Tag: Hoedt

Oranje goes for #1

If you’d ask me who I would have wanted to win between France and Sweden, I probably would have said “Sweden”! I think this is the mindset of the winner, the champion. I don’t believe in half-baked affirmations like “Well…if France wins, then they’ll be #1 but then we beat Sweden and we can still go to the WC as the #2!”. Screw that!

I say: grab that bitch by the pussy Donald Trump style and go for the jugular.

France is getting nervous, Sweden is getting cocky, fine. We just scored double digits in goals and we have players returning to the Oranje squad in fine form (Sneijder, Robben, Promes, Memphis, Hoedt, Ake, De Vrij, Cillesen).

hoedt arjen lux

We did the business vs Luxembourg. We’re still in it to win it. And our chances of topping the group have just increased!! No gloomy faces people. We are on our way.

I think Dick and Ruud will be able to forge a compact and hard to beat team, with some glorious brilliance on top. Sometimes it’s Robben, next time it’s Promes, who knows if it will ever be Memphis again, but we will be able to rely on the sturdiness, workrate and defensive strength of Wijnaldum, Strootman, De Vrij, Blind, Cillesen to keep us safe at the back.

How sweet would it be to leave France behind us?

wes lux

Not much intelligent to say about Holland-Luxembourg. I predicted 6-0. I was disappointed. The first goal took a while, after that Luxembourg gave up. I am pleased for Wesley to score the second (I knew he would score) and I saw some solid interplay at times and some excellent moves by Hoedt and De Vrij.

We can evaluate Oranje’s performance based on 5 questions:

Was Oranje capable of attacking with creativity and variety?

The answer is yes. The game wasn’t even 15 minutes old of the fans already saw three great through balls from Sneijder  and after 2 minutes it could have been 1-0 by Robben after good interplay with Janssen. We saw De Vrij pushing up and assist Promes his goal. We saw Hoedt doing this centrally for the first goal and the pass on Robben. We saw Veltman drive up for the move which ended with Wijnaldum scoring…

promes lux

Did Oranje attack and defend like a unit?

Marc Wilmots, coach of Ivory Coast, said it succinctly. “Advocaat is capable of letting his team play like a compact unit.” This is still a point to focus on, as Luxembourg (and Ivory Coast) had opportunities to wiggle their way through, and Kevin Strootman in particular needs to adapt better to his role in Oranje.

Have there been changes in the hierarchy?

Well, no. Robben and Sneijder determine what happens. Who takes the setpiece and when to push up. In particular Robben was unstoppable in his desire to attack.

arjen dick lux

Did Memphis finally play simple and direct?

Two backheels in the first half. And both were functional. One actually resulted in Sneijder’s goal. Memphis was under the magnifying glass. Robben and Memphis had a rift after the Ivory Coast game and Gullit decided to spend extra time on the unfathomable but headstrong winger. A good first half, a little bit sloppy in the second. Promes replaced him and the best player of Russia scored as well. This might result in a fascinating duel.

vince lux

Is Vincent Janssen the right striker for Oranje?

Well, that is a 100% yes. He played an amazing game, even though he missed an early chance. He had a good rapport with Robben and is always able to be played in. He’s got eye for the movement around him and created and finished a penalty. 7 out of the 13.

nathan lux

Smart Dick, didn’t want to do a “Ziyech” and allowed Nathan Ake his official minutes

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Mature performance Oranje winning vs Morocco

A lot of talking points before the game and one of those was Wesley Sneijder’s record breaking attempt. But it was young Mathijs de Ligt who got a record in the Moroccan game, while Wes has to play one more cap to reach his pinnacle.

Johan Cruyff used to be the youngest Oranje player ever to be red-carded in the orange jersey. Johan was only 19 years old when his constant talking became to much for the ref. Young Mathijs is 17 years and 292 days old and the proud owner of this new record. If JC’s career is anything to go on, De Ligt has a bright future. His card was for pushing a player through on goal down to the ground. I saw many fouls by Moroccan players more deserving of red, but hey….

de light rood

Holland won again. Sadly, it was a friendly, but at the same time, it wasn’t friendly at all. Morocco played a rough game and Oranje passed the test really well. They dealt with it in a mature manner. They didn’t lose their head or got provoked. Some brilliance from Promes, Janssen and Memphis was enough to secure the victory: 1-2.

Quincy Promes now silenced the criticasters who say the youngster is only good in Russia. He had a great match for us earlier, scoring twice and against Morocco he was mercurial, scoring one and assisting Janssen’s goal. Janssen had a solid game too, his usual workrate and a good shimmy resulting in a powerful shot on goal. His goal was taken with aplomb. Earlier on, Memphis wiggled his way through the box to offer Quincy a solid chance to score the opener.

It was a good match. Not just because of the win, but the way our lads dealt with the circumstances and it was definitely cool to see the Under 17 talents from 2011 emerge on this top level. Back then, coached by Albert Stuivenberg, the young lions played Germany under 7 off the pitch, winning the EC finals 5-2. Jetro Willems was the first to make it to the big time (2012). Terrence Kongolo was part of the 2014 World Cup squad and Karim Rekik also made his debut in Oranje already. Now, Tonny Vilhena, Memphis Depay and Nathan Ake were present, with Utrecht midfielder Yassine Ayoub on the bench for Morocco. He decided to don the colours of his father’s country but hasn’t played for the first team of Morocco yet.

promes moro

Fred Grim, interim coach, was very pleased. “I am pleased with the win. Yes, it’s a friendly but winning is a mood we need to get into asap. And we did. I’m also happy with the performance, although our second half wasn’t as good and after the sending off we came under pressure, but that’s normal. And I think we dealt with it.”

Nice forward Belhanda in particular challenged De Ligt and Wesley Hoedt with red-worthy challenges but both players did well. Advocaat could have seen on his telly how Hoedt in particular appeared to have a strong pass while Nathan Ake and Tonny Vilhena also spat in their palms to go to work against a strong Morocco (on paper). Marten de Roon, coming on for Steven Berghuis, had a part to play as well as he set up Promes for the assist on Janssen.

ake moroc

Nathan Ake got his “hare” making his first minutes for the Big Oranje. “I hoped to get some minutes but I heard a day before I’d play. Goosebumps. Really happy. The game wasn’t so good, but we played well in the first half. And we had to go deep at times physically, but thats ok. We got the result and we can build on this. I played left back again and was really knackered. Haven’t played that position for a while but I don’t mind, I’ll play wherever the coach needs me.”

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Oranje: where to now?

So Fred Grim will go into the history books as the worst team manager EVER! He lost all the games he was in charge of! 100% score in losing!!

Just kidding of course, poor fellow. But, he might be in charge even for the Luxembourg game and in that case he might actually up his score, from 0% wins to 50% wins…

So, Oranje played a friendly no one really wanted. The whole nation was in mourning. The KNVB expected 40,000 fans to come and yell abuse at the players, staff and KNVB officials. With Italy as opponent, it was highly likely that we’d lose yet again…so what was the whole fukcing use of a friendly 3 days AFTER an official qualification game?

But the reception of the fans was not as bad as expected. The fans know that now the team needs the full support. Even if it was the team that led them (the fans) down. But that is football: the coach is end responsible and accountable so the coach needs to go while the ones who actually performed lousy get to stay, play and say meaningless things after the game.

Hoek grim ital

After the Bulgaria game, more news came out about Blind’s utter and complete misjudgement of the Bulgarian tactics. He expected them to park the bus and expected to have 65% possession. His analysis and the views of the people in his team confirmed this.

The reality was: Bulgaria doesn’t even respect us anymore and they played the high-press (on De Ligt!) from the first minute. Our build-up was pathetic all day long (also with Hoedt by the way) and our positioning (Strootman!) amateuristic.

Blind wasn’t able to help the team change their tactics in that first half and the players weren’t capable of doing so either.

They kept on trying to build up from the back, with players who are not really known for these qualities. Karsdorp is great running down the channel but played his third cap so can’t be expected to bully his team mates into something else. Zoet does not have the shrewdness and experience Stekelenburg has while De Ligt and Martins Indi are simply not good enough to play out from the back.

This got Strootman to drop deeper to collect the ball which totally unhinged our team and Bas Dost was as a result very hard to reach.

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Grim made some changes vs Italy. Still Zoet on goal, but Hoedt and Martins Indi in the heart of defence with Tete for Karsdorp. The midfield was – surprisingly – left as it was vs Bulgaria.

The desire was there, the intensity and pace was better. This is/was something that could and should have been the case vs Bulgaria as well. For me, whether Ronald McDonald, The Pope or Louis van Gaal is the coach, you always need to have this in your backpack. The days that ball skills were enough to win are over. Every team/nation (Germany, Italy, France) will have the ability to deliver this at will. Like Italy.

Robben Sneijder italy

Wes: “Arjen, whatever you do: don’t get Van Gaal back!!”

We needed a double deflection to score our goal. They needed three Oranje mistakes to get their two goals.

Losing 1-2 vs Italy while there were good chances for us to finish 2-2 is not a big drama for me, as it was a friendly.

Fred Grim: “We showed some more energy, some flair. I’m not too disappointed to be honest. We straightened our backs. It was a tough week for all of us and given all that, I cannot be displeased.” Asked about his future: “I am only here because of this game. When Danny was let go, he called me and said: make sure you stay for the team and do your utmost to right the ship. We’ve got 40,000 fans who paid money to see us Tuesday and you need to have the team respond”. I think my future is vague. I’ll find out I guess. The KNVB will have to say what they think is needed. This might be my first and last game in charge, but some suggest that the search for a new coach might take until June (when the seasons end) and I might be in charge against Luxembourg as well.”

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I personally like the team without a Dost-style striker. I think our game doesn’t fit his strengths. It’s been demonstrated a couple of times, also with Luuk de Jong in the Dost-role, so to speak.

We are more in need of fluid, dynamic players, like Memphis, Robben and Promes with the added value of Janssen’s hold up play and ability to “bounce”.

The main topic for me, is not so much who will play where.

The main topic for me is: who will be our new coach, what does the KNVB want from that coach and how will they support him?

And on top of that: what structural / strategic changes will the KNVB make internally to allow for a bright future? Incl. development of talent, development of coaches and development of a football philosophy. For Oranje but also for Dutch football in general.


At this point in time, Hans van Breukelen is the man responsible for selecting the coach and supporting the coach. But Hans van Breukelen is also walking around like a wounded deer. Will he still be there in 5 months? Or has he suffered too much damage already? Astute coach candidates will want to know what the deal is. And who will be assessing Hans van Breukelen’s work? His coach selection? His instructions for the coach? Jean Paul Decossaux? A part time interim commercial director??

I’m sure a series of smart football people (Van Praag, Adriaanse, Van Hanegem, maybe Wim Jansen, Robben, Sneijder) will be asked for their opinions, but someone will have to make a firm decision. Judging how Hans van Breukelen managed Hans Jorritsma, Ruud Gullit and those clowns from the company he is related to does not instill a lot of confidence in me….

I don’t think a foreign top coach (Capello, Wenger, Schmidt, Klinsmann) will say yes to the job. For starters, they make 10 times more abroad than with Oranje, in terms of dollars. Secondly, they will think thrice before committing to this weak Oranje. And like I said before, the KNVB is in such a chaos that this role will have many red flags going up for any serious coach.

I also don’t believe that a foreign coach will work with our national team. Our culture, our competition, our language, etc will be a big hurdle. It’s also a prestige thing for the Dutch: we should be able to find a suitable candidate in our own ranks.


Even Dutch coaches will think thrice before committing to the job right now. It’s a snake pit.

Co Adriaanse won’t do it. Louis van Gaal already said he won’t come back as a coach, he will only consider the chair role at the KNVB (yes! Do it!). Ronald Koeman will not do it (“They had their chance. They decided differently and now we seem to be missing out on two major tournaments in a row!”). Frank de Boer wants to remain a club coach for now. Cocu and Van Bronckhorst are not ready yet. Dick Advocaat would not be a credible option after abandoning Oranje earlier for money.

So it seems Henk ten Cate and Ruud Gullit are the main candidates for the job. Ten Cate seems to have the best papers. He’s got international experience, loves attacking football, is tough and disciplined and has standing.

Gullit will have prestige to the hilt as well, internationally, but that won’t win you games. He’s a good people manager but probably not a good coach / trainer. He could do the figure head role but will need a strong field coach beside him.

Ten Cate worked in that role at Barca with Rijkaard, but Gullit is a different type of person than Rijkaard. The combination Gullit – Ten Cate or vice versa will not work, most likely. Too much similarities in their personality and I won’t be surprised if Ten Cate by now would not want to be an assistant anymore.

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The most important question is:

Do we focus on a short term success and aim for the World Cup qualification – against all odds- and bring in a crisis coach a la Van Gaal (De Mos, Ten Cate, Advocaat) or do we accept that the World Cup campaign is over and select a coach who can build and gel a new team towards 2020 and beyond, using the new generation of talents (Nouri, Vilhena, De Ligt, Bazoer, Tete, Memphis, Karsdorp, Bergwijn, Ramselaar, Ake). John van ‘t Schip could be considered. Alex Pastoor. Gullit with Rene Meulensteen. Or, why not Erwin Koeman? I don’t know…you name some….

memphis lion


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Update: Oranje back in Action!!

Well, the Janssen-Dost debate is settled. By the flu!! It seems Kevin Strootman and Vince Janssen exchanged some saliva maybe?

The Spurs bench-warmer stays in Holland and Luuk de Jong is ordered to come to Sofia to be the designated pinch hitter (behind Bas Dost and Jeremain Lens, who arrived late from Suriname).

The key question now is: will Stefan de Vrij be fit enough to play?

And it doesn’t look like it. Which means, Oranje will most likely play with a debutant as center back: De Ligt or Hoedt.

De Vrij has had a big knock and an internal bleeding in his leg. Yesterday, he wasn’t able to move his feet. But, as Blind said at the presser: “These things can improve massively overnight, so we’ll see.”

More Danny Blind: “I don’t like to play with two left footed players centrally (Hoedt and Martins Indi) as the build up will be slower than when you have a left and right footer. But it is an option.”

Blind: “There’s always something. First Van Dijk and Bruma and now De Vrij. But luckily Strootman is completely recovered. It seems Janssen has it bad, a throat infection and high fever. Not good at all.”

As for Dost: “Well, it makes my job easier when players fall away, in terms of decisions, but I rather have it hard. I want to have all our positions doubled up. And Dost is a different striker than Janssen, so we’ll need to make some tactical changes.”

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Gini Wijnaldum was asked about the knock on his head: “It’s all good. I can head the ball, I am painfree, no dramas. And yes, it’s a bit disappointing dealing with all the injured players but we can’t keep on moaning about it. Other players will need to step up, it’s as simple as that.”

Blind: “I do have a very good feeling about where we’re going with the squad. I’m confident, even with those injuries… It’s simple: we need to get six points in the coming two matches. We know what we need to do and I’m confident we will.”

The last training session did not give a lot away in terms of set up.

It will be a 4-3-3:


Karsdorp – De Ligt – Martins Indi – Blind

Wijnaldum – Strootman – Sneijder

Robben – Dost – Promes

Some Bulgaria stats: Holland lost the so-called farewell match in 2012 (before that dreadful Euros) under Bert van Marwijk at home against the Bulgarians. An omen of what was to come… This actually was the first and only “farewell” match before a bit tournament that the Dutch lost. Jetro Willems made his debut in that game, at 17 years old. And now has 22 to his name and if he goes on as he does, he might well become the Dutch record international.

Humphry Mijnals made his debut against Bulgaria as well by the way and was the first “coloured” Dutch international back in the 19whatevers.

Holland played Bulgaria 10 times and only won 4 matches…

Tonight’s game is played in the Sofia Savili Levski Stadium. Oranje never won a match there. The Dutch only “didn’t win” more matches in one other venue: San Siro in Milan. We played there five times and never won.

Bulgaria is tough to beat anyway. They didn’t lose at home in 14 qualification games! The last country to win in Bulgaria were the Czechs.

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Bulgaria’s biggest claim to fame was reaching the semi finals in the WC1994, beating Germany spectacularly in the quarter finals. Current NT coach Hubchev was in that team.

Currently, Daley Blind has as many caps for Oranje as his dad Danny. If he plays tonight, he’ll surpass him and will have 43 international games for Oranje.

Bas Dost is 2017’s top goal scorer. He has 15 already, this year, with one Lionel Messi on second spot with”only” 13 goals.

Our Dutch Lions are up for two matches in the coming week and strangely enough, the first match is the WC qualifier vs Bulgaria and three days later we have a practice friendly, versus Italy… That really confuses me? Why would you program this? Isn’t it logical to do the practice game first and then the official one? Must be me.

And we do live in confusing times… I will not go into Trump vs Hillary, Trump vs Putin, Erdogan vs Wilders, Wenger yes or no or anything like that.

We have our hands full with Dost vs Janssen and who-will-be-our-goalie…

The AD newspaper poll says 90% of the people voting, feel that Dost should start. The former Heerenveen striker can’t stop scoring in Portugal and will well be on his way to bigger things, if he keeps going like this. Janssen scores as many minutes in the first team as Dost scores goals per month.

dost oranje

But super striker (and also super sub) Pierre van Hooijdonk, who knows what it is to be in the “Bas Dost Position” remarkably say: “stick with Vincent”!

Pierre: “You pick a certain style of playing and for this you need certain players. Janssen is different to Dost, and if using Dost means you have to change the whole tactical plan, I’d say: don’t do it. Use Dost for additional power coming off the bench.”

Van Hooijdonk had to endure Kluivert and Van Nistelrooy in pole position. Easier to swallow for sure. “Yes, the difference between them and me was different to the Dost-Janssen situation, I can see that. But Blind sees Dost in training, he follows him in Lisbon… And Dost failed against Luxembourg. That will count too. If he would have left a smashing impression, it would be different now.”

It does seem like Blind is on the same page as the former Feyenoord man. The mantra is: let Janssen do it in Oranje, until he fails in Oranje. As long as he doesn’t, leave him be.

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Blind: “I am sorry but I don’t take the public’s opinion into account. If I would do that, because I can limit the criticism on myself, I wouldn’t be worth this job. I would have to be polling and checking twitter trends daily to make a line up. That is not going to work, of course. And as for the striker, I have made up my mind. I don’t see it as a hard decision to make, it is what I call a luxury decision.”

Blind also has hard data to use for fitness purposes. “I can easily see if a player is mentally and physically fit. We measure this and we have data from the clubs. And Janssen is top fit. He trains daily and hasn’t had major injuries, so that is not a drama. He lacks match rhythm, that is all. But we all know that Janssen and Wijnaldum probably have the most demanding physical programs of all Oranje players. They’re top fit!”

Van Hooijdonk: “The key thing is, will all this have an effect on Janssen’s style of playing. If he plays, I’ll watch his behaviour closely. If he gets through for instance, and has a chance but Karsdorp is totally free before goal, what will Janssen do? He’ll need to pass it to Karsdorp, but sometimes strikers under pressure will go for their personal glory. No matter how big the desire for some success, he’ll need to think of the team.”

oranje training

Matthijs De Ligt on the left

By the way, Dost will only join Oranje today, as he was at the funeral of his grandfather this week. Same as Jeremain Lens who is in Suriname as his dad actually passed away. He will join Oranje Thursday as well.

Today, Stefan de Vrij and Gini Wijnaldum left the practice early with some issues. De Vrij with a sore ankle, and Wijnaldum got a boot against his head. Robben trained in full despite some smaller issues. Kevin Strootman spent his days in bed with the flu.

Danny Blind: “Everyone is fit, it seems, at least for the game starts. The usual little knocks and things. De Vrij’s knee is dry, as the medical staff calls it. He’ll play and I have options next to him of course. Martins Indi is doing well at Stoke, Hoedt plays next to him at Lazio, Viergever can play in that role, Daley as well. And Promes can play on the wing, on the #10 but also as striker. He plays at a very high level and luckily Memphis is playing really well as well. We’ve got choices again.”

Blind won’t say much about the goalie choice. “We have good goalies and I’ve made up my mind, but you’ll need to wait for that one.”

de vrij terug

Stefan de Vrij is back!

Martins Indi left the Oranje squad after his red card vs Iceland. Is the relationship Blind – Martins Indi repaired? Blind: “Well it was never broken. We have discussed this immediately after Iceland. And when he returned to Oranje we have had a good conversation as well. He’s playing now, he’s got rhythm, he’s making the move from Porto to Stoke. All good. And it’s good to have choices. We’re missing Van Aanholt, Van Dijk, Bruma, Kongolo… But we don’t have to panic as we have options.”

Blind is mostly impressed with Wijnaldum’s development. “Gini is becoming a very important player for Oranje and I don’t want to mis-use him like I had to do vs Belgium, when he played right wing back almost. I need to use him like Liverpool does, in that key role in midfield. He’s been excellent.”

Matthijs de Ligt will make his debut in the Oranje squad. A lot of people criticised Blind for that selection. “I know him, I have spoken with him. I’ve spoken with Peter Bosz and Marc Overmars. He’s very mature and learns really fast. I think he will be a full fledged Oranje player and probably a top class defender. But he won’t start. He needs to listen, learn and digest. People felt I should have gone with Van der Heijden (Feyenoord) but I have enough lefties in defense, I really need a right footed player behind De Vrij and that is De Ligt.”

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Wesley Hoedt battling with Janssen

It would make sense for Wesley Hoedt to get his debut in Oranje. He plays next to De Vrij at Lazio and faces top teams and strikers every week. “I think I earned my spot in Oranje, based on the 52 matches I played in the Serie A. I have definitely become a better defender compared to my time in the Eredivisie. And here with Oranje, I feel good too, even though it’s my first time. But I do know some of the lads of course, so that helps.”

Next week, Oranje faces Italy, with a number of players Hoedt faces weekly. “Yes, I played against Belotti last week. I think people in Holland look down on the level in Serie A, but the teams in the top half are really good. And Juventus is a class apart even. The way they are organised. A player like Chiellini for instance. I’m sure he would never make it through the Academy at Ajax or Feyenoord. They’d send him away. But in Italy, they see defending as a pure quality. I like that.”

The friendly vs Italy is 5 days before the Classic, which will most likely decide the title. Blind: “I have not made any agreements with the clubs about the players and how I use them in the Italy game, no. They still have 5 days to recuperate. This is professional football.”

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Debutant Wesley Hoedt

About the strikers: “I have three good options. Lens can play centrally as well. Dost is hot which is great. I think we have a luxury issue, which is nice for me. A couple of good strikers, I can’t complain about that!”

Arjen Robben came later to the Oranje camp with a swollen foot. “I thought OH FUCK there we go again, in bed after the Gladbach match. But it all came down nicely and I have no problem. Saturday, I’ll be 100%. I want to show everyone I’m still here but I won’t do anything silly or over the top to prove myself. But I feel shit that I have to cancel many matches due to injuries. Last time vs Luxembourg I was back and again had to leave the pitch injured. I am so done with that! I really want to play every second for Oranje but I’m 33 years old. I do have to monitor my fitness but as long as it feels like I can, I will….”

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Yesterday, Oranje had a so-called open training day at Quick Boys in Noordwijk, but a closed off training session in De Arena today. On Friday, they fly to Sofia with a practice session and press conference in the late afternoon.

On Saturday, the match. Sunday, flight back with late practice at Ajax’ youth centre (closed off again) and on Monday a partly open session in the AZ Stadium in Alkmaar, with another presser. Tuesday evening we take on the Italians in a friendly, in the Amsterdam Arena.

vilhena memphis

Memphis is happy again

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