I keep on repeating myself… I don’t like friendlies. Because you can lose a friendly, while the coach has a wry smile and thinks “Great! Learned a lot. I have a lot of stuff to work on with the lads.” And if Oranje beats Latvia without a problem (thanks KJ) than Hiddink could easily hint that the US game was key for him to make some changes and brief the players….
And we will all have forgotten the US friendly when Holland opens the Euro2016 tournament with a superb win over Italy….
We haven’t beaten Latvia yet and we haven’t qualified for the Euros yet…
So all eyes on Hiddink….
The comments on my earlier post already said it. Shocking defending!! And as you will agree: defending takes more than four defenders and a goalie. I literally had to stop the video (see below) at times and play it again to see what went wrong… But with the first goal of the US alone for instance, you’ll see a series of horrible decisions being made by the likes of Wijnaldum, Clasie, Blind, BMI and the not so well versed football fan will end up blaming Janmaat for the goal… In my view, the problem already was there way before Janmaat could have done anything about it….
And on it goes. The intensity wasn’t there. The only ones with something to show were Depay (on a high after winning the title, the golden boot and the ticket to Manchester) and Huntelaar (keen to topple Kluivert on the all time scoring list).
The work rate and intensity weren’t there. You can’t play the US thinking you’re better when you do not put in the work shift. Closing down players, following the runs, going into the challenge whole-arsed (as opposed to half-arsed)… Basic principles of defending and containing the opponent. And this starts up top, with RVP and the Hunter. The first opportunity the US got should have woken the team up (but didn’t). The high light reel shows it… Huntelaar attempting to head the ball away where his right foot should have done it and then lack of coaching and communication between RVP and Bruma (RVP did have a better position to head the ball away, but how could Bruma know if RVP didn’t yell at him?)…
The US got two opportunities with the goal framework denying them while Klaas Jan had a good chance on the other end of the pitch to make that sort of even…. The first goal was a cracker. A superb cross in by Depay with his right (it is possible for a right footed left winger to cross balls in!) and the header was a goal Hunter would have scored while asleep. That US equaliser I already mentioned… weak defending from the forwards, the midfielders and lastly the defenders with Janmaat and Cillesen as the least culpable…
In the second half Janmaat was exchanged for Van der Wiel and his first real move was to assist Huntelaar in scoring another great goal. An outswinger this time, presented by the PSG full back and another typical KJH goal. Van Persie had a heading opportunity and a back heel blocked on the line and was a bit unlucky there. That particular move showed Blind on the overlap and a decent attack.
The 3-1 was a bit of a lucky after a good move from the right (Narsingh for Promes) and a weak header by Wijnaldum. The latter playing in the Sneijder role as the little Gala man had just joined the group after winning the double in Turkey. Huntelaar took a shot to make his hat trick but Depay flicked it into the other corner, unbeknownst to him, and made it 3-1.
Any team, in any competition, in any country, in any era, on any planet would know that with 30 odd minutes to go and one goal up, you make sure you win the game. You absorb some pressure from the US who would try and force something and you would go and counter attack your way to 4-1 and 5-1. Two late goals in the dying minutes is usually what you get. But instead of Luuk de Jong keeping his composure and scoring, he decided to go for a thunderbolt and he hit the woodwork, offering Team USA to counter… And they were the ones making us of total chaos in the Oranje ranks to score some goals. The 3-3 was a lucky (deflection via Luuk de Jong) but the other two goals were wonderfully created as the Dutch midfielders and defenders played like amateur juniors and allowed the US a way back in….
Cynical viewers might have thought “matchfixing?”… But we know better than that, I suppose….
Robin van Persie, captain but of the pitch when the US scored their winning goals, was a bit shocked. “I admit, I am a bit shocked by the level. But…this is merely a snapshot of our process. The US deserved this. They kept on going, when we switched off. We usually score 4-1 you’d expect. And kill the game. But we didn’t and they fought back. It’s easy to criticise our defense now, but defending starts up top. And we made this happen as a team. But we have some homework to do for Latvia. Let’s hope we can learn from it.” About his own game, he was not dissatisfied. “I am not 100% still. Match fitness takes a bit of time, but I played 70 minutes and I think I could have played on actually. I’m feeling good.”
Guus Hiddink was definitely not happy and muttered under his breath that this team cannot kill games off. “We were playing Santa Clause. When it was 0-0 we even handed them opportunities. These didn’t go in, luckily, but it was a sign. In this temperature, when you are 3-1 up you need to finish the game off. And be smart. And pace the game down. Pick your moments. We should have made it 4-2 instead we lose 3-4.”
Hiddink went on to question the side’s desire to win and the ability to put it all out there on the pitch. “The US like Australia always fights till the end. We became complacent and didn’t want to suffer to much. Well, this is the result you get. I do believe we can defend decently, normally but we were outpaced at times and that needs to improve.”
Wesley Sneijder can look back at a good season with Gala. Winning the double and back in the starting line up (normally, but not against the US) with Oranje. He is aiming for the record of Van der Sar in terms of Oranje caps and is well on his way. That is probably the only positive for him, as Hiddink allowed him 10 minutes or so, late in the US game.
Another couple of positives: Daryl Janmaat received the silver scale for playing 25 games in Oranje while Davy Propper of Vitesse (and most likely PSV next season) made his debut, after having sat on the bench twice before. He came on for Robin van Persie but failed to make an impression. A good one that is.
Lastly, Hunter will be happy with his two goals and his fair share in that third one (he’ll get the “assist” honour). The rest of the players won’t be too happy. In particular the defenders can expect a rest. Bruma was shaky and nervous, BMI lacked intensity and offered the US acres of space and Blind seemed uneasy with his positioning and role in the team and looked tired. Clasie, normally always decent, wasn’t able to boss midfield and he might lose his spot when Jetro Willems is fit coming Friday and might force the coaches to put Daley in the mid midfield role.
Vlaar and De Vrij are both expected to be fit coming Friday and will most certainly play alongside each other against Latvia.