Oranje withstands strong Germany

We went into the 2nd match of the Van Gaal System Change process with optimism. We played well versus the Danes and this Germany would be a real test, Van Gaal thought.

There was a slight chance we would end up in Pot 1 for the World Cup draw: Holland needed to win over Germany and Portugal needed to lose their play off versus North Macedonia. Portugal won, Oranje drew. Pot 2 it is.

Van Gaal didn’t want to change too much, as he wanted to give this team another chance to gel. Only two changes: Malen for Bergwijn and Malacia for Ake (but Malacia as left wing back and Blind as left footed centre back).

Our main man

The thinking was probably that Bergwijn can’t play two matches in a row at full capacity? And the thinking was to test Blind as left centre back while giving Malacia a chance on the flank.

Nathan Ake is solid as centre back, so Van Gaal didn’t need further convincing from him.

He also felt that two full matches in 4 days would be too much for Ake and Bergwijn, who both lack rhythm.

I personally would have wanted to see Danjuma in place of Memphis and someone like Klaassen instead of Berghuis. I feel and felt that against Germany, we need more physical strength and running in midfield and we need less of the creativity Berghuis offers.

Van Gaal threatening red carding Blind

Time and space would be at a premium in this game.

It was clear from the start that Germany meant business and wanted to dominate the game. It seemed we were a tad too slow at times, a bit too hesitant and when in possession we were simply not solid enough in possession, wasteful with stray passes and way to hastily in execution.

It might be that Malen felt he is competing with Bergwijn and needed to score two goals as well, (as Bergwijn did versus Denmark) because every opportunity he got he pulled the trigger. From good position and not so good positions.

Memphis could not get into the game and he was hardly found and the German midfield bossed ours. Their forward pressure was strong and Oranje was not able to play out of it. The good thing is, Germany didn’t get a lot of opportunities and the Germany goal was given to them by a Dumfries mistake.

Only Frenkie seemed to be able to stay at a good level and he would end the game as Oranje’s best player.

From a system perspective, this match didn’t teach us much new. Any system is merely a schlystem when the execution is poor. And we played poor in the first half.

One of the strengths of our 5-3-2 (at the Euros) for instance, were Dumfries and his blistering stampedes on the right. We didn’t see it against Denmark and we didn’t see it versus Germany. The one time he did go, Frenkie spotted the run and Bergwijn’s 1-1 was the result.

The German goal was completely unnecessary but Holland snoozed off hoping for a half time break whistle. Frenkie allowed his man to go into the box, the cross wasn’t dealt with and two Oranje defenders didn’t want to put their bodies on the line to stop the Muller shot: 0-1.

I expected some changes at half time. I personally would have brought Danjuma for Memphis and De Roon for Koopmeiners. Wijnaldum was the man brought in and as much as I loved him throughout his career, I was not impressed with what I saw. He seems too slow, he hasn’t got the ability to see the one-time pass forward and with Gravenberch, Struijk, Joey Veerman and others knocking on the door, I fear for his Oranje career.

Heads go down after conceding

I am not sure why Danjuma didn’t get a look in. Maybe because Van Gaal is convinced of him in a 2 man attack (as he plays in a 4-4-2 for Villareal).

A good break by Holland resulted in a penalty decision by the ref. Memphis was ready to pull the trigger and Kehrer went for the ball but first took out Memphis legs. The VAR saw it differently and suggested ref Pawson to change his decision.

In the remaining 20 mins or so, Oranje had the best of the game, thanks to renewed energy via Klaassen and Bergwijn. Klaassen and De Ligt had chances to score but the ball simply didn’t want to go into the net, at both ends of the pitch. Another key but subtle switch by Van Gaal was to have Daley Blind move up a bit and cover the movement of Thomas Muller, in this way taking the edge off for Holland. This is also why Ake played left back, for Malacia, to allow Blind to play on Muller.

Blind’s forward pressure from the back gave Oranje more grip on that last stage of the game.

All in all, very useful matches for Van Gaal I am sure. The Oranje faithful in the stands will always sing and applaud their heroes, but it does seem realistic to say we are not there yet.

No penalty!

From all I have seen, I am bit concerned about Wijnaldum, Berghuis and Daley Blind. Is it a dip, or is this the best we can get.

Gakpo might be better suited for the 10 role. Bergwijn made an impression of course, but I think Danjuma could well be our key man moving forward.

Our midfield of Koopmeiners and Frenkie de Jong (with Klaassen or Gakpo or Berghuis as attacking mid) looks ok, but showed weakness versus Germany.

I don’t think De Roon will be our solution here, but Gravenberch or Donny van de Beek might well be.

Defensively, I can live with the choices, and of course I do count on De Vrij as well. Even with Daley Blind as 12th man, the back line is ok. Only Dumfries will need some solid competition on the right and for me, that needs to be Karsdorp.

Our goalkeeper issue will be sorted once Cillesen and Bijlow are back. Flekken is not a bad goalie but he still looks a bit out of place at times.

Frenkie was our guiding light again, everything that was good started with him, from playing out of the press or creating our equaliser.

Bookmark and Share


  1. The equation is very simple whether you like it or not, agree or disagree, this game has set the record straight in terms of the credibility of team at this point in time and where do they stand from being contenders point of view. Well I don’t think they were or will be.

    Again the writings is all over the wall after this game and the team still is ” work in progress” and will only gain momentum with time and with more rotation and this is the reason why I earlier said Van gaal is running out of time. If you look at the Germans for example they had Gnbary,Kroos,kimmich,Goretzka,Sule,Wirtz, Gosens who were all missing but still they were and looked like a team on an elite level. If they are on this level now what about in 7-8 months time?? They will be 2 fold ahead of now and definitely will be contenders with depth they have.

    You tell me if the Germans will go far in WC today after watching this game, I will agree, NT, maybe maybe not. It’s not only Germany, Brazil, Argentina also look to have found their perfect blue print and are just putting the final touches to the team and including the quality on the bench as well

    At some stage you have to look around and see what’s happening around you and again I would say NT is lagging behind not in terms of quality but in context to players not being on the same page as minutes played, confidence level,firm grip etc.

    Definetly the ball is in Van gaal’s court but if he doesn’t take heed of the writings on wall now and still thinks he knows the best, it will be be a very short WC campaign for the Dutch.

  2. I am worried about
    1-obsession with blind as LB..Blind only fits 532 or 3412 system…everyone knows he is defensive liability..so why cannot use him as offensive side??i mean perfectly relivinng him from Defense duty..
    2-I was disapointed with koopmeiners,he seems inconsistant..koopmeiners ability is under question..
    3-i think karsdorp would do better than dumfries at RB..
    4..Wijnaldum is done and dusted,should be dropped from sqaud..
    5–Malen and his decision making ..poor decison making at final third would cost you golas ,hence games..
    following players must be dropped for the sake of team…
    De roon
    should be replaced with

  3. I think i just have to accept that my expectations are usually unrealistic when it comes to Oranje. The difference in quality compared with a world class team was so obvious. The person who worries me the most is De Ligt. I really thought he wud be better by now, i dont see any growth in his game the last couple of years. Wijnaldum is done, and so is Malen for the upcoming games.
    I do have to give some kudos for the fact that this does seem to be a fighting team; they dont give up very easily..i like that a lot.

    1. Ihattaren got lost in his big ego it seems. He got off the rails when Van Bommel was kicked out of PSV. He lost his protector in PSV and he lost his dad to cancer. I think he fell in with the wrong friends and forgot his humility. Signed with Mino Raiola, the “Hollywood” agent of Zlatan and Pogba and eventually was sold to Juve. At Juve he was immediately placed on loan and within months Mo was back in Holland, hating his time in Italy. He went to Ajax on loan for 1,5 season. Recently Ten Hag said: “if you can’t run, you can’t play top football. And Mo can’t run, so…”

  4. FDJ and somewhat of the tenacity(that has always come in short supply) Oranje showed collectively are the two beacons of hope exhibited in this game. We are going to need FDJ at this level or higher to have a shot and also the show of fight and coming back strong in the second half is quite encouraging.

    Otherwise it is a poor game given the overall circumstances. The Germans had at least 5-6 first team players missing and for the Dutch arguably 1-2 starters. Yet the Gulf in class and play was quickly displayed in the opening minutes of the game. Speculatively, a full strength German side would have breached Dutch resistance on several occasions. But that’s speculation. But what is not is the lack of build up we showed when playing against a high tempo pressing team. Completely subdued in the opening quarters. And what does this say about our players and their contributions to this expose.

    I still think the double pivot is the way to go for the simple fact that it provides better defensive cover and Koop though not having the best of games could be quite capable.

    What worried me the most is the lack of width and how we weren’t able to muster any kind of threat from the wide areas. I didn’t expect much from the left side of the attack because we all know Blind has to be simply accommodated. I imagine serious instructions would have been dispatched by the gaffer to Malacia about the dangers of straying forward and leaving a hapless Blind to truly defend. But the right side wasn’t utilized either. And this has nothing to do with the play of Dumfries who made good the one decent pass he got facilitating an equalizer. The simple explanation is that we were not in control of the game in large chunks of the time which points to another problem in our play: Oranje is too slow, methodical and predictable on their buildup.

    Oranje needs time they would never be afforded against the big guns. Berghuis needs time and preferably a no-contact sport for him to flourish. The fact that LVG has persisted with him might be one of the catalysts to our destruction in Qatar. He does not score nor a source of any assists. Even when he plays ok he still loses possession at an alarming rate. He will never be the creative outlet that LVG expects him to be. Knowing this, I would have stick with Klassen who is a goal threat, defensively aggressive and a non-stop runner which he showed upon his introduction helping to nearly turn the game on its head. With Klassen we usually know what we are getting. This is also known about Berghuis. It’s just that the prospect of a Cruyff brilliance is too attractive a dream to give up. But give up we must for Oranje to do well.

    Give up on Wijnaldum who hasn’t played a good game for Oranje in about 15 games or so. Let him be in the squad but not carry him through on past accolades. Give up on being one dimensional and experiment in a true sense. Nothing unexpected has happened with the team. No Lang on the 10 role given the freedom to run at defenders. Arguably your most dynamic player in Danjuma is yet to see decent minutes. How about seeing how Weghorst or a hybrid number nine would do in some cases. We know what Malen can do on the highest stage. Why him? And so on and so forth.

    The Dutch are still playing within themselves almost as if LVG is trying to convince himself how good we are without truly experimenting which I thought these games were for. Chances lost and I don’t think much won.

  5. I think we should have won this game. It was ridiculous for the referee to cancel the penalty kick for a very obvious foul in the box by Kehrer.
    I thought we played well most of the game. Malen and Berghuis do not have the quality to be in this team, Blind seemed older than his father, Wijnaldum shouldn’t even be in the bench and LVG should stay with his philosophy of bringing only playing players with their clubs. Malacia was a bright spot and seemed to very much enjoy being in the field. For some reason we start 2nd half in a bad manner just like we did with Denmark especially in defense. DeVrij is much better than DeLigt and just like Goose said he has not progressed much by playing for Juventus. I knew if we to score Bergwijn would be the guy and he didn’t disappoint. Depay was solid even though at times exaggerated with his “Brazilian” touches.
    Overall I think it is a good team and LVG is the best coach for the moment. We should be able to able to get to the last 8 in Qatar.

  6. @Balkan ..you spoke the truth .it was shame that penalty cancelled,it was clear foul,he touched depys leg before touching ball..Dutch does not have the fifa / popularity game support,…or else Van dijk or Sneijder would have won ballon d or. in 2010 and 2019.
    Germany under Flick is great team ,flick is scary coach…i would not be surprised if the they win the cup….i felt it like a chess match…scolterbeck is becoming monster….

  7. Great game by U21, great bounce back from tie against Bulgaria and great win with one man less to get back the control of the group from the Swiss. Bakker seems to have improved a lot. Scherpen could be our answer for GK in the future but not sure if his passing skill is up to Dutch tactics requirement yet. Matsen looks like another great LB in the making. Taylor looks bright as well.

  8. For WC our best group can be:

    Qatar Netherland Morocco Costa Rica or
    Qatar Netherland Canada Peru

    Worst group can be:

    Brazil Netherland Poland Ghana/Cameron or Brazil Netherland Senegal Wales

  9. For our squad here is what I want to see this WC
    Starting Lineup
    De Ligt De Vrij Van Dijk
    Dumfries Frenkie Van de Beek Malacia
    Depay Bergwijn

    On the Bench
    Cillissen Flekken
    Frimpong Timber Ake Blind
    Koopmeiners De Roon
    Gakpo Weghorst Danjuma

    GK Bizot Drommel Krul
    CB Botman St Juste Struijck Teze Schuurs Bazoer
    LB Wijndal Bakker Van Aanholt
    RB Karsdorp Hateboer Veltman Geerstruida Rensch
    CM Rosario Veerman Matusiwa Clasie Schouten Vihena
    AM Wijnaldum Berghuis Til
    ST Malen Noa Lang Justin Kluivert Promes Stengs Boadu Zirkzee Brobbey Luuk De Jong

  10. @lucas; surprised u picked vdBeek..almost forgot about him already hehe

    i think the midfield is the place where we still have so many options…mine for now wud be

    ———————- de Jong —————–

    —-Malicia ——Klaassen ——Koopmeiners——-Blind—

    i realise Blind is a strange one to pick but i think it might work

    wonder what midfield u guys wud choose??

  11. @Goose, welcome back, we missed your amazing and knowledgeable comments, don’t disappear again:)

    Regarding the match against Germany, I have mixed feelings , few things I liked but more things I didn’t and gave me another confirmation that unfortunately currently we don’t have a team that can compete with the top nations these days (France- Belgium-Germany and even Spain) , we have a super talent with frenkie and that was clear in the second half with some of the sweet moves he did, malacia I think is going to be an awesome left back for us, Dumfries even though he didn’t offer anything in both games (except the assist to Bergwijn) but is also very good for inter and he has been surprising me with how high he is pushing his ceiling , van dijk is a master class in defense as usual he oozes confidence even with some minor mistakes he could make but still he is also very essential in the team, but other than that every other position in the team is a doubt for!!! Even Memphis with all the great contribution he had for oranje over the past 5 years when the team hit very low for a certain Phase Memphis was there to keep a minimum of strength in this team but I hate to say he is not a super top player, he is good as a sub in my eyes, in any former oranje generation Memphis would be sub max (1998-2000 generation strikers were masterclasses) even if you have a van persone and robben, Memphis would be only their sub, depending this much on him in attack scares me because against top teams he fades away, against Italy in the home game we lost he was non existent because Italy had great defenders in that game, yesterday same; against Czech in the euros he faded away because the Czechs had good defending, I don’t know but our only hope is to get one of the younger attacker explode all of a sudden, biggest hope is maybe gakpo? If he really goes to arsenal and get going right away beginning next season that would make him our star attacker for the World Cup in November, but Lang I had hopes in him but the attitude he has will never have go to top level, he scores one goal in Belgian league for gods sake and he goes to rub it in the other teams fans face as if he won the World Cup….that attitude will be a huge barrier for him to reach higher levels down the road !!! Netherlands used to produce artists in attack, what happened man:( why is every talent we get now is a defender!!!! It is too bad not to have a couple of strikers/wingers at the level of van Dijk and frenkie in this team!!!

    For midfield, frenkie alone is not enough, my hope is that Gravenberch continues to show the level of last few games at Ajax so he can join frenkie in that midfield!!!

    With the current team that played yesterday, we are very lucky if we reach quarter final in the World Cup, nothing more!!!

  12. just go 4-4-2 given Depay workrate in tarcking back and lang in that free role who also is all over the part hunting for ball like Neymar. if you give this team to Gailter,simeone, Emery type coaches they will nail it.

    Depay – Lang

    Danjuma – Frenkie – VdBeek – Bergwijn

    Malacia – Van Dijk-De Vrij – Karsdorp


  13. I can understand the negativity after the Germany game. I too was disappointed and I’m sure LVG will be able to separate the chaff from the corn. He’ll use the Nation League games for this.

    Koopmeiners had an off day. It happens. He’s still young.

    Wijnaldum is a concern but to kill him off after a bad spell?

    Blind will not make the starting eleven in November.

    Cillesen or Bijlow will be goalie #1.

    Berghuis will have a big question mark behind his name, but LVG likes him a lot.

    Joey Veerman, Donny van de Beek and Gravenberch will be welcome additions to the squad.

    Dont forget: in 1974 people felt we shouldn’t even compete. We got silver. In 2014, the experts thought we would be humiliated: we beat the world champions 5-1.

    You don’t need the best players to have the best team….

  14. The way I see it, there is a good quality and depth in the team and you cant have players like danjuma, lang and Gakpo sitting on the bench. they need to sort out different combination but this is where perhaps it looks blink (time). the missing puzzle is in the midfield and requires some more experiment and agree with Jan that Gravenberch, Veerman and Vdbeek and fingers crossed Ihattaren can give a facelift in the midfield. Probably not in this world cup, but if you are following Reis and have seen him in JO, he is the type of running midfielder NT needs. claise should have played in this friendlys as well. would have given a good indication where he is sitting in terms of his form

    Malacia needs to start all the six games in the Nation league to maximize his confidence Level and if an Van Gaal continues to shelve him at the expense of Blind when De Vrij is back, it will be the same old story. ” shooting yourself in your own foot”.

  15. @ Lucas

    agree with your assessment on the u21s. Maatsen is a special talent in the making and you can tell that from his general play. the formation deployed by Van Der Looi was weird though, 4-2-2-2 which opened up to 4-4-2 with ekelenkemp and Taylor on the flanks. Redan looks to have lost mojo which he once he showed at u 17 level. You can tell his development over the years has stalled and can put him in the list of those highly talented players who were destined for big things but got lost with time.

    Im disappointed though with KNVB and why they have not put in any effort to fast track Simons development by calling him up to JO.

    Bakker indeed looked good as well and I said this when he joined PSG, give this guy some more time and then assess him. HE has grown with confidence as he plays more and his future looks good there especially with CL football. I would say Bakker, Maatsen and Malacia will provide a good depth at Lb going in future.

  16. My main concern(and rightfully so after the past two games) is that LVG would stick to what he knows and comfortable with rather than truly experimenting and toying with different players in this formation. Doesn’t seem like it will happen.

    Why not Lang instead of Malen? Lang have never played an opposition as big as the Germans. That’s how you boost a player’s confidence. The only thing that changed, it seem to me, is the formation. The Germans learnt a ton from the 6 reserve players that came in. Us not so much. All the players we saw we know what they can do and cannot do. Anyway, have a long day in front of me.

Join the Conversation

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.