You can see their response: De Boer and Hiddink yell NOOO, Van Gaal fancies it…. Adriaanse tries to find the exit and Rijkaard & Koeman act as if they’re deaf… 🙂
While Italy, Germany and Spain excite the world of football (and soccer 😉 ) the Dutch are debating, blaming, leaking, hiding, evaluating and – since yesterday – looking for a new coach…
While all this is happening, it is interesting to see – on a grander scale – how three of the four semi finalists owe a lot to the Dutch football school.
It’s not a secret that Barcelona and therefore Spain as a football team owes a lot to Johan Cruyff, Rinus Michels and to a lesser extend Louis van Gaal and Frank Rijkaard. Total football was introducted to Barcelona in the 1970s and Guardiola and co have all expressed their gratitude to JC for his football lessons. Xavi, Iniesta and even Guardiola have shared how Louis van Gaal, despite being less influential, also added some touches to the way they play football in Barcelona and with so many Barca players in the national team, it’s only logical that Spain plays, well, Dutch…
It’s also known to most that Germany has made a huge shift from 2004 onwards in recognizing that youth development and personal abilities are key pillars for football. When Klinsmann and Low took the reigns in 2006, a huge youth development turnaround Total Football-style was under way, allowing players like Muller, Ozil, Kroos and Reus to make their way to the top, playing un-German football.
Former Bayern assistant coach Andries Jonker (no, he’s not a candidate for the job!!) explained earlier how Low copied the way Van Gaal played with Bayern in his first season. The positions Van Gaal found for players like Schweini, Muller, Badstuber and Boateng was instantly copied and although Gomez did not have a good relationship with Die Mannschaft, now the lanky Bayern center is the first choice for the German coach. Jonker: “Low did exactly what we did, and picked the best alternatives for the spots we had occupied by foreign players.”
What I didn’t know, is that Arrigo Sacchi – of AC Milan 1980s fame – is the current director of youth development of the Italian Football federation. Since quite some time now, he’s moulding the Italian youth rep teams to the – yes, you guessed it – Dutch school. It was never a secret that he loved Dutch football ( Duh!! Gullit, Van Basten, Rijkaard) but what I didn’t know is that as a young man he traveled with his dad to Holland a lot, as his dad was a shoe salesman and visited Dutch customers in Amsterdam. And young Arrigo would take the tram to the De Meer to watch Cruyff and co train under Michels, Kovacs and Ivics. These lessons are now imposed on the youth reps of Italy and coach Brandelli and Sacchi work well together in translating this onto the pitch.
Portugal is the one country of the top 4 not really interested in playing Dutch. They play “10 mediocre players + C Ronaldo” tactics.
So, with the real Dutch team imploding and playing without any passion, tactics, cohesion and desire, it’s good to see three other “Dutch” teams playing with intelligence, intend, focus and joy…
And I do wonder…. Cassano, Balotelli and Pirlo… They make the difference… What if we would play Robben, Van Persie up front with Sneijder in the Pirlo role… And the rest of the team simply in service of those three… So Van der Vaart, Huntelaar, Afellay and all the other wanna-be artists: on the bench!
A team like this…
Robben – Robin
Schaars Strootman Sneijder De Jong
Emanuelson Heitinga Vlaar VD Wiel
Three prima donnas and 7 work horses…