Rafa leads the way to 4th victory in campaign

Truth be told, I wasn’t totally happy with LVG’s appointment. There were too many aspects in his past and personality I didn’t like. The dramatic series with Oranje in 2000/2001. The antics as a club coach (where some clubs asked him to leave, despite his quality) and his recent JC backstabbing at Ajax…

But…he is a world class coach. Club coach, I would add to that, but now he is demonstrating to the world that he has learned and developed. He is acting the National Team Manager perfectly. His relationship with the players seems to be great. He has clarity and consistency in selection and players’ choices. He has a good mix of assistants ( Danny Blind, cool & collected; up and coming Pat Kluivert for the fun factor and the passion; Ron Spelbos and Edward Metgod, the silent scouts in the background and then the usual goal keeper coach Frans Hoek and the video analysts he used at AZ and Bayern).

“Am I so dumb or are you so smart?!?!?! Oh…hang on… I got it wrong…”

Stekelenburg, Huntelaar, De Jong, Heitinga….they all have seen and experienced how decisive the man can be and they all seem to be accepting of his authority.

Van Marwijk has taught Dutch players that winning ugly is important and sometimes necessary and now we know what winning is (again), LVG will add the Dutch identity back into the mix. Wingers, one holding mid and attacking football.

Rafael van der Vaart played his 102nd cap against Romania and surpassed Phillip Cocu. Gio van Bronckhorst and Frank de Boer are in his sights now (106 and 112 respectively). “I’d be lying if I said it didn’t matter to me….”, the Man of the Match laughed last week.

Two assists and a goal for Rafael van der Vaart and that swagger that adds so much confidence to the team. And what a team it was. Power, speed and skill on the wings. A world class number 9 (RVP or Klaas Jan), creative midfielders and a destroyer in between and strength and speed at the back. I think we’re getting in real good shape (considering Robben, Sneijder and Krul weren’t even present…).

Heitinga celebrating the 2-0 with Martins Indi

So Romania had to concede 4 as well, like earlier in Budapest when we played Hungary.

And luck is always a factor. The free kick on the bar in the first 5 minutes could have gone in. And the penalty shout for Oranje could have been ignored. And all that jazz… But it went as it went and Oranje took the chances and did the business.

12 points out of 4 games.

I think Europe will be paying attention. I’m sure the football pundits and analysts in Spain, Germany, Italy and Portugal will read the papers and think…hmmmm….. Oranje…. :-).

With rumours that Spurs is following Clasie and our center back BMI scored two out of five, to name two facts, I think it’s clear we will reap more and more excitement around this team.

And with RVP finding the net again and that dream header of Lens, we seemed to be in that flow.

And Van Gaal will do everything to keep that flow going. Until end of June, 2014, I’m sure.

As he said when he was appointed: the World Cup is starting against Turkey.

I think he was right. Let’s keep on winning and only stop doing so when that man Blatter is waiting to give us that trophy.

Raf scores the 3-1 from the spot

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  1. Van Gaal: “This is a wonderful result and a good performance. I’m very pleased about our second half. We killed the game off. Not many Dutch teams are able to do so. We didn’t take risks any more but still got opportunities. We remained highly concentrated. We made a huge step towards Brazil but we are not there yet. Andorra can still reach 12 points, theoretically. In the first phase of the game, we were too sloppy. But after the 0-1 we improved. And when a guy like Lens starts scoring headers from 20 yards out…what can you do…. Unbelievable.”

  2. With the wins this week the line up discussions will be crazy until March!

    Here is my latest when all are healthy:

    Keeper – Krul, Stekelenburg, Vorm
    Right Back – van Rhijn, van der Weil
    Centre Back – Heitinga, Vlaar, Douglas
    Left Back – Martins Indi, Pieters
    Destroyer – de Jong, Strootman
    Creative Mids – Sneijder, Vaart, Afellay
    Right Forward – Narsingh, Lens
    Left Forward – Robben, Elia
    Centre Forward – RVP, Hunter
    All Round MF / FW – Emanuelson, Kuyt

    Clasie can push Afellay and Strootman.

    1. What is it with the love for Pieters? He hasn’t seen the field in several months and he’s not expected back until January. When Willems is fit he will resume his place in the starting 11.

  3. You read my mind @jan…. i was just going to post something about the Germ-Swe game 🙂

    By the way, we should have played douglas even for just 5 mins… Now he is still eligible to play for Brazil.

  4. I really can’t predict what will be the line up for the future because there’s great competition for places and that’s what we needed!!!.

    For our defense we have:

    Douglas!, BMI, Büttner, Pieters, Willems, Van Rhijn, Jaanmat, Wiel, Heitinga, Mathijsen, Viergever, Maduro, Boulah, Bruma…

    For our midfield we have:

    Sneijder, Vaart, Afellay, Strootman, Nigel, Clasie, Fer, Emanuelson…

    For our attack we have:

    Persie, Huntelaar, Robben, Lens, Narsingh, Elia, Schaken, Wijnaldum, Wolfswinkel, L.de Jong, Castaignos, Bas Dost…

    so…it looks like we have a good future because before the EC we had only great names in attack but average defenders. I am not saying we have a great amazing team and that we are #1 candidates for the WC but these players together can develop very well together 🙂

    1. Agree –

      This was a great result! I’m behind on my Oranje watching but still lurking around for sure. LvG seems to have everything together – and I especially like the combination of youth and experience he is putting on the pitch.

  5. Germany and Spain Dropping Points, Holland undefeated with winning all games, If this continues we will be set to play in the final! Lets keep improving, Any motion in the right direction, even if slow, is better than no motion whatsoever.

  6. AD sport picked VDV as Man of the Match and asks the question why Strootman has the band and not Rafa. As an old fashioned playmaker, the 29 year old leads the team to a win over Romania. Apart from Raf, the AD think Robin van Persie, Jeremain Lens and Nigel de Jong deserve a special mention. The rest of the team was said to be mediocre or untested. Van Rhijn: too passive, Heitinga sloppy with his touches, Vlaar – dependable, Martins Indi – untested, Strootman – played like an extra, the game went past him and was guilty of Romanian goal

    1. Those are good notes… Vlaar is starting to look like a real Dutch beast. He’s not slow, but not quick. And not fun to run into. 😉 Imposing next to Bruno.

      Also, did Van Rhijn’s wrist injury slow him down?

      Strootman? Not his best effort, but a tribute to the team he captains that they bolted the door.

      And NDJ! He was playing a different game, and doing it well. He looked Dutch today.

  7. Maybe Van Gaal see something that we don’t. That is to give captain to Strootman and let creative players like Rafa roam free. This is just a guess. We have a great start and need to keep focus, keep this up and keep winning. We will qualify but far away from winning WC. However we are on a right track. Like Jan, I have my doubt. So far Van Gaal has proven me wrong.

    1. —Hein

      I think LvG wants a young captain, the pressure to perform and the stamina required to “go all the way” is best shouldered by a younger man. That is if you have a suitable candidate – by any measure Strootman is suitable. Oranje is loaded with talent (the problem is always how to coordinate, steer, combine and harness it!!)

      VdV has his skills, his place, and he brings so, so much to the team, but …. youth is a fleeting thing. Don’t get me wrong Raf’s contribution will be huge, but really does he need any added pressure?


  8. Glad to see the team playing well, i will have to watch the replay at some point.

    Van Gaal has turned this team around, that last goal was a pure Fifa goal what a cross by Narsingh! Perfect.

  9. Interesting Jan.

    I do agree Strootman was less than impressive. I thought Van Der Vaart was ok but I still can expect more from him from open play.

    As far as I could tell RVR was very good defending his flank so I was happy with that. Robben will still dramatically help this team and I still think the addition of a player like Fer with great box-to-box ability could prove helpful.

    I do believe it was Heitinga who was passed for their goal.

  10. Well, I saw Strootman being outplayed after not closing down the penetrating player. Then Heitinga was outplayed and Vlaar didn’t close the guy down either but was ball watching.

    1. I think Heitinga bares 90% of the responsibility. Stroot could have closed down but he was behind and Vlaar was late but that is because Johnny didn’t get the job done. I would say classic Heitinga blackout.

      1. It was instructive to watch the replay a few times — starting with NDJ’s very clever, well-paced counter to Narsingh to start the sequence.

        Narsingh led a fine break, ending with VDV slotting the ball with great touch to RVR — who tries to cross and ends in a heap, injuring his right arm/wrist. While he’s slowly getting up, Romania counters.

        As they approach our box, Strootman points to the area between the ball and Johnny H, as if to urge Johnny up to meet Marica…

        …and suddenly it’s too late. Strootman has missed him, Johnny gets beat… Vlaar realizes too late…

        All in all: One reason the right side seems so out of sorts is that Van Rhijn has just been injured. VDV picks up RVR’s position and marks his man all the way downfield.

        We were essentially a man down on the counter, and Strootman and Johnny blinked.

  11. Jan – I have same feelings for vGaal – but I get excited when he announces his team – he’s got balls! We play nice attacking football again.I mentioned before watching a documentary on vGaal and all the Barca/Dutch/Bayern players say the same thing. Exceptional Coach with a LOT of knowledge – but OH he can go beserk too. Iniesta recently said he learned much and still thanks LvG for giving him the chance. Did he not bring in Muller/Badstuber & Kroos ? Now all Sjerman Int’ls ?

    As for Stroot being made Captain, he is there to be groomed, The Staff/Sneijder/Kuyt were all in on the decision to give a youngster some experience. After all Sneijder will probably be still around in 4 years. I think BMI will be snapped up and Vlaar doesnt get the credit he deserved this game.

    1. Yep that is the case, with Strootman.

      If Sneijder plays, Raf most likely won’t. So they have an older, medium and young player on the roster for skipper. I like it.

      On goal.com, Vlaar was Man of the Match

  12. Furthermore, it’s interesting that Romania had NOT had a goal scored against them, then all of a sudden wham bang 4 against at home (sounds like Germany). But we do tend to make GIANTS beforehand,out of mediocre teams we play against especially here. Right now only Russia has maximum pts as well.

  13. I think this was another game that puts sand in our eyes and I am going to be critical.

    Now against Belgium, Turkey and Hungary we still played 4-3-3 or if we really spell it out 1-4-1-2-3. Only 1 DM, a right and left midfielder played on top of the single DM with 2 wingers in a center striker. Or as we say it in the Netherlands, with the point to the back (attacking 4-3-3) instead of point to the front (defensive 4-3-3) where a single nr. 10 functions as center and initiator of attacks with his creativity etc.. These last 2 games we played again as van Marwijk. Against Andorra explicit, this time we were showed a card before game with an attacking formation but in reality we went doing a full Bert van Marwijk in a 4-2-3-1. This resulted in us being way to far from the opponent’s goal for most of the match. Some goals were also thrown in our lap. The first goal was intentional from Lens and pretty damn brilliant (I ask people to keep having an open mind about my proposal that when Robben comes back and Elia is returning also, considering Lens as second option as striker behind RVP, rather than the one dimensional, slow and ball losing Huntelaar), but it went on the bar and then by the back of the head into the goal. Look at the replay closely. The ball on the bar from Romania from a free kick normally gets against the back of the keeper and rolls in, making the keeper feel double bad, but basically it’s a normal thing in football. Our luck Lens’s goal does go in and theirs not. The second goal was just bad defending from them and deserved (BMI has scored now already 2 goals and also had an off side goal vs Andorra. Guy is a threat and excellent weapon so far). The third goal was a soft given penalty. Hand was on shoulder, hand maybe pulled some shirt, but my feeling says it was the sudden loss of counter force of the pushing that brought down Narsigh and I did not like him looking instantly to the ref for the penalty. No dive, but not manly behavior. On a side note, I would like to have clarity about VDV taking the penalty rather than RVP. Who was appointed and did VDV overrule in game? If so, he needs to be set straight ASAP, penalty scored or not. Moving on. The fourth goal is very good, but some people say it’s offside in the lead up to it (Romanian paper). We had our share of luck with some decisions. Also BMI not getting penalty (many believe and rightly so probably, that the Romanian hooked his arm into BMI’s and faked a foul), then again maybe Romania should have gotten a red card and RVP also should have gotten a penalty. Dunno. All in all I don’t feel the goals were an end product from brilliant play, but rather a combination of deadly flashes from dead ball moments, some luck and some clumsiness from our opponent. Rather their low level, than our high level.

    Now people say Nigel de Jong played good and yes indeed he did play good in his way of fulfilling the DM position. However Nigel de Jong is a reactive DM IMO. He patrols, rather than anticipates. He corrects rather than intervenes forwardly. He reads the play in a circle of 5 to 10 meters around him, not the whole game in front of him. That’s why I always call Nigel a lower paradigm footballer. A higher paradigm footballers is Clasie. Clasie is IMO a much better game reader and a person with a creative pass. Also presses better in a forward way and intervenes passing lanes on top of winning duels only. Nigel wins little battles and people saw that and yes I agree, that is great, but it does not bring us to the next level. However a Clasie executing his game style in a bad way, will have Nigel be the preferred choice when that player is on top of doing what he does in the right way. That’s why it’s too bad the Turkey game happened, where Clasie totally forgot what he does best and rather speeding up the game even brought the speed down to even under Nigel’s or Strootman’s level. Sad face.

    Talking about Strootman, what the hell is happening to this kid? Now I saw him coming from Sparta and I saw his passing and I and others thought he would develop into a true footballer. This direction he has not taken. His short passing has dropped to the level it’s now sucking. His wall pass is dropping. People remember that one two with Lens, where he messed up and then rather correcting the mistake, turned around and shook his face in disgust putting by body language the blame on Lens? Is that what a captain is supposed to do?

    1. play shit football back to back in games?
    2. Don’t show a first reaction to repair a problem whoever’s fault it is (the blame talk he can do in the dressing room)?
    3. Putting the blame on others for his shit wall pass?

    Against Andorra there was even a moment where he lost a confrontation and let the guy run away rather than going after him. What is this guy doing? Moving on, Strootman has evolved into a bulldozer that now does not even bulldozer anymore. The engine was off for 2 matches, or better phrased (as he did show work rate here and there), the the blade at the front was gone. Going in rather with 50% intention to win duels, or in such a stupid way that he gives away a free kick close to our goal and receive a yellow card. His box to box ability has dropped and his inability to execute a decent combination is not there anymore somehow. So what is the use of him showing up there? Shooting on goal? When was the last time he shot on goal? He never does that anymore. Strootman has lost the ability to play right or left midfielder. There you are expected to also create something and he has lost his football ability almost. In single DM I think he function still proper as he did a good job there against Turkey for 40 minutes, but other then that, he has developed into the wrong direction IMO to be of use in other midfield positions.

    Another midfielder was VDV and as for Spurs he is pulled like a metal particle to a giant magnet to the hole in center. He always does that. Give the guy freedom. ….. no, put him on the other side of the world and I swear to you, in seconds he teleports himself to that spot. I did not see his big value today football wise. Was he the center of attacks? A vocal point of creativity? At least shot a dangerous ball on goal? Not really seen it. He was present with the standard situations being free kicks, penalty’s and corners. That’s pretty minimal in my book. To go play there is costing other players. VDV (as well as Sneijder) are not good partners for RVP there. RVP stops dropping and can start writing another chapter in his already thick book called “Sans Famille” in the role of Remi, isolated from the rest of the team. Besides RVP wants to synchronize with people on high speed initiating a dribble past a defender or at least create the illusion of doing that and then benefit from that result of indecision by the defender(s) with his excellent running patterns. Weather getting in scoring position or lure defenders away and create a hole for the other to go into. VDV wants to launch people and if he does go into a combination, it is always RVP who will get send away at the end of it. Defenders know this. VDV just lacks the speed to get passed defenders. VDV is a pretty “surplace”. So, for me VDV did not play that well and we got back to RVP being pretty one dimensional and not all that he can be.

    I jumped straight to midfield, but that’s because that’s the line there is to make the biggest jump forward in quality team play. Van Rhijn and BMI did nothing in the attacking dimension (other than in standard situations). They were just defenders. This combined with lack of everything on midfield that had to do with any form of creativity, lead to wingers not being properly utilized. They could not handle the situations of being doubled up of course and Narsingh and Lens were not that good as they could have been, in case the backs would run past them and draw the extra defender away so that they could deal with 1 vs 1 more often and really get things going on. The fact we are in awe of Elia surpassing 2 or 3 players on his own, only drives this point home. Don’t bet that will happen against proper opponents. We even had a Narsingh being able to cut through defense, almost pointing where the sample pass had to go to, but Strootman outright ignoring him. Against Turkey he at least gave one creative cutting pass at the end. Now he was just terrible. The two center defenders were meh. Heitinga with wrong long passes to the front and Vlaar is just on ball a constant headache. People can focus on his defensive contributions and he had some good plays, but that would be settling for mediocrity. Vlaar is a dependable mediocre player that is not equipped to play the game the Dutch NT should be playing to prevent past failure.

    You might say, we still won with 1-4. Yes, but you remember a Euro where we gassed after all three games right after 15 minutes. The team has to train now as they want to play on the WC in Brazil and in a way they can beat the big guns. The lesson was that we have to play compact, as a team and more offensive. In this regard it is vital defenders cover through. First half bad executed. Van Gaal says they did better in second half, I say that is not effective when your midfielders don’t have the ability’s to push up and really nail the opponent down. We did not put Romania against the wall and allowed them to pressure us. Romania actually pressured us and you know what? All the talk about us doing well is revisionism with the knowledge of knowing the final score. We went up 2-0, but it cracked, became 2-1 and Romania kind of had us up the ropes. Then the lucky penalty came that broke spirit as it was also perfectly timed right before the half time bell.

    My point is, that we have gone to BvM tactics and that we did not kept the team compact enough like at the WC 2010, also as this is not possible with the midfielders we deployed (and how they developed, which goes for Nigel and Strootman) and defenders not covering through in proper way, only maybe improving this part in the second half. How can they not do this properly from the start (though Vlaar did it 1 time well)? So we have not learned and can fall into the same trap again. We also won all last qualification games for the Euro 2012 bar a loss to Sweden when it didn’t count anymore. Did that prevent the worst group exit in Dutch history? Nope. So I am here to alarm people and not get them into their comfort zone. Adriaanse would say, stop people from practicing scoreboard journalism and start feeling save and able with this team. I don’t feel this game has added to beat the good opponents. Van Marwijk was a big believer of creating familiarity with patterns by repeating them game after game in the same formation and with the same people. Well there is a truth in that, but then this game has not contributed towards creating the right game patterns to excel with long term IMO.

    All in all I am only happy with the score and not the play.

    I do want to congratulate van Gaal with his outstanding results. Now Netherlands, together with Russia are the only country’s not dropping points from the first 4 games, leading with 12 points

    Romania anthem has to be there up in the top 3 in the world and their new stadium rocks. However they should not follow the example of Turkish fans and use them as blue print by booing anthem and ball possession and also not use Argentine football tunes, but come up with their own. Dutch also do too much imitation, but that does not prevent me from building a case for originality and sportsmanship.


    1. DRB300, as usual I appreciate your analysis and long post. I don’t think I will be ever capable of same. Here are my thoughts and some counter-arguments:

      1. NDJ did what he does best. Patrol a limited area. No surprises here.

      2. Stroot has been bad in the last two games, no box2box at all.

      3. VDV, same as NDJ. He did what he does all the time.

      Now, having said the above and you seem to agree, don’t you think that it is not LVGs direction to play a 4-2-3-1 but it is mostly because NDJ stays too much in the back, VDV too much in the front and Stroot didn’t link ?

      From all these 3 mids, I would put the blame square on Stroot. As awesome he was with Turkey that bad he was in the last two.

      But let’s view some more points re today’s game.

      1. Romania is no joke. Very athletic players and they have talent. They are excellent in the counter attack.

      2. Our lines, despite Stroot not linking well, were tight today for most of the game. Because the front line was tracking back. Not bad at all and nothing close to the abomination we saw at EK2012.

      3. We had pretty good control of the game except the last 10 of the first half. But the opponent is no joke.

      I am not blinded by the score, Romania didn’t deserve this. But considering they are not an easy opponent and we played there, it is a damn good result.

      LVG has renewed more than 50% of the team and the results so far are excellent. Very few here, including me, were expecting such showing in the WK qualifiers.

      I think Stroot needs to wake up, LVG was probably expecting a lot more. NDJ and VDV have limited usability but we need them. We have to deal with bringing more people to the team like Classie, injuries, etc… Both veterans can help a lot. But for sure, we need 3 better midfielders to play 4-3-3. IMO, with either Wes or VDV in, we can not play Dutch 4-3-3.

      Anyhow, do you live in Amsterdam? I am coming for the two games in March, perhaps we can coordinate to see them together.

      1. Thanks Demi.

        We can agree on your first numeration 1 to 3. Looking at the second numeration, I think where we might disagree is on point 2 to some extend but my point would be that I am disappointed we returned to BvM tactics where I thought that under van Gaal we would leave the reactive game play behind us and start initiating more by ourself. Where one game after the others would be used as building blocks towards a different kind of football. The goals from standard situations are red flags for me as I associate them with counter attacking teams who prey on outbreaks and dead ball situations. We started at least different against Belgium, Turkey and Hungary. More with a formation that would enable us to go back to the good kind of football in my book. Now it looks like we have left that road. What is the vision? Greece on steroids? Preying all the time? Fans of teams we face that feel that they could have won, but are left with frustration from some moments of their own teams lack of attention? Nurture a new generation of Dutch fans being happy about just the score? We actually get to the point Belgium looks better on the field. I have not seen complex game play from the Dutch NT that makes sure it outplays opponents. Where their intricate passing combined with running patterns made sure they could cut through defenses. I now also don’t see the intention anymore to build the offensive patterns and by that the believe to try also when things get tougher. When you are afraid doing that against the number 46 on the FIFA ranking, then my hope diminishes you will do it against top 10 opposition. The Dutch NT is the flagship of Dutch football and after BvM I wished we would move away from reactive football and go back to proactive football. Now let’s hope van Gaal was intended to play one way, but players fulfilling their role in a different way, though against mighty Andorra he clearly intentionally did play with 4-2-3-1.

        Aesthetics aside, what I fear, but can not prove, is that in the end we will pay a price for all this. If high level of offensive execution is no longer demanded for the flagship of Dutch football, then why longer nurture those quality’s or even select on those quality’s? One has to separate club (where the BVO’s/academy’s are) from country, but the NT has status and that status grows with success. We recently got to the WC final this way. That is success and success can always count on followers and copiers. The Dutch coaching circle is also a small world. The success reactive football gives us and which is well received in the circles of the so called “realists” might come to bite us in the long run in player development, diminishing the output of the refined ones.

        To answer your final question, I want to thank you for thinking of me to go together to a game, but I prefer to separate blog/forum contacts with private contacts. I hope you don’t feel offended in any kind of way as I appreciate the discussions with you and many others here.


        1. Hi DRB300, I fully understand your position about keeping some things separate. I sure hope so that you are at the Arena though 🙂

          All of the points that you make are good but I think our difference is kind of “what was made first, the chicken or the egg?”

          We don’t have Krol/Suurbier/Cruijff any more. We got Fers and Strootmans more than we have Classies. Even if Classie performs to his 100% potential, he is not enough. We would need 3 of them to play the 4-3-3 you have in mind. The last two generations, the one who took us to the WK final and the current one, do not have the talent of the 70s. But they have balls. It is just different and I have accepted it.

          Sure, this type of play will generate more of the same type of play in the future. Agreed. We should try to improve the “playability” as I call it. But at the same time we need to win a WK final. So being realistic to me, means two things:

          1. Work with the current generation the way it is.
          2. Try to improve the next one at the academy level.

          I understand that the next one will be looking up to the current one, people mimic people who are successful. It is a tough situation. This is a whole different Holland. Personally I am ok with this. I laughed at the “Greece on steroids” comment. But I don’t agree. The BvM team had a lot of brilliant moments and some very nice combinations. Perhaps the bitter end left a bitter taste. They were excellent against Brazil, Uruguay and Spain.

          As per why LVG played BvM style with Andorra? My guess is he saw the Romania game as pivotal and he wanted a good training before it.

          I think he will bring Classie back and you will be happier 🙂

          I would be interested to hear your thoughts on a question I have put several times on the board. How would you fit Sneijder with his current form in the Dutch 4-3-3 you want to play. The 4-3-3 requires the middle 3 to have the stamina of Strootman. Don’t you think it is not possible to play such with Wes in the middle 3? How would you go about it? Play Classie/Stroot/Fer(or someone else, I dont know who but lets say) and then pass Wes to the front 3?

    2. DRB300,
      I haven’t read such long winded bollocks since your last post.
      If there was a prize for talking out of your arsehole, Tiju would win it. But YOU would get the runners up medal.

      Please learn to add ‘in my opinion’ or ‘I think’ to some of your sentences. It will make them far easier to read and digest. Otherwise, you merely come across as a pompous brat with an axe to grind.
      I think your analysis is amateur at best, and filling out your post with words doesn’t make it any more valid or correct.

      You seem to have a poor reading of the game. I suggest that next time you spend a little longer watching/thinking before you start typing.
      Facts are your friends! Let’s see some, please.

      Yours are truly some of the most obnoxious and toxic comments I have ever read here – because you pretend so determinedly to sound informed. It’s an unpalatable deception.

      Here is a classic example:
      ‘I did not see his big value today football wise. Was he the center of attacks? A vocal point of creativity? At least shot a dangerous ball on goal? Not really seen it. He was present with the standard situations being free kicks, penalty’s and corners. That’s pretty minimal in my book.’
      By cherry picking your argument, you have forced yourself to support a line of thought that does not correlate with the actual events of the game.
      The only thing ‘pretty minimal’ in my book is how much you actually know about the beautiful game.

      1. =========================================================
        I haven’t read such long winded bollocks since your last post.
        If there was a prize for talking out of your arsehole, Tiju would win it. But YOU would get the runners up medal.

        Please learn to add ‘in my opinion’ or ‘I think’ to some of your sentences. It will make them far easier to read and digest. Otherwise,
        you merely come across as a pompous brat with an axe to grind.I think your analysis is amateur at best, and filling out your post with
        words doesn’t make it any more valid or correct.

        You seem to have a poor reading of the game. I suggest that next time you spend a little longer watching/thinking before you start
        typing. Facts are your friends! Let’s see some, please.

        Yours are truly some of the most obnoxious and toxic comments I have ever read here – because you pretend so determinedly to sound
        informed. It’s an unpalatable deception.

        Abusive ad hominem

        Abusive ad hominem (also called personal abuse or personal attacks) usually involves insulting or belittling one’s opponents in order to attack their claims or invalidate their arguments, but can also involve pointing out true character flaws or actions that are irrelevant to the opponent’s argument. This is logically fallacious because it relates to the opponent’s personal character, which has nothing to do with the logical merit of the opponent’s argument, whereas mere verbal abuse in the absence of an argument is not ad hominem nor any kind of logical fallacy

        Ad hominem reasoning is normally described as a logical fallacy, more precisely an informal fallacy and an irrelevance.

        ->I think all you do here us peddling between this fallacy and outright abuse. Let’s move on to the only thing of substence you have to say:

        Here is a classic example:
        ‘I did not see his big value today football wise. Was he the center of attacks? A vocal point of creativity? At least shot a
        dangerous ball on goal? Not really seen it. He was present with the standard situations being free kicks, penalty’s and corners.
        That’s pretty minimal in my book.’By cherry picking your argument, you have forced yourself to support a line of thought that does
        not correlate with the actual events of the game.

        This does not make any sense. I outright seperate overall value, value from open play (“football wise”) and value from dead ball situations (“standard situations”). VDV’s contributions were mainly made in the last category rather then the first and the actual events of the game support that claim. A normal person would just disagree with that and name the events in the game that jumped out to him as creative open gameplay (and there even have been some and then we would start discussing different standards of expectations) and come together to a better analyses of the game (which is why I post here). Not you. You rather use it as a foundation to validate being abusive, triggered by some kind stress you get from my opinion alone (I have never offended you). It’s self revealing you get into a state of flight/fight from an internet comment section. Talking about cherry picking. Going through a whole piece somebody writes, picking one small part of it, and selling it as exemplary (“classic example”) for his whole story and line of thinking, looks like you are the one doing what you blame others for. On top of that, you make sure to leave out the second part of the paragraph that was connected to what I had to say about the player. VDV by playing on 10 costs us a better participating RVP in the creative process of open play situations. So his output in that dimension in this game is only half of the story. The other half is what he takes away. It was this sum in it’s totality and you missed it.

    3. DRB300, it is a pleasure reading your posts. This is a very realistic analysis of the game and the team. I have not been impressed by Strootman. We could have lost this game if not for our luck. In second half I saw BVM’s team playing and I was not pleased. How many times did we throw bad passes in midfield that led to quick counter attacks?! How many times did we play sloppy and were careless with the ball? One day this will cost us as it did in EC2012.
      And I pray for the day when Heitinga will not be called up again. Even VdV for that matter. The only thing VdV is worth playing him is his excellent crossing ability. Other than that he is rubbish.

      1. >The only thing VdV is worth playing him is his excellent crossing ability.

        He can do huge damage from a couple of set pieces. I don’t think we need to throw out of the window the baby with the bath water. Both VDV and Sneijder, especially Sneijder, have huge potential to help. But LVG needs to find a solution that can deal with their obvious shortcomings. So far the Dutch 4-3-3 doesn’t work well if one of the middle 3 walks like VDV or seems uninterested for long periods like Wes. I really hope we can fix that because we don’t have a creative replacement.

    4. @DRB300 :
      Well , perhaps some friends in the blog would disagree with you but i do like your posts man . keep it up 🙂 .
      Basically we’re still not the best team , not the best players but i think we are on the right path and we were able to get 12 points out of 12 .
      Big teams like Spain , france , Germany and England couldn’t do the same .
      However , i think VDV was very good yesterday 😛 .

  14. Hey guys I reall appreciate the review of the game as it was not telecasted in Australia and have only been able to watch the highlights. I’m really pleased with LVG and am loving this new defensive line that is especially vRhijn, BMI and Vlaar.. The more these guys play together the better they’ll get.

    I just imagine the sliding door moment if the KNVB decided not to sack BVM I only cam wonder what position we would be in at the moment.

    Thanks again… To Jan & you guys

  15. I like Van gaal,i support him than any one in the world,But think about facing the strong attcaking teams like Arjentina,Portugal,Spain,Germany and Brazil,.Romanian attack was toothless,so our defence is not tested,Dejong was the main saviour of the team than vlaar.
    Think about Vlaar and co facing CR7/Naymar/Kaka/Angel De maria/Messi/Nani…dont blmae these players at that time.be on your toes…dutch will qualify but they needed to build a balanced team like Spain…

    1. thats an interesting comment Tiju. I would argue that despite all their talent, tactical nous and obvious success, Spain has a pretty unbalanced team. They often play without a proper striker, using Cesc in a false 9, and their defence has no depth which is why all it takes is two injuries to center backs and they have to play a mid (Busquets) at CB…their back up RB (after Arbeola who isn’t exactly world class) is Juanfran, a guy who until recently was playing as a winger.

      So while Oranje is not (yet) on the same level as Spain in terms of teamwork and overall technical skill throughout the starting XI, I feel that our team is actually pretty balanced. We have lots of promising young defenders, world class attackers/strikers and a good mix in the midfield of veterans and rising stars. Once the midfield figures out how to link the defence and forwards more efficiently then we will have a cracking team! (I agree with DRB3000 on this, I saw similar issues against Romania and Andorra as at the last EC where 4 offensive players were too far forward when defenders are trying to play the ball out and there is poor link up play through the midfield).

  16. To put it simple: great result,but not good enough football from Oranje.
    Van Gaal still did not manage to impress with a game.
    But you can already see how clever that coach is,slowly building the team for the future. Having the balls to put very young players,who did well,putting a very young captain…

  17. Jan, quick tip – can you please include some actual coach and player post-game comments in your articles?
    Otherwise this venture is as meaningless and vapid as piss in strong wind. Opinions are like buttholes. Everyone has one. I want to know what the team thinks, not how badly the armchair cushions smell. Thanks. Keep up the great work.

  18. DRB300 and Demi: Just some thoughts
    1. Perhaps the captaincy affect how Strootman plays. Maybe give him some times to adjust.
    2. We know the limitation of De Jong and VDV. De Jong is more of a shut down def. mid. For some reasons his attack skill drops and drops almost to none, but as a shut down midfield he does his job well most of the times. VDV confuses other players as usual. At least Sneijder tends to drift to the left (bad habit?). Having said that VDV contributed to the goals/win as well.
    3. We need the veterans now as the youngsters are learning/developing. We hope that by the time WC2014 we are ready to challenge for the title, and perhaps win it. Qualify is the first goal and I think we are likely to make it. At least we have 18 months or so to perfect this team and lift the WC for the 1st time. I like the fact that we have a mixture of youths and veterans, and still have a winning attitude.
    4. RVP is still my first choice. He drops back to help, passing well for other players, score.
    5. Elia earns his way back, in LVG’s eyes. Perhaps players like Babel, Drenthe can learn a lesson here.
    6. I still prefers if LVG play some other players like Douglas, Emanuelson, Viegrever, Maher (sorry if I get these names wrong) if they are called up. It can be a big motivation to them. Look how exciting Elia is after he received the call.

    1. agree on Strootman, he just had some bad games. Let’s see next one. Also I am with you on Van Persie. I would play him no matter what, unless to prevent injury/unnecessary fatigue like with Andorra.

      Thinks look more good than they look bad IMO. We got plenty of time and it seems like this newer generation has what it takes for another semi or final. Don’t get me wrong they do not have the talent of the Bergkamp team but they are a different kind just like the last one that made and almost won the final. I am ok with all that.

      But the middle needs fixing. NDJ is only for games where we will play very closed formation and VDV is for games where we will focus on the attack. I would not mix them together because the team needs a more cohesive middle.

      But we do have the most issues in the middle. Assuming we play Stroot/Fer in a destructive formation or Classie/Stroot in a more creative formation, the 3rd guy Sneijder or VDV has so many bad tendencies that create a lot of issues. That is the biggest challenge I see. Because the attacks start from the middle and the stopping of the opponent starts before the ball reaches the defense. If Wes had the 2010 form it would be ok but now it is not.

    2. Good points. I am only really going to disagree with the first point. I think Strootman first half against Turkey was good in the defensive dimension, playing on right midfield, even pressing like crazy (Remember the moments at their corner flag Strootman was going on and on to get the ball back), but offensive wise and passing wise, just not doing it for me. When he came into DM he excelled. 1 point people never have addressed though. Around minute 70 or before that even, Turkey takes off a midfielder and adds a striker. The control of midfield people have associated the Strootman-Fer combination with had also to do with this chance at the Turkish side. Clasie had it much more difficult in the 50 minutes he got against a stronger midfield. Hungary Strootman’s short passing was outright bad. Andorra he was bad in every dimension, including the defensive one. Romania I got the same, though his work rate was probably better. So yeah, maybe it was his appointment, but the right midfield position I have not seen him executing well also before that, footballing wise that is.

      One point about captaincy. I think it has become more important with the rise of EPl football and it’s influence on other country’s including the Netherlands. Where in English football the captaincy is a big thing as the player has to be an example of bravery and I don’t know what, in Dutch football (and society) we always taught people to think for themselves. I am proud of that and the increased attention the captaincy has gotten in this country I find (along other things) a path to further stupidity. If Strootman truly got carried away by his appointment, then that would be further proof that we are losing important trademarks. Carrying an armband should mean little IMO. Players should be as self guiding as possible. I would also plead to enhance that by kids from a young age on giving presentations at the BVO’s (the academy’s) and summarize what the learned the previous day. Also they should give them room to take the responsibility in couples per week to set up a training day for their team (let’s say every Friday). This triggers them to think about their strong and weak points, that of their team mates and how to work on them in a much better way. We must enhance and build on our own trademark, not copy the (stupid) other ones.

      However this is my opinion.


      1. >(Remember the moments at their corner flag Strootman was going on and on to get the ball back)

        I sure do. I had an orgasm 2X when he did it. These are the little moments that make a big difference. It is not about an extra corner, it is about breaking the opponent’s psychology. Make them feel weak and instill fear.

        I do agree his contribution was defensive only and his passing is not so good like it has not been in the last two games. But his defensive contribution is more than just a couple of won fights. We had a very difficult game:

        1. We come from humiliations
        2. Turkey is strong on paper
        3. They are tough as players
        4. We got to win

        You do need the Strootmans when it is like that. Like you need the Van Bommels who kicked the entire team of Uruguay’s ass in the 2010 semi 🙂 It is more than two won corners, it is actions and attitude like that build a foundation on which the Robbens and the Sneijders can feel “ok he has my back, let me try to score”.

        Strootman in the first half with Turkey was the real captain in the game. He showed leadership above everything else. That is why I am very dissapointed with his last two games. I was not expecting Classie style passing but I was expecting leadership.

        As per the second half, I mildly digress. I think the super pressing we did in the first half made them tired. Even before they subbed, from 46-70′ Turkey was not looking as perky as in the first half.


  19. @Bob i know that u r a great man and a well groomed humanbeing.But please dont drag my name unnecessarily my name in to some great sentences,if you want use that the use your siblings or your fathers’s name.Not mine.i am not for that…Let DRB300 shar his view,its fantasy blog and the blog stands for it….

    1. @Jad, thanks for the heads up. Perfect friendlies at this point — test the new formation/approach/line ups against top competition, and see where the cracks are with ample time to seal them up. I’m excited about the direction things are going.

    2. seriously? Germany and Italy?
      I hope they (Germans and Italians) will play 100%. Otherwise our defenders won’t be properly tested against top guns.

      1. Last time against Germany our defense was tested with 3-0 loss. But I get your point, as I was angry at some tv commentators (whose national team played friendly against Italy right before the EC2012) who were surprised “why stonger teams like Netherlands, play their friendlies against weaker teams”. I wish I could have slapped that commentator somehow. But anyways, I think, it is risky to play friendlies against stronger opponents right before big tournaments (injury), but in between that’s what doctor prescribed.

        Jad, thanks for heads up! I’d be looking forward to enjoy those two games.

  20. Trolls aside, good comments, and I include DRB300 — I appreciate someone taking the time to share their observations. That’s what this site is all about.

    A couple of thoughts about LvG’s bringing along of the youngsters and selection in general. I’m liking LvG’s selections a lot. Mix of veterans and youngsters, keeping guys like de Jong, Heitinga, Kuyt, and van de Vaart engaged for the long haul while giving the youngsters ample space to learn, grow, and show they belong.

    I love how LvG is handling the youngsters, putting them in positions that stretch them but give them every chance to succeed. An example is pairing Strootman with de Jong and van de Vaart(versus, say, Clasie/Maher/Fer) to give him veteran support, while challenging him to step up his game by giving him the armband.

    I read the armband as a message to Strootman that he is one of the rocks on which LvG is looking to build this team (versus a lot of the other guys who are going to be competing game-by-game for a starting position), BUT giving him an early warning that he needs to show himself deserving of that place. Strootman struggled in these two games — @Hien may have nailed it when he speculated that Strootman may have felt the pressure. But there’s plenty of time for him to rise to the role LvG clearly wants him to play.

    Another example is LvG’s handling of young wing backs. I agree with @DRB300 that the attack missed a key dimension that world class teams (and Romania) have — overlapping wing backs. Time and again Narsingh’s and Lens’ only option when facing two defenders was to pull the ball back to either a midfielder or their wind defender.

    But I think that was by design. It appeared to me that LvG/Blind’s instructions to RvR and BMI were to focus on defense versus take off on adventures — that was their job in this game, and they generally executed well. The 4 goals made clear the extra dimension of overlapping wing backs was not needed here.

    I certainly look forward to the day that the wingbacks routinely fly up the wing for either a direct through-ball or a tiki-taka from the winger to the box-to-box mid/#10/#9 to the overlapping defender, but I’m confident that that day will come. Over the next 18 months, the core guys will increasingly get a feel for each other, leading to seamless cover being provided for surging wing defenders, Heitinga will likely move into the Ooijer role and be replaced by a faster, younger, stronger center back more capable of covering with authority all the way to the sideline, when needed, and the young guys will increasingly know instinctually when to stay and when to go.

    I contrast LvG’s treatment of the youngsters in this team with BvM’s handling of youngsters. While I truly appreciate a lot of what BvM did, I feel that treatment of youngsters was his achilles heel. He didn’t take advantage of friendlies/”Andorra games”/etc. to bring youngsters into the flow, then elevated Jetro Willems to starting left back out of nowhere going into a huge, high pressure tournament. In retrospect, I feel that was unfair to the young man, had/has the potential to do the kid lasting damage, and thoroughly exposed BvM’s lack of work to that point “building the bench”. LvG is taking a very different approach, and I applaud him for it.

  21. I agree with Demi: Holland is on the way to strengthening its back four, leaving the real problem in the midfield, which as he said is not “cohesive.” NDJ does not move forward, Sneijder has become somewhat lazy and does not move back, etc. LvG needs to figure out the midfield and we might yet be a force.

  22. Well said, Robin.

    You and @Hien have zeroed in on one of those unanticipated consequences of promoting Strootman, ie, it’s a bit of self-consciousness that’s hard to shake at first.

    The Romanian goal may have been a part of that. Strootman was busy captaining Johnny when Marica broke through.

  23. Germany is a good deal in attack with Ozil,muller,close,Reus,kroos,khedira,Gotze,Marin etc..Our defence will have some work aginst them…
    Italian attack is not so sharp like Germany…Still they are a tough team to beat..We will not have much problem for beating italy if we stay focused…But germany it depends on german defnec and our defnce.. both are not much stable..

  24. I think we will get 30 points at the end of the qualifiers because Van Gaal is really focused and although he took bold choices from day one risking a bit, the man knows what he is doing and the youngsters he has selected are extremely talented. He has not brought from nowhere, the lads were there, it is simple…BVM didn’t and doesn’t have Van Gaal’s eye for youth. Van Gaal gave his debut to Kluivert, Seedorf, Iniesta, Xavi, Puyol, Muller, etc. If there is one coach in the world who knows How to build a team with youngsters and develop them into top players that is LVG.

    The challenge in the long run for Van Gaal will be to define an established squad, keep fine tuning defence (has shown great development in a very short time) and to be able to beat the very best. Playing friendies against Germany and Italy now seems a great idea to measure the real level of this new Oranje. I’d love to see games vs Portugal and Spain added so when we to to the World Cup starts this team can be ready to peak there to its maximum potential. I like it so far.

    Oranje is back!!

  25. Not been posting lately. But, let us not forget that merely 4 months ago, most of us were doubting the chances of qualifying to WC, and even the chances of taking something from the first match against Turkey. On the other hand we are at full poinst after four matches, having also played the most difficult match of the group (away vs Romania).

    The truth is that this is MUCH MUCH BETTER than our most optimistic expectations of some months ago. The team is still new, many experiments still going on, new coach, etc. but the huge potential of this team is for everyone to see.

  26. I have to agree with AL – listen, we lost to Bulgaria going into Eur0 2012! So if these results are by any chance a measuring stick, you should see the improvement.

    This team has won the last 3 games in a row with a 3 goal difference and against tougher opponents. Not only that, they dominated each game – something they were able to do for very short periods of time during the Euro.

    I think LvG gets all the credit. He’s building a team that is supposed to challenge for WC2014 and the future look bright orange.

  27. I was watching the game and was overwhelmed by very different feelings that i have not experienced before when watching oranje. Just didnt know what to make of this. While, i loved the scoreline and went out to a happy hour later to celebrate, I thought (as Jan pointed it out) that Romania could have taken their chances and we could have had a different outcome.

    Overall, I’m very optimistic for this team. I mean, these guys already have a very busy schedule and they gave us a real good show for international week. Imagine this team with Arjen and Wes, and we have the right to DREAM of a 4th FINAL:)

    1. Actually, what other team can boast some many stars? We have 3 super stars in Arjen, Robin and Wesley. Two of those didn’t feature last 2 games.

      I think the only other team that has as many is Argentina. As long as the kids do their job efficiently from now till WC, we should be fine.

      1. Spain in xavi , iniesta , Casillas , villa , torres , pique and fabregas .
        however , I have to say most of them are not in top form atm .
        I think Argentina will go so far in the WC 2014 .

  28. So far, results have been great! We are putting the points on the board like we should. All our opponents in this group have been very mediocre against us. I’m not trying to take away from our progress or development with this new team but we still have a lot of work to do!

    Strootman, BMI, RVR appear to be solid additions.

    Lens has really surprised me so far with his performance. He has been a good cover for Robben’s position on the left at least with efficiency in the goals he scored.

    Narsingh is still a work in progress.

    Vlaar is still a question mark for me. He is better than Mathijsen which by itself is an upgrade.

    Bottomline, we need to schedule friendlies with the top teams from different confederations to get a good metric of where we stand on our chances in the upcoming World Cup.

  29. I still think this 4-3-3 strategy doesn’t fit Persie . he doesn’t perform with Oranje as he does with Man u or as he did with Arsenal .
    LVG has to find a way to make the best use of RVP .

    1. to make the most of van Persie you have to make him your go to player. With the likes of Sneijder and Robben that just isn’t going to happen. Van Persie just has to finish the chances he gets. Other than that I don’t think we have to change things to suit him better

    2. That’s exactly my point as well. Such a terrific striker needs to be used better.
      TFC Ajax, I would not agree with “go-to” player thought. RvP is interested in being involved in creating goal situations and providing assists as much as he wants to score himself. That’s what he’s gonna get at ManUnt – the team that plays as one team.
      I could not watch last few Dutch games, but I pick up what I missed from this blog (thanks to Jan) and very happy to read critical comments from you people.

  30. To those of you who do not like the comments by “arm chair coaches” suggest you click to another sports page. If you are not intelligent enough to google van Gaal to get the latest news/quotes etc, then you dont even belong here. I have access to almost every coach’s comments and read lots of sports pages,however I come here for the mere fact to actually read what global fans of Holland have to say. Some Silly, some funny, some depressing,some highly positive and some incredibly analytical. Thats why most of us are here. But if you can’t stand the heat – get out of the kitchen !! Rest of you – Wonderful Reading !

    1. Thanks, Carlos.

      And did you notice that clever little pass from Vaart to set the RVP goal in motion? Worth watching again. Vaart brings incredible creativity and game sense, even as he starts to worry his expiration date. 🙂

      1. Was that not Afellay to Narsingh to RVP? VDV was out of the game with the RVP goal. VDV did deliver the deep ball that eventually created the “penalty”.


  31. Great article Jan!

    The really great thing is LvG can see our crop of talent and knows what to do with them. Thats 4 matches and 4 victories! LvG deserves a lot of credit. The one thing I still don’t get is we switch to a 4-2-3-1 which requires an 18 yard box lurker/finisher (Huntelaar) but we use v.Persie and a 4-3-3 requires a striker who’s an artist that can contribute to the buildup (v.Persie) but we use Huntelaar.

    We looked better yesterday but the match official helped us on more than 1 occasion. I think we need to forget the 4-3-3 and stick with a 4-2-3-1. As I said LvG sees what we have and has used them to the best of their abilities. Until Ajax can produce some world class DUTCH talent we aren’t built for a 4-3-3 anymore. We still produce really technically skilled and intelligent players but the mold has changed. Ajax still play football much like they always have but the difference is their best players (Eriksen, Alderwierld, Sana) aren’t even Dutch. The new kids coming up (Strootman, Clasie, Maher) are new versions of v.Bommel & Sneijder/VdV. These are the main observations I made of the last 4 matches. We won’t be successful with a 4-3-3 because we are still trying to play with a #10 when we need a playmaking #8 (there is no AMF in a 4-3-3). Clasie and Maher are still young and can be molded but as of now we don’t have a Xavi or Pirlo to boss the midfield.

    We don’t have to be boring but a pragmatic approach is our best option. We tried it before and it failed because we had too many old timers but with our younger , technically sound youth we can make it solid. The next match is in November against Germany and I’d like to see this line-up…

    v.Rhijn – Hetinga – BMI – Willems
    – – – Fer – Strootman – – –
    Narsingh – Sneijder – Robben
    – – – – Huntelaar – – – –

  32. —————–Stekelenburg————-




    1. How about Vlaar instead of Heitinga? The rest looks exactly how I would do it as well for tough games where I need to play cautiously. And I would be grooming Classie to take the Sneijder role.

  33. I’m not sure if its LVG’s arrogance and confidence (thinking he’ll do well with Oranje and will keep his job for the long haul) but his decision making is definitely for the benefit of Oranje for the long term. Contrast this with BVM who is should we say more pessimistic, would not field younger yet prone to error players which isn’t at all helpful for oranje long term. whatever it is, i’m happy with LVG selections so far. Keep it up LVG!


  34. YES the nation is happy with LVG….and he is not making repeated mistakes like BVM…..
    Guys Jefrry bruma is still a good talent and one call up to national would entirely change his status as a player i belive….
    Please Van gaal select him and support him….You will reap the reward….
    Van Rhijn–Bruma–Douglas–Martins Indi
    Back ups Maduro,Heitinga,Willems/Van aanholt/Buttner(any one)

  35. Next match, a friendly on NOV 14 in Holland. The opponent is —- Germany. This shall be the third time they meet in recent one year.

    Flashback. Germany outplayed Nederland with 3-0 in a friendly at home on NOV 15 last year. And Die Mannschaft beat Oranje again in EURO 12 this summer. Let’s see what kind of result will Holland get.

  36. @futbol.Demi and JK….its all depends on right selection of players…LVG always does that…if LVG plays
    He will loose it by again 3-0……but he will never do that…
    But he if he feilds
    he will win it by at least 2-1

          1. He is, well, I might say, he was before he moved to a.villa. He’s still mostly clumsy because of his body-build, but I have noticed he’s getting more agile from game to game. Amen for continuum of that development.

  37. b/w Rafel Van der vaart is the closest to zidane in the dutch national team….Dutch would have been more mercurious if he had the stamina of kuyt……i have seen him dutch started some tough matches with him and we won all those matches…i wished he should have started aginst Portugal in 2006 WC and Vs Spain in 2010WC..

    1. >should have started aginst Portugal in 2006 WC and Vs Spain in 2010WC..

      disagree. Look at the goal we conceded to Spain and see who’s fault it is…

      VDV is useful in many ways but he has many flaws too. Same with Wes. These two are a blessing and a curse at the same time.

  38. @Demi,i mean should have started as AMf,and moving wesly to left….Not for bommel or Dejong…he came for Dejong and that was a bad move…..he is not a typical holding mid,but a temporary arrangement…

    1. I know you don’t want to hear this but I would keep both De Jong and Kuyt in. We would not concede with them inside. I would more willing to take out let’s say Robben (because his psychology was shit after he lost the big chance) or RVP because he was not in a great day and the flow of the game didn’t favor him. But for sure Nigel and Dirk would stay till the last moment.

      BTW I am glad you changed your opinion about the usefulness of Kuyt. You were unfair to him. He is not a great footballer but he contributes a lot to the team.

      1. BvM was always unfair to de Jong. He always took him out of the game, leaving the 34-36 year old son in law in. That late in the game you need the steel of de Jong way more than the little bit of extra vision that van Bommel sometimes brings.

      2. Demi,Past is past Wc trophy and EC 2008 are in the hands of spain,who used better skilled players in attack.the more you create chances,there is more chance of scoring goals.or else you need to play ultra efficient strikers.With kuyt touches and back passes along with presence of Dejong ,bommel,joris and johny it affected our creativity a LOT.but they gave us the defensive steel.Same time we won by the magics of Roben and Sneijder,when they failed team failed.So there is no point in talking now.One of my friend steve her said that he would tell his kids to look up kuyt,kuyt has plenty of quailities,thats is true and very correct,Nobody will argue that.no matter how hardworking you are ,you might leave the pitch with empty hand.So this game football and trophies belongs to Messi,CR7,brazilronaldo,roberto carlos,Zidane,Pirlo,totti,xavi.ineasta and co..Not for hardworkers if so then an african team would have won a WC by now.

        1. please see the final one more time. Spain did as many back passes as Holland. Seriously, count them.

          BTW Zidane threw away the 2006 final…

          But I see your points …

      3. I am not saying that hardwork is not needed but skills too..Especially for winning a trophy.look at VDV,what a player like Zidane,Dutch Zidane but cannt even play 20 minutes…

  39. There is one thing to note for the next game – LvG is the current coach of Oranje and the most recent coach of Germany’s proxy (aka Bayern Munich). I think LvG wants to win that game as much (and probably more) as we want him to. He was let go after not being able to deliver, even though his successor failed to deliver two years in a row after that.

    LvG knows Germany very well and should know how to play this game. This game should also be a good measuring stick for how well the team has progressed. This would be the 3 time we play Germany within 12 months.

  40. 4 year family business and biased team selection…by a coach who clearly failed with a good team Dortmund..BVM and LVG are not comparable..end of the story

  41. Listen, just because BvM failed during the Euros, doesn’t mean he sucked. Over the last 30 years, no other coach got us to WC final – and to compare him to other coached that had much much more complete teams.

    Guus Hiddink was riding the final glory days of Ajax?
    Marco Van Basten was all about style what exactly?
    LvG sucked when he should have had a complete team.
    Dick **coughs** Advocaat — should I say more?

    We all know this rollercoaster. New manager comes in, he wins couple of games, we all start hailing him and shitting on the one before him.

    Truth be said: BvM got us with Cassillas shoe laces close to lifting the WC. He also got Oranje to be the best team in the World by FIFA Ranking. Had the Longest winning Streak and Winning Percentage of any Dutch coach. His team holds the highest number of goals scored against a team. Nuff said!

  42. @SAMNY..its unfathomble individual talents like Roben,Wesly got us all those victories and they took us to final with the huge help of Gio,Joris,Dejong and bommel..rest of the squad also played well,but these 6 names deserves more credit…BVM and van bastene were so lucky to have the players like RVP,roben,Wesly and rafel at their prime age….LVG will break BVM’s records i think…..wait and see

  43. 1998-Hiddink We played with out Numan and over mars against brazil and that affected our creatvity…..-point-Badluck..
    2006–Vanbasten had a wonderful team but he kicked RVN and used kuyt in a knockout–Point-arrogance/sturboness
    2008-Played a lazy game with out Roben,with Roben we would have won it before 90 minutes-Badluck/Bulah tragedy..
    2010-Under BVM Everything went well against small and mediocre teams,Orange almost lost against brazil(Strong team),escaped with a lucky goal from wesly and eventually scored again by the smallest man’s header.Against a strong spanish team we failed,though we got some clear chances by the individual brilliance of roben and wesly,they failed we failed..Spain won it.
    When he faced a strong team he lost those games,i really doubt what would have been BVM’s fate if he faced Germany or portugal in 2010WC.He would have packed his bags like Marco before final…

    1. Tiju, not trying to harass you but you got some facts wrong.

      1. 1998. It was the defense that sucked against Brazil. By the time we equalized it could have been 0-3. But Sar saved 2 huge ones. Trying to be factual here. Game is on you tube.

      2. 2010 (actually always). Germany is really the paper tiger you accuse Holland of being.
      Germans always beat the medium opponents and choke at big games. Wk2006, euro2008, wk2010.. Etc

      I met a Spaniard guy from Barcelona. He saw me wearing the oranje jersey and he congratulated me
      he said Holland is the only competition for Spain. We both laughed at Germany. We decided that the Spain Holland issue should be solved with another final in 2014. We shook hands on it.

      1. @Demi

        Sorry buddy but it is you who are wrong regarding the 1998 team. I have never in the last 14 years seen such a poor summary of that game. IF you believe Brazil deserved three goals in that match that I counter saying Holland deserved 7. Overmars was missing and before that match he was playing extremly brilliant. HIs absence was huge but still the dutch controlled the middle of the field and Brazil counted on breakdowns to create any chances. Every Brazilian fan I had met shortly after that match agreed the better team lost that day. Just like the 2000 euro semi.

        Please dont post that view again. You embarrassed yourself.

        1. either I wrote it wrong, or you didn’t understand it.

          >. It was the defense that sucked against Brazil. By the time we equalized it could have been 0-3

          I said the above and you said:

          >IF you believe Brazil deserved three goals in that match

          I never said they deserved 3 goals, I simply stated that the score could be 3-0. Apples and Oranges here. I did not attempt a summary of the game. You are way out of this understanding 🙂 I just stated that by the time we equalized Brazil lost two huge ones. That makes no statement about our overall playing or if Brazil was playing the counter attack.

          If you don’t understand my posts perhaps you can ask for clarification.

          >Holland deserved 7

          give me the minutes of the game when we lost 7 big ones. LOL. I can give you the two big Brazil misses.

          What ?

    2. exactly my point. thank you for proving it.

      I can say the same about 2012 – devastated Robben – injured Sniejder – injured Afellay. Finding excuses won’t take you nowhere. Read the facts again.

  44. Re: ’98 Brazil match. Oh, I had such high hopes…my memory was Oranje started without Numan (suspended) and Overmars, injured. Bogarde was supposed to replace Numan, but broke his foot in training, and Cocu replaced him at lb. (What a player Cocu, he started the South Korea match as a striker.) Zenden started for Overmars. (But didn’t Overmars come in after halftime?) First half was a tight match, but Oranje probably had an edge in the play. Second half, Brzil scored early, (Rivaldo split the defense with a longish pass to Ronaldo, if I remember right.) Thereafter, Oranje attacked, Brazil countered, and there were several times the Brazilians came down with numbers but for some very good defensive play from a backline that was left to its own (as well s Saar) kept them at bay. Kluivert was the most dangerous Dutch player, and finally somewhere around 80th minute RDB ran down a lose ball on the right, crossed to Kluivert for the header…thereafter OT and penalty kicks. I think Kluivert had a pretty good chance in OT, and there was some controversy with Van Hoojdonk…but in the end, my recollection is that it was a pretty even game, with maybe Oranje being slightly better overall. Wouldn’t say that on merits the Brazilians “stole” it.

    Two other things I recollect:

    —The warm embrace by Roberto Carlos and Seedorf (teammates at RM)after the game;

    —Hearing a story that in the late hours after the match, with all the fans converging on the Marseille train station, a group of Brazilian fans noticed a glum group of Dutch fans. The Brazilians sent over some beers; the Dutch returned the favor, the groups converged, and it led to an all night party as each group of fans waited for their early morning trains…I have no way of knowing whether this is true, but I like to think so.

    1. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JPFQ5sxTqrI

      the entire game, for whoever is interested in seeing the real thing and not making assumptions/impressions/etc….

      BTW, I do agree with most of what you said Andrew although the holes in the defense were too big for players the caliber of Staam and De Boer. For sure we were not unlucky, someone said bad luck. WOW , I would wage a bet all the luck (and Sar) was on our side that night. Not that we deserved to lose but the Brazilians missed “Robben/Casillas” type of chances.

      1. I understand that you were focusing in on the two Brazil chances to suggest it could have been 3-0 but that is the most pessimistic way of seeing it.

        Lets focus more on how brilliant this squad was and wonder how they would have done vs France in the final. I could see a very good final, much better then the dismal display Brazil showed us in the Final.

        Was Brazil the better team in that game? Probably not….
        Was Brazil the better team in that tournament? HECK NO

        1. Tiju’s point:

          >1998-Hiddink We played with out Numan and over mars against brazil and that affected our creatvity…..-point-Badluck..

          my counter point. No way bad luck. On the contrary we had an angel. There was nothing else argued and no other point made by me.

          The other things you saw on my post were not simply there and you argued about assumed words and statements.

          As per the game itself, we had the better players, Brazil was missing a key back and his replacement was an effing idiot at best and we didn’t take advantage of it in the first half. I am sorry but brilliant players yes – bad Brazil yes – but I cannot feel sorry. We did not do our best. On the contrary at 2010, we exceeded expectations. Two different generations there. One with huge talent, the other huge balls. Guess which one I respect more 🙂

          1. FYI I watched that game recently again before posting this opinion. Just to make sure my memory does not play games.

          2. Demi…i understand your point,what i saw in that was orange was playing like a one handed man..With overmars and Numan as Lb we would have buried brazil by 3-0 before half time..
            Any defense will shake in front of Ronaldo and Rivaldo,it was impossible to stop Ronaldo for 90 minutes..So they also had some chances due to individual skills..
            Why said We had bad luck
            1-Plenty of slight misses towards goal.
            2-Unable to play a world class winger overmars in semi
            3-Unable to play a World class Lb in semi
            if this is not badluck then what is badluck????

          3. Tiju, Brazil didn’t have their right back and the replacement looked like a deer in the headlights. big big mistake we didn’t take advantage. Agree about Ronaldo/Rivaldo. Can’t stop them all the time.

            But that Brazil was not very good and we were the most talented. I cannot make an excuse no matter how much I want it.

            The semifinal in Euro 2000 is a whole different story. That , yes , bad luck. incredible dutch bad luck. But for 1998, we should have creamed that Brazil.. Norway beat them LOL

          4. IT is clear. With Overmars the result would have been different….Similary you could say the same about Euro 2008 iF Robben plays against Russia.

          5. here is how I see it so we can close the subject.

            If hypothetically Brazil 98 was facing BvM’s Holland of 2010:

            1. Bommel would take them down like bowling pins
            2. Robben or Persie or Sneijder would embarrass the f out of that dufus right back. Specifically Robben would make him go back to his mom and cry.

            The worst possible outcome would be a victory like the one we had against Uruguay in the 2010 semi. Worst case scenario and I am allowing at least one goal from Ronaldo/Rivaldo.

            BvM’s 2010 squad would beat the living daylights out of that weak Brazil. So, what gives? How come such a talented team like the 98 couldn’t do it?

            Sorry, but it was not that Overmars was missing. Other key ingredients were missing too…

            But to each his own, we all stated our opinions and I respect the dissents.

          6. The 98 team had it all….Except its striker forgot how to score in the semi.

            Cant compare JOhnny/JOris to Stam/FDB
            Cant compare Kuyt to Overmars
            Can compare VDV to Bergkamp.

    1. Thanks for that link.

      Dirk can’t seem to say an unkind word. Just radiates that easy Dutch courtesy.

      Can’t picture things without DK. Hope he’ll coach someday.

    2. saw this as well and from the comments it is clear that Dirkie is very much appreciated among fans of various teams (many of whom he never played for). Gaining the respect of opposing fans is definitively a mark of a great player and character.

    1. Good workable analysis: With DeJong and Strootman both working box to box, Vaart was able to solve the linkage problems we’ve had of late.

      Strootman’s flexibility can give LVG’s SuperDutch 4-3-3 a way to seamlessly transition to 4-2-3-1. 😉

      Rewatching the last fifteen minutes of the match, the structure really held up. Afellay, like Vaart, covered territory wide and long, capped off by a sweet little pass to Narsingh down the right line. (Narsingh’s assist looks more remarkable on replay. Just enough pace!)

    1. my impression is that Vlaar has made strides of progress. Perhaps playing in EPL has increased his confidence. Don’t overlook that factor, it is actually huge.

      I want to watch the entire game against Romania one more time carefully. Then I will be able to tell more how good or not we really did.

    1. I have not been keeping up with teams the way i would like, missing sporting lisbon and ac milan games, But i have to believe it would be great for both of them to play in italy since the game is more tactical, italians have lots of variety, and teams that are full of good south americans (uruguay, brazil, argentina) so i would think defensively it’s great, and if they play champions league even better, especially with rumors that AC milan want:

      Guardiola as coach,
      david villa
      edin dzeko

  45. @Dutchcanadian, Eduardo, Many thanks for the excellent links.

    @Demi, re: ’98 Brazil match: No fair watching the game. More fun to rely on fading memories and argument. 😉 Seriously, good stuff. Much appreciated.

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