Tag: Cor Pot

Jong Oranje failed!

I think hard and long about my post titles, and this is the one that won. Not “Lousy Italians steal victory”, not “Unlucky Jong Oranje leaves tournament with heads up high” and not “Cor Pot rested his players but it didn’t show”.

It was a horrific game to watch. I think for neutral viewers but definitely for Oranje fans.

In the first 5 minutes, we saw one yellow card and numerous referee forced stops. After 30 minutes, there were already 20 fouls. And of course a free kick on the post by Maher.

It took at least 25 minutes before we saw some flowing play (by Holland) and to be honest, that whole phase before the break was Holland’s most impressive, with good runs and plays on the left and right flank, with Wijnaldum and Van Rhijn on the one, and John and Blind on the other side.

We ended the first half with another free kick opportunity for Maher, who sadly missed the target, as the Italian goalie was frozen to the ground.

But all that didn’t result in a goal.

The second half was pretty one-sided until that one moment. The so-called attractive and attacking playing Italians played their traditional defensive game and Oranje simply was not good enough to break them down.

Only one real chance in that stage and the pull back from De Jong, beating the goalie, was 2 yards behind runner Van Ginkel. Not De Jong’s fault, in my book. It was too eagerly run by Van Ginkel. If he paced it, he would have had an easy tap in and if the ball was 2 yards in front of him he could have slid it in. Now, he forced De Jong to give a pinpoin accurate pass. Without De Jong being able to see where Van Ginkel was.

For all the rest of the effort, little to show for it. Ola John’s engine was out in the second half, Wijnaldum couldn’t get the combination going, Van Rhijn was indecisive, Maher active but unlucky, Van Ginkel made runs that weren’t rewarded and Strootman fought for all he could but never really contributed in the build up.

Pot responded with the usual, predictable changes. Depay for John was logical and the young PSV winger had some good spells. Van der Hoorn had to come on for the injured De Vrij and Fer came on late (too late for me) for Blind.

Van der Hoorn would unfortunately play a part in the Italian goal, where he clumsily “bit” in the trick and allowed the goal scorer to turn away and score.


But we didn’t lose this game because Van der Hoorn made a mistake.

We lost the game because the Italians were better, fitter and smarter.

And had more luck. One has to say. One ball on the post and a penalty shout in the first half, could have gone the other way of course.

But Holland needs to look into the mirror.

First to do so: the KNVB. If they take this tournament and this team seriously, why put Cor Pot in charge?

What is his claim to fame? How is he the youth development maestro? (See Spain, where their coaches move up through the system and “breathe” the Spanish style of football. Italy by the way, same deal).

The KNVB is the first to blame, with coach Cor Pot the second. Although I think he did what he could. He simply can’t do better than he did.

A team like this, with these prospects, a year before a World Cup deserves a coach of a different caliber. Someone like Ronald de Boer maybe? Phillip Cocu? Alphons Groenendijk? Jean Paul van Gastel? Jaap Stam? Alex Pastoor? Ron Jans? John van den Brom? John van ‘t Schip?

Someone with tactical smarts and who knows what it takes to win at the highest level.

Sure, you can say “the players had to do it and they didn’t”, but the players that were on the pitch were clearly not gelled into a swinging team.

Lets take the pace.

If you want to create chances against a defensive Italian side, you need to play with pace. High ball speed. Swift one touch / two touch passing. Simple but quick. And reach the wide players fast (so they are one on one) or play into the deepest man fast (so the midfielders can either move up or even overlap). None of this happened.

Lets take the build up patterns.

As I said before WHERE IS CLASIE? We need one player in midfield who can sit deep with defence, always available to take the ball and always ready to accelerate the game forwards. Against Germany, Russia and against Italy, none of the midfielders took that role. The reason is simple: Pot plays with three midfielders and the central one plays high. The other two mix up the tasks of box to box so one of the two came back to collect and build up, if the other went high up the park. Strootman is not bad at this, Van Ginkel is not used to it. He can do a lot but giving the killer pass is not what he is about. He even had clumsy loss of possession a number of times close to our last line of defence. This team – these central defenders – need a central midfielder who sits deep, not high. A player like Scholes, Xavi, Cabaye… A player like Clasie. Although Adam Maher can play that role too, mind you! So I missed that role (and that player). I would have played Strootman and Van Ginkel on left and right of midfield, with Van Ginkel free to make his forward runs. And I would have benched De Jong who is not that helpful against opponents like Italy and Spain. De Jong is great against lesser opponents. I would have played Adam Maher in the Messi role. The roaming center forward, making space for Wijnaldum and Van Ginkel and John.

That would be a dreamteam.

Still not convinced of Jeroen Zoet, I felt his clearances were poor and added to insecurity with Blind and Van Rhijn.

Italy won it deservedly, at the end of the day. More mature, more shrewdness. Not as bad as the Euro2000 semi finals, fortunately.

But we have learned valuable lessons this tournament.

The most valuable one: there is a LOT of work to be done. But Van Gaal is a coach who can handle that, at least.

We thank Cor Pot for all his contributions. I fear he was too lightweight for the job, but you can’t blame him for accepting the task of course.

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Hours before the semi-finals, how is Jong Oranje

Louis van Gaal is in Israel. Danny Blind and him will be scouting the 12 capped players in Pot’s squad. “We are also hear to stimulate them of course. I selected a great number of these lads so It’s only logical that I’m here to see how they operate in a tournament like this.”

Van Gaal is not going to meet with the players or with Cor Pot. “I am not here to obstruct their process or to interfere. I am in another hotel. I will not wander over to their hotel.”

Van Gaal clearly would like to be invited by Pot. Earlier in the week, the two coaches had a bit of a spat. Van Gaal commented on the first game against Germany, saying the first half was good, but the second half was below par. This stung Cor Pot who responded in the media and later had to field questions about it. When asked at a press conference on his birthday whether he had been congratulated by Van Gaal, he said: “He sent me an sms after the Germany game to congratulate, but not on my birthday.”

When asked later if he got annoyed with Louis van Gaal’s behaviour. He said “Holland has 16 mio team manager and he actually is a real one. So yes, he can have an opinion. I don’t mind that he gives his opinion, but in all honesty I doesn’t mean anything to me. It is easy to judge from a distance. We are doing this project and we do this ourselves.”

The tension is palpable when asked whether he reports back to Van Gaal. “Report back? No? Why? He can watch tv, can’t he? This is my team.”

Pot realises more and more that his decision to bench the whole first team was a huge risk. Winning against Italy is almost a must for him as losing will undoubtedly result in “we told you so” stories. (Like I said post-game).

This might well have been a mastermove by a James Bond Villainesqe football coach as the players might be totally motivated to win it.

Pot: ” That is football. Opportunistic. If we win, we party. If we lose, it’s my fault. That is how it works.”

Adam Maher is quite convinced we win the whole thing. “I shouldn’t say that. Let us focus on Italy first. But we are strong and haven’t played out best football yet. We are good in big games. Four years ago, I was at the 2007 World Cup in Nigeria and we had a bunch of similar lads then, like Ola John, Martins Indi…But we lacked the mentality then.”

Maher admits he needs to be more important. “I hope I can bring it in this game. These knock out games are good as they allow for more space. My second game vs Italy…”

Adam Maher played his first cap for Oranje against Italy, and Pirlo.

“That was such an honour, Pirlo is one of my heroes on the field. And now I play against him. It was really good to see how he choses the simple ball and never tried to do something clever for the sake of it. He is so efficient. I think I played him well and I have his jersey!”

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Cor Pot, you may have made the biggest blunder!!

These were my thoughts when I saw the line up before the game.

A big NO NO for me. We were in a similar situation in 2006 and 2008 with the seniors, progressing after two games and in both cases I expressed my convictions on this…

This post will NOT be about the game. It will not be about how great Spain is, or how they dive, or how they score or how we missed two huge sitters… It will not even be about Norway or Italy.

I don’t CARE about Norway and Italy at the moment. Those are for this weekend.

This post is about psychology. My view on matters. I am not claiming I know all this for a fact, ok? It is simply my conviction.

Here goes:

Resting players who are fit is not needed. 21 year olds playing 3 x 90 minutes in 8 days is NOT a big deal. Physically. That is, if the training intensity and nutritions is managed well. With 23 support staff, lets assume it is.

A team in the zone, in the flow, is not a team to rest. Why would you take the pressure of these guys, only to have them finding their mojo again? Not smart.

Then, acknowledging and re-enforcing the fact that there is a B-Team is not smart. Putting Fer, Clasie, Hoessen and co in the “B-side” is basically telling them: you will only get a chance as a sub.

It is creating a division in the squad. Subconsciously, players like Van Ginkel, Strootman, Wijnaldum will walk around differently and deal with Clasie, Nuytinck and Fer differently. It’s how it works in a dressing room with testosterone filled young lads. Survival of the fittest and all that jazz.

And… Somewhere in the build up to this game, someone (most likely Cor Pot) will have said “….and don’t forget, we do not have to win this game….”….

Subconsciously, the players who play will make the connection between “I play” and “it’s ok to lose”. In other words: if we needed a win, the other lads were picked.

Not handy, Cor Pot.

And so there are three potential results per player: either they play below par, as the coach took the pressure of this performance. Even only 5% less “oomph” will be felt and is noticeable. Or….they give 120% to prove the coach wrong and the result is a player trying to do too much. Or going in too wildly. Yellow cards are normally the result.

The third results is obviously, the player plays its normal game. But, in a team that never played together and lacks automatisms, what is “normal play”?

How will Pot ever determine if Depay did well, or whether Fer should make a step up?

This game only brings mayhem.

Because if they would have won this 3-0, they would have asked questions of Pot. If Hoessen scored a brace and gave the assist, he would have clearly made his point. If Clasie would have been Man of the Match, Van Hanegem would have roused up more media support.

Why would you want all this?

But now they lost 3-0 and it feels like “yeah, but hey…it was only the B-team”… The international soccer / football media will report this. Holland lost, but….hehehehe, it was “only” their second rate team. Shit Cor Pot!

And this loss will further emphasize in the heads of Van Aanholt, Depay, Jozefzoon, etc that this tournament is basically over for them.

And it will further divide the squad. The losers vs the winners.

Oh, and did I mention the yellows? Hoessen, Fer and probably some I missed… Nice.

I think it was a blunder. I hope I am wrong.

I hope we will see the A-team beat Italy in the semis and Norway in the finals. I hope Cor Pot will write me a post saying “you don’t get it, idiot!”. I do hope so.

But I feel this move has not helped us. You need to want to win every game. You need to program yourself that not one game gets thrown. This is how you create winners.

This is the first game in a long time where I was happy to switch the tv off while a team in Oranje was playing.

A more positive post tomorrow folks. I’m pissed off. Got out of bed early for this one and feel screwed by the coach.

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Young Oranje coasts to semi finals…

With an empathic win over Russia, Holland has confirmed their status as finals favorite. In the second game of the tournament, Oranje added five goals to their tally of three, but unfortunately could not keep a clean sheet against a weak Russia side.

Cor Pot hadn’t changed his line up for the Russia game. He probably knows best, but playing 3 games in 8 days after a long season might be a good reason to mix things up a bit, I thought. I could have justified bringing Fer for Van Ginkel for instance, or as I said earlier on, Clasie for Strootman or Van Ginkel.

But as the punters here have picked up: Strootman seems to enjoy a protected status and is beyond question.

Russia played a defensive game against Spain earlier on and had to get something out of this one, so we expected Russia to open up a bit and allow for space. That indeed happened, the game was fairly open from the start, although Russia did resort to counter football and slowed the game down to walking pace for long stretches. Oranje played patient game but in my view was still very sloppy in taking advantage of certain moments.

Oranje being sometimes too playful, too intricate and at times not seeing the easy solutions.

It seemed like Russia would be able to reach the break with an even score and memories of the late winner of Spain came to mind for this game.

But in telling style, it was Wijnaldum who broke the deadlock, almost in similar fashion as his goal against Germany.

The winger-who-is-not-a-winger cut inside again, dribbling and spotting the gap before hitting the leather with his powerful right (it was his left against Germany).

wijnaldum scores 2

Wijnaldum lifted, Cor Pot enjoys it…

Wijnaldum was almost invisible the whole period before his goal. He made room for Van Rhijn (who played very good by the way) and had some combinations with Van Ginkel but we saw none of his dribbles on the flank.

Contrary to Ola John who started the game with the spring in his step. John is a natural, as he would prove time and time again in the game. Great first touches, vision in the pass-move dynamics, work rate, good crosses and scoring ability. The real deal.


So a lot when through the middle and over the left flank and mainly in the center of the pitch I felt we disappointed. Maher and De Jong played a tough first half (although De Jong rattled the post with a free header). De Jong is always threatening when the ball is crossed in, but in the combination with Maher and Strootman, he seems lacking.

Maher seems tired. The youngster had a big season with AZ (winning the National Cup) and must be thinking about his future, as Ajax and PSV expect to do battle over him although numerous EPL clubs are now chasing him too.

Maher showed his class in moments. He needs to be more dominant, needs to be the high up the park playmaker for us, but he has never looked the part. This is partly also because he lacks a player behind him capable of playing the one-touch killer pass.

In the second half, the game opened up more for Oranje when the French ref deservedly sent a Russian player off. He slid from behind with his studs up and a stretched leg into Maher achilles… A dangerous tackle, from behind. Ergo: red. It might have looked harsh, but the rules support the ref and we could have had a similar situation as with Italian star Insigne, who had to leave the pitch early against Israel.


Luuk RussiaFinally Luuk gets one…

The same Maher showed he could play on, when he took a Van Rhijn cross on his right on the half-volley turn and hitting a cracker on the cross bar. The whole stadium could hear the goal frame moan and Maher almost had the goal of the tournament. Luck again, for the goalie.

With 10 against 11 it was not a real contest anymore. Or so it seems. Luuk de Jong got his goal after being close a couple of times, on a measured Van Ginkel cross.

Unmarked, he placed the ball diagonally across to the far post, giving the goalie no chance.

Russia, however, stepped up a gear. Being behind and being one man down, they played all or nothing. And got a goal. Another defensive debacle with lots of orange shirts running around but no one marking the man that mattered. Infuriating Cor Pot on the bench who saw a “Germany-scenario” unfold.

But Holland didn’t get a tight arse this time and played itself to another 2 goal cushion when a long Zoet kick got extended by De Jong into the path of Ola John who had not trouble chipping the ball for the 3-1.

With Leroy Fer for Maher, Clasie for Strootman and Hoessen for De Jong, Cor Pot secured the win. A well worked attack involving John again gave Fer the chance to score his second of the tournament, as his buddy Wijnaldum did. Not much later, Fer – with some luck – got the ball to Ajax striker Hoessen who in typical Oranje/Ajax style chipped the goalie again to make it 5-1.

There were certainly chances for more, after Russia gave up but the heat and fatigue coupled with some sloppy play shielded the Russians from a double-digit debacle.

An easy win, in hindsight with a lot of great and not-so-great aspects to it.


There is nothing wrong with 4-3-3 but as Wijnaldum showed in the two games: he is not a right winger. He loves to come inside and allow Van Rhijn the overlap. Playing Van Ginkel as right midfielder sort of blocks Wijnaldum on the right and a couple of times it was clear he had no space to operate in. Playing with a wide winger on the left and a more inside focused player on the right is absolutely fine, but I believe Van Ginkel should make way for Clasie.

In this way, the defensive four have a target always (Clasie) while Wijnaldum can drift into the open space on the right. Van Rhijn hardly ever has a direct opponent at this level, so why not?

game end

Van Ginkel does well, don’t get me wrong. He is active, he works hard, he can penetrate but I feel we need less running and more brains. A one-touch pass right in the feet of a runner (Wijnaldum, Maher, John, Strootman, Van Rhijn), perfectly weighted, is more needed. And currently, we don’t have anyone offering that.

Player dynamics

Mostly good. The left flank is strong. The combinations between Martins Indi, Blind, Strootman, John are solid and John almost always wants to execute the correct decision.

The right flank is a bit sluggish. Wijnaldum needs space to drift. And doesn’t get it.

Maher and De Jong have not forged a romantic relationship yet. Whenever Maher drifts deep to get the ball, you know he is in trouble. And he did so a couple of times in the first half.

Strootman, Van Ginkel and Maher in midfield to me is out of balance. Too much testosteron, not enough brains. (Maher definitely is a smart player of course, but he needs someone behind him who recognises his actions). I believe Maher’s disappointing game is also the result of the players around him. Say no more.

The Defensive four played really strong and these lads should be comfortable as they will play a lot of senior games too.


I think Ola John, Daley Blind and Ricardo van Rhijn were the key players in this game for us. Martins Indi and De Vrij were good, De Vrij atoned for his bad spell against Germany while Luuk de Jong worked hard but was unlucky with his team mates just fumbling the key pass or playing the ball behind him.

Strootman and Van Ginkel put it in a good work shift but at times their passing was too hasty or at times too lacklustre.

Jeroen Zoet didn’t impress me. Again. The second German goal was not unstoppable and he missed a corner against the Russians and had some below par clearances against Russia. He is not yet of the level of Vermeer or Cillisen in my book (let alone Tyton (PSV) or Vorm and Krul (Oranje)).

Cor Pot now has choices to make against Spain. Is he playing the same eleven again (3rd game in 7 days)? Will he risk it? Or is it time to mix it up and use the Dutch Xavi (Clasie) alongside Leroy Fer instead of Strootman and Van Ginkel?

Maher didn’t look fresh when subbed and he might also be on the list to sit one out. Wijnaldum clearly relishes the no. 10 spot and with Jozefzoon (or even Van Ginkel) on the right wing, we will not lose any strength.

If we do beat Spain, we are likely to face off against Norway. A very physical team. Which might be a good reason to rest Van Ginkel and Strootman for a game… We will need at least 16 players to win this one, as Fer, Hoessen, Jozefzoon and Clasie have already demonstrated…

blind pot Daley Blind played a perfect game

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Oranje wins in German style….

Any international game between Oranje and Germany is ALWAYS eventful. And it always matters a lot! Even if it doesn’t matter at all….

It has been 20 years since Young Oranje beat Young Germany and if there ever was a good time for Jong Oranje to win again it was now. In a group with Spain and Russia, getting three points in the openings game was considered key.

And man, did we show the Germans!! Beating them in the dying minutes, Mannschaft style!

And man, did we give them football lessons in the first half!

And man, did we squeeze our arses together in the second half….

I’m a glass-half-full man myself… Actually, I’m the guy pushing the glasses aside and grabbing the bottle….

But we do have to face up to that dreadful second half start. My goodness. NOT good.

We will stay positive, of course. And despite a slow build up, it was all Oranje in the first half. The Germans did show they can play good football, but Oranje beat them on every aspect. More aggression, more pressure, better understanding, bigger work ethos and most definitely more skill.

We demonstrated some good moves, got a couple of corners, Maher got a 100% chance. It was very good to watch on all counts. Wijnaldum was invisible for the first 15 minutes and I remembered thinking “why not Jozefzoon”, but boy did he show his metal.

It was a fine football demostration (the Setanta commentator couldn’t find enough words to praise Oranje) but one has to say: Germany was really weak (and needed a tactical change to counter us).

Although I personally would have preferred to have seen Clasie for Van Ginkel. De Vitesse player did have a good first half (and he definitely played a strong second half) but Oranje missed a quick accelerator in midfield to support in the build up. Strootman is capable of playing the Van Ginkel role while Clasie’s presence gives the center backs an outlet, allowing our full back to push up more…. I believe Van Ginkel and Strootman are too similar and don’t seem to have the rapport you would want your players to have, also not with Maher. The AZ midfielder did have an instrumental role but drifted out of the game too often too.

Adam Maher found the net first, after a slick move by Ola John, while Gio Wijnaldum created the second all by himself. Clearly annoyed that was not used in the first 20 minutes of the game, the PSV player started to show more of himself by drifting inwards.

Dribbling past 4 opponents the winger took the ball on his left for a zinger. It seemed the goalie blocked the shot but it veered into the net of the goalies fingers. A massive celebration ensued and Wijnaldum would add a couple of very cool flicks to the game before being subbed in the second half, after having taken a knock.

But in typical Oranje form, we forgot all our best intentions coming out of the dressing room.

You could see what was going to happen. The German players were ready and waiting, eager to start the second half. You know what that means.

And one minute into the second half, my growing doubts on Stefan de Vrij further increased. He has made a number of these slip ups, in some key Feyenoord games recently, and you can not do that at this level. Against Germany, it is immediately a goal.

And with the risk of a sending off for Zoet and a penalty against, De Vrij really needs to have someone give him a blowdry speech.

The period after that German goal was atrocious. Around 20 minutes of headless chook football. No system, no pressure, too much space between the lines…. maybe, no leadership either (although Strootman was seen gesticulating and yelling…). In these cases you need to be able to hold the ball in the team. How do you do this? Positioning. Work rate. Pass and move. This is how you take the sting out of the German game. They can’t press for another 45 minutes, and the resolve would go out of the window.

But we failed to do so. Our positioning play was horrific. We seemed to panic almost.

Allowing Germany to take two short corner kicks without realising it (offering them shooting chances) is a typical symptom of tactical imatureness, lack of communication and leadership and downright weakness. It was Ola John at first and Jozefzoon later who were caught out and the Germans played for a spell as if they were Dutch.

We slowly got more composure and the work rate of players like Van Ginkel and Strootman got us back in the game. Luuk de Jong made a nuisance of himself and through a quick break Jozefzoon was almost the matchwinner with his first touch of the game.

The 2-2 again demonstrated our defensive weakness. In the EPL, this would never have been a goal. You simply are not allowed to take the ball in a wide direction without a massive block tackle. And when Holtby took the shot, two players could’ve / should’ve blocked him… And I personally believe Zoet could have done better….

So, 2-2.

I feared a complete meltdown. But somehow the team decided not to give the game away. And led by a fearsome Martins Indi and a hard working Adam Maher Oranje fought itself back into the game.

Cor Pot decided to abandon the 4-3-3 and brought Leroy Fer for Ola John. Luuk de Jong and Maher played upfront and the team pushed once more, resulting in a fine opportunity for Fer, who headed over and beyond.

A couple of minutes later, Van Ginkel was loose running into the box and a desperate block stopped the Chelsea target from scoring. It was from the resulting Adam Maher corner kick that the aggressive Fer could attack the ball and score like we have seen him score so often already. And with 5 minutes on the clock, we would not allow the Germans back into the game.

A deserved win, is what I say (but I’m biased). It puts Holland at 3 points and Germany on zero, and the Germans are up against Spain next… A great start. Key for Holland now is to keep the first half form and lose the second half dip.
Coach Cor Pot was the winning coach, bringing the matchwinner only minutes before he scored…. “Yep, a golden change,” he said. “I’m happy with that. But I’m totally soaked from sweat, haha. The first half was beautiful to watch but after the break we did it all wrong. We became insecure after that quick penalty and they grew wings. We needed more physical presence and with Fer we got that.”

Leroy Fer was matchwinner. The man who scored so many important goals for his club Twente and Jong Oranje in key games. But he started on the bench. “Yes, that is always crap of course, haha. But I knew I would get my chance. And to come in like this is wonderful. But it is a team sport, it’s not about me.”

Skipper Strootman was not happy with the second half. He was playing like a traffic warden for 20 minutes… “We got that penalty after an individual mistake and then we all seemed to lose it… But I’m happy we were able to straighten our back and winning this is absolutely great. We showed the world that we can play and we got the three points. What more can you ask?”

Jeroen Zoet was relieved to only see a yellow card after his foul on Holtby. “I know that some refs do give red for this. I’m not sure if Holtby would have been able to keep the ball in, and I’m not sure what made the ref give me yellow. I was a bit scared there….”

Van Ginkel admits the team had fear. “Well, you know the Germans can come at you when it’s suddenly 2-1 and I think we did get some fear into the team, yes. And they did have chances to win it even, they may have been the more dominant team in the last phase. But I knew we would have chances in the turnaround.”

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Van Hanegem on Jong Oranje

It is starting to itch, right? A European Cup tournament which might take the bitterness away from last year’s debacle in Poland/Ukraine!

I am working to get us a predictor game going on the site, but time is short and IT challenges huge, hahaha.

So while LVG takes his group on a fun tour to Asia to meet Carlos and Mourinho is chasing Sneijder for Chelsea, we will focus on the Young Oranje troop.

In the meantime, the AD newspaper asked Oracle Willem van Hanegem to give his opinion.

Here goes:

In General

“The EC squad oozes talent. That is correct. But talent is not enough. If we believe we will win this because we have so many exciting players, we will have lost it early on. Spain, Germany, Italy, they talent too, trust me. This squad needs to be able to play like a team. To work like a team and to sacrifice. I hated being benched, but players like Van Ginkel, Fer and De Jong might not play. And they should be able to handle that, despite their egos. The KNVB takes this very seriously. I read they sent 23 people in the staff!! That is as much as we have players? I get a little nervous when I read that. All that quasi interesting stuff, like secret practices and all that. Rubbish. But coach Pot has one ace up his sleeve. Van Gaal is scrutinising what will happen and once established players stop acting in the interest of the team, Van Gaal will scratch those names from his list. That is a strong tool for Pot to use in keeping the egos in check. They should all realise that this EC is a unique opportunity for them all.”


“I believe we have very talented goalies. We have a couple at senior level and with Jeroen Zoet we have another good goalie for the future. He has quality, he has experience and PSV will most likely make him first goalie next season. Which I don’t understand, because despite his qualities, I think Tyton is simply better, but what do I know? Bizot (Groningen) and Marsman (Go Ahead Eagles) have shown to be very decent talents, but how will they act under pressure. Go Ahead Eagles – Eindhoven is not the same as Young Holland – Young Spain in the finals of an EC….”


“Van Rhijn and Blind will be the starters without a doubt. Blind is A international so it’s logical I guess, for Pot to pick him. I would pick Van Aanholt, to be honest. I like Blind, he is a great player, but Van Aanholt for me is more complete as a full back. Very aggressive, very fast and is very capable of going the distances all the time. I am not a big Van Rhijn fan. He is good offensively, but vulnerable defensively. Most goals Ajax conceded were on his side, whenever he picked the wrong moment to go forward. Leerdam is as good as Van Rhijn if not better. Although Leerdam is mentally a bit weak. Always whining. As for the central defenders, I am a bit concerned that Gouweleeuw and Bruma are not part of the squad. Goueweleeuw can play midfield too, has a very strong passing game… Bruma, I don’t get why he isn’t part of it. He missed a couple of games. So what? He is so talented… I saw him against Jong Norway and I was deeply impressed. He is strong, tall, good header, fast… he has something. I think PSV did a wonderful deal to get him. Definitely a top investment.”


“I like the midfielders Pot selected. The one worry I have is the continiously complimenting of Strootman. Van Gaal does it, now Pot does it. A born leader, etc etc. But I say: be careful. I too believe he has a lot of future, but I watched him in the recent weeks and I was shocked. As if he didn’t know how to play anymore. Positionally, he was doing everything wrong. He left his man go, he took the wrong decisions…. In the business end of the competition, that is where I wanted to see him! But Clasie had a dip too. I think it has to do with stuff off pitch. Clasie had his tough contractual negotiations with Feyenoord, maybe Strootman is talking to some club, who knows. I expect a lot from Clasie. He wins challenges and he brings speed in the attack, with his pinpoint passing. Maher is very talented too, but Pot will have to work on his discipline. With Strootman and Clasie behind him, Maher needs to play high up the park. And he tends to drop deep at times to get the feel of the ball, but it stops the flow of the game. I also think he needs to be quicker in the turnaround. He tends to dream away still. The subs are great. Van Ginkel is very disciplined, Fer offers power and aggression and Vilhena is on his way to becoming a big player too.”


“Ola John played 40 games this season for Benfica. Not a bad team. That means a lot. Physically, he is strong too. In Portugal, they don’t treat wingers as ladies. They will beat you up with a smile there. Depay is quite a talent too. I like that lad. It was a big fashionable to say that Wijnaldum is not good enough. I didn’t like that. He is really one of the most developed players in this squad. He is still young, people forget that. Problem with Wijnaldum is, he is not a real winger. If the coach uses him, he needs to give him a free role to explore. And then John needs to be limited to playing stiff on the left. I do believe Jozefzoon is an excellent alternative. He had a top season. Luuk de Jong is a good central striker. Great header, good mentality. He is not the best football player, but hey… Hoesen is a logical choice behind him. I think Castaignos should have been there, but he has not wanted it enough. He simply doesn’t radiate that killer mentality. He runs around as if he doesn’t really care. He’ll need to change that. Hoesen hasn’t played a lot but whenever he got onto the pitch, he scored. A natural in the box.”

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Focus on: Young Oranje, preparing for European Title

Young Oranje wants the European Title. Full Stop. And with the group of talents at Cor Pot’s disposal you can understand the optimism.

Today, Pot announced his final 23. Jeffrey Bruma (HSV), Jetro Willems (PSV) and Danny Hoesen (Ajax) are the biggest victims of Cor Pot’s decision making while Feyenoord allrounder Kelvin Leerdam can be seen as a surprise.

Jeffrey Bruma, on PSV’s hot list for next season, hardly played at Hamburg SV and lost out against Utrecht talent Mike van der Hoorn, who is also on Louis van Gaal’s shortlist for the Big Oranje.

Jetro Willems already played an EC for the Big Oranje but fell in the hierarchy at young Oranje behind Daley Blind and Patrick van Aanholt. The latter, Chelsea loanie to Vitesse, seemed to get sidetracked in his career but he fought himself back into the limelight this season.

Danny Hoesen, former Fulham player and scoring prolifically for Ajax as a sub, simply has too much competition and not enough playing rhythm. Cor Pot has ample choice. Lerin Duarte, ex Sparta and now Heracles, will be given a couple of weeks with the squad to prove himself. The mainstay midfielder of Young Oranje was injured for a spell, and out of loyalty, Pot gives him a break.

This Friday, Young Oranje will play Young Australia.

It seems that Pot already knows who he will play upfront. Georginhio Wijnaldum is the right winger, Luuk de Jong the central striker and Ola John will most likely be the left winger for the tournament. With Luciano Narsingh and JP Boetius injured, it seems these three will lead the line. Yanic Wildschut (VVV) will have to await his chances. Both Memphis Depay (PSV) and FLorian Jozefzoon (RKC, ex-Ajax) have had a strong competition finish, something Cor Pot certainly noticed.

Gio Wijnaldum’s step brother Rajiv Van La Parra (Heerenveen) will most likely be the victim of this situation.

Kelvin Leerdam is the only player without real playing rhythm. The Feyenoord player played his last full game for Feyenoord in October 2012, when he had a fall out over contractual matters. He played six minutes against Vitesse last month. Pot will select him as he has no real alternatives for the right back position, behind Ricardo van Rhijn.

Young Oranje will start with a training camp in Dorwerth. On Friday, May 24 Young Oranje will play a friendly against Young Australia in Emmen.

The EC Squad:

Patrick van Aanholt (Vitesse), Marco Bizot (FC Groningen), Daley Blind (Ajax), Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Memphis Depay (PSV), Leroy Fer (FC Twente), Marco van Ginkel (Vitesse), Mike van der Hoorn (FC Utrecht), Ola John (Benfica), Luuk de Jong (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Florian Jozefzoon (RKC Waalwijk), Kelvin Leerdam (Feyenoord), Jürgen Locadia (PSV), Adam Maher (AZ), Nick Marsman (Go Ahead Eagles), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Bram Nuytinck (Anderlecht), Ricardo van Rhijn (Ajax), Kevin Strootman (PSV), Tonny Trindade de Vilhena (Feyenoord), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV), Jeroen Zoet (RKC Waalwijk).

Leroy Fer is the record international of this group. The Twente midfielder made his debut in 2009 and now has played 27 times in the talent team. With Mark van Bommel and Roy Makaay, he has the fourth spot in the list of most capped Young Oranje players ever. Arnold Bruggink ( Twente, PSV) with 31, Daniel de Ridder ( Ajax) with 30 and Niels Oude Kamphuis ( Twente and Schalke) are ahead of him.

Marco van Ginkel’s name is mentioned a lot in the transfer articles and musings. The Vitesse midfielder is aware of the carrousel. “So, Eriksen and De Jong need to leave Ajax, and then De Boer wants Maher and me? That is what I read. Which is all fine and dandy, but it’s not something I really want to deal with right now. I am focusing on the EC. Whatever happens with my contract is for later. I still have a two year deal in Arnhem and my biggest aim was to play European football. We will do so with Vitesse too, so I am not fussed. Now I’ll take a break and then we want to win that European title.”

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Oranje U21 in Group of Death

In a week in which Wes Sneijder is humuliated by his club, Robin van Persie and KJ Huntelaar keep on scoring and a tweet of Van der Vaart claims he will be going back to Tottenham Hotspur, Oranje Under 21 saw the draw for their Euro campaign end in another Group of Death situation…

The seniors used to do pretty good in such circumstances ( 2006 and 2008) but crashed and burned dramatically in another such groups in the 2012 summer….

Young Oranje finds itself in Poule B and will have to deal with Germany, Spain and Russia.

The other groups consists of Israel, England, Norway and Italy.

Coach Cor Pot was actually delighted with the draw. “We couldn’t draw a tougher group but this is very interesting. Four top nations in the group. Spain is the ruling champs, Germany won it in 2009 and we did in 2006 and 2007. And Russia is an up and comer. It’s tough but we want it this way. The best teams facing off. I expect tremendous games.”

Pot continues: “And we have only one goal. Winning the title. I said that before the draw already. If I can use the full squad, including players who are already part of the senior squad, I think we will see a tremendous strong and experienced team and we will definitely be amongst the favorites.”

The numbers 1 and 2 of the groups will progress to the semis.

Oranje can bring a strong group together for Israel, with the likes of Kevin Strootman, Jetro Willems, Luuk de Jong, Luciano Narsingh, Ricardo van Rhijn, Jeffrey Bruma, Georginio Wijnaldum, Adam Maher, Jordy Clasie, Leroy Fer, Stefan de Vrij and Marco van Ginkel.

But the competition isn’t that shabby either. With Mario Götze, Toni Kroos, Mario Balotelli, Danny Welbeck and Alan Dzagojev this could well be a tournament to look out for.

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Under21s qualify for European Championships

While the big boys are preparing for the clash against Romania, it’s the Under21s who lead the way. The double fixture against Slovenia the last serious hurdle for their qualification for the EC next summer in Israel.

This weekend, Young Orange won the away game in Slovenia with 0-2, courtesy of two goals by Vitesse player Marco van Ginkel. The Cocu-like midfielder gets himself seriously on the radar for scouts of bigger clubs, although he’s happy to remain at Vitesse and witness the Arnhem team making its way back to the top with big names like Wilfred Bony, Theo Janssen and coach Fred Rutten.

Oranje won the difficult home game with 2-0 as well. Coach Cor Pot expected this game, played at the Sparta Castle, to be more difficult than the away game. “Slovenia plays reactive football and that works best when they play away. We need to be totally concentrated.”

But Holland did what it needed to do and won thanks to two second half goals by Georginhio Wijnaldum and Luuk de Jong.

Oranje didn’t start well and Feyenoord allrounder Kelvin Leerdam suffered a lot of possession loss, while central defenders Bruma and Nuytinck were too loose in their marking. Jeroen Zoet, the PSV goalie, had to act a couple of times and Oranje couldn’t find it’s attacking mojo.

Striker Luuk de Jong was too isolated and Wijnaldum and Cabral’s attempts to force something failed.

Wijnaldum celebrates the 1-0

Pot made some changes in the half time. Maher moved to defensive mid, Wijnaldum moved to the playmaker’s role and Wildschut came on to replace Wijnaldum on the wing. Former Feyenoord holding mid Ricky van Haaren had to make way. This worked. Wijnaldum launched Cabral on the wing. De Jong was able to play his cross back to Wijnaldum who could score the 1-0. Ten minutes later, the game was played.

Wildschut was impeded in the box and Luuk de Jong scored from the spot.

Oranje won the youth EC in 2007, in Holland, but wasn’t able to reach the final tournament since.

Under21 coach Cor Pot, who started his career as youth coach at the famous academies of Sparta and Ajax, is a seasoned football man. Played for Sparta, MVV, Haarlem and Excelsior in his active career and worked at Feyenoord, NAC, Dynamo Dresden and most recently with Advocaat at Zenit St Petersburg as assistant manager.

Cor Pot: “This is a relief. This was not a great game. Or better, it was pretty weak… We had too many players playing with tension and stress in their bodies. We knew in the first half that a Slovenian goal was always an option, as they are a pretty good side. After the break we started to play better and we did the business.”

Pot saw his changes work out. “We needed more football from the back. Better build up. Van Haaren played ok, but Maher offers a lot more on that spot. With Wijnaldum on 10, we could still keep pressure on their defence.”

Luuk de Jong was a happy trooper. “It’s great that we reached this. Everyone really wanted to go, it’s a main objective for all of us. Most of us were there when we failed to qualify two years back and we needed to fix that. We want to shine at the EC.”

Ex-Feyenoord and current Twente winger Cabral slips away

He supported Pot’s words. The game was not great. “I don’t think it was nerves though. I think it was more that we all wanted to show how good we can be. We were sloppy. Too hasty in the build up. And when you lose possession, they can lash out. I think we did well in the second half.”

Bruno Martins Indi and Jordy Clasie were not part of this game, but Martins Indi feels part of the journey. “I really want to go to Israel too. This a one tournament I haven’t played yet. And having made the step up to the big team is sensational of course, but I still would relish this EC.”

Ricardo van Rhijn, Luciano Narsingh and even Kevin Strootman can still play for Oranje Under 21. Although Van Gaal will take the senior team on a trip to China and Indonesia, he has already pledged to allow Cor Pot the strongest possible side to take to Israel.

With the team we can field in Israel, we wouldn’t even do too badly at the big tournaments, I reckon…

We will keep on following these lads…

Cor Pot is happy

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