Who would have thought our only issue after two winning matches would be “which leg of the draw do we want?”. Right?
Anyway, it’s time for our third match! And it is Chile Con Carne time. Can’t wait to take on one of the best playing nations on this World Cup!
We are all impressed by this opponent of course and it will interesting to see the more German/Portuguese playing Oranje take on the Dutch style playing Chile, hahaha.
No kidding, we have been faced with three opponents in our group who have all been taught how to play by….us!!
We didn’t do badly against Spain, we were a tad lucky against Australia, lets simply assume we will top the group and go into the more “easy” leg of the draw (if something like that exists…).
In recent tournaments, coaches like Van Basten and to a lesser extend Van Marwijk decided to rest players in those last group games and both got quite some criticism for doing so. Van Gaal however, will not only do the same and rest some lads who have some pains (and RVP won’t play as he is suspended) but he might also try out another system. The 5-3-2 has been tested, the 4-3-3 was revisited in a half vs Australia when the Socceroos were getting tired and now he might go for 4-5-1 to upset the Chilean football machine.
Van Gaal does not want to give anything away. And I mean anything. Where his colleagues in the past enjoyed being interviewed and mused about football matters, Van Gaal is tightlipped. “Everyone is listening in. Anything I say will be used and read by other coaches. So if I say anything about which next opponent I prefer, or which side of the draw I prefer, this might fuel any future opponent. I won’t do it. The only way to deal with all this is complete secrecy.”
Van Gaal trained behind closed doors yesterday and was pretty annoyed when the Dutch media picked up on some of the changes he is considering. The big news is that Dirk Kuyt might be playing as left winger, in order to contain the attacking full right back of Chile. As per ususal, LVG did his analysis of the opponent and found that their right side is the biggest threat. And with Martins Indi not available (not that he is Mr Secure Left Back anyway), Louis wants to offer Daley/Kongolo some support by using Kuyt. Smart.
The footballing machine that is Chile has nothing to lose. They want the same as we: win the group. We can do with a draw, they need the victory. But apart from that, they cannot (and will not) play any other way. So they will try and combine their way into our box and score, while we will use the space and pick our moments to hurt them. They’re strong in attack, yes. But vulnerable at the back. I am guessing Robben and Sneijder will find ways to score. Robben because he is on fire and this will be his World Cup and Sneijder because he has not scored for a while in Orange and his pride (ego) will push him to do so.
And who knows, Lens might even join in as well.
I call 3-1 for Oranje. Why not.
Van Gaal did say at the press conference that he will chance the team at a number of places. “Some players have had knocks, others are on a yellow”. This makes us guess. Maybe De Vrij will be benched in favour of the more fleet of foot Veltman? Makes sense. Maybe De Jong can sit out this one and allow Clasie on his spot. The Feyenoord man is a bit more light on his feet than De Jong, who might be rebelrousing like the Hulk amongst the sparkly Chileans. I wouldnt be surprised if De Guzman is benched (yellow, not too great performances, knock) and Wijnaldum takes his spot.
We’ll play Lens up front. With a 5 man midfield if Chile has possession (Kuyt, Sneijder, Clasie, Wijnaldum, Robben) with a four man defence behind us (the usual suspects, but with Joel instead of Stefan). In possession, Kuyt will work the left zone, while Sneijder will sit behind Lens and Robben, with Clasie and Wijnaldum guarding the space in midfield. Should work?
Remarkable news: Oranje will not play with any “Van” in the team, against Chile! The last time that happened was against China (!) in 1996 (!). Since then, there was always Bommel, Bronckhorst, Vaart, Nistelrooy or Meyde. We do have a “Van” on the bench of course, with Louis also of the Van Tribe.
Last time this happened at a World Cup was in 1994, when we played Belgium. The only “Van” was a Belgium player, Frankie van der Elst.
Chile coach Sampaoli is a Van Gaal adept and he is taking his role really seriously, by also complaining about the pitch. The pitch in Sao Paolo does look tired and in particular the box areas need some TLC.
Van Gaal wants to be whining about something too and he criticises the FIFA for not planning Brazil’s Group A game before the Holland – Chile game. “This is not Fair Play! Now Brazil can determine which opponent they want. But they are in Group A and should play before Group B.”
Bruno Martins Indi is back with the group. The iconic defender – a hit in social media land with his big scary eyes 🙂 – took a hit against Australia and had a slight concussion. “I first thought my World Cup was over. But luckily it wasn’t that dreadful. I am a positive man. I will take it step by step. I did some running yesterday and that went well. We’ll see how we go.” He will not be available against Chile.
Arturo Vidal, the big man of Chile and Juve playmaker, might also not be ready for the game. This could obviously be a mental game by the Chileans, but Vidal has been struggling with fitness. So who knows.
Lastly, it is easy to name RVP and Robben as the stars of this Dutch team but most people will agree that the man who is clearly the most remarkable in the Oranje camp is the coach himself. He wanted this platform to shine, for decades and now he is here. And is relishing every minute.]
The player interaction
Just before Veltman went onto the pitch to replace De Vrij against Spain, Van Gaal made a joke to Veltman. He had a big smile on his face. The nervous Veltman produced a shy smile. Van Gaal is no comedian but the message he gave the Ajax defender was clear: “Be yourself and enjoy this!” Typical Van Gaal. Lots of shoulder pads and smiles for the youngsters, and stern looks and deep voices for the older players. Whenever he explodes, it is in the face of Sneijder or Kuyt. Never to the young lads. But he can definitely had out compliments to the veterans. He already praised RVP and Sneijder into high heaven and after the Australia game, it was Nigel de Jong who received it. Recently, Huntelaar was the big man in training and Van Gaal made sure everyone knew about it. The team manager feeds them info, corrects, is sharp on every detail and is constantly aware of the balance between tension and relaxation. Without reason, he can stop the bus at the beach, for the boys to take a walk or he randomly allows the families into the hotel for some frolicking. The more smiles, the better. To quite RVP: “Van Gaal is in top form!”.
Van Gaal has a Phd in football. Challenging him on the sports is ok, but be ready for an earfull. Recently someone said to him that “5-3-2 was not the Dutch School…”. He attacked like a viper. “So you think Dutch School is some numbers? I don’t. It is not a matter of playing wingers or not. It is much more. We can play Dutch football with any system.”
Van Gaal knows how to play the audience. He is very aware where the cameras are and what to do to get some impact. I will never forget the infamous karate kick he made, along the byline when Desailly almost beheaded Kluivert in the CL finals. That kick must have hurt his back for ever, but the players saw it, the cameras picked up on it and it sent a clear message to everyone: Van Gaal is a fighter, not a lover. Before the Spain message, he went to the Spanish players and hugged Xavi, Iniesta and Pique. And the big Hi 5 with RVP after his Superman goal, with his whole kindergarten lined up behind him. The manager knows where the cameras are ( hence the comments about the camera in his vision in the Australia – Holland venue) and he knows how to play them. What was quite remarkable though, when RVP scored the fourth against Casillas, he didn’t move a muscle, as if to say “I don’t cheer for scruffy goals” hahaha.
During the press conferences, Louis enjoys mentioning his holistic principles. He had a couple of Brazilian translators scratching their heads already… His public anger explosions towards the media are under control for now, but it is clear that the South American and Asian media people enjoy his onorthodox methods in press conferences. He loves taunting the media but as prickly he can be with the Dutch, as charming he is with the non Dutch media. “So you think I am very nice,” he asked a nice Brazilian female reporter. “Well, your Dutch colleagues don’t think that way at all!”.
Funny detail, after the Spain game, a relaxed Van Gaal comes into the room where the players are being interviewed. The so-called press room. He is relaxed and talks a bit with some reporters. When he wants to copy a foul he spotted by one of the Spanish players, his imitation is too realistic as he hits NOS tv anchor Tom Egbers against his shins, hahahaha.
Van Gaal enjoys being in Brazil. He is tremendously positive about the way the Flamengo futbol club has welcomed Oranje. He is very happy with the support of the Flamengo fans and frolicks and plays around with the ball boys. At certain times he decides to step out of the hotel to sign some random autographs and allows people to take selfies with him on it. Van Gaal loves Brazil and Brazil loves Van Gaal!
Gimme your thoughts and predictions here: