense to offense or vice versa. But as you say he was quiet yesterday.

    Verbruggen was obviously big yesterday. If Openda had scored on either of his chances no one would have faulted him—but that is what you need from a GK, isn’t? Someone who can make the big save from an almost hopeless situation.

    Hope for the best. Portugal lost 2-0 to Georgia. The group is wide open.

    1. @Wilson, not sure what prompted that question. Read my first paragraph. I’m concerned about the lack of difference-making offensive talent in the squad.

  9. For me this is nothing new but comes down to individual quality. Players like Reis, tavsan, Maatsen were benched for players who played out of their natural position. Ekelenkamp over tavsan was ridiculous so was playing talyor at 10 who doesnt play there. Hartman I would give him ome benefit of doubt for his performance but given what maatsen showed when coming on, he shud have started.

  10. @Wilson

    Re: I dont know whats wrong with dutch coaches they always wanna defy odds instead of keeping things simple and straight forward

    It’s this mental illness called uncontrollable ego. They are all going through a mass psychosis centred around living up to expectations of a time that was, but nevertheless long gone.

    They’ve set themselves up to live up to an image of innovators and outside thinkers and thus common sense has been casted out to sea.

    Everyone wants to be Cruyff and Michels but in their own terms.

    That is why there has to be manufactured complications. The aura of football esotericism has to be established and maintained at all cost so they can fit into their borrowed robes of football zen masters. A clear coping mechanism of brutal and sometimes unlucky, failures.

    And that’s where their cold resentment for the football layman stems from. That is why Frimpong is not in the team and Blind is, as a reaction of spite to every other beer drinking fan who have made the easy call. And that’s why they are almost, always in agreement with each other, however unusual a decision proves to be. Ironically, this has kept them stagnated, one dimensional and sadly, foolish in their decision makings.

  11. This is what Jamie vardy said about training with Ngolo kante in Leicester city. I quote “In training, it was so easy for him that i was convinced that he intentionally gave the ball away sometimes just to enjoy winning back again”. The netherlands players can try this tactic in their training sessions to learn how to win the ball back in the midfield battle 😂😂😂😂. Which they are always losing 😂😂.

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