Portugal Preview

Bert van Marwijk practiced behind closed doors. And with a grim look on his face attented the press conference: “We will play 100% attack! We need two goals more after 90 minutes, so that is a clear mission.” And: “I wish the vibe in our camp was as bas as it allegedly is in the Spain camp. They won 4-0, despite their internal strife.”

Van Marwijk is on edge. It’s do or die for Oranje. Not winning with 2-0 or more ( and Germany not winning vs the Danes) means Oranje will go home and Van Marwijk will most likely go home. And the next job won’t be Tottenham, Liverpool or Valencia but West Brom, Freiburg, Salzburg or Tenerife.

Skipper Mark van Bommel looked back at the Germany game: “I played a good pass onto Robin. He missed. Not much later, I missed Schweinsteiger and he allowed Gomez to score. I could have been the king, but I ended up the joker.”

“It’s football, isn’t it? I haven’t the “son-in-law” comment for many years but now things are going bad, everyone mentions it again.”

Asked if he believes that he can’t manage the midfield role anymore? “I can. But I do understand these criticisms. The first Germany goes was totally my fault. But our midfield is too stretched for anyone to cope.”

Ironic pic: Mark and Bert creating history together…

The skipper had this Euros as the last big trophy with Oranje on his wishlist. After a Champions League with Barca and titles in four countries ( PSV, Fortuna, Barca, Bayern and Milan).

“The vibe is a bit different now, that is true. Players like Van der Vaart and Huntelaar were benchwarmers at their clubs before the World Cup and are established players now. Dirk was a starter at Liverpool but a benchwarmer now. But we are still one group. We are mates and we support each other. If we would have won twice, no one would have concerned themselves with Van Persie making that phone-call, simply because he didn’t have connection in the dressing room.”

Van Bommel did see his team lose it tactically and physically. “It was like playing in a wok. It was so hot and humid. We couldn’t keep on pressing. Why we didn’t pick a hotel in Charkov? I have no idea. I believe we decided to pick good hotels before the draw and Charkov didn’t offer what we needed? But that was not my call.”

Van Bommel has a positive outlook. “Italy won the World Cup in 1982 after three dreadful group games. And in 2004, The Czechs beat Germany with their B-team. Allowing us a trip to the quarters…”

Portugal has a tremendous record against Holland. Of the last 10 games, they won 6. We won only one. And three draws.

Belgium might be historically our foe. Germany might be traditionally our arch enemy, but is Portugal then our “angstgegner”?

The last time we won was in 1991, in the qualications for the 1992 Euros. With a Richard Witschge goal.


These statistics are flawed. Let’s look at the last four games.

May I remind you that we should have won twice in the World Cup 2002 qualifications when we didn’t win (lost one, drew one) because Louis van Gaal had his moments of madness against them in both games? We lost at home because Van Gaal played Reiziger as left back an some moron in the stands had a referee whistle. He blew on it, Davids stopped playing and Portugal took the ball and scored. Ouch.

In the away game, Holland was 0-2 up when Van Gaal brought more forwards to humiliate them. Within ten minutes, Davids was sent off, Figo scored from that free kick and they equalised in the dying seconds.

The 2004 Euros game we lost was a deserved loss. Portugal was better.

The 2006 World Cup in Nuremberg was a disgrace. We lost, but not because we were not good enough. We had a massive Van Persie chance he fumbled, Cocu hit the bar and Kuyt choked one on one with their goalie. With a tad more luck, that game would have been ours.

Bookmark and Share


  1. Yeah, forget about Germany being the “arch-enemy”. Portugal is the team that we need to destroy! They’ve brought more frustration and disappointment in the last 10 years than any other team.

    Any fresh news on the lineup that BvM will use?

  2. Mad pumped and just hope he names a side everyone wants to see and we must get this job done. Feeling very good over here and I know we will go on to do great things. We all need to be 100% behind our team; whether we’re here or there, near or far Oranje always in our hearts, let’s do this!

  3. We never wanted it to be this way, but I guess we had to have had 2 bad results to make BVM change his mind – start with an attacking formation. I still think he is a great coach, he took this team to the 2010 WC final with some fantastic and consistent performances. It is tough for a coach to change a team with whom he achieved so much(100% qualification record in WC qualifying, 3 minutes away from having a 100% record in the WC and outclassing everyone in EC qualification).

    Now that its do or die, I think the players will be up for it as well.I’d rather we get humiliated playing VDV and KJH tomorrow than we win 1-0 playing without them…Go Oranje!!!

  4. This team is rubbish and there is no way they will find any cohesion for the game against Portugal. Portugal will win 3-1. The only player of any worth in this current team who has shown the determination and enthusiasm to win has been Sneijder….the rest are sulking. Don’t get me wrong as a 22 year fan I hope they do win but they won’t. The biggest game Holland has had since the World Cup Final and the Germans played like it was a traing session. They barely raised a sweat. Look at Spain….they now play our football and not only are they as great as those Dutch teams of Cruyff, Krol, Van Basten and Bergkamp but they are WINNING everything. That tells me that their mentality is better than ours. The current Dutch team is an offense to the fans and have betrayed our country’s great history of playing attractive, attacking football. I have no doubt this team will exit on Sunday and thank God they will. The best thing that should happen is for the defensive, negative Van Marwijk to resign. You need to return to your old philosophy of attacking, pressure football that has been abandoned since that Euro 2000 semi to Italy. Barcelona and Spain who are the modern representatives of the way Ajax and Holland use to play have built on and improved the edition thanks to CRUYFF of course, have shown the WORLD and Holland that you can play beautiful football and still WIN. We need to return to our roots and work hard and gain the respect of the world again.

  5. Anything is possible. This is not the time for finger-pointing. We still have a game to play. Look at what happened today in Group A. The last group games changed everything.

    This is a game we need to go all in. No point now in playing conservatively. Get an early goal, settle the nerves and keep pressing until the last whistle blows. We have come a long way to leave after just 3 games.

    We want them to play their hearts out. Show us motivation and above all, the love for wearing the Oranje shirt!

    Let’s give our team the benefit of the doubt!

  6. only thing i would prefer seeing is strootman over Vaart… so sick of him!

    anyway, i will just watch and hope. it’s go time! the future is now!

    totally agree with snite, although BVM has made some mistakes, he took this team to a WC final and deserves more slack…

    Hup Holland…. beat the POrtuguese no matter what! my car is flying orange.. wish i could post a pic here!

    1. Its true Vaart is having a poor run. He was not in good form for spurs either towards the end of the season – however even with a poor performance he has this rare ability to nick goals. He is the ultimate scrapper and we will need that tomorrow with Pepe negating KJH and RVP! But I agree we will need one of Bommel and De Jong dropped and Affelay come on as the impact sub.

  7. I want to be optimitic but reality forces me to wonder how a team that looked like a sorry sight twice last week can finds its feet agian? vd Vaart, Affelay, Robben, Heitinga, Stekel, vdWiel Willems they all are out of form or inexperienced.
    There seems to be no concensus in the team, some want to press deep when the defense wants to keep behind, stretching the field to the limits and creating enormous gaps, we hardly had any midfield against germany second half….

    The only positive I can think of is that this team is surely capable of great things, and have the brains to put the team in tighter formation like in ´10. Anyway: I have invited my father for tomorrow to watch the game together at my home in peace, and make it a ´gezellig ´ time. I expect the worst and hope for the best.

  8. anything is possible, that was proven once more today. might Russia is out !

    I also hope for a tight formation. The fittest should play and crossing fingers … Will be another sleepless night.

    No matter what, this the 3 times world challenger, the only small country that can ever claim that.

    As per BvM, guys go look at the material he has, go see some old games like the 2006 vs. Portugal. He took that material and made it the most dominant team from 09-11….What else can we ask for?

    If it is for BvM to go, so be it. But we should take our hat off to him and his squad of the most overachieving Oranje of all times. No?


    I wonder if BvM ever considered Afellay as a holding midfielder..he played that position during his time at PSV..anyways lets hope for the best!

    Oranje till I die

  10. The Dutch cannot win this game because they will press forward and in doing so leave themselves even more vulnerable than usual in the back, and it is almost a certainty that Portugal will score. Portugal is a good side, and so a two-goal victory is very unlikely. Hope I’m wrong! Go Holland!

  11. I think going in with a target like 2 goal victory in mind is not the best idea. They should play their own game and not worry about the permutations, at least until the last 20 minutes.

  12. If both Van Persie and Huntelaar start they have a chance in outscoring the Portuguese anything else will be waste of time and doomed to fail. They need goals to get their spirits up, so if either of those two can open the scoring line others may follow suit.

    Hup Holland Hup

  13. I have a very basic suggestion to make..do not start stekelenberg.He is having a very lucky run in the team which is not perfomance based or merit based.He has been consistently making mistakes in Serie A and National team.Vorm is the best GK in Premier League.In a game where we have nothing to loose BVM has to start Vorm/Krul.We need a Gk who can dominate the penalty box considering the aerial threat of portugal(Ronaldo/Pepe).

  14. We should stop this obsession about playing wingers.Any winger must do the job of tracking back and supporting the full back.Its not an additional job(Van Hanegem should start living in the present).Looking back at EURO 2008 when we destroyed Italy and France,did we use any pure wingers?Robben came on late in the second half of the France game.But we did have pace in our movement.
    Look at the contribution of Robben and Affellay in the 2 games.Offensively zero,defensively zero.Kuyt may not look pretty in attack,but dispossesing the oponents at crucial times is an important part of counter attacking game.That is why Kuyt has been a part of the succesful team of 2008 Euro(it was a success football-wise) and 2010 WC.

    1. Willem never said wingers shouldn’t track back. He said the opposite. He said: “In Holland, we want full backs to play like wingers. I am already in heaven if your full backs know how to defend!!”. And I agree with him.

      As for the France/Italy games in 2008, we scored from counter attacks. Not a reasonable comparison.

  15. Just think about the fate of young Willems.He was all alone with absolutely no support from Ibi Affellay against experienced world class players like Mullera and Ozil.The old school ‘pundits’ must understand that it is difficult to attack a team that is keeping possession easily.

  16. I think Paul was one and maybe several others; Who is to blame for the Denmark Goal ? (not Vlaar) You can all speculate but no need to argue any longer. Heitinga has put up his hand and confirmed HE was to blame for that one AND the first Gomez goal. No more discussion on this then – of course like economists we can still debate the “what if” principle.
    I would field Kuyt/VdV/Hunter and after 65 put in Nrasingh/Affelay – I dont care where Bert puts them.


    And I agree that we shall miss Finn’s sarcasm – a little award perhaps for someone making a Finn remark/comment to keep his memory alive ?

    1. >And I agree that we shall miss Finn’s sarcasm – a little award perhaps for someone making a Finn remark/comment to keep his memory alive ?

      Merkel to the Greeks “if you don’t lose, I wont pay your bills” 🙂

  17. I’m glad theres no xenophobic posts on this article. I started to read the comments on the last one and it was just getting as bad as our results on the pitch. It’s not being disloyal to your team if you’re just pointing out the truth. Robben is a choker. v.Persie is a choker as well. He can score 100 goals for Arsenal… put him on the NT and he chokes. Sometimes you have to look at statistics and see things like Huntelaar’s goal scoring record for Oranje.

    BVM needs to look at this as basically his last game in charge. Go for broke! Take out some of the stagnant players and give some others a chance to prove themselves.

    VdW – Heitinga – Boulahrouz – Willems
    Sneijder – NDJ – Strootman
    VdV – Huntelaar – Narsingh

    1. I don’t agree. Sorry. The games Robin plays with Arsenal have MUCH more pressure. He plays maybe 3 big games with Oranje in 2 years. He plays one big game with Arsenal at least every month. Robben a choker? You probably don’t realise what it takes to play at his level. Come on!

      1. Totally agree with Jan, 2 bad games and these guys are called chokers!

        Sorry for the long post, but I have to defend them here.

        Most people who say Robben is a choker do so on the basis of him being twice a losing CL finalist, once a WC losing finalist(and had that miss) and him having missed 2 penalties this season that cost BM at least one title. If anyone saw the CL final will tell you that despite the heartbreak of the penalty miss he kept going at a world class fullback and another fullback playing as a winger literally sticking on him. We all know it takes supreme skill to keep doing the same trick and yet not having defenders find out his methods(float on the left, cut in and unleash the shot or cross), but it takes superhuman courage to keep going knowing that he could have changed his teams destinies forever had he taken his chances! To choke is not be able to get back on your feet despite these setbacks, and setbacks he definitely did – the injuries, the transfers, the misses, the referees.

        As for RVP, how can you call a person who scored against 17 different PL teams last season a choker? He scored a hat rick at Stamford bridge, a place where barcelona have not scored more than 3 goals in over 4 matches. He scored some of the classiest winning goals ever seen by Everton and Liverpool last season. He scored against Man Utd – home and away. He scored against Milan and almost lead Arsenal to an improbable comeback, something much much tougher than what Oranje face today. He singlehandedly brought Arsenal out of the ignominy of the relegation zone all they way to 3rd, scoring sublime goals when knowing that every time he didn’t score it was almost a certain loss.

        There are a lot of things these guys are not – for e.g. Robben does have a chocolate right leg(though Van Persie claims it!) and Van Persie did have a poor temperament in the past, but one thing they are not are chokers!!

        We don’t know whether we can do it without Robben and Robin being in top form tomorrow. But one thing we do know is if they are in form – No one can defeat us…Go Oranje!

      2. Agree with Jan. Come on regarding Robben, he scored an important goal in WC 2nd round on return from injury, he then played a great game against Brazil in QF and then scored a goal in the SF. Weren’t those pressure matches ???? It’s true that he failed in front of goal in the final but remember that his finish made sense but Casillas made an amazing (also lucky) save. So he didn’t panick in that situation neither. At club level I don’t need to repeat how many ‘pressure’ games he decided for Bayern in 2010. So he definitely is not a choker. He might not be in perfect mental / physical form, but he’s not a choker.

      3. I don’t think it comes down to being a “choker”, rather van Persie, for whatever reason, just doesn’t score in the matches for Oranje. Is he a World Class striker? Without a doubt! But something happens when that orange jersey touches his skin. I do not doubt his intent or his effort. I doubt his results.
        This is nothing new to sports. Here in America, we have many stars who simply fail to produce at big moments. They put up incredible statistics during the regular season, but once the postseason arrives, they simply fade away. I pray I am wrong and van Persie explodes into a frenzy of scoring. I would gladly have egg on my face concerning van Persie.

  18. i have very contradicting feelings for todays match!!!
    a positive wave tells me we’re gonna make ronaldo cry, then one negative wave tells me, this is not our lucky tournament! i donno what to get out of this! cant wait to see who is bvm going to start for today!
    last and only time we beat portugal was 1991!!!! only one match out of ten, this is not good, isn’t time to start working on this head to head:)? i think we’re due for a win against them!!!

  19. HI Jan,
    what do you think of tonight game and what is the lineup?

    I still think Oranje can beat Portugal with 2 balls but only they play with one touch speedy passing attacking.I believe tonight game will be ill temper.I hope we win in style with less yellow/red card.

    My support to Oranje all the way.
    Hup Holland Hup !!!

    1. I’m an optimist. I think we’ll come back with a vengeance. Win 3-0 or 4-1. As for line up, I don’t think Bert will change too much. So probably Hunter up front and hopefully Sneijder on the holding spot… With Robben and Kuyt/Vaart/Afellay on the wings.

  20. http://www.ad.nl/






    I’d love that line up

  21. Me too Miguel , I’d take that line up in a heart beat:) i was just looking at our head to head with all the other bigs, we’re tie with brazil England and Spain, we’re better with Argentina and France, only with Italy it is 7 wins for them 3 for us, but with Portugal it is baddddd! I want to kick Ronaldo’s ass tomorrow!!

  22. I think the circumstances in this group are in our favor, we are destined to win this tournament you will see , mark my words ( the two losses made us much stronger)

  23. i just want them to show me one decent game of football so we can leave with our heads up a bit higher

    wonder i vMarwijl will resign; too bad the KNVB gave him a new 2-year contract right before the EC

    reckon we need a new manager to break off this team and build a new one

  24. Jan… you are doing a fantastic job with this site there is so much going on its hard to keep up. Let’s hope we get the job done and if we arn’t lucky enough to progress in the tournament well so be it, it can only make us stronger.

    Good luck to the boys tonight… Hup Holland Hup!

  25. And here it is, the most difficult footballing decision I have ever made. My blood is boiling.

    Firstly, an apology in advance. I’m sorry.

    Now, I could support the Oranje tonight, as I have done since the very early 1970’s. I could pray for a miracle. I could beg the stars above for a victory.

    Or, in a one-time-only deal I could deliberately miss the match, support Portugal, and pray we lose.

    And, dear readers, do you know why I am FORCED to choose the latter?

    Because I simply CANNOT and WILL NOT support another 4 years of Bert Van Marwijk and his comedy 4231. I’ve had enough. Seriously. I’m done with this nonsense.

    How did the world’s greatest footballing nation end up with the world’s worst footballing coach?
    Can someone please explain this to me?

    We reached a WC final in spite of this fluffy haired fake, and we all know it. The last 4 years have been painful to watch.

    I have never before seen a manager conspire to waste an array of talent such as this generation. To misuse one or two players might be considered careless. To fuck an entire country in the ass is just plain stupidity.

    Pragmatism. Ha! And when have the Dutch ever relied on that trait?
    Be true to ourselves. Play to our strengths. Return to 433. Attack with speed and flair.

  26. Butt Plug has a point. I mean we reached the World Cup finals twice, semi-finals once, Euro Cup semi-finals twice without any need for “pragmatism”. I think there are very few countries in the world that can show the same kind of achievements. I’d rather we work on the players’ attitudes and mental strength than play a style that really doesn’t fit us, and doesn’t win us any fans either…

  27. Would anybody like to see Rijkaard given another chance at the Holland job, we were hugely unlucky in euro 2000. Seeing him cry after the match showed how much he cares about the oranje. Who would be your ideal candidates?

  28. One thing that can be done to help you save money is to find cheap (reely) packing materials. You may also have the ability to stumbled upon a place which will give their boxes away after they happen to be used. Buying boxes or containers yourself can be very costly, however, you can save money by checking using the employees at your local supermarket to see if they will give you some of their boxes for free.

  29. It’s true that a lot of kids have highly underdeveloped powers of focus these days because of Twitter and social media, but We have to consider their side about Frankenstein… I have tried twice to read this damn thing every one of the way by way of and failed both times-it ends up on every school reading list like clockwork because it’s “literature”, and although the old black and white movies they spun off it in the 30s and 40s are excellent fun, it just doesn’t hold up. A pair of decades back again I heard a possibly apocryphal story about a teacher who gave his students the choice of reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula alternatively; a highly popular choice until the schoolboard was quietly leaned on by a group of parents to remove it…It was much too Catholic for that fundamentalists, also Satanic to the Catholics, and too Godly to the small group of atheists who joined in. So now the kids have to slog by Frankenstein and student suicides are up 50%…

  30. Hey! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your blog posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same topics? Thank you!

  31. many thanks on your question, allison! an original pin is something you’ve “pinned” from a web site (the original source) that may be not a “repin” from someone else. it doesn’t necessarily need to be a photo you’ve taken yourself. hope this helps. fantastic luck!

  32. I am now not positive where you’re getting your info, but good topic. I needs to spend a while learning much more or working out more. Thanks for wonderful information I was searching for this information for my mission.

  33. Oh my goodness! an amazing article dude. Thank you However I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss problem? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  34. Oh my goodness! an incredible article dude. Thank you Nonetheless I am experiencing issue with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting identical rss downside? Anyone who knows kindly respond. Thnkx

  35. Hi there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I am going to watch out for brussels. I’ll be grateful if you continue this in future. A lot of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  36. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I will bookmark your blog and check again here regularly. I am quite certain I will learn many new stuff right here! Best of luck for the next!

Join the Conversation

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