Strong Oranje forgets to score more

The media were all about “De Boer has dreadful record” and “no coach didn’t win one match in his first five” etc etc. I don’t think these stats are really meaningful. You play a lousy friendly in a time when players need rest. You lose one. You draw away vs Bosnia. Not great. You draw away vs Italy with different system and get compliments, but not the 3 points. Can happen. And then you play another friendly vs Spain (top class team) and you draw. That is fine, in my book. We need to judge Frank on his last games (finals? Euros? World Cup???). Not his first.

And now we have the win, vs Bosnia Herzegovina and we scored 3 goals and we played pretty good (with the ball) while there are still things to fix without the ball. And with the fact that Van Dijk and De Ligt were missing in the center of defence, I think it’s not strange that we allowed them to cut through our last line.

De Boer came into the mix when Koeman left unexpectedly. The Federation took its time to find a replacement, and when they did Frank had 1) limited time to find his way, 2) was told to “follow the Koeman line” and 3) wasn’t able to bring his own assistant in.

These last two clauses would normally be reasons for a guy like him (or Ten Cate or Van Gaal) to say: forget about it!

But Frank is not in a position to be selective, with jobs, so he went for it.

And he didn’t stick to the Koeman line for long, and he shouldn’t. Koeman left. Bye Koeman. And now it’s the De Boer line.

And he impressed me already and against Bosnia Herzegovina I think the players demonstrated that they like his approach.

Memphis “lost” his spot as leader of the forward line and the media gambled on a potential clash between the former star and the current star. But no! Memphis is happy to play anywhere. He is able to play from the left with Luuk de Jong as striker, as they did for a while together at PSV.

Against Bosnia, Memphis ruled the show. He was the Man of the Match and constantly threatening, capping it off with a good goal. Memphis is simply not a guy to use in a friendly.

Skipper Wijnaldum rose the occasion to with two goals and an almost hatttrick. Luuk de Jong should have had his goal too, if the linesman would have done his job, which would also have meant: 2 assists for Berghuis.

Dumfries played again and he got his assists too, and demonstrated again that 1) he’s not the best right back ever, but 2) he’s definitely better than Hateboer.

Frenkie de Jong enjoyed his game as well and Owen Wijndal again showed that we mist likely won’t have a lot of issues on the left full back spot. Van Aanholt has a couple of years in him still, Haps and Malacia at Feyenoord are knocking on the door and if need be Blind or Ake can play there as well.

Frank de Boer was relieved after the game and had high praise for his team. He also saw some elements that needed attention: “We played in a high pace and we moved a lot. They had issues with this. Usually, we start too slow and have to fight our way into the match. We were adamant, as staff, that the team started at full throttle. And we did. 20 to 25 minutes of sixth gear football, resulting in 2 goals.”

De Boer also stressed that playing opportunistic is not considered dirty. “We want to play neat football, with passes from behind, but at times, you need to play the long ball. We have speed up front in Memphis or Berghuis or even Wijndal and Dumfries! Use it, I said. I was happy to see this on the pitch. We do have to do better in certain areas though: I think we should have scored at least 3 more. We had the opportunities and were a tad too complacent at times. We also gave away space. At one point, Frenkie made a pirouette and was fouled. He started to talk to the ref, while the Bosnians sprinted away from him and Dumfries got into trouble. That can’t happen.”

A last word on Memphis: “There was some talk that he wouldn’t be happy playing from the left wing, well… you saw him play. I think he did ok. That little flick with the outside of his left, that shows you that Memphis is feeling good in this system. He is multi functional. Memphis can play anywhere, really.”

De Boer is right. Memphis starts as left winger on the team sheet, but has a free role. Luuk de Jong’s disallowed goal is a perfect example. Memphis is all the way on the right, allowing Berghuis to vacate his spot and make a dart in behind. Memphis pass is perfect and the Feyenoord winger only needs to square the ball to the Seville striker…

Steven Berghuis played another solid match, with one assist officially (and two for real). The Feyenoord winger had 8 shots on goal, the most, but hasn’t been able to register a goal in this 19 international games. For a player like him, club topscorer for the third season in a row, that is not much. “I was quite angry, actually. I had two major opportunities to score and didn’t. And I am not specifically looking to score but when I end up in the one on one with the goalie, it has to count. We do a lot of things well and I do get into the dangerous positions, all it takes now, is to pull the trigger and score!”

Expect an analysis on Berghuis, who seems to be competing for the right winger spot with Steven Berghuis and Frank de Boer’s son-in-law (yep, another one of those) Calvin Stengs.

So now, we are playing with two full backs who push up high, four creative players in attack and an offensive mid midfielder in Frenkie… This gives us a lot of creativity, but makes us also vulnerable as the photo below shows. Blind will never reach the ball. Dumfries will be too late. De Vrij is exposed and Wijndal is completely out of position… This will not end well when we play against a better opponent.

Ex Oranje legend Willem van Hanegem did have some sobering words to offer… Willem believes our team is doing ok against opponents like Bosnia who didn’t really come to make it hard on us. Once we play vs stronger opponents, the full backs need to be way more disciplined. Van Hanegem also felt that the praise for Wijndal (and Dumfries) is a bit presumptuous. Yes, Dumfries had two assists, but was vulnerable at the back, like Wijndal. On top of that, Wijndal’s crosses were poor. Vs Spain, he hit more opponents than team mates and vs Bosnia it wasn’t much better. Lastly, Willem agrees with me, that Luuk de Jong should be used as pinch hitter against the stronger clubs as he is too limited to play against the big boys. Like Willem, I too like to see more of Donyell Malen and Mo Ihattaren, who are two potential world class prospects. Luuk de Jong is not that. Neither is Babel or even Promes.
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  1. My predictions as usually.

    You are looking at the squad which will be going to the euros. Dont think there is enough time now to test new players and again if there becomes a case of an injury to any of the big names, its the end.

    Being said this if there is no disruption to the euros, the groups stages shouldnt be any problem for NT but after that im have no hope.

    It may come down to the world cup 2022 to see a more vibrant team especially with some of the players who are knocking the NT door and those who have made transfer abroad and are slowly building up on playing time and who should be ready by then. Players like Lammers,Lang,Bakker,Botman,Dilrosun,Kadigolu, Zeefuik, sinkgraven,Kluivert etc.

    This transition needs to happen after the euros.

  2. Jan,

    You still have not answered my question. What does Berghuis bring to this team? So we went from Robben to this guy? WOW! Like Willem van Hanegem said why is “Wijndal” is a starter on a Dutch NT? loL We don’t have any better? Just on that left side alone, we could of score multiple goals. This kid is very slow and soft. At least we I say Jetro Willens years ago, I was very impressed. Why is Luck De Jong is a started on a Dutch NT? We are in deep trouble. I would like to be optimistic but i can’t. I just don’t see how we can survive even a second round of any competitions with some of these guys. Hope I am wrong

    1. Hi Jean, I think I said earlier I will do an analysis on Berghuis. I’m not a machine you can put a quarter in an the analysis rolls out :-). I first wanted to do the post match analysis of the whole team.

      Berghuis is up next, don’t worry.

      As for Wijndal, he is 20 years old.

      I can get a bit frustrated with people judging youngsters as if they have 8 years experience.

      All the stars of today (Van Dijk, Wijnaldum, Memphis, Frenkie, Cillesen) were laughed at by the experts and fans in their early days.

      Just like Leo Beenhakker called the youthful Ajax the “fried chips generation”! This was Aron Winter, Richard Witschge, Frank de Boer, Dennis Bergkamp. Ridiculous.

      Rafael van der Vaart and Arjen Robben and Robin van Persie were criticized by the punters “oh, they’ll never make it, they’re soft”.

      Don’t you see the pattern?

      Yes, Stengs, Wijndal, Malen, Ihattaren…they will make mistakes. They will not be perfect. You become good by making mistakes.

      Robben was the man of glass, once. Why play Robben. He’s always injured. And on and on it goes.

      In 8 years, people will say: Does his player X need to replace Berghuis???

      1. Agree with Jan. A good example is Barcelona’s Xavi. I’ve been following Barcelona since Van Gaal took over. Xavis early days were not best but with time and good people around him he grew to be one of the best midfielders in the world. I saw a good performance from our boys against Bosnia. Waiting for the Poland game. Poland is on par with Bosnia imo besides Lewandowski. Should be easy win.

        1. No Poland is better team than Bosnia,Hard to crack…italy was lucky that they got 12 th man as refree who killed the game before it started,with in 3 minutes redcard gift to italy for an actual yellow..THEese team are favored>>>
          lETS pray that Bosnia draws italy which is unlikely..
          Poland has one of the world best striker also..When u add Veltman and hateboer youre done..

  3. I disagree on Wijndal because the first time i saw Ousmane Dembélé at Dortmund I was very impressed just like many people. When I saw Frenky De Jong I was also very impressed so as Mbappe. Watching Wijndal, I don’t think no one is impressed. I was very Impressed by Jetro Willens when I saw him the first time. At 18 yrs old, I am expecting them to make mistake. As far as this kid, I’m sorry I’ve seen much better youngsters.

    1. Ok you need to go and watch AZ’s games last season which got disrupted later on due to covid 19. The havoc him and Idrissi were causing is a testimony to what you can expect if he plays with explosive winger. They formed a lethal combo for AZ on that left flank.

      Being said this the LB situatuon has being long going area of concern for NT.Daley Blind hype, to Jetro Willems rise and fall and even Van annholt. All looked incompetent when they first jumped on to the NT stage.

      Also what you are saying about love at first sight, im afraid for defenders they tend to get better as they play more and with game time under their belt.

      Wijndal is a good offensive fullback and what you need when playing him is players especially midfielders who can cover him up when going forward. This is what big teams with offensive fullbacks do. Their midfield are always there cover them up if there is turn over.

    1. @Jean-venette, I hope its okay that I offer my 2 cents to your conversation with Wilson about Wijndal.

      I thought he looked much better against Spain than in his debut. He was good offensively in that he got himself into a number of good offensive positions. He did make the cross that led to the goal, and his speed, aggression and physicality were evident.

      The negatives: As I mentioned earlier, I thought he squandered a number of the offensive opportunities he created with less than accurate crosses, or running into blind alleys when he should have pulled back and and used his space. I haven’t seen him play enough to know whether this is typical, or it was just the excitement and circumstances of starting only his second international. (Perhaps AZ can comment.) And defensively, though he was improved positionally, he still had moments where I was wondering “why is in that position?”

      So, to my mind, you have a young guy with physical gifts (fast, strong), who could turn into a threatening and dynamic offensive player. You would hope and expect that he’ll develop better defensive awareness for no other reason than experience. He has a high ceiling. Whether he gets there or stalls out, who knows?

  4. Berghuis is not better than stengs..thats sure..But cannot say is bad than berjwin or babel…our top quality forwards are DANJUMA,MEMPHIS,STENGS,MALEN….Period…
    I hope we add Ihatteren to it..hoping someone else to step in untill then its berjwin VS berghuis for me…

  5. Common guys its too much on winjdal..that guy is okay if not great..we have 2 crap mediocre ones in veltman and hateboer…you guys are running behind winjdal????Winjdal is pretty good ,has got better physicality than blind,has got better speed than blind,winjdal is tactically aware guy…so he is okay,,.He lacks the speed of Annholt,lacks the vision of Blind…but overall he is okay…
    if hateboer can start winjdal should be indispensible from team..

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