The big word after the France game, was “hopeful”. Somehow, we lost again. But instead of the drama after Van Gaal’s loss (“we can’t play 4-3-3 anymore but we can’t play 5-3-2 either…”) and the despair after Advocaat’s loss (“I really thought Sneijder in a three man’s midfield vs Kante would work”) we now have hope. We have light. We see the future.
And maybe it is justified. We were played off the pitch in the first stage of the game. We never looked like being able to compete. But when France took their foot off the gas, Oranje started to dominate the rhythm of the game. Or…did we force France to take their foot off? Hard to say.
But fact is, we did ok in the second half. We scored a good goal and we could have more.
And after the game. Ronald Koeman was quite clear and transparant. And angry as hell. “Two bad goals conceded. In games like this, against top nations, we need players who have the courage and mentality to put their claw in the challenge. And we didn’t. Blind didn’t in the run up to the first goal. Promes didn’t do too well. And Blind lost Mbappe, allowing him a tap in. And the second goal, Tete doesn’t put Mendy under pressure, while Van Dijk allows himself to be surprised. That cost us points.”
Koeman was pretty livid and it seems quite reasonable that Tete and Blind will have to watch themselves. Quincy Promes also didn’t impress but we know he’s quality and he just made a move to Spain etc etc. But with Bergwijn on the up and up, it might well mean the PSV winger will take the Promes role in a future match.
Tete lacks rhythm, and yes, he’s a good defender but no, he didn’t defend that cross. And moving forward, he was not as threatening as Janmaat or Karsdorp. In the first half, he was timid. In the second half he did run forward and immediately had the assist for Babel’s equaliser.
Koeman spoke after the game of “players having to put their claw in” referring to the lacklustre defending of Blind and Van Dijk (with the first and second goal). It’s a typical Dutch problem. It’s not just them, I think Janmaat, Propper, Frenkie de Jong, they all have that. The almost polite “after you” mentality.
Obviously, Frenkie de Jong was the highlight in the match. A debutant demanding the ball and always playing with a swagger. Good to see and we expect more from him. I thought Babel put in a real shift for the team, while Memphis also had good spells as the lone striker. And as someone noticed on the blog earlier, Wijnaldum is helped with a player like De Jong behind him. Gini gets involved earlier now and can use the space he finds.
I think the “Ajax” model Koeman is using can work well. But I also believe we need some changes. Blind is a question mark. Yes, he can be used on many spots in the team but he doesn’t excel in any of them. I think Van Aanholt and Kongolo are better left backs in Koeman’s system, while De Vrij and Van Dijk and De Ligt are better centre backs. Blind can play holding mid, but at this stage Propper and De Jong impress more.
I would love to see Karsdorp or Janmaat on the right. More threatening going forward. Frenkie de Jong should always play and I really like Donny van de Beek as well. Babel or Kluivert or Vilhena on the left flank, Bergwijn or Promes on the right and Memphis is a shoe in for central. I personally don’t see it in Ruud Vormer. Not good enough. Nothing special. No speed, no precision passing, no killer shot or extreme free kick. A good club player. Nothing more. We have many like that. Guus Til. Marten de Roon. Jorit Hendrix. Kevin Diks. Bart Ramselaar. Not Oranje material.
This team will most likely qualify and then we might see some underdog magic at the next tournament. All the lads will be 1.5 years older by then and we might even see some of the future stars make their way into the team. Let’s discuss these kids in a next post!
The first goal in the making. Promes heading the ball to Matuidi. Propper responding. Mbappe sprinting away from Blind. Who is glued to the pitch.
The second goal in the making. Benji “hit the cross early” Mendy is going to…well…cross the ball early. Tete keeps his distance. Van Dijk is surprised by Giroud who scores a goal he will never ever again score.