Stars missing the WC: Virgil

With Sweden out, my World Cup experience improved. I’m a bit double about Belgium. I have a lot of sympathy for them and really love their team and players but to think about them winning the World Cup before we do… That was hard to do. But that is not going to happen. So now I’ll root for England. They were one of my faves from the get go, although I did tip France for the title. It’s not that bad, to have to say we were blocked from getting to the World Cup by the future winner, right?

Only one week to go and then this second debacle for Oranje is behind us and we’re all even Steven again. Ready to go for the Euro2020 tournament. (Which is where?? I really don’t know… England?)

Lets talk about another World Cup star who couldn’t show his skills at the top level this Summer.

He was the spectator in Cardiff, last season, when Real Madrid and Juve played for the CL title. This season, he played in the finals. Virgil van Dijk lost, but that doesn’t stain his magnificent rise to stardom. The complacent and talented defender grew into Big Virg. Lets look at how.

He had his chin up, when he was analysing the lost CL finals in Kiev in front of the cameras, right after the final whistle. There was a lot to say about the match. Sergio Ramos’ wrestle move to get Salah out of the game. The blunders by Loris Karius, the Liverpool goalie. But Van Dijk didn’t do excuses. “Excuses don’t count. Losing is an art we have to master as well. We win together and lose together. So tonight, we applaud the winner and take our loser medals home to try again next time. And yes, losing Salah was a blow, but we still have enough quality left to win this. But we didn’t. Mistakes are part of football. It’s a shame we were the ones making them tonight.”

Virgil van Dijk spoke as a player who’d seen it all, at the highest level. The UEFA selected him in the Best Team of the Champions League this season, which is another high after setting the record transfer fee for a defender and getting the captain’s band for Oranje. A series of high points in a career in which luck played a strong factor as well.

The story has been told often. Scout Grads Fuhler decided to go and watch the Willem II juniors on a certain Saturday afternoon. Player’s manager Wessel Weezenberg was there as well and recounts the story: “Any football player can use some luck. Van Dijk…it wasn’t like you couldn’t believe your eyes, wow he’s so good kinda thing… But he was good enough to attract attention. And that was something at that level. His name was Van Dijk and when I asked about him that afternoon I found out he didn’t have a contract yet. I did go and speak to him but he told me he already had someone taking care of his business. Usually, I walk away. But Grads was convinced. He was calling FC Groningen manager Henk Veldmate when he walked of the grounds: “Henk, sign this kid now!”. They signed a potentially good defender for the development fee of 12,000 euros. Nothing!”

That was then, the summer of 2010. The summer Oranje lost the World Cup finals vs Spain and Dutch football was experiencing an alltime high with Sneijder winning the CL finals with Inter. No one could guess that Virgil would be the world’s most expensive defender 8 years later. Or that Ronald Koeman would see in him the new leader of Oranje.

Kees Kwakman played in the Groningen defense next to Van Dijk for two seasons. “I knew he would make it big and that he’d reach Oranje. He’s the kind of player that attracts the eye, when you see him. You’re like: whoa who’s that? His charisma, length, his facial expression. He was so strong. I remember our first training, and I was triggered immediately. Very relaxed on the ball. He was a junior coming in but I realised that it wouldn’t take long for him to get into the first team. And I think it took six games for the coach to be convinced and he never left the team since.”

The Van Dijk story at Groningen is worthy of a movie. And that movie was produced, as a documentary on Fox Sports. And all the supporting actors were present. Scout Fuhler, Henk Veldmate (now Ajax) talk about how they picked him up for a song. His coaches Robert Maaskant and Erwin van der Looi talk about his development and his growth, his talent and agility but also about his weaknesses. His soft side. Complacency. A bit phlegmatic. And Groningen CEO Hans Nijland, big thinker. Nijland smiles broadly when he talks about the development of all these big talents in the North of the country (Robben, Koeman brothers, Suarez, Tadic, Van Dijk, Hateboer)


In the documentary, Dick Lukkien is the most clear of all. He is now the famed coach bringing Emmen into the Eredivisie, but when working for FC Groningen he was the one polishing the rough diamond that was Virgil van Dijk. Lukkien mentions four characteristics of Van Dijk: confidence, conviction, intelligence and humour. The biggest weakness according to Lukkien: despite Van Dijk’s strong radiance, he was not the toughest. And Lukkien worked hard on this to make him ready for the striker in the Eredivisie. And once he gets to that level, the high points come as do the low points. He makes personal mistakes, in particular in big matches (Young Oranje vs Young Italy) or against big opponents (PSV, Ajax).

Kees Kwakman: “Virgil was so strong that even Graziano Pelle of Feyenoord said he had never played against a defender so strong. And that’s a striker from Italy! But Virgil kept that laziness in his game. And I saw it again, in the international vs England, some months ago. That goal. I’m cursing in front of the tv. Virgil, you’re two meters tall and one meter wide, throw yourself in front of that ball. But that nonchalance is maybe a strong point of his. He never panics. And when Liverpool pays 84,5 mio for you and you play your first derby vs Everton, everyone talks about that fee, and bam…you head home the winner… well, that is Virgil.”

Kwakman used to be a tad jealous when he looked at Van Dijk. Kwakman had less talent and had to work a lot harder for it all. Fate did help a bit. It started as belly ache on a Monday, and four days later Virgil was on intensive care in the Martini hospital with a combined appendicitis gone wrong and a kidney poisoning. Virgil almost died then and there. “When Virgil came back he had lost weight. He was weak. Same as me, as I also came back from injury. So we both started that season earlier, with special programs and he was only getting stronger and better. When we were halfway the season, him and Tadic, they played at 70% for us and they were the best on the pitch. It was clear both players would be on their way out.”

Somehow, none of the big clubs in Holland dared to take the gamble. They all saw his talent, but there was always doubt. Maybe it was that health scare, maybe it was his complacency. Kwakman: “I was shocked to be honest. When you are in doubt, pick up the phone. Call Maaskant, Huistra or Van der Looi. Or Veldmate or call me, even! They would have all heard the same story. But no, and now he went to Celtic for a small fee. Any Dutch top club could have paid that. There was a plan to bring Van Dijk to the top and his agent Chin did a good job. Celtic was a good sub station for this. When you demonstrate your skill there, the English clubs will see it. And Koeman was the smartest of them all. And he saw what we now all can see.”

Scotland was a winner indeed. After a few weeks, manager Neil Lennon can’t believe Van Dijk plays at Celtic. For the price of a small Ford, the club has acquired a Rolls Royce, the manager would say. “I was impressed with his temparement, his physical strength and his completeness as a player. I could see him play passes over 50 yards at Groningen. Right on the chin of the forwards. I figured some Premier League side would get him. We ended up signing him for 3 mio euros. I wondered, what did I miss. Does he have one eye? During his first practice session with us, I told him: Mate, enjoy the time you’re here. It won’t be long! He was the steal of the century.

Lennon is still surprised Van Dijk ended up playing two seasons in Glasgow. Lennon did get many calls about van Dijk from many different managers in England. “I told them all: sign him! And still it took two seasons. And Liverpool got him now, for only half of what they made on Coutinho. If they would have done their homework, they could have signed him for 15 mio euros. Southampton was the smartest of them all.”

Ronald Koeman took the punt. “I knew him from the Eredivisie of course. When I was at Feyenoord, I had De Vrij and Vlaar and he was on my list to sign, but we didn’t have that kinda cash to just get a player for a position we had covered. So we never signed him.”

As Southampton manager Koeman did have the cash and signs Virgil. “I know there was more growth in him. When he was at Celtic we would go and watch him. And you could see he was playing with ease there. Also in the CL games. He has the charisma, leadership and he’s a good football player too. Can he make that last step up? We thought so. I was surprised we could sign him this easily.”

Once in a Southampton jersey, Koeman sees all Van Dijk’s skills. But, Koeman also sees that all the doubts about Virgil were legit. “He is the total package as we seay, but he has a tad of arrogance, or complacency. I decided to work with that by making him important. When you are so good as he is, you need to do more. You need to step up and lead. And by giving him the responsibility, he became sharper. He needs to be triggered, challenged. And at Liverpool, he will be on a weekly basis.”

In Southampton they still revere Koeman. He made almost 70 mio pound for the club. And also Sadio Mane was a 40 mio profit player for the Saints. Koeman smiles: “Yes both players did well for the club and the CFO but we also got some signings wrong. But yes, since that Neymar deal, this market is going berserk. I think it’s a good step for Virgil and for Liverpool.”

Ronald Koeman picked Van Dijk as the new captain. “When I started with Oranje, it was a new start. And I decided that with a new start, we needed a new captain. Virgil has the right age. Plays for a big club, in a role that is good for a captain, so…lets see if he has it in him. And with Van Dijk and Wijnaldum playing the CL finals, Dutch football will get a lift. I hope to see that learning curve back in Oranje.

In Liverpool, no one moans the fact that Van Dijk is the most expensive defender in the world. Klopp actually sees Van Dijk as his missing piece of the puzzle. “Everyone says WOW what an amount! But I don’t. The price is decided not by us. But by the market. We look at his qualities, at what he can bring to us. We are 100% convinced Virgil will make us stronger. And with him, all the other players will be able to lift their game, so that price tag, it’s the price we pay to make Liverpool better.”

Gini Wijnaldum knew what Liverpool was getting with Virgil. “I knew him of course, and he is perfect for us. The perfect leader on the pitch, strong, brave and off the pitch a truly relaxed guy, both feet on the ground. Everyone likes him here.”

Jordy Clasie summarized Van Dijk’s career. The little midfielder played with the Oranje skipper at Southampton. “When he came to the club it was clear from the start: here was a confident player, who would make us all look good. And he developed into a world class player. And then to think that no top club in Holland believed in hm. If you know his story, you know how amazing his journey was…”

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      1. I think this game was going to be boring. England would approach it like the Colombia one and Croatia IMO doesn’t have the power/endurance to push so they would have tried to steal it too.

        With an early English goal, this game will be at max interest based on the two opponents.

        Croatia will have to come out.

    1. Yes and I stand by that. England can’t score other than through free kicks. Trippier is an average free kick taker. That goal was nice but nothing special. No one else on England is even competent in taking free kicks.

      England was exposed today. No midfield creativity, inattentive backline, little depth and whatever the opposite is of clinical finishing

      1. Till yesterday i beleived France goin to win it…but i found something different..which i cannot share now…Croatia will win it…Not because Croatia is better than France…There is an obstacle none of the French players wont cross that…i feel sorry for some french fans…but they must prepare their mind..

        1. There is more experience in croatia, today that played a big role. The Englishmen were foolish to go and stay back like they did with Colombia. Young, very talented, and foolish.

          French are not that young but they are not that old either and have failed last Euro final.

          So, I guess it is open.

          1. DEMI..THERE is no doubt French are better side,better players with extraordinary finisher in Mbhappe up front…who deny that?As per footballing intelligence they should win it comfortably…
            i knew that Belgium was going to get packed by France…As expected England laos went out hen they faced a compact team…
            Trippier requires luck..his first goal for nation…that made life difficult for croatia..if not Coratia would have finished the match before 90 minutes..
            what about kane miss??lindgraad miss?? and goal line save???..How you explain it??

          1. its simple Onzie…very simple…i am sure you wont believe it even after hearing will might say itys stupididty…i dont prefer to disclose that in blog…i have no permission to reveal the reason now…

  1. Modric is the best player in this tournament, hands down. He is Croatia’s Sneijder and VDV combined in a single player. Mandzukic is a combination of RVP and Huntelaar. The rest of the team are warriors.

    Croatia has the skill and mentality needed to beat France. It will depend on whether the fatigue factor overwhelms them after three straight 120+ minute matches, and whether France’s attacking talent — primarily Griezmann and Pogba — actually shows up.

    1. yeah agree, hats off to Modric, he is such an efficient player. worthy of captain and if Croatia goes on to win , he should be player of the tournament.

      For France Im not sure who has been their player. Mbappe might steal the show here as he has been the most threatening of them all.

  2. And in response to Jan’s article, Van Dijk is a beast! I just hope that we are able to assemble enough talent around him to remember the van Dijk era in a really positive way.

    1. Van Dijk is 27 and you would expect him to around for euro 2020, WC 2022 and euro 2024 atleast. by WC 2026, at 35 you would have expect him to be on the side of the performance curve. I would say WC2022 will be is best short as by 2026 you can expect others like Kik Pierie, De Ligt, Van Drongelen or any others to be hitting their peak.

      More over it would be more spectacle if the back line can be built around 4 man defense.with all the teams deploying 3 men backline and wing backs bombing out, it would fair to say, you need a universal and direct approach to win the WC.

  3. I started watching the game as independent and ended up cheering like crazy for Croatia. Who would have thought a team of playing 3 overtime games in a row would be able to beat everyone’s darling England. I for one was sure england would pass easily but boy was I wrong. These Croats are lions, gladiators. My hat goes off to them especially considering they changed the coach right before the playoff with Ukraine. I will cheer again for them in the final and if they then Cruyff look alike Modric should win Ballon D’Or. In reality though France is too much, looked unbeatable against Belgium. Regardless of the final score this WC has been amazing even without my Holland.
    I love football.

    1. Well for defintely, jus like Davor Šuker, Modric too will remembered in years to come if they go on to would also be historical achievement for a country who didnt existed until 19 century to win an iconic event.

      1. Projecting the next generation for the Croatians in 2022. Marko Rog (Napoli), marko Pjaca (schalke on loan from Juventus),Mario Pašalić (Chelsea), Ante Coric (Roma),Tin Jedvaj (Bayer Leverkusen) could be the new faces in the team.remember this guy Alan Halilovic.he made his debut for Croatia at the age of 16 and Barcelona also signed him from Dinamo Zagreb. he was seen as the heir to messi but like others as usual it turned out to be a premature move. after being loaned out to other clubs, his career finally seems to have picked up and Milan have signed him from from Hamburg. Kovacic (27),Rebic (28) Kramraic (31),Brozovic (29), Vrsaljko (30) could all be around while Persic at 33 could make the bench. Vida (33) maybe.could come up with a decesent squad but they will definitely miss the services of Modric and Rakitic who will 36 and 34 respectively and on the twilight of their career.

        1. this is time for Croatia…later after winning WC they must start transition…sooner…Football is so physical..32 is maximum….if use a 33 year old defender they will tores apart by Mbhappe guys….Defenders prime age in 27/28….Virjil is at his prime….
          Holland would have been senationl if that stupid danny stayed away from coachoing in this WC..we missed a team of
          on bench
          So bad he bottled a chance of NT…

    1. Deschamps spent the prime years of his playing career in Italy with Juve. He believes in the tough catennacio defense of the 80s and 90s in Italy. It’s definitely not pleasing for the spectators but it is effective.

      Personally, I’m not a fan of Deschamps style so far. I believe with the forward talents he has, the team should be a bit more adventurous and give more freedom to Mbappe and Griezmann. The offensive part of their game is frustrating at times. I wouldn’t say France is all out park the bus mode but they are careful when they attack.

      Croatia is a dangerous team so the French defense will have their hands full. I expect Kante to get the Modric assignment. Don’t give Modric, Rakitic, Perisic space and freedom like England did.

      Anyways, if France win the WC on Sunday, no one is gonna care if they played beautifully or not 20 years from now. They’ll be remembered as WC winners!

      1. “””Anyways, if France win the WC on Sunday, no one is gonna care if they played beautifully or not 20 years from now. They’ll be remembered as WC winners!”””””””
        Exactly….Just remmber refree beating australia for italy..Now italy remmberd as champs..where is ausis??
        France is complete team with dealiest finishers up front..
        Martial(will join them soon)-Greizmann-Mbhappe…
        They can score at will …with support of Pogba,Kante,tollisso,matuidi etc..

          1. From Croatia’s perspective, they would have to score first and score early. That will give them confidence and will make France open up. They would also need a massive game from Modric, Rakitic, Perisic etc to make those aerial crosses and diagonal passes for Rebic and Mandzukic. They would have to take advantages of set pieces because the French defense is more compact and they don’t give opponents much space and time on the ball to operate in their half.

            For the French midfield needs to step up. Pogba needs to play like his Juventus days. He needs to double or triple his work rate and efficiency. Kante and Matiudi have to support the attack and create plays besides their defensive duties. The French left and right backs need to contain Croatia’s wingers. Giroud has to finish his chances as Harry Kane learned yesterday, it can come back to bite you if you don’t.

            As good as Croatia is, France clearly has the better quality players and should be considered the slight favorite. Belgium was a good test for the French and they managed to win. It wasn’t pretty but they got the job done. I don’t think Croatia has a better midfield or offense compared to Belgium.

            I doubt it will be a high scoring game as both teams will be more cautious than adventurous. I just hope it is a clean and entertaining game.

    2. Totally agree. I started watching as a neutral this tournament and supporting France but the more I watch them, the more I want them to lose. There are so many reasons: Mbappe with all the antic and Griezmann who always slow down the game on purpose when they are winning. It is effective but as a neutral, I want Croatia to beat them.

    3. @Depay9,
      France has an incredible wealth of players. Their midfield is way above England and the most important player is Kante who will definitely be assigned to cover Modric. If Modric wins this battle Croatia has a good chance. It will be hard for France to miss second title in a row. If they score expect a huge bus to be parked. They want this title at any cost. Croatia will need double the heart they showed with England and a lot of help from God. Croatia has a lot to win, France has a lot to lose.

  4. France defence is better than any other team so its not going to be easy for croatia. In response to this post on van dijk he is going to improve further at liverpool and become better. His best chance to win a trophy is definitely Euro 2020 and Wc 2022. Hope it happens that way.

  5. Poll from AD. Select your best 11 so far

    Percentage selected and * my choice

    Courtois 66
    Lloris 19 (*)
    Subasic 15

    Right Back
    Pavard 43 (*)
    Trippier 37
    Vrsaljko 20

    Left CB
    Godin 46 (*)
    Untiti 39
    Stones 15

    Left Back
    Marcelo 69
    Maguire 23
    Augustinsson 8 (*)

    Right MF
    De Bruyne 59
    Rakitic 30
    Pogba 11 (*)

    Central MF
    Modric 78 (*)
    Kante 20
    Golovin 2

    Left MF
    Coutinho 68
    Cheryshev 21 (*)
    Inui 11

    Right Front
    Mbappe 87 (*)
    Cavani 8
    Lozano 5

    Lukaku 36 (*)
    Ronaldo 34
    Kane 30

    Left Front
    Hazard 75
    Griezmann 15 (*)
    Perisic 10

    1. de Light- Yes – he has shown us that he can become a world class defender.

      Chong – i have high hopes on him, but the thing is he needs to get playing time. and with JOse Mourinho that’s very difficult.

      Kluivert – I have still doubt on him He has not yet convinced me. scoring 12 goals in 40+ games does not impress me at all. and that’s in the Eredevisie

      Tell me what he has showed us that makes people believe he is close to his Dad.

      I hope he can prove me wrong.

  6. ter Avest moved to Udinese, hopefully this is good move & he will improve himself to be higher level & will have time to play regularly there.

    1. I kept a close tab on him while he was at FC twente.he played a good two seasons for them before getting injured and eventually Twente got relegated. I saw him come up against Kluivert when twente played Ajax and I must say he was left to bite the dust. Couldnt handle Kluivert through out the game. He will have to be in pecking oder behind karsdorp, janmaat, Tete, Hateboer,Mensah Dumfries.

      I would also Serie A would a good developing ground for Dutch players. I would like to see more young players go there.

  7. Was also watching some pre season games for Ajax and PSV. I would jong PSV contingent will find it hard to get minutes. Malen and Gakpo should have been loaned out like Lammers.Ryan Gravenberch is the one whose turning heads though at Ajax. Looks so future playing with some of the old ajax players. Will have to see how the season goes for him. He could be another future reinforcement in the midfield and he is only 16.

      1. He is also not in the pre season squad for ADO Haag.

        In other news ferdi kadioglu becomes first signing for Cocu at Fenerbahce.

        Daley blind also confirmed to to be returning to Ajax from Man united.

        1. Dutch coaches are very patriotic. They always bring a few Dutch players with them to give them the experience (and of course in return their loyalty on the field and in the locker room)

          There are no news at all about Van Huffel not even in the Dutch papers that I run a search. Everything stops at the end of March when the trial started. Absolutely nothing since then.

  8. Clasie to Feyenoord negiotation is also under way and it its highly likely he will be loaned out . He currently with southampton pre season squad in germany. I would love too see this guy get another chance and above all reunite with koeman.

    1. This could be one of the last transfers that needs to be completed in context to NT. Im sure some outings in NT will raise his stakes and as well intrest from other team.

      1. @Wilson, Calvin is with the team but he and Vejinovic are training separately. October is expected time when he can start playing minutes for the team. It will also depend on how early Alireza leaves.

  9. It’s been an interesting WC with some good games although it’s never the same without Holland.

    I am frustrated as we’ve reached the final 3 times and we are not yet amongst the few winning teams. Now Croatia can join Spain and the other winning teams while we can only hope to see one day our team win the title.

    I have to say that even though Holland has not won it there’are few nations with so much football history, with so many great players and I strongly believe we will win it one day and that day justice will be fair to us.

    There is no other team that deserves it more than Holland. The biggest problem with Dutch players is their mentality, they need to work on that…we can’t blame the Eredivisie because Croatian players play abroad so if they can do it so can we.

    I am happy with Koeman because he is not stubborn with 4-3-3 system.

    It’s interesting to see clubs wanting their Dutch youth players to come back like Blind to Ajax and Clasie to Feyenord I’d love that.

    We’ve enough potential with Van Dijk, De Vrij are world class defenders, our midfields is not bad with Strootman, Wijnaldum, F. de Jong, our attack will be interesting with Kluivert, Berghuis, Bergwijn, Locadia, Depay, Promes….

    1. Dutch will win it if they stay humble and strong with an open minded coach who extra vision for real talents…Bert and Vanbasten wasted a golden Generation.Hiddink and Blind were dumb and stubborn they cost us 2018 and 2016..
      Look at 2004 kluivert on bench
      Look at 2006 RVN on bench for kuyt
      Look at 2008 bad injuries of RVP and Roben
      Look at 2010 Vaart on bench kuytas forward.
      Look at 2012 Strootman on bench while van bommel played coz he was son in law..
      Look at 2014 bad luck with injuries of Dejong and RVP,couldnt feild Tim krul..
      Loook at 2016–A total stupidity of Hiddink and Blind
      Look at 2018–A total stupidity of Blind
      I hope koeman is flexible and open…
      After all…
      When you have klassen as striker/false striker/midfeild..Strootman as DM,Dost as striker,Memphis as winger,and BMI and Daley Blind as CB U WILL END UP IN HUMILIATION AND FUTILITY…

      1. It will be really disppointing to see Mitchell Bakker get deprived of game time just because Daley Blind has versatile “name tag” before his name. Bakker could be a contender for the LB position in NT if he plays regularly. He has both defensive and offensive qualities and ar 18 he has already surpassed expecation at jong Ajax. Not sure where Blind will play, but his arrival defintely means Frenkie will get more time in the midfield which is a plus. De ligt also doesnt look like will leave the club which means he will be one of the CBs. Wober, veltman, schuurs and blind will have to fight it out for the second CB role. I hope ten hag will bracket tagliafico and Bakker for the left back position and comptitively rotate them to get the best out of them.

      2. Steven berghuis is another player who has showed tremendous development since joining feyenoord. He got very limited playing time at watford but after joining feyenoord he has shifted to another level.but im not sure whats his best position though. He doesnt have the speed for a winger but he always looks dangerous when cutting inside from that right flank. I would say diamond midfield would suit him best on that right side where he

        -Van DijkDe Ligt- Karsdorp

    1. Naci Unuvar is not as talented as Nouri, he is not two footed, rely on his stronger foot too much, hopefully he can get this changed soon since he is only 15. Pablo Rosario is just a decent young players

  10. Belgium off to a great start! The best thing about football is that when it’s played well, everyone is involved, everyone is moving and thinking and creating, and the team that does those things the best, the quickest, and the most creatively is most likely to score.

  11. And despite the fact that we’re not in this tournament, I’ve actually really enjoyed watching, in most cases as a complete neutral. Once the knock-out round was set, I had predicted a Belgium vs Croatia final and was actively rooting for that outcome, but it’s been fun to develop an appreciation of each team’s style and talents without the emotions that come with having a true rooting interest.

  12. Well, after the first 10 minutes or so, this game has bogged down entirely. How did this England team get this far? There are only two attacking players that I would have any concern about, and neither of them are playing (Alli and Vardy). No one else can create a scoring chance on their own. Belgium is full of players who can, and when they combine, they are unplayable. Disappointing that they haven’t opened up the game at this point. Need Mertens or Carrasco…

    1. I will agree Lukaku is slow and at least IMO, far from my favorite.

      But the result would be the same because Belgium doesn’t have a defense line not even close to France’s. I think a more serious Brazil with Casemiro instead of that butthead Fernandinho would be a better opponent.

      I hear you about Croatia but I think these guys had so much luck so far, it has to run out at some point LOL

      The mini final today was further proof that the France side was a lot more competitive

      But we see tomorrow 🙂

      1. Lukaku can easily be contained if you close him off. He has no skills, when in tight spaces.he is strong in air though and always uses him physic to prey on weak defenders.

        On the same topic there could be rivarly in marking upfront like to that of huntelaar and Van persie in Dutch NT over the years. This time,I think this time it could well live up between Dylan Vente and Sam lammers. Vente has already made his full debut for Feyenoord and has also established himself as a clinical striker while lammers on the other hand will get his break this season at can just tell both will collide at some point in time.

        1. Yes, I have noticed you follow a lot the young development and I for sure hope so we get this type of rivalry again. The era of the Big 4 was one of my most favorite of Dutch football (and as you probably noticed I have been around for a while).

          What disservice that the Big 4 generation didn’t have not good but not even decent defenders to come along. One WK final and one semi… An amazing era …

        Croatia was lucky and coz of that they will win toady as well.waiting for miracle…

  13. Perhaps I’m biased in favor of Croatia, but France has done nothing… NOTHING… to have a two goal lead in the World Cup final.

    Two random deflections in the box off of set pieces.

    This would be a completely unjust outcome at this point!

  14. So disappointing. Croatia’s keeper watching simple shots fly right by. I’ve never been less impressed by a team that should be so much more impressive.

    France only plays on the counter. Is Mourinho giving Deschamps instructions through an earpiece?

      1. Maybe I should have said “soft”?

        Dalic after the match:

        “We wanted to win the World Cup so much, but that’s football,” he said. “The French did not surprise us. We let in two soft goals coupled with an own goal and a penalty.”

        On both goals from open play, Subasic was wrong-footed and stood and watched as Mbappe and Pogba basically just passed the ball into the next. I can’t imagine Courtois, de Gea, or even Pickford or Lloris just standing and watching those balls pass by. Neither was struck with any venom. Croatia battled with such heart that it’s disappointing to see their keeper just watching goals be scored…

  15. The penalty spoiled everything,,Croatia should a have started with krameric instead of Rebic…
    French were head and shoulder above all teams..they looked unbeatable…i was lookig for miracle beoref kickoff,iknew only a miracle win is possible for croatia..

  16. France was ultimately the better team and a deserving WC winner. I just wish that we actually got to see their talent. Maybe now that they’ve won again, we’ll get to see a new attacking France going forward.

    Croatia were warriors to the end. Outstanding midfield but just not enough quality and speed up top. Great tournament for them nonetheless.

  17. Let’s also remember the sorry affairs against

    – Australia: another stolen penalty

    – Denmark: could not score

    – Belgium: terrible tactics

  18. I think Croatia didn’t deserve to pass Denemark… It was iffy with Russia. Clear win on the semi against England but, should they have been there?

    I think Russia would be a better match to France, yes I get it they play shit soccer but they are very strong, endurance and they also like to give up possession. At least it could have take overtime to crack a goal by France…

    Having said that, the brackets were very uneven. Brazil, Belgium and France were clearly better teams.

    Terrible final from the competitive standpoint.

  19. and one point for Tiju. Subasic was one of the best keepers so far but he conceded a long shot from Pogba. Lloris messed up again just like with Sweden.

    Maybe time to let Stekelenburg off the hook? 🙂

      1. actually with the defense we had in 2010 Steks pulled off a couple of miracles to take us to the final. That one with Kaka was for me the save of the century… no matter what mistakes he did after, we owe him 50% at least for being in a final after 32 years.

        And let me tell you, I felt each and every of those 32 years waiting…

          1. I would call the Casillas foot bad luck but not miracle. Van Persie said in a Dutch interview (with scoff) “that guy decided to spread his leg in a random manner”.

            Miracles involve some effort too from the person who receives them so I think that was just bad luck for us and good luck for Casillas.

            I guess it is a matter of semantics.

            Agree on your other points re how teams change to the better or worse in the course of the knockout stages.

            Perhaps that undeserved win over Denemark strengthened an otherwise mediocre team (IMO) and made them think they have it …

          2. I just rewatch that save and off my mind, I was amazed how good we were. Sneijder use two touches to create the chance out of nowhere, first touch to control a loose ball, second touch to send Robben to face Casillas. Robben was the fastest player of the tournament. This remind me of Frances’s third goal today.

            Hopefully, the next generation of Kluivert and De Jong will be different.

  20. After seeing this worldcup results, we need some kind of revolution for Dutch football.

    We need to look how France did it.

    France, Germany and Spain copied from each other while we are still in 70’s nostalgia.

    Even Belgian have more stars in European clubs than us. There are no Dutch coaches in demand internationally anymore.

    We already missing 2016 & 2018 event! Even England now better than us 🙁

    I hope that after (RVP, Wesley Sneijder or Arjen Robben) left is not the end of an era.

    1. We need to look how France did it.”””””
      Answer is very very simple .
      step-1–find the quality players(skill+Intelligence)
      step2 –we have some great coaches in Van gaal and KoemanSo give the team to them….We can do it…

      1. I think this is our main problem.. finding the quality players that can survive the latest football development… which demand more physical.. more running.

        Most our players only play at Eredivisie, some who goes abroad very few can success. and have to go back to Eredivisie.

        I think we have to start from the younger development which new way of thinking.

        German did it in 2000 and become champion in 2014.

        France only 2 times go to worldcup final and 2 times champion

  21. I hate this French team. I can still see Griezmann faking that first foul that lead to the first goal. And the handball.

    I never liked that referee in any of his games.

    Let’s hope in four years the coaches will have three VAR calls per game, like in tennis.

  22. I really enjoyed the game to be honest. It was a freeflow game than that of Belguim and France.till rebic subsitution the game was nail biting every time croatia attacked. Hats off to the little general modric who gave everything in this tournment.could tell the bitterness in his eyes after receiving the player of the tournment trophy.maybe they were over stretched after playing 3 conservative extra time but this where the depth in the team becomes crucial and France had that.kramaric and Pjaca couldnt provide the same explosivness which croatia had before their substitution.

    Again its evident that to win the WC you need to have a perfect …….~can somebody help me with the word.

    1. Turning the attention to Nation league, it clear whats needed to to take on this french side and again a good midfield is where it can all boil down to.modric Brozovic and Rakitic did a good job in the midfield and had the upper hand and which kept progba and kante occupied through the majority of the game. But eventually the opening of spaces created chances and every body knows what probga does if he gets spaces out side of the box.typical progba. Mbappe goal, subacic could have done better on it but his reactions was too late.

      The only change that could happen in this french squad would be on that left wing.matudi is not a winger. If payet recovers, he could be contender there or maybe martial.

  23. Ajax is run by biased spoilers it seems…they bought 21 million for Daley Blind….thats so weird and stupid…
    Daley did a smart move…he knows he will be sitting in bench ad Koeman wont consider him for NT..Hence he make sure that we have a weak link at defennse…
    May be klassen also will comeback as he wont suceed anywhere other than ajax…to make sure that we take 10 chances to score..are we heading to another exit????

    1. Not daley, daddy must have pulled some strings from back door. Utter stupidy and again this goes show the ajax system in place which interconnected to NT.Ajax could have easily got van Drongelen or Pierie for cheap and which would have eventually benefited NT. I mean if they can scoop up perr schuurs from fortuna sittard then van drongelen or pierie shouldnt have been any execption. Bad news for perr schuurs.

      Quietly rightly said, the move is basically to fuel his fadding career.One step down and he will be again get all the benefit of doubt while some NT, same old story. This is why NT is lagging.

      1. Let’s not pray for players to retire after one bad year. Daley is a solid defender, he’ll be a Top player in the Eredivisie. He was one of our best defenders once upon a time, receiving many plaudits. The ceiling is there, give him a chance to get back there.

        If we continue to turn to youth every time someone has a bad season, we’ll never have a team. De Ligt is bound to have one bad season through his long career as well.

        1. You see this is exactly what I was many more games you want see him play and get can he improve overall by coming back to eredivisie. Its simply a step down for him. The only thing that will happen is for the next 3-4 years he will cock block opportunities for other young talents. This is exactly what happened when daddy was the coach for NT. I have always being critical about Daley but for a reason and it aint gonna change. He simply doesnt have it and no more time should be wasted on him. His flaws has been exposed in so many games and in the best intrest of NT it now time for others to take the centre stage.

          At 28 this should have beenhis prime and playing at the highest level not in eredivisie. This is just a cheap shot for him knowing he will get all the benefit of doubt and plus his agent daddy is in the background.

        2. @Derek….Blind is not a better LB than Kongolo and Ake…Niether he is better than Vandijk and Reikik as LCB….So tell me how did slovakia scored???just have a look at that goal…At best Blind could be stand bye LB or stand bye DM…nothing more..

          1. I’m not saying he’s our saviour. But it’s such a bad mentality that when someone hits a lull that we move on to the next person in the system.

            I can’t wait til de Ligt is integrated for a few years, has a couple of bad games, and you guys are calling for the next youth to replace him.

            And then that kid plays for a bit, looks like the next big thing, has a few bad games, and then we’re looking for the next youth to replace him.

            In sports developmentally, you have ups and downs, and you’re not always moving forward. So to chastise someone for a bad season is foolish, as each player on the team at some point will have a bad season. Heck, Robben once score 8 goals across 64 games over 2 seasons from 2006-2008, and I’m sure you guys were calling for Babel to take his spot.

            Depay just came off an awful season at Man Utd to be one of the best players in France, I’m sure we were all calling for Redan to replace him as well.

  24. i think Most of us forgot Joris Mathijensen..
    Does he was glamourous???
    Does he had super skills???/
    I think he was most underarted defender in dutch history with so much suceess…
    We miss players like Joris and Nijel dejong who has level high concentration in game and DISICIPLINED…they had charactor that we miss now…
    they tactically oriented…

    1. Joris had character and grit. That’s for sure. But skills, no … sorry. He would give 120% in big games but he couldn’t pass the ball from his left to his right foot. Good guy though

  25. Team must e locked down to 31 players maximum
    Kluivert,Berjwin.Locaida,Depay,Babel,Berghuis,Janssen…Rest lacks quality so its better not to waste a spot..

    Midfeilders10 nos
    Bazoer,Wijnladum,Frenkie,Ake,stengs,van de beek,Vilhena,Propper,Jerry stjuste.vormer. nos
    Rest of the players lacks something..We do need them..only new comers are welcome..

  26. Just watched the replay of the WC final and Croatia must be given credit for taking the game to France, the first 10 mins was all Croatia and if they could have jagged a goal then maybe the result would have been different.
    I was not sold on the Griesmann foul and well the penalty was very harsh in my opinion, especially when you look at it in normal time. There is a rule of “ball to hand” not ” hand to ball” I don’t think he played at it on purpose with his hand.
    Anyhow France did the job and took the biggest prize in world sport again, well done to them!

    As for Virgil I’m hoping he will go on and make Dutch history with his team mates and win in 2022. I’ve had the pleasure of watching him play live and my goodness he is a giant! I agree that we should put Daly Blind out to pasture, he is a good player for sure, but we need special players in their prime playing in major leagues , only young players who have had a couple of years playing first football in the Eredivise or have made a successful transition to a major league should be considered. If you scatter these players in with our seasoned starters then we will have something to say as a football team.

    1. Virgil is 26 now…He needs players arround him….but the not the layers like klassen,Dost,BMI,Afellay,De roon,Elghazi,Promes etc…..
      We dont have Roben anymore we muct over come this as a team…
      williams–Propper—Vande beek–Wijnaldum
      stand bye
      St juste

    2. To win 2022 we need players like Croatian… more running, more physical demand. Other team hate if they met croatia, England one of them.

      Croatia rank 20 in fifa and yet they go to the final.

      We have to develop more physical players starting from youngster, player like Robben… if only we have 12

    1. Its a very common move. Van dijk also does that. Its a mind thing. You turn you body expectating the ball will hit you without exposing your hands or private area.its a signature move.

  27. We don’t need any more defenders
    Or else say I’m not worried about our defence

    We need more new taken in midfield and especially strikers

    We only got Depay to relY on who is world class

    We need at least 3 more ……..

  28. Congratulations to France! Croatia dominated the possession and play for most of the game but the French were very efficient with the few chances they had.

    The free kick Griezmann got was a 50-50 IMO. Some refs give it while others don’t. The penalty was a bit harsh since it was a World Cup final but FIFA needs to clear up the confusion. It’s hard to conclude with 100% certainty if there was intention or not which will always lead to controversy. Maybe, all hand-to-ball contacts should be penalties whether intentional or not. Players then would have to do everything possible to protect themselves. As it stands, VAR will be result in more penalties being given than the pre-VAR era. It definitely gives referees more cover. Go blame VAR, not me!

    Before and after the final game, I heard/read a lot of complaints about France being lucky or not deserving to win. Personally, I’m a fan of attacking football that entertains as well as wins. By default, I support the team that shows initiative, creativity, and hard work. However, there are those who believe that a more defensive, cautious, or counter-attacking style of football is the way to go and from time to time it works for them. Some take it the extreme that rises to the level of anti or negative football.

    Despite all the world-class attacking talent at his disposal, Deschamps chose the defensive philosophy. I doubt he really cares now how he is labeled. If Van Marwijk had won in 2010, I wonder how many Oranje fans would have regretted a win that was achieved with defensive tactics.

    Bottomline, Courtois and Hazard said they would prefer to lose to Brazil than win with the French team. Griezmann’s response was, “…all I care about is the 2nd star on the shirt!…I would be happy to win by any means possible.” I guess in the end, Belgium played better and lost while France played negative but won. They all got their wishes!

    1. I agree with a great deal of what you said. And above all, I concede that France was the most talented team at the tournament and deserved their victory in the final.

      That said, there is a certain frustration, just like watching Madrid under Mourinho, when a team assembled of such amazing talent only looks to score itself when its opponent has fully committed itself forward.

      Each year following the World Cup, FIFA and various coaching organizations offer up their summaries of tactical innovations and developments that came to the forefront during the tournament. Usually the prevailing team’s talent and tactics are analyzed and dissected. What do you think will be the revelations that come from France’s play in this tournament?

      For me, I just like seeing teams that advance the sport forward, that bring something new and innovative. Not all teams are capable of this obviously, but the supremely talented teams certainly are. Think of our 74 team — we changed the way that football was played forever, or even the 2010 Spain team — who built on our total football style, but with a more possession-obsessed mindset. What did this French team, with all its amazing talent, contribute to the sport (other than demonstrating the value of having a truly “international” talent pool)?

  29. List of Dutch Talented players that we should follow closely.

    Malcolm Ebiowei 14 Midfield Arsenal
    Xavi Simons 15 DM Barcelona
    Noah Ohio 15 Striker Man City
    Jayden Braaf 15 Striker Man City
    Naci Unuvar 15 Midfield Ajax
    Ryan Gravenberch 16 Midfield Ajax
    Enric Llansana 16 DM Ajax
    Crysencio Summerville 16 RW Feyenoord
    Brian Brobbey 16 Striker Ajax
    Luca van der Gaag 16 CB Belenenses
    Sepp van den Berg 16 CB PEC Zwolle
    Ian Maatsen 16 CB Chelsea
    Mohammed Amine Ihattaren 16 AM PSV
    Kenzo Goudmijn 16 AM AZ
    Melayro Bogarde 16 CB Hoffenheim
    Jaymillio Pinas 16 Striker Ajax
    Ki-jana Hoever 16 RB Liverpool (pending)
    Immanuel Pherai 17 Midfield Dortmund
    Teun van der Donk 17 Midfield Basel
    Orkun Kökcü 17 Midfield Feynoord
    Joshua Zirkzee 17 Striker Bayern
    Anouar El Mhassani 17 RW West Ham
    Colin Odutayo 17 RW Aston Villa
    Vicente Besuijen 17 RW Roma
    Daishawn Redan 17 Striker Chelsea
    Myron Boadu 17 Striker AZ
    Kik Pierie 17 CB Heerenveen
    Lutsharel Geertruida 17 CB Feyenoord
    Cheick Toure 17 LW Feyenoord
    Liam van Gelderen 17 CB Ajax
    Joey Koorevaar 17 GK Feynoord
    Jurgen Ekkelenkamp 18 Midfield Ajax
    Kees de Boer 18 DM Swansea
    Thomas Buitink 18 Striker Vitesse
    Millen Baars 18 Striker Man United
    Mitchel Bakker 18 LB Ajax
    Ludovit Reis 18 Midfield Groningen

  30. Matthijs de Ligt 18 CB Ajax
    Perr Schuurs 18 CB Ajax
    Ferdi Kadioglu 18 Midfield Fenerbache
    Leandro Fernandes 18 Midfield Juventus
    Tyrell Malacia 18 LB Feyenoord
    Mitchell van Bergen 18 RW Vitesse
    Dogucan Haspolat 18 Midfield Excelsior
    Delano Ladan 18 Striker Den Haag
    Justin Lonwijk 18 Midfield PSV
    Joël Piroe 18 Striker PSV
    Pascal Struijk 18 CB Leeds
    Juan Castillo 18 LB Chelsea
    Tahith Chong 18 RW Man United
    Achraf el Bouchataoui 18 Midfield Feyenoord
    Owen Wijndal 18 LB AZ
    Ole Romeny 18 Striker NEC
    Justin Kluivert 19 LW Roma
    Dylan Vente 19 Striker Feyenoord
    Deroy Duarte 19 Midfield Sparta
    Nick Venema 19 Striker Utrecht
    Tom van de Looi 19 Midfield Groningen
    Noa Lang 19 Midfield Ajax
    Boy Kemper 19 CB Ajax
    Cody Gakpo 19 LW PSV
    Jordy Wehrmann 19 Midfield Feyenoord
    Godfried Frimpong 19 LB Benfica
    Sherel Floranus 19 RB Herenveen
    Calvin Stengs 19 RW AZ
    Armando Obispo 19 CB PSV
    Donyell Malen 19 Striker PSV
    Joey Veerman 19 DM FC Volendam
    Ché Nunnely 19 RW Ajax
    Emanuel Boateng 19 CB Lazio
    Rick van Drongelen 19 CB Hamburger
    Nathan Markelo 19 CB Everton
    Jordan van der Gaag 19 Midfield NAC
    Bobby Adekanye 19 RW Liverpool
    Anderson López 19 Cercle Brügge RW
    Tijjani Reijnders 19 Midfield AZ
    Justin Hoogma 20 CB TSG Hoffenheim
    Jay-Roy Grot 20 Striker Venlo
    Kaj Sierhuis 20 Striker Ajax
    Mink Peeters 20 LW Real Madrid
    Giovanni Troupée 20 RB Utrecht
    Javairô Dilrosun 20 LW Hertha Berlin
    Sherwin Seedorf 20 LW Bradford City

  31. I think we need to focus why France can get so many very talented footballer at their disposal while we only have very few lately.

    France have the best national academic football at Clairefontaine.

    The best young football players from all of France region stay there for 2-3 years for training and development of their technical skills using the most innovative football development.

    They also have benefited lots of young talented footballer came from their immigrant policy. Nowadays Greater Paris is the world’s top talent pool after after Sao Paulo in Brazil.

  32. Timothy Fosu-Mensah 20 RB Man United
    Steven Bergwijn 20 LW PSV
    Guus Til 20 Midfield AZ
    Juninho Bacuna 20 Midfield Huddersfield
    Teun Koopmeiners 20 DM AZ
    Justin Bijlow 20 GK Feyenoord
    Carel Eiting 20 DM Ajax
    Deyovaisio Zeefuik 20 RB Groningen
    Dani de Wit 20 Midfield Ajax
    Rodney Kongolo 20 DM Man City
    Rody de Boer 20 GK AZ
    Donny van de Beek 21 Midfield Ajax
    Kenneth Paal 21 LB PEC Zwolle
    Frenkie de Jong 21 Midfield Ajax
    Sam Lammers 21 Striker Herenveen
    Michel Vlap 21 Midfield Heerenveen
    Hidde ter Avest 21 RB Udinese
    Jeremy Helmer 21 AM AZ
    Yanick van Osch 21 GK PSV
    Calvin Verdonk 21 LB Feyenoord
    Vince Gino Dekker 21 LW AZ
    Gino van den Berg 21 CB Hamburger to ?

  33. Riechedly Bazoer 21 DM Wolfsburg
    Jeremiah St. Juste 21 CB Feyenoord
    Jairo Riedewald 21 CB Crystal Palace
    Richairo Zivkovic 21 Striker KV Oostende
    Philippe Sandler 21 CB Man City
    Kevin Diks 21 RB Florentia
    Alessio Da Cruz 21 LW Parma
    Arnaut Groeneveld 21 LW Brugge
    Dabney dos Santos 21 LW AZ
    Pablo Rosario 21 Midfield PSV
    Joël Drommel 21 GK Twente
    Jari Schuurman 21 Midfield Feyenoord
    Abdelmajid Bouali 21 Midfield Dortmund
    Anfernee Dijksteel 21 RB Charlton
    Bart Ramselaar 22 Midfield PSV
    Denzel Dumfries 22 RB PSV
    Thomas Ouwejan 22 LB AZ
    Pelle van Amersfoort 22 Midfield Herenveen
    Jeroen van der Lely 22 RB Twente
    Gervane Kastaneer 22 LW NAC
    Patrick Joosten 22 LW Utrecht
    Finn Stokkers 22 Striker Fortuna
    Jesper Verlaat 22 CB Sandhausen
    Pelle Clement 22 Midfield Reading

  34. Kenny Tete 22 RB Lyon
    Oussama Idrissi 22 LW AZ
    Gyrano Kerk 22 RW Utrecht
    Clint Leemans 22 Midfield PEC Zwolle
    Bart Nieuwkoop 22 RB Feyenoord
    Anwar El Ghazi 23 RW Lille
    Derrick Luckassen 23 CB PSV
    Daley Sinkgraven 23 LB Ajax
    Kingsley Ehizibue 23 RB PEC
    Djavan Anderson 23 RB FC Bari
    Nathan Aké 23 CB Bournemouth
    Tonny Vilhena 23 Midfield Feyenoord
    Rick Karsdorp 23 RB Roma
    Karim Rekik 23 CB Hertha Berlin
    Jorrit Hendrix 23 DM PSV
    Sven van Beek 23 CB Feyenoord
    Ricardo Kishna 23 LW Lazio
    Vincent Janssen 24 Striker Tottenham
    Jetro Willems 24 LB Frankfurt
    Joshua Brenet 24 LB Hoffenheim
    Joris van Overeem 24 Midfield Utrecht
    Jean-Paul Boëtius 24 RW Feyenoord
    Joost van Aken 24 CB Sheff Wed

  35. Memphis Depay 24 LW Lyon
    Wesley Hoedt 24 CB Southampton
    Terence Kongolo 24 CB Huddersfield
    Jürgen Locadia 24 Striker Brighton
    Vura 24 LW Ludogorets
    Hans Hateboer 24 RB Atlanta
    Adam Maher 24 AM Twente to ?
    Ridgeciano Haps 25 LB Feyenoord
    Stefano Denswil 25 CB Brügge
    Timo Letschert 25 CB Sassuolo
    Joey Pelupessy 25 DM Sheff Wed
    Mark Flekken 25 GK Freiburg

  36. Davy Klaassen 25 Midfield Everton
    Marco van Ginkel 25 Midfield Chelsea
    Wout Weghorst 25 Striker Wolfsburg
    Mustafa Saymak 25 Midfield Rizespor
    Mike van der Hoorn 25 CB Swansea
    Mitchell Dijks 25 LB Bologna
    Luc Castaignos 25 Striker Sporting
    Warner Hahn 26 GK Heerenveen
    Ola John 26 LW Benfica
    Stefan de Vrij 26 CB Inter Milan
    Quincy Promes 26 LW Spartak Moskau
    Davy Pröpper 26 Midfield Brighton
    Bruno Martins Indi 26 CB Stoke City
    Steven Berghuis 26 RW Feyenoord
    Jeffrey Bruma 26 CB Wolfsburg
    Joël Veltman 26 RB Ajax
    Yanic Wildschut 26 LW Norwich
    Virgil van Dijk 27 CB Liverpool
    Marten de Roon 27 Midfield Atlanta
    Jordy Clasie 27 DM Southampton
    Jeffrey Gouweleeuw 27 CB Augsburg
    Rajiv van La Parra 27 RW Huddersfield
    Ricardo van Rhijn 27 RB Brugge
    Georginio Wijnaldum 27 Midfield Liverpool
    Jeroen Zoet 27 GK PSV
    Patrick van Aanholt 27 LB Crystal Palace
    Luuk de Jong 27 Striker PSV
    Luciano Narsingh 27 RW Swansea
    Marvin Zeegelaar 27 LB Watford
    Bryan Linssen 27 LW Vitesse
    Marco Bizot 27 GK AZ
    Sergio Padt 28 GK Groningen
    Bram Nuytinck 28 CB Udinese

  37. Kevin Strootman 28 Midfield Roma
    Daley Blind 28 LB Man United to Ajax?
    Leroy Fer 28 Midfield Swansea
    Daryl Janmaat 28 RB Watford
    Nick Viergever 28 CB PSV
    Marko Vejinović 28 DM AZ
    Bas Dost 29 Striker Sporting
    Jasper Cillessen 29 GK Barcelona
    Jens Toornstra 29 Midfield Feyenoord
    Vurnon Anita 29 DM Leeds
    Erik Pieters 29 LB Stoke City
    Ricky van Wolfswinkel 29 Striker Basel
    Siem de Jong 29 Midfield Ajax
    Erwin Mulder 29 GK Swansea
    Alexander Büttner 29 LB Vitesse
    Mitchell Donald 29 Midfield Roter Stern to ?
    Ruud Vormer 30 DM Brugge
    Tjaronn Chery 30 Midfield GZ Hengfeng
    Jeremain Lens 30 RW Besiktas
    Diego Biseswar 30 Midfield PAOK
    Jan-Arie van der Heijden 30 CB Feyenoord
    Jonathan de Guzmán 30 Midfield Frankfurt
    Roy Beerens 30 RW Vitesse
    Gregory van der Wiel 30 RB Toronto
    Douglas 30 CB Sporting
    Tim Krul 30 GK Brighton to ?
    Robbin Ruiter 31 GK Sunderland
    Ryan Babel 31 LW Besiktas
    Eljero Elia 31 LW Basaksehir
    Ibrahim Afellay 32 Midfield Stoke City
    Kenneth Vermeer 32 GK Feyenoord

    Brandley Kuwas 25 RW Hercales Hopefully he will play for Dutch National Team.

  38. As I said in a post before the final Croatia would need a lot of heart and a ton of luck to win. They provided 101% heart but had no luck whatsoever. To me France are undeserved winners. Now that I look back I just don’t know how politicians would accept a non diverse team from a small country in the Balkans to be crowned champions. In today’s reality small nations have no chance. It doesn’t fit any political narrative. Croatia is my second team now after Holland. I am gutted for them just I was for Holland 8 yrs ago (not on that scale though).They didn’t have all the talent in the world but more than compensated with their heart, grit and determination. I adore Modric just like Johan Cruyff. The way he played is just mesmerizing. If Holland had just half the croatian mentality, heart and pride it would be on top of the world already. Not sure if it will happen in my lifetime.
    I hate all the talk about Pogba or Mbappe who are being treated like kings. Where the heck were they in the 1st half when Croatia was controlling the game? They showed up and started kicking a dead horse at 3-1.
    A heck of a WC anyway. To be remembered.

    1. Amen.

      What I personally find disgusting is that now all the journos hail this team, and do not say a word about their dreadful play for hours on end.

      1. I agree with what Balkan has said. if you dissect that Croatian team they had all the components,a teams needs to win the WC. Strinic and Vrsaljko, two offensive fullbacks whom complemented the team diligently both in attack and defense . two commanding Centre Backs in Vida and Lovern. A very efficient and roving midfield of Modric, Brozvoic and Rakitic and infront the trio of rebic, Manzukic and persic who were all a constant threat when with possession.the other notable feature of these forwards form the constant changing of flanks between Persic and rebic.
        all this is exactly what you wanna have in your team. balance,authority, efficiency and chemistry. croatia was most probably the only team that had wingers exchanging the flanks which is often an indications of how fluent the team is. remains me of the time Zenden and overmars were feature of the Dutch side.

        I would say Mbappe and Progba goal were freak goals. they had no intention but it found the net while the Croatians couldnt when ever they had intentions.

        1. maybe,maybe the decision by Dalic to send Nikola Kalinić home came back to haunt him as he was the most effective sub for Mandzukic.given thecassault that croatia took on in the knock out rounds he would have come in handy. pjaca didnt play a lot at Schalke while Kramric was backup for rebic.

          1. with said, if you look at NT, if they are to win the wc 2022,then the teams needs to have intensity of what the croatians had.midfield and LB is the only area that needs to be worked on.ifffff strootman can step up a level this season at Roma, it will come has a big complement to NT. the dutch contingent at Roma are all involved in the pre season training and this is what Karsdorp said in interview about strootman. “Kevin is a top professional. Sometimes I see him two hours before a training session working in the gym and I ask him: ‘What are you doing? Training starts in just a few hours.’ But in reality, it’s the right way to train and he’s getting this idea across to me. I also had the same injury as him and so it’s important, actually indispensable, working up a sweat in the gym because it also counts for finding yourself back in top form in this line of work.”

            frenkie and a refined strootman could provide the right balance in the midfield and if you throw clasie in there,the midfield can be sewed up.

            what will remain is a good attacking fullback. kongolo maybe, depending on his Club performance this season. if wingbacks, sinkgraven would be another candidate that could be an option, but provided he gets some game time at Ajax.

            Depay -Locadia

            ??????-Strootman – Frenkie – Clasie – karsdorp

            Ake – Van Dijk – De Ligt


    2. Balkan that Penalty was stolen the match from Coratia.its hard luck…i dont know why this happend to them..2 early lucky goals that made the fate…Hats off to Modric ATM he is head and shoulder above CR7 and Messi…Modric looks like cryuff strangly..

  39. “””Sometimes I see him two hours before a training session working in the gym and I ask him:”””””What the f@##ck footballers had to do in gym????Look at 8 pack biceps players of England got humiliated by endurance thin Croatians…..strrotman should do exercise which helps to increase his endurance for 120minutes plus agility increasing excercies ofr that he can consult a gymnast…
    This is modern day stupidity in football..

    1. Im sure he is not stupid like you to to be thinking gym is only for building biceps and 8 packs.there is alot of stamina training you can do in the gym and plus his commitment shows his eagers to improve and strive better.

  40. @ derekvdberg

    Re: bad mentality…..

    First thing first, Blind never had a bad season and nor he had a good season at Man united.when mourinho was signed by the man united hierarchy, the job was have a shot at the title. Blind was never going to be a material to build the team capable of reaching the summit.not only him but their were others as well whom were later offload by Mourinho .being said this he was always seen a back up player because of his versatility and then to compete with best they needed more comptent and proficient players and thats what mourinho did by getting players like lindelof , matic, baily which further pushed Blind in pecking order .you cant argue about this. This was at club level and at NT level if only I could do a compilation of him being exposed, maybe then you will realize how clear the picture is.its not that he has not played and thats why he should get a second chance.even if he plays at Ajax he will still get exposed in NT.there is no two ways about this. In all fairness there hasnt been no defender who has not been exposed at any time but what blind lacks is ultimately the one of the most essential characteristics of defender, speed.

    Now this is what you have to ask youself. How will coming back to eredivisie develop what is technically his major weaknesses leading to NT

    Most players return to eredivisie either when they are about to retire or when they career fail to hit the ground rolling.

    In blinds case its simply a coverup of fading career. He will get the first preference and playing time at Ajax given his versatility status and which will further put him in the contention for NT selection.

    The question to ask here again is will this change the scenario at NT level.

    1. I know there will be same arguments that there have been defenders who didnt have the speed factor but still they have played at top level.mind you in Blinds case he is jack of all trade and master of none and hence he will always be vunerable at any position.

  41. I think Blind will do much better if he plays in midfield. I am glad that he is back to Ajax. He will bring a lot of experience that he gained in MU. Hopefully, clubs this year will perform much better than last year, which was a disaster.

    1. I have mixed feelings about Blind going back to Ajax. On the positive side, as you mentioned, he’ll bring experience and guidance to the youngsters. He’ll also help the team.

      However, since I don’t see him coming off the bench, he’ll be taking up significant game time from promising and developing players. I would also have liked to see him move to Spain, Germany or Italy where he could have improved his form and still compete at the top level. Play for a team in the champions league. I don’t know what kind of offers he had on the table. Maybe, he’ll spend a year to rejuvenate himself and get his confidence back before seeking another move.

      At the end of the day, being a jack of all trades does come at a price. You still need to specialize in one key position or you’ll always have a question mark over your head. Blind had more than enough opportunities both at Oranje and Man Utd to establish himself but didn’t really convince his skeptics.

      I wish him well. Right now, I rather see someone else given the chance for Oranje at left back. I don’t think he’ll get a shot at center back with the talents we have available. At 28, he is at his peak years so it’s now or never for him.

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