Any international game between Oranje and Germany is ALWAYS eventful. And it always matters a lot! Even if it doesn’t matter at all….
It has been 20 years since Young Oranje beat Young Germany and if there ever was a good time for Jong Oranje to win again it was now. In a group with Spain and Russia, getting three points in the openings game was considered key.
And man, did we show the Germans!! Beating them in the dying minutes, Mannschaft style!
And man, did we give them football lessons in the first half!
And man, did we squeeze our arses together in the second half….
I’m a glass-half-full man myself… Actually, I’m the guy pushing the glasses aside and grabbing the bottle….
But we do have to face up to that dreadful second half start. My goodness. NOT good.
We will stay positive, of course. And despite a slow build up, it was all Oranje in the first half. The Germans did show they can play good football, but Oranje beat them on every aspect. More aggression, more pressure, better understanding, bigger work ethos and most definitely more skill.
We demonstrated some good moves, got a couple of corners, Maher got a 100% chance. It was very good to watch on all counts. Wijnaldum was invisible for the first 15 minutes and I remembered thinking “why not Jozefzoon”, but boy did he show his metal.
It was a fine football demostration (the Setanta commentator couldn’t find enough words to praise Oranje) but one has to say: Germany was really weak (and needed a tactical change to counter us).
Although I personally would have preferred to have seen Clasie for Van Ginkel. De Vitesse player did have a good first half (and he definitely played a strong second half) but Oranje missed a quick accelerator in midfield to support in the build up. Strootman is capable of playing the Van Ginkel role while Clasie’s presence gives the center backs an outlet, allowing our full back to push up more…. I believe Van Ginkel and Strootman are too similar and don’t seem to have the rapport you would want your players to have, also not with Maher. The AZ midfielder did have an instrumental role but drifted out of the game too often too.
Adam Maher found the net first, after a slick move by Ola John, while Gio Wijnaldum created the second all by himself. Clearly annoyed that was not used in the first 20 minutes of the game, the PSV player started to show more of himself by drifting inwards.
Dribbling past 4 opponents the winger took the ball on his left for a zinger. It seemed the goalie blocked the shot but it veered into the net of the goalies fingers. A massive celebration ensued and Wijnaldum would add a couple of very cool flicks to the game before being subbed in the second half, after having taken a knock.
But in typical Oranje form, we forgot all our best intentions coming out of the dressing room.
You could see what was going to happen. The German players were ready and waiting, eager to start the second half. You know what that means.
And one minute into the second half, my growing doubts on Stefan de Vrij further increased. He has made a number of these slip ups, in some key Feyenoord games recently, and you can not do that at this level. Against Germany, it is immediately a goal.
And with the risk of a sending off for Zoet and a penalty against, De Vrij really needs to have someone give him a blowdry speech.
The period after that German goal was atrocious. Around 20 minutes of headless chook football. No system, no pressure, too much space between the lines…. maybe, no leadership either (although Strootman was seen gesticulating and yelling…). In these cases you need to be able to hold the ball in the team. How do you do this? Positioning. Work rate. Pass and move. This is how you take the sting out of the German game. They can’t press for another 45 minutes, and the resolve would go out of the window.
But we failed to do so. Our positioning play was horrific. We seemed to panic almost.
Allowing Germany to take two short corner kicks without realising it (offering them shooting chances) is a typical symptom of tactical imatureness, lack of communication and leadership and downright weakness. It was Ola John at first and Jozefzoon later who were caught out and the Germans played for a spell as if they were Dutch.
We slowly got more composure and the work rate of players like Van Ginkel and Strootman got us back in the game. Luuk de Jong made a nuisance of himself and through a quick break Jozefzoon was almost the matchwinner with his first touch of the game.
The 2-2 again demonstrated our defensive weakness. In the EPL, this would never have been a goal. You simply are not allowed to take the ball in a wide direction without a massive block tackle. And when Holtby took the shot, two players could’ve / should’ve blocked him… And I personally believe Zoet could have done better….
I feared a complete meltdown. But somehow the team decided not to give the game away. And led by a fearsome Martins Indi and a hard working Adam Maher Oranje fought itself back into the game.
Cor Pot decided to abandon the 4-3-3 and brought Leroy Fer for Ola John. Luuk de Jong and Maher played upfront and the team pushed once more, resulting in a fine opportunity for Fer, who headed over and beyond.
A couple of minutes later, Van Ginkel was loose running into the box and a desperate block stopped the Chelsea target from scoring. It was from the resulting Adam Maher corner kick that the aggressive Fer could attack the ball and score like we have seen him score so often already. And with 5 minutes on the clock, we would not allow the Germans back into the game.
A deserved win, is what I say (but I’m biased). It puts Holland at 3 points and Germany on zero, and the Germans are up against Spain next… A great start. Key for Holland now is to keep the first half form and lose the second half dip.
Coach Cor Pot was the winning coach, bringing the matchwinner only minutes before he scored…. “Yep, a golden change,” he said. “I’m happy with that. But I’m totally soaked from sweat, haha. The first half was beautiful to watch but after the break we did it all wrong. We became insecure after that quick penalty and they grew wings. We needed more physical presence and with Fer we got that.”
Leroy Fer was matchwinner. The man who scored so many important goals for his club Twente and Jong Oranje in key games. But he started on the bench. “Yes, that is always crap of course, haha. But I knew I would get my chance. And to come in like this is wonderful. But it is a team sport, it’s not about me.”
Skipper Strootman was not happy with the second half. He was playing like a traffic warden for 20 minutes… “We got that penalty after an individual mistake and then we all seemed to lose it… But I’m happy we were able to straighten our back and winning this is absolutely great. We showed the world that we can play and we got the three points. What more can you ask?”
Jeroen Zoet was relieved to only see a yellow card after his foul on Holtby. “I know that some refs do give red for this. I’m not sure if Holtby would have been able to keep the ball in, and I’m not sure what made the ref give me yellow. I was a bit scared there….”
Van Ginkel admits the team had fear. “Well, you know the Germans can come at you when it’s suddenly 2-1 and I think we did get some fear into the team, yes. And they did have chances to win it even, they may have been the more dominant team in the last phase. But I knew we would have chances in the turnaround.”