Below is the original text I wrote straight after – or actually during – the match.
With the game behind us, we can make some short and snappy conclusions:
- The Heroes of the US game, Blind and Dumfries, the zeroes against Argentina
Scoring and assisting versus USA, and letting your man go (Blind) and conceding a penalty (Dumfries) making them the losers versus Argentina
- Confidence, mental strength and will are important
We never played with confidence, the game was sloppy, slow, measured and basically… weak. When Plan B was executed, we scored 2 (we = Wout) in 15 minutes and in the remaining 30 extra time minutes, we should have pushed on.
- Belief in penalty science unfounded
Louis and his minion Frans Hoek had decided that a scientific approach to penalty kicks would help the takers and the goalie. A whole theory was implemented and based on the 2014 deception, Van Gaal went for penalties this time, thinking he’d done the job already. In 2014, he wanted to win in 120 mins and brought Huntelaar. It failed. Now he decided not to bring Janssen or Simons but to stick it out to pens. Another mistake (in hindsight).
- Van Gaal’s arrogance
Louis decided before the game to explain how Messi was invisible in 2014 and how we would manage to do this again. He also said repeatedly: “Messi doesn’t do anything without the ball and they’ll be playing with 10 men”. These words were obviously picked up by the Argentinian media and Messi was fuelled like never before.
Never Make Messi Angry. Never
Confronts van Gaal and tells him "You talk too much".
Van Gaal in shock and almost crys 🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/pwydKVPDcd
— Khaleed (@afayeed254) December 9, 2022
- Where is Ziyech??
Ziyech chose Morocco, which prompted the many Dutch experts to say “how can you pick Morocco when you have more chances to win silverware with Holland??”. Well, Morocco is playing the semi finals, Oranje is on a plane home.
- Just not good enough
There are many subtleties that could have gone different: Danjuma instead of Taylor, Bijlow instead of Noppert, Malacia instead of Blind but overall, I think it is fair to say we were simply not good enough to win the title. Quarter finals sounds just about right.
Sadly, I am at an airport gate waiting for my flight after a couple of days of business in Melbourne.
I hoped to be able to ignore the game and watch it at home, after the match, but there is no escaping Messi and co. So I missed the 1st half, and I’m currently watching the 2nd half, 2-0 down, with 15 minutes to go.
And from what I have seen, we have been kicked out of the tournament at the highest level we have a right to be. We don’t deserve to play the semi finals, let alone the finals. Not good enough.
Not Dumfries, not Blind, not Koopmeiners and in this form, not Memphis even.
I didn’t see the 1st half but I can imagine De Roon and Bergwijn didn’t bring much. I saw the 1-0, and yes, Blind didn’t look good, but neither did the whole part of the team dealing with Messi. And lets face it, that pass was sublime, as was the run. You will all tell me how bad Blind dealt with it, I’m sure but Van Dijk should have tackled with his left, on the ball and there will have been others wanting as well (Ake, De Jong).
Still 45 mins to recover, but Koopmeiners had another dreadful game, with balls bouncing off his feet, passing backwards all the time and Memphis dribbling into cul de sacs, while Dumfries – again – saw no way through as he was constantly forced into a dribbles he cannot do.
Overall, a weak performance. 1 attempt on goal, none on target in the first 70 minutes.
It’s sad, we could have gone all the way, as Croatia would be a better opponent than Brazil, but at least we can cheer for Messi as he might well win it, finally.
We can be angry, disappointed, pissed off, disgusted, but I think we can only say that we are not good enough.
Ake, Van Dijk, Frenkie de Jong were consistent. Noppert was great, but overall not that great.
And while I am typing this, Berghuis curves the ball onto Weghorst’s head: 2-1. Wow.
— NOS Sport (@NOSsport) December 9, 2022
A grand finale?
WHAT IS HAPPENING???? 2-2!!!
— NOS Sport (@NOSsport) December 9, 2022