If we have to believe the Polish media, Oranje could win this coming World Cup. And I agree, obviously.
Poland is a mid-tier European nation. They won’t win the World Cup but they can make it hard for any WC contender. But not last night. They played at home, they brought super striker Lewandowski, but it wasn’t enough.
Oranje controlled the game from the second minute of play (the first minute was all about Koopmeiners’ injury after a collision) and booked a steady win.
The main objective of LVG with this match was twofold: 1) win and 2) stop conceding goals and manage the game!
He would play a number of his key World Cup team players, mixed in with players he wanted to test further.
Pasveer, Koopmeiners and Gakpo are in that latter category I think.
My man of the match
And Louis was very satisfied as the team did exactly what they needed to do. Dominance on the ball, looking for the vertical passes where possible, but otherwise staying in control. We didn’t give much away, given we play away and versus Mr Lewandowski. Pasveer wasn’t tested and could only impress with his distribution.
Van Gaal let slip that he wasn’t fully convinced yet, as Pasveer did have some wayward long balls which could have been played better.
The first goal was a superb one. 21 passes, resulting in a sped up move with Berghuis and Dumfries forcing the move and Memphis with a brilliant perfect through ball as the pre-assist on Dumfries who allowed Gakpo a tap in.
Tiki Taka football in Poland
I believe we should have scored a couple more in the first half, in which we were superior. Blind got a massive chance ( “it fell to the wrong player” is what the commentator said) and Memphis had a great chance to assist a goal again but he went for personal glory. Same with Bergwijn, who had a shooting chance on the edge of the box, where he could have played in Berghuis.
Even so, a good first half, with a splendid performance by Berghuis, who came on for Koopmeiners in the second minute, De Jong and Timber. Nathan Ake was steady in possession and Dumfries was constantly threatening high up the pitch.
Still, the team was a bit sloppy in possession at times and Daley Blind again looked leggy and sloppy in some of his touches. Memphis played his usual game. At times slowing the game down, sometimes trying too much, but as always, he is in the thick of things. Cody Gakpo played on the #10 role again and did ever so well.
Berghuis strong performance
Louis van Gaal decided to sub Frenkie after the first half as he was not 100%. Same with Berghuis who came off as well, with lower back complaints. By then, Memphis had already suffered a muscle injury and might not make the Belgium game. The players all complained about the new grass pitch, which appeared a bit soft, according to the lads.
Marten de Roon came for Frenkie. A different type of player, but he managed pretty well, being involved in the second goal as well. Van Gaal wanted to see him again. Ken Taylor made his debut and impressed (as he has been doing for months already) and Vincent Janssen game on for Memphis, getting an assist for the Bergwijn 2-0.
All in all, a good match and Holland leads in this group, quite certain to reach the Nations League finals. I believe we need to lose 4-0 versus Belgium to give up that leading position.
Overall, a good result, a good performance too. Sad to see Koopmeiners and Memphis injured but both will be back soon, I’m sure.
Muscle issue for Memphis
The play with the ball was quite good at times. Oranje plays like a snake, almost. Slowly moving from side to side but when the opportunity arises, we strike lightning fast. The play without the ball was also impressive. Good pressure on the ball, all positions constantly taken but not always by the same players.
The coupling of Ake-Blind, Dumfries-Timber, Berghuis-Frenkie and Gakpo-Memphis was quite good.
I think Gakpo impressed but might still need to show more for Van Gaal to fully commit himself to the youngster. Same with Pasveer and Koopmeiners. I personally also think Malacia needs to be our left back. Take Blind along, sure, he can play in midfield, centre back and left back, so great to have him, but he is lacking the energy it seems. He looks tired.
Bergwijn with another goal
Overall, I think Timber was my man of the match. He plays with a confidence and swagger of a 28 year old with 50 caps to his name. He’s quick, he has great feet, he’s focused all the time and he can play!
Dumfries for me, is the best option as right back but he keeps on having hard feet, tends to overdo it physically in the challenges and doesn’t see the quick one-touch pass. He often slows the game down if he’s not launched into space but simply played in, in the combination. Not sure if Rensch is much better overall and Karsdorp is probably not fit in time. Frimpong maybe?
Taylor on his debut