So Fred Grim will go into the history books as the worst team manager EVER! He lost all the games he was in charge of! 100% score in losing!!
Just kidding of course, poor fellow. But, he might be in charge even for the Luxembourg game and in that case he might actually up his score, from 0% wins to 50% wins…
So, Oranje played a friendly no one really wanted. The whole nation was in mourning. The KNVB expected 40,000 fans to come and yell abuse at the players, staff and KNVB officials. With Italy as opponent, it was highly likely that we’d lose yet again…so what was the whole fukcing use of a friendly 3 days AFTER an official qualification game?
But the reception of the fans was not as bad as expected. The fans know that now the team needs the full support. Even if it was the team that led them (the fans) down. But that is football: the coach is end responsible and accountable so the coach needs to go while the ones who actually performed lousy get to stay, play and say meaningless things after the game.
After the Bulgaria game, more news came out about Blind’s utter and complete misjudgement of the Bulgarian tactics. He expected them to park the bus and expected to have 65% possession. His analysis and the views of the people in his team confirmed this.
The reality was: Bulgaria doesn’t even respect us anymore and they played the high-press (on De Ligt!) from the first minute. Our build-up was pathetic all day long (also with Hoedt by the way) and our positioning (Strootman!) amateuristic.
Blind wasn’t able to help the team change their tactics in that first half and the players weren’t capable of doing so either.
They kept on trying to build up from the back, with players who are not really known for these qualities. Karsdorp is great running down the channel but played his third cap so can’t be expected to bully his team mates into something else. Zoet does not have the shrewdness and experience Stekelenburg has while De Ligt and Martins Indi are simply not good enough to play out from the back.
This got Strootman to drop deeper to collect the ball which totally unhinged our team and Bas Dost was as a result very hard to reach.
Grim made some changes vs Italy. Still Zoet on goal, but Hoedt and Martins Indi in the heart of defence with Tete for Karsdorp. The midfield was – surprisingly – left as it was vs Bulgaria.
The desire was there, the intensity and pace was better. This is/was something that could and should have been the case vs Bulgaria as well. For me, whether Ronald McDonald, The Pope or Louis van Gaal is the coach, you always need to have this in your backpack. The days that ball skills were enough to win are over. Every team/nation (Germany, Italy, France) will have the ability to deliver this at will. Like Italy.
Wes: “Arjen, whatever you do: don’t get Van Gaal back!!”
We needed a double deflection to score our goal. They needed three Oranje mistakes to get their two goals.
Losing 1-2 vs Italy while there were good chances for us to finish 2-2 is not a big drama for me, as it was a friendly.
Fred Grim: “We showed some more energy, some flair. I’m not too disappointed to be honest. We straightened our backs. It was a tough week for all of us and given all that, I cannot be displeased.” Asked about his future: “I am only here because of this game. When Danny was let go, he called me and said: make sure you stay for the team and do your utmost to right the ship. We’ve got 40,000 fans who paid money to see us Tuesday and you need to have the team respond”. I think my future is vague. I’ll find out I guess. The KNVB will have to say what they think is needed. This might be my first and last game in charge, but some suggest that the search for a new coach might take until June (when the seasons end) and I might be in charge against Luxembourg as well.”
I personally like the team without a Dost-style striker. I think our game doesn’t fit his strengths. It’s been demonstrated a couple of times, also with Luuk de Jong in the Dost-role, so to speak.
We are more in need of fluid, dynamic players, like Memphis, Robben and Promes with the added value of Janssen’s hold up play and ability to “bounce”.
The main topic for me, is not so much who will play where.
The main topic for me is: who will be our new coach, what does the KNVB want from that coach and how will they support him?
And on top of that: what structural / strategic changes will the KNVB make internally to allow for a bright future? Incl. development of talent, development of coaches and development of a football philosophy. For Oranje but also for Dutch football in general.
At this point in time, Hans van Breukelen is the man responsible for selecting the coach and supporting the coach. But Hans van Breukelen is also walking around like a wounded deer. Will he still be there in 5 months? Or has he suffered too much damage already? Astute coach candidates will want to know what the deal is. And who will be assessing Hans van Breukelen’s work? His coach selection? His instructions for the coach? Jean Paul Decossaux? A part time interim commercial director??
I’m sure a series of smart football people (Van Praag, Adriaanse, Van Hanegem, maybe Wim Jansen, Robben, Sneijder) will be asked for their opinions, but someone will have to make a firm decision. Judging how Hans van Breukelen managed Hans Jorritsma, Ruud Gullit and those clowns from the company he is related to does not instill a lot of confidence in me….
I don’t think a foreign top coach (Capello, Wenger, Schmidt, Klinsmann) will say yes to the job. For starters, they make 10 times more abroad than with Oranje, in terms of dollars. Secondly, they will think thrice before committing to this weak Oranje. And like I said before, the KNVB is in such a chaos that this role will have many red flags going up for any serious coach.
I also don’t believe that a foreign coach will work with our national team. Our culture, our competition, our language, etc will be a big hurdle. It’s also a prestige thing for the Dutch: we should be able to find a suitable candidate in our own ranks.
Even Dutch coaches will think thrice before committing to the job right now. It’s a snake pit.
Co Adriaanse won’t do it. Louis van Gaal already said he won’t come back as a coach, he will only consider the chair role at the KNVB (yes! Do it!). Ronald Koeman will not do it (“They had their chance. They decided differently and now we seem to be missing out on two major tournaments in a row!”). Frank de Boer wants to remain a club coach for now. Cocu and Van Bronckhorst are not ready yet. Dick Advocaat would not be a credible option after abandoning Oranje earlier for money.
So it seems Henk ten Cate and Ruud Gullit are the main candidates for the job. Ten Cate seems to have the best papers. He’s got international experience, loves attacking football, is tough and disciplined and has standing.
Gullit will have prestige to the hilt as well, internationally, but that won’t win you games. He’s a good people manager but probably not a good coach / trainer. He could do the figure head role but will need a strong field coach beside him.
Ten Cate worked in that role at Barca with Rijkaard, but Gullit is a different type of person than Rijkaard. The combination Gullit – Ten Cate or vice versa will not work, most likely. Too much similarities in their personality and I won’t be surprised if Ten Cate by now would not want to be an assistant anymore.
The most important question is:
Do we focus on a short term success and aim for the World Cup qualification – against all odds- and bring in a crisis coach a la Van Gaal (De Mos, Ten Cate, Advocaat) or do we accept that the World Cup campaign is over and select a coach who can build and gel a new team towards 2020 and beyond, using the new generation of talents (Nouri, Vilhena, De Ligt, Bazoer, Tete, Memphis, Karsdorp, Bergwijn, Ramselaar, Ake). John van ‘t Schip could be considered. Alex Pastoor. Gullit with Rene Meulensteen. Or, why not Erwin Koeman? I don’t know…you name some….