Bert van Marwijk was criticised to be a little bit too….blend. Too grey. Too vanilla. Not daring enough. So the KNVB wanted to go back to the swagger of total football. Back to the Dutch School. And decided to go with maverick coach Louis van Gaal. Results and attractive football are his two building blocks.
The headstrong egotistical coach did half the job right. He got results. He coached us to the #3 spot in the world. Not with great and attractive football though. But it was also never boring. Also thanks to the likes of Robben and Van Persie of course.
So when Louis left, it would have been logical to allow a similar type of coach pursue the objectives. A younger coach, who is closer to the younger generation of players. And who would be able to use the qualities of the likes of Blind, Depay, Clasie, Willems and Janmaat to create another footballing machine.
The KNVB claimed to be happy with Blind. And planning on giving him the job after 2016. Why not let him have a go? With Hiddink, in terms of football vision, we’d take a step back after Van Gaal. What was the reasoning? Is 53 year old Blind not senior enough? If not, would that be different in 2 years time?
The KNVB demonstrated their lack of balls (exactly what they want a coach to bring in to the team) by going for good ol’ Gus.
Against Turkey, which have a lot of phsyical strength and are good at parking the bus, you need agility in your team. Speed. Young legs. Good eyes. Everything Clasie has.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not against Nigel de Jong. At all. He was the key player in Brazil for me, with Vlaar and Robben. But he is key against the likes of Spain, Argentina, Chile. Not Kazachstan or Turkey. And using Afellay as a winger? I have not seen the game as I write this and for all I know Afellay was great but he’s not a winger. Depay tends to come inside, and if you have Huntelaar in the team but no service from wide positions, you will make it hard on yourself. Playing one driftin’ winger (Depay) is ok, but the other one needs to be hugging the line a bit more. Narsingh? If you have him in the squad, why not use him?
These tactics (a midfielder as winger and a central midfielder with limited build up qualities) are typical for a coach like Hiddink. We needed to win. But we weren’t set up as such. With Clasie, the game is played faster. De Jong need two touches and two looks. Clasie needs one look and one touch. And with Narsingh there is your station going deep, instead of wanting it played into his feet.
I am not blaming Hiddink… He saw what Oranje did in Brazil. Then he got the job: “we need you to coach the team to the Euros and to mentor Blind”. Old Gus thought: easy. With Robben, RVP, Sneijder, Huntelaar…what can go wrong. We will easily get the third spot at least.
Well…. sadly. No. Holland started well. Got some deserved opportunities but failed to score. And just like in all other Euro qualification games, we conceded first.
So what happens next: confusion. As skipper Sneijder said after the game: we lost it a bit. Conceding is something we don’t handle well, although we had a lot of practice this qualifications…
Even Hiddink post-match said: “I will get this Oranje to perform… I just don’t know how yet…”
Not good soundbites. But Bas Dost said it right: “We could and should have won this!”. Sneijder and Afellay had some bad luck with distance strikes. Depay had his opportunities, hell even Narsingh could have proven Hiddink wrong.
Hiddink, again post-match: “We wanted to win this but we didn’t play well. It feels like we lost 2 points but maybe, at the end of the line, this draw might have given us the most valuable point…”
Btw, not sure who’ll get the goal. Sneijder seemed to have gotten it during the game but after the match, Huntelaar claimed it. “I saw the ball coming and thought if I flick it on the goalie won’t have a chance. I did it on purpose. It’s my goal.”
Anyway, we are still in it. No one will remember this game if we win the Euros in France, next year. We’re still no. 3 and we can lick our wounds and see if we can get some swing in our game vs Spain.