And sets a record too. Ten World Cup qualifications games won, in a row. That record belongs to Bert and Louis of course :-). But this has never been done before by Holland.
And the youthful Oranje learns fast from the old master LVG. Three days after Turkey, Holland plays an even better game (against a weaker opponent…granted…) and scores 4 away goals.
Jeremain Lens scores twice and has one assist as he had to replace Arjen Robben who got a groin response in the warming up. Van Gaal: “I won’t take any chances with players’ fitness. Robben is too important and as we’ve seen, his replacements can do well too. Heitinga had cramp in the Turkey came and I didn’t want to risk an injury for him in this game. Besides, Vlaar is an inch taller, so that helped too against the headstrong Hungarians.”
In the stadium where Bert van Marwijk’s Oranje played great games, the new Oranje started to show itself in full form. It might not have been a flashy game like the Hungary 0-4 game in 2011 but this Oranje did very well.
Lens was able to score his first 3 minutes into the game on a perfect cross by team mate Narsingh. Hungary could equalise after a couple minutes, when Clasie allowed Gera the chance to dive over his leg. Dszudszak didn’t fail but it was Feyenoord defender Martins Indi who headed Oranje back on course on a perfect Sneijder cross. Holland didn’t make that many mistakes this time around, although Clasie was lucky that he wasn’t penalised with a second yellow and second penalty when he handled the ball just before the break.
Oranje defended calmly and had some attractive attacking plays over the wings. It never panicked, even when leader of the pack RVP decided his thigh muscle needed a rest. The hungry Huntelaar would take his place and after Lens’ second goal, the Hunter scored his goal, taking him closer to the record top scorer, assistant coach Pat Kluivert. Huntelaar is now on par with Cruyff and Lenstra.
Skipper Sneijder was pleased but also critical. “Our first half was not great. Our ball circulation was too slow. But in the second half, we improved and played well. Every lose ball was ours, we had speed on the wings and we controlled the game. We also demonstrated that every one wants to work. Everyone is keen to close the gaps. Than football is relatively easy and fun. This makes we are always tight and close and there are several options.”
And truth be told, even Robin van Persie, super striker, was working and challenging where he could.
Bruno Martins Indi was replaced by team mate Joris Mathijsen, as a result of injury as well, while Adam Maher came late to replace Kevin Strootman, who still played a good game, but was less deciding this time around compared to the Turkey game. Strootman was kneed in the back.
Van Gaal: “We got six points, but lost a couple of players: Krul and Fer first. Now Robin, Bruno, Kevin and Arjen Robben…”
Louis van Gaal is a contrarian. Whenever the media are ready to criticise, he defends his team. Whenever euphoria comes up, Louis will criticise his team :-).
“Listen, a 1-4 against Hungary is quite a good result, in Europe. I think we have made a statement these last four days. But… I am not satisfied. Hungary was in disarray in the second half and we didn’t respond good enough. We could and should have scored a couple more. We didn’t take all our chances against Turkey, and this made me sit nervously on that bench. But this time around, we were sloppy with our opportunities again.”
LVG was pleased with Clasie’s performance. “He played well. He did much better than against Turkey. The only criticism I have, is that at times he was too slow to push up for the lose ball. That is part of his job. To be alert and always be in time. That is the objective. And he didn’t manage to do this always. But the whole team deserves a compliment. This team has hardly played together and most are pretty young.”
Van Gaal likes to compliment himself too. “And I am allowed to say my subs were ok? I replaced Robben, had to replace Robben, and Lens didn’t disappoint did he? Huntelaar came in and scored too. And Mathijsen had to come on without a warming up and played strong too.”
When the reporter said to Van Gaal, that despite Van Gaal’s decisions it was actually Lens that scored, not Van Gaal, the coach became prickly. “If I am not allowed to say I coached well today, I will shut up.”
But he finished positively. “This shows that the Eredivisie is actually a strong league. We have technically and tactically strong players. We shouldn’t have allowed that penalty though… but we have good young talents and very good internationally experienced players. Good mix.”