The circumstances were a tad less than perfect.
No fans to cheer us on. A successful coach who bailed two weeks before the games. Four defenders (three starters) missing. A mixed bag of fitness and rhythm. Veltman hadn’t played for weeks. Memphis returning from injury. Cillisen lacking rhythm. Untested pairings.
But, the boys came through. The team tactics worked. Particularly in the second half. And clearly the players were highly motivated. Working hard. Eager to find openings. Good pressure on the ball and disciplined execution (Ake, De Roon, Veltman, De Jong).
Poland came to not lose. They were compact. Defended deep. And hoped for a counter attack. Oranje dominated but couldn’t create a lot. In the first half, we had trouble breaking them down, partly because the forward pass (behind their defense) was played too late. We saw runs by Bergwijn, Memphis, Ake and Hateboer but the back four didn’t want to play the ball. First they wanted to find their rhythm.
The first shot (not on target) was by a Polish player and the first shot on target (saved by Cillesen) was by Poland as well.
Dwight started with Ake on the LB spot, playing like his disciplined and absent colleague Blind. The more experienced Veltman took the De Ligt role and Hateboer played on the right, in an interesting combi with De Roon. Particularly in the second half, Hateboer was the false right winger while De Roon played the right back holding role. Like they do at Bergamo.
Memphis seemed to have a good chance – stopped by the goalie – but in an offside position. The second chance was for Promes, who missed the target and it was late in the first half when Oranje finally had it’s first real creative opportunity, with Frenkie’s run into the box, who got served by Memphis in perfect manner. Memphis vision, his ability to chip the ball, Frenkie’s chest control and half-volley…all perfect. But the upright thought differently.
It was clear what Dwight would want to see in the second half. That forward pass must be played quicker. Find the space behind their defence. Don’t make it too easy for Poland to defend.
Van Dijk used his deep ball to good use and even Marten de Roon started to spray some long balls. Ake was able to push up higher too, while Frenkie was taking more risks as well and took on players more and more.
For me, the outstanding player was Memphis. Everything we did in an offensive way, was through him. He hunted, he pressed, he hassled and prodded… He tricked players, went for the 1-2 combination, and was continously threatening, even if his set pieces didn’t really connect and he missed a big shooting opportunity with a complete un-Memphis like mishit. But, he might not be 100% yet, he is well on his way to get there.
He did get a massive chance to score on a great Bergwijn cross but it felt like Memphis didn’t expect the ball to pass through the first defender and as a result he mis controlled the ball.
Holland was the dominating party and after an hour we broke through their defences. Promes moved back inside from the left wing and found Frenkie. He spotted Hateboer’s run and put the ball on a plate. The former Groningen man flicked the ball back across goal, where Bergwijn was ready to tap in his first Oranje goal!
Poland brought Milik and wanted to hunt for a goal but it was Oranje that came closest to a second, it feels. Wijnaldum and Van de Beek were close to a second but it wasn’t to be. Still, the new adventure started well, after 290 days of not being together and this performance definitely gave us a good foundation for the future.
Memphis was limping in front of the camera, after the game. The startled interviewer asked him about it and he laughed: “Sore muscles man, my first full match in a long time. How great to be back and play 90 minutes!”
Memphis was already quite successful for Lyon in the league 1, but he failed to score this time, even though he was involved in everything. He had six shots, created three opportunities and was involved in nine out of the 14 attempts on goal. He had 4 successful dribbles and was fouled 8 times. No one had better stats on the night.
The eight free kicks he won were actually a record. Since 2013, no other Oranje player was fouled as often in one match. “They were petulant, they stepped on my heel, they tried to provoke and the ref seemingly didn’t see it.”
He was not 100% satisfied. “We can play much better. But i have to say, joy is the overbearing emotion for me after such a long time. Some things went automatic, with some players you have that invisible click, but we can do better and must do better. Me as well of course, but I don’t want to be overly critical now. I was away for months and I am just grateful to be back.”
Interim coach Lodeweges was confronted with the fact that he is the first Oranje coach since Rijkaard to win his first match. “Oh, I didn’t even know that. That was a while back then? It was a tough match. Poland was here at full strength, except for Lewandowski of course. They play this way, and it was on us to break them down and we did. When you score earlier in the game, you might get a couple more, but I think we can happy with this, as the team did look rusty at times.”
Captain Virgil van Dijk spoke of a mature win. “It was not easy to predict how our form would be. One players had hardly had any minutes, other players have been full on in pre-season mode. But we managed a professional win. We let the ball go, also under pressure. And we kept a clean sheet. I think we can be pleased, even if we had to reward ourselves with a goal or two more.”
Thanks, Jan. As always, a better write up/recap than the game stories I read elsewhere. Also, the earlier Lodeweges story was excellent…I knew so little about him.
Back to the game, your response in the earlier thread was: “Everyone sees the game through his own eyes, I think, hahaha. I thought Ake and Van Dijk were terrible.”
Wondering why? (And not because your response was to my comment extolling them. lol, I don’t do this for a living.) Ake could have done better on offense—they missed Blind in that role—but I didn’t see either having any issues on defense.
btw, Have you ever thought about doing a player rating after the matches? I know, I know, easy for me to assign work to others.
Poland attacked???when??..So defense was never in trouble..there was zero pressure from poland..Vandijk and Ake were excellent defensivly…Agree we missed creativity of Blind at LB..We missed Dest at RB…tahts fact..
Ake is Excellent DM and Excellent CB and a good LB..Not a high fly atttacker LB so waht we expect from him???
Where is the impact subs???
Depay to Barca for a meager 25 mil euros. And if he keeps hitting the gym trying to become the next Schwarzenegger his value will drop to 25 euros. The price tag for our best forward tells it all about the quality we have in attack. At least we’re solid in midfield and defense. We also need a keeper who is first choice for his club.
Good luck to koeman and barcelona.
Another one for Danjuma and this is the reason why I rate this guy highly.
Danjuma is orange material like Donylll malen both will be back after regaining fitness..
I’ve got mixed feelings about depay going to Barcelona
Not sure if he can deal with the enormous pressure. But then koeman will be the only one to get the best out of him . Plus de Jong is there already . If wijnaldum also joins, who knows
As long as koeman is there,it will be good for Depay..Afetr that i dont know..
I think the only reason Barca got Depay is his low price tag. If Koeman “fails” and is kicked out before his contract is out Depay won’t be there much longer. I don’t think Depay fits in Barca’s environment but this is his last chance to make name at a big club. He failed miserably at MU. Here is hoping he proves me wrong and becomes a Barca hero. He will will need to get his legs skinnier in order to run around Camp Now though.
this current portugal team is hell team…they are a force to reckon with.forget cr7…they are the team to watch..
We are the only team who can beat them but with Malen,stengs and Danjuma needed for that..
Our matches against Portugal,Germany,france will tell us where we stand..Cause all these posses huge attacking threat..Not like poland or Italy or spain..
player council Blind-virgil-Deligt,strootman,Babel voted for Henk ten gate as coach..they also support intrim coach as well,Henk if Lodeweges departs..
Though LVG and De boer is knvb preference..
i feel LVG is not liked by Depay,Virgil etc…this will create issues…So its not a great idea..
Germans have defense issue, spain and Portgual look formidable with mix of old and young and the french no introduction needed.
hey guys, I noticed my irony about Ake and Van Dijk being shite might not have been picked up by everyone :-). I am sorry.
They were great. I guess I was making this comment because some people said Memphis was not playing well? I thought Memphis was excellent!
Anyway, this is the fun part of football.
I will do player ratings actually, good idea.
Spain too looking good with their young contingent especially Ansu Fati.quiet a talent they have got there.could be the next big name at Barcelona.
Not to metion Adama traore is not in the squad as he missesd out due to false corona virus scare.
Can you imagine this spain team in the euros,with Traore and Fati.they will cause havoc.