Tag: Lens

Join in the Fantasy World Cup Competition!!

Finally, he has it together. Your Blog Captain Jan Da Man has a Fantasy Competition for the World Cup.

After days of programming some minutes of uploading a plugin, we can finally play ourselves…

This is going to be AWESOME!

But before I go into detail…. I need to ask you this….

I had to pay the annual bills again re: hosting and domain names and templates and plugins and whatnots… So your humble blogger could really use a couple of nice donations to pull me through for another year of bloggin…. It is HIGHLY appreciated (and will not go towards beer, believe it or not….). Details are on the home page. I thank you in advance….

louis zwaait

And I need to ask you this too:

I am getting a lot of requests for ads and pop ups. I have always said no. As I believe you guys would hate these things on the site. But I am getting some really good offers now and want to there fore ask you:

Back to the Fantasy Competition!!

You know the drill: go to the page, fill in the scores you believe will end up on the score board after 90 minutes.

There will be different rounds and different deadlines but I believe the software will tell you how it works. I need to copy the rules of the game in here, and you can all read how it works.

I will have three amazing prizes for the top 3 of this competition!!!

So go to the menu button called “Fantasy World Cup Predictions” (as pointed towards by Johan Cruyff, who else?) and fill in the predictions. You can enter predictions until the moment the game starts. Once it has begun, it’s off limits.

I will publish the scores and the updates during the World Cup.

rvp schiphol

So the Dutch team said farewell and is on the plane as we speak. A nice group of fans waived them out loudly. Louis van Gaal: “The vibe is great. This group is solid and tight and we are having a great time. So we are in a tough group? So what. We will not plan on coming home anytime soon. In football, anything is possible. Our game might not be highly attractive at the moment, but did you see the other top nations in their friendlies? We will go for result first, and if we can do this with sparkling play, we certainly will of course, but we are not as a bad as some so-called experts think.”

Wesley Sneijder was one of the first players to arrive at the hotel to prepare for the trip. “I can’t wait to go! Obviously, we are not the top faves but we can surprise for sure!”

Ron Vlaar showed his leadership at the back against Wales and is quite positive. “Listen, we are not there yet, but we are getting there. We do play less dominant and don’t mind the opponent, like Wales, to have the ball. We scored twice from those situations and they only got dangerous due to our own mistakes. So it’s not that bad. It’s different, but this type of game will offer us benefits. I am pretty confident, actually.”

Two former center backs of Oranje, Ronald Koeman and Arie Haan, do not share that optimism. Koeman: “If Holland plays like this (Wales) against Spain, they get massacred. Martins Indi is a great defender but building up and passing is not his strength. Why play him left back if you have options? Janmaat is superb of course and I always had my faith in De Vrij, but I can’t imagine why Clasie doesn’t play. He is the smartest of the lot and great in small spaces. Against football playing teams like Spain or Chile you want to use Clasie!” Arie Haan: “I work in China and there Holland is synonymous with attractive wing play. Van Gaal struck them out. That is not Dutch football. That is a big mistake!”


Here is a nice pic from the room Louis van Gaal will most likely claim.

oranje rio

Ok peeps, I am on my way to Brazil now!! I found a cheap way of getting there. Laters….!!!!

jan the blogger


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"Farewell Game" Holland vs Wales lacks punch: 2-0

Since 1998, Holland has played so-called “uitzwaai” games, before a big tournament. This time around, Wales was the “Australia stand-in” and LVG was able to try his non defensive approach against a solidly defending, skill-challenged and physically imposing opponent.

Here are some atmospherics.

For a while it seemed like Van Gaal giving Hans Kraay JR hell (see below) was to be the high point of the night…

LVG angry kraay

Or maybe Mark van Bommel’s farewell?


But all in all, the lads did the job. If we’d beat Australia 2-0 at the World Cup, we’d probably be ok with it….

This game can be seen as another boring game. In which we didn’t give much away. In which Robben missed a couple of good opps and inwhich Sneijder shows how creative and smart he can be.

We also saw RVP leave the field with a groin situation but LVG confirmed it is not a biggie. No worries, as the Ozzies say.

So Van Gaal lost it when Kraay kept on asking and nagging about individual players and was comparing Van Gaal with coaches like De Boer and Mourinho who are coaching really animatedly while Louis is the Sphinx.

wes wales

“What do you think I can do when I am yelling on the sideline? It mostly means I have not done my job! If I do my job, the lads know what to do and I can sit and observe and analyse. Yes, I might go out there and let one or two individuals know what they should change maybe. But other than that, I don’t want to coach constantly. It is ridiculous and it doesn’t work. Only maybe to motivate them more, but even that should not be needed. I think I should be able to sit on the stands and chat away with Mr Blatter and Platini, actually.”

The game started ok with Janmaat finding Robben in the first minute, who was crowded out before he could pull the tirgger. In the 3rd minute RVP gets a chance after a dribble but goalie Hennessey stops the ball. In the 8th minute, it’s De Vrij’s pass bringing Robben free before the goalie but he just misses the target. In the 25th minute, the fans start to slow clap and whistle a bit until a good little combination through the middle gets Robben in a good position again, but the ball flies over the goal.

In the 27th minute, the biggest cheers of the night so far are for Robson Kanu when he changes shorts on the pitch. In the 29th minute Robben has another attempt but the ball goes corner. Vlaar almost scores as a result.

Two minutes later it is 1-0, after Robben scores a tap in after an RVP attempt from a difficult angle. The goalie stops but Robben is alert. The supporter start the wave and in the 40st minute RVP almost scores a second on a low Janmaat cross.

Nigel practicing his “studs in the chest” kick

nigel kick

During half time it is clear that despite good opps for our forwards (we could be 2-0 or 3-0 up) the game play is not crisp and sparkly yet. Suddenly Lens starts to go out as well, it is clear that either Robben or RVP will leave the pitch. Which means trouble, if its RVP as Van Gaal said he wanted Robin to play as much as possible.

The ManU striker has a groin issue and decides to take a break. Lens on for RVP and Wijnaldum on for Fer.

Oranje starts the second half badly and Wales even gets some opportunities. In the 70st minute, a Wales player can dribble past a couple of defenders and Vlaar has to bring resolve. The Aston Villa man explodes and is so angry that he rams the ball at Wales’ goal from 35 minutes. The ball ends up in Amstelveen but Vlaar does get applause.

robben wales

Only minutes later, Sneijder finds Robben with a superb pass who offers the goal to Lens.

Nigel de Jong is then subbed for Huntelaar. It’s 4-3-3, with Klaas Jan in the center, Robben and Lens on the flanks, Blind in the De Jong role and Wijnaldum and Sneijder completing midfield. That last 15 minutes is a better and more positive quarter than the first 30 minutes of the second half, with Huntelaar being close to scoring a third goal for Oranje.

LAte in the game, Sneijder finds Lens again but the Kiev forward made hands and is called back.

And with that, the game ends….

Van Gaal was realistic after the game: “I expected this to be much better. I hoped for it to be better and I wanted this to be better. But….we scored to brilliant goals. We created those ourselves and we gave not much away. That was good. Wales was tough, they parked the bus and I wasn’t happy with the pitch. Very slow. But then again, we should have done better despite all this. Too much loss of possession. It was boring at times, but the players are making big steps up and we’ll keep on working on it.”

“I am prepping the team for opponents with more attacking power at the World Cup. And normally I would play 4-3-3 against an opponent like Wales but I am in a process so unfortunately for the supporters, we played a system that is difficult against defensive teams. We will most likely end up using 5-3-2 for the big games, turning it into 3-4-3 when we can or 4-3-3 against the weaker opponents.”

Asked why Van Gaal selected so many forwards when he wants to play with two strikers only: “Statistics will show that if you bump into injuries at the World Cup, it is amongst offensive players. I think we will be able to hold our own with our defence but I need three different types of forwards. Strikers, wingers and offensive midfielders. I have also looked at multifunctionality. Kuyt can play on many different spots, so can Lens, so can Depay, so can Wijnaldum…. This gives me ultimate flexibility….”

On RVP: “We took him off as a precaution. He does have pain there but I think with some rest he’ll be fine.”


Willem van Hanegem added some words as an analyst… “The more I see Holland play, the more I feel we need to have more creativity at the back. With all due respect, I would want to see Sneijder, sitting deep. Playing just in front of the defence. So he has a lot of the ball, he can accelerate the game with his pinpoint passing and we can more legs up front to support Van Persie with runs. We need a number 10 like Litmanen or Bergkamp. A moving player. It feels to me like Van Persie is constantly in Sneijder’s way and vice versa. This is why only Robben seems to benefit from Sneijder, because of his movement. With a player like Wijnaldum or as Cruyff said, Klaassen behind Van Persie and Sneijder sitting deep, we could use the strength of all players much better. Wes can move up at times for a distance strike or with corner kicks and free kicks but he should temper his urge to score goals and serve the team.”

Leroy Fer played his first 45 minutes since a while. He was subbed for Wijnaldum at half time. “I think it went ok. In possession I played well, I had some good through balls and playing with Janmaat on the right is really good when we have possession. When we lost the ball, I wasn’t pressing well enough, the coach said. I think he wanted to see improvement there and brought Gio for me in the second half. But I’m happy I got to play.”

And lastly, as a bit of fun trivia, you know about how the Dutch Legion gets all crazy when Orange is playing a tournament?

Whole suburbs turning Oranje? Stupid suits, dresses, glasses, hats, fuzzy animals, what not?

Well, in case your heart stops while watching Oranje win the first World Cup ever against Belgium, this Summer, this is how you can go out:


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Pre-Wales Update from the Oranje Camp

SEVEN DAYS TO GO. Gosh, I need a timer on my site…. Why am I so web-challenged… 🙁

Anyway, no matter. It’s one more friendly before we go for the big job.

Wales tomorrow, sans Bale and Ramsey sadly. Ramsey was one of my fave players last season. What a tremendous revelation he appeared to be.

Louis will play with yet another system. A bit cheeky of course. We will end up playing 3-4-3. With Sneijder close to RVP and Robben roaming where ever. Blind, De Jong, Fer and Janmaat in midfield (Blind and Janmaat covering the flanks) and BMI, De Vrij and Vlaar as defenders.

A system the players should be able to handle, without too much of an issue.

I like this. To me, it says Louis might be working with different systems vs our group opponents. Spain will most likely need a 5-3-2 approach (or a 1-9-1 approach, hahahaha). Chile depends a bit on their first result and how they play. Australia will most likely need a 3-4-3.


Van Gaal: “I selected the players also on the basis of their ability to play various systems.”

This probably explains why Van Aanholt was not needed. Blind can play on four positions, Kongolo on three positions.

De Guzman is out, as you know, and Clasie is not 100%. Odds are high that Fer will start. And from what I hear, De Guzman might not be out of the woods as yet, with his hamstring which might be very bad news indeed…

Wondering who LVG will call up if De Guzman needs to throw the towel…

Nigel de Jong is about to start his fourth big tournament as a starter. This time under Van Gaal. The 29 year old has an impressive list of clubs on his resume and after playing more than 10 years at the highest level, he still is hungry for the ball. “I have to be. That is how I can survive. You know, the playing pitch is like a jungle. It’s the survival of the fittest. I want the ball if I don’t have it and I must want it more than the other guy. Otherwise I don’t stand a chance. EWhen I played in the Ajax youth, we would win most games because we were better. When you play for Man City or Milan or Oranje, you don’t win because you are better. Because you are not. There are ten nations at the World Cup that could claim better players than us, spot by spot. Fine. We need to be better organised, better mentally, more hungry, etc. I reached the top in football not because I was the best player. I played with guys in the youth who were seriously, much more skilled than me. But I made it. And sure, when you are Lionel Messi or C Ronaldo, you can play frivolous and win. I can’t. I know my limits, hahahaha.”


De Jong looks the part too. Muscly, buff, tattooed and a stern look. But when you hear him speak, he is an intelligent, soft spoken and humorous bloke from the streets of Amsterdam. Vilified and criticised for his harsh play and in particular after he was involved in a couple of broken legs and a chest kick studs up to Xabi Alonso, people started to feel De Jong was giving Dutch football a bad name.

“I don’t care too much about what others think. It makes life easier this way, you know? I don’t respond to these things. I know and Xabi knows whether I hit him on purpose or not. That is enough for me. I will not go and publically defend myself. I am hired to do a job and in my position I cannot not go into the tackle for fear I might hurt the other bloke. The team manager would take me off. The team manager selects me and I do what he wants me to do. I am now starting at my fourth Tournament, so I guess I am doing my job properly.”

Van Gaal overlooked De Jong in March. Was he ever scared he would miss out on Brazil. “Nope. The team manager told me he wanted to see others at work. I am confident enough to know that if I would focus on my own game, I would be part of the squad. I am one of the best on this position, full stop. When I am fit and happy, I can deliver.”

De Jong enjoys the new system. “Yes, it fits us. It is the right thing to do. And I believe we will have it down pat for Spain and I believe we will go for the win. That first game is very important and we will try and win it.” Is a draw not a good result? “No man! You always go for the win. That is why we play.”

The mood is good in the Oranje camp. The Feyenoord youngsters (Wijnaldum, Fer, De Guzman, Clasie, Vlaar, De Vrij, BMI, Kongolo, Janmaat) seem to have a dominant role in the squad . This clip explains their shenanigans. What they basically say is: Bruno Martins Indi is the joker of the group, always trying to fool a mate. Arjen Robben and Dirk Kuyt are the best mentor / motivator, biggest training animal is Bruno Martins Indi, Terence Kongolo is the worst in playing pool, player who most underestimate himself: Bruno Martins Indi, the man who knows much about football: Louis van Gaal.

Martins Indi remembers one of his first friendlies, when apparently Robben yelled really loud in the tunnel towards the field “There are no friendlies!! We are Holland and we play to win!!”.

Yolanthe, Wesley’s better half, presents the new Orange knickers to the world. You can order them through this website if you are interest. One word of warning: Yolanthe is not part of the offer!!

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More updates from the Oranje Camp

Van Gaal thought he had the whole squad together now in Portugal, with Verhaegh, Janmaat and Van der Vaart slowly returning to the training pitch. But the training camp was in slight shock when Van Gaal had to announce that poor ol’ Rafael is not going to make it to the World Cup. The tear in his calf will be such that his fitness cannot be guaranteed for the tournament.

It would have been massive for the 31 year old midfielder who played an important role in the qualifications but his 110th cap will have to wait.

raf dissa

Wesley Sneijder is his old confident (cocky) self. The little general did have some question marks about this World Cup earlier in the year but is quite comfortable now. “I did have my doubts in the past years. Mr Van Gaal was pretty intense in his judgements and I have to say, looking back, he was right. I was not 100%. I might have been 95%. Good enough for Galatasaray in the Turkish competition, but not good enough for CL glory or World Cup glory. I see that now. But over the last months, those doubts melted I was gaining fitness and form. And I walked into this training camp with a good feeling.”

So you are confident you’ll be on the plane? “Well no… actually, no one is apart from Robin and Arjen I guess… We’re all a bit tense with regards to this last cut off.”

Dirk Kuyt can be seen as a real veteran. The 33 year old believe he has much more years in his body. “The doctors at Fener always say I have the body of a 25 year old. It feels like that too. I will happily play more seasons in Turkey and maybe return to Holland one day. Who knows…”

Kuyt enjoys the process preparing towards the World Cup. “The actual tournament goes really quick. You’re in this haze, in this flow. But the prep phase is good fun. You grow towards each other, both on the pitch and off. Some of us know each other really well but most of the youngsters I don’t really know that well. And once you are in this pre-tournament process, it happens. You talk about other things than football, you play games, you socialise. It’s cool.”

What kind of games? “Well, we are all winners I guess. So we play games like cards, or table tennis or playstation games… There is a lot of rivalry happening and its always fun to try and beat certain lads. Arjen Robben has tremendous fits of anger when he loses, hahahaha. And there is nothing more fun than watching him…. But I’m the same, to be honest…”

Jordy Clasie is the table tennis king at the moment, as the lads have an internal competition. The little Feyenoord playmaker analyses his perfect pass on Van Persie below:

“I had a little bit of time, looked up and saw space behind their defence and Robin was already moving in that space. A pass like that needs to be firm and have enough speed. So you gotta put your laces through the ball, to keep it flat and to have the ball beat the defenders. And Robin is wonderful to play with, as you can do anything with him. He can have it in his feet, or in his stride, high, low, doesn’t matter with him.”

Here are some highlights of the training sessions:

Tomorrow, LVG will announce the final squad for Brazil.

Without Van der Vaart, it seems Wijnaldum has a real chance, although Louis might actually consider Depay or RObben for that role too or even Vilhena depending on how well the PSV midfielder is doing…. He is lacking rhythm too, so with a 5-3-2 LVG might decide to take an extra midfielder like Fer or an extra winger like Promes who impressed against Scotland….

We’ll find out soon!!

De Vrij LVG training

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Updates from Oranje camp in Portugal

Only 15 days to go!! And 5 days until we learn the final definitive selection!

The Netherlands has 15 mio team managers. People (fans, ex players, coaches, analysts, media people) and then there is the actual team manager of course…

And in the run up to the World Cup you will hear them all. And they all have their own ideas. Feyenoord assistant coach JP van Gastel repeats what his former head coach Ronald Koeman said earlier this week: “Van Gaal should have taken Mathijsen. It’s clear that the Oranje defence is young and inexperienced, albeit very talented. It would have helped if he would have picked at least one experienced trooper. Joris would have been perfect. He was in top form the last months, he has leadership on and off the pitch. I think this is a missed opportunity.” Pundits like Ronald Waterreus, Co Adriaanse and Ronald de Boer expressed a similar opinion. But, that is irrelevant now as Louis is not able to call him up even if he wanted to. The definitive group will have to come from the prelim squad.

lvg hoofd

The discussion centers more and more on “who will Louis select”? The future Man United coach said he has 20 names on paper already. Only 3 more to go. The practice sessions show a potential line up with Cillesen on goal and a back five of Janmaat, De Vrij, Veltman, BMI and Van Aanholt. In midfield Nigel de Jong has taken the role of Clasie (pretty useful against Spain and Chile of course) with Daley Blind on his side and the golden triangle of Sneijder, Robben and Van Persie upfront. Depay, Lens and Clasie will have to wait their chance on the bench.

Van Gaal also made some comments about a certain player who might not be top fit but whose yield  – for lack of a better word – has always been very high for Oranje. “The ability to deliver sometimes overrides match fitness. And we still have a couple of weeks to get players more fit.” It seemed like Louis was referring to Raf van der Vaart. The HSV player has not had a super season in Germany and struggled with fitness. At the Portugal camp he had the flu and he suffered a little calf injury which kept him off the pitch today. But the former Ajax, Real Madrid and Spur midfielder has the ability to turn games around with his ability to deliver in big games and Van Gaal knows he might need an experienced player like him to bring in difficult situations.

With Depay he has a young gun who will be able to surprise with his confident performance and trickery. According to former Oranje wingers Regi Blinker and Bryan Roy the PSV winger might well be the surprise of the World Cup. “He won’t start, we don’t think, but he’ll get playing time for sure. And he might be able to do something special. Against Ecuador you could see how Van Persie rated Depay as he allowed him a free kick which RVP would normally take himself.”


Bryan Roy

Roy did say a bit more: “I would never go for 5-3-2 by the way. We have always impressed most with three strikers. We have the players to play like that and we can put more pressure on the opponents. But I do understand Van Gaal’s reasoning and you can’t ignore the fact he has proven himself as a world class coach, so maybe we should simply support his choices.”

Skipper Robin van Persie won’t say too many negative things about his coach. “We have special relationship. I never knew him too well before he took on Oranje and we had that first meeting in which he told he would go for Klaas Jan as his striker. That came out and people thought I would be disappointed. But I wasn’t. That comment was only one comment in a meeting that lasted hours. We talked about many things. Football and non football matters. And we still do. He might have said that to motivate me, but at the same time I wasn’t very impressive in Oranje till then and I know it. Anyway, we built up a good relationship, something you don’t have with just any coach.”

Van Persie grins when Van Gaal’s intensity is mentioned. “Well, he expects everyone to give 100% like he does. And that is tough at times. But I like it. It sort of lifts you up to do better. And he is very open and clear and direct. And that is good. He also wants you to talk to him about things you experience or believe. He welcomes debate. But if you didn’t perform, he will tell you.”

The Man United striker had a difficult season in England. No European football for him and he missed a number of games due to injuries. But in Portugal the former Feyenoord man is reaching his top level again. During the 5 against 5 games they played he dribbled past opponents as if they weren’t there and scored from all angles possible. He is expected to play a full game against Ghana and will be ready for the big job against Spain by then.

RVP Louis talk

“Do what I say, nose, otherwise I will take your new job away from you!”

About the new system: “It is not really new for some. Feyenoord played like this and we played like this with Man United as well. I am sure half of the squad has played this system, but with Van Gaal it is always about the perfect execution. It’s almost sacred geometry with him. The distance between players needs to be exactly right and it takes a lot of thinking, coaching and focus. But we have a couple of weeks to go and you can tell things are improving fast.”

Van Gaal was not happy with the way Oranje played vs Ecuador and took Kongolo and Clasie off at half time. Does the Oranje skipper do anything special towards these players to keep them motivated? “I don’t need to, believe me. And I don’t have to tell anyone they played great if they didn’t. But it was one game, a friendly, while the non Eredivisie players were still absent. So you can’t judge too much. It was Kongolo’s first game in Oranje. And I have had many great assists in my life, but the one Clasie played against Ecuador was probably one of the 5 best passes I have ever received. So he didn’t do too badly. And seriously, all players are making giant steps. Did you see how Martins Indi positions himself, how he handles the ball and is coaching others? He has made huge steps compared to two years ago.”

Van Persie continues: “The key thing for young players is to keep on watching and learning and taking it all in. We are on the verge of a World Cup in Brazil. It doesn’t get bigger. I was never a bright player. When I was young, I was a selfish player and wasn’t really too smart tactically. I can see that now. And if you see how disciplined youngsters like Martins Indi, Clasie, Fer and Depay can play, that is quite something.”

Van Persie and Robben were the two top dogs in Oranje, with Strootman before he got injured. Wesley Sneijder, the former skipper and leader, had to worry about his position in the squad. But not anymore, it seems. The Gala midfielder has surprised Van Gaal in a positive manner. The team manager: “The biggest gift I received is Wesley Sneijder. He is very fit. If he stays in this form, he will be a very important player for us and I am very very content.”

training oranje

“For Clasie we have a water bottle with a straw”

It seems the following players can count on a ticket to Brazil:

Cillesen, Janmaat, Verhaegh, De Vrij, Veltman, Martins Indi, Vlaar, Van Aanholt, De Jong, Blind, Sneijder, Van der Vaart, Robben, Van Persie.

I do think Krul and Vorm are certain as well and I think we’ll see Clasie and Depay on the plane too. Huntelaar is the best stand in for RVP of course and if Lens is fit and in form he will be a certain squad member.

Three more field players needed. I suppose Van Gaal will consider Blind as left back if he believes Kongolo is too light for the big job. In which case we’ll see Fer and maybe De Guzman come along. As we will play with two forwards, having Depay and Lens as stand ins is probably enough and Boetius and Promes will be able to book his summer holiday, while Rekik suddenly might be needed to make up the numbers in defence…. Wijnaldum will lose out if LVG picks both Sneijder and Van der Vaart.

If Kongolo however impressed Van Gaal, he will be a perfect stand in for center back as well and Rekik might unlucky which might give Van Gaal the opportunity to bring another wild card in the form of Promes or Boetius or midfielder Vilhena…

The latter has been loaned out to Young Oranje (with Boetius, Rekik and Promes) while Kongolo was allowed to stay with the big boys. Tonny Vilhena: “It’s not a big deal for me. People tend to forget that even Young Oranje is already a step up for me, as I should normally play under 19s. And I have not given up on Brazil. It would be fantastic to go along. The coach told us he will make his mind up after seeing us play on Wednesday. So if we perform well, who knows?”

lvg wes

“I’m glad that my little media games with you worked out well, Sneijdertje!”

Karim Rekik adds: “The coach has told us specifically that we still have a good chance to be part of it. And why not. The other players will also have to prove themselves. I would love to go, and would love to see how Robben and Van Persie and those guys deal with the stress and the pressure and all that….”

We will give the Men in Blazers the last word in this post. The American comedians look at the chances we (and Belgium) have this time around. Funny. Not.





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Musings about Prelim Oranje – 27 days to the WC

Back in 1974, the Dutch team manager Rinus Michels was asked to be “coordinator” for the 1974WC campaign. The Barcelona coach took the job, although the players didn’t think they would need a coach.

The public opinion was negative. Oranje was never important enough for the players and we qualified thanks to a referee mistake in the last qualification game. It was Belgium who deserved to go to the tournament.

Michels did his assessment and found out all his experienced top defenders were unavailable. Rinus Israel, Barry Hulshoff, Theo Laseroms, Epi Drost, Aad Mansveld… These guys were sensational central defenders. Tough as nails. Experienced. And great leaders. All injured.

The old gang (Swart, Keizer, Moulijn, Van Duyvenbode, Jan Mulder, Nico Rijnders, Dick van Dijk, Lex Schoenmaker) was not available anymore and there were some new players making their way into the team, such as Haan, Rijsbergen and Rensenbrink.

kluiv lvg

Only a week before the start of the tournament it was, when Cruyff/Michels decided to put Arie Haan as central defender and to push the opponent so far up the pitch that the pressure would be off the last line of defence. This move, plus semi-sweeper Jongbloed in goal, were the two tactical moves that solved Michels’ puzzle. It clicked and the team won silver and most importantly the hearts of many generations to come.

By the way, RVP/LVG is the new combi (like Cruyff/Michels) as they discussed the 5-3-2 when they met to watch PSV – Feyenoord a month ago….

I didn’t like Michels. Just as I am not a big fan of the person Louis van Gaal. But I respect his skills. And he does want to play attractive football. I probably prefer him over Hiddink, in that sense. As a coach that is.

So I will – for now – support him, the team and his choices. I also rate Blind and Kluivert, so in Oranje We Trust!

As for the choices…

Van Gaal would have taken Van der Wiel if he was fit, I believe. But without him, the 2010 defensive line up is gone. A necessary move.

I personally would have loved it if Van Gaal would have decided to bring either Van Ginkel or Afellay, but the fact that he doesn’t means they’re simply not match fit enough. Van Gaal will know best, on this topic.

The exclusion of Stekelenburg and Vermeer is logical and one can only assume Van Gaal has made very well though through decisions with regards of Narsingh, Klaassen and the others… We might one day hear his thoughts, but as Vilhena is in, as are Fer and De Guzman, one can only assume that these players bring more to the table – at the moment – than Klaassen.

Vlaar is not fast enough :-)? Thanks for posting this, Steen!!!

We will see him (and hopefully Narsingh, Van Ginkel and Propper) back into Oranje under Hiddink in the years to come.

The inclusion of Kongolo makes perfect sense. For starters, we need a left back. Blind might be LVG’s choice for holding mid (either as starter or as sub for De Jong). Buttner hasn’t played enough. And Blind doesn’t fit the bill for the 5-3-2 role description.

The choice of Van Aanhold AND Kongolo tells you Van Gaal is looking for legs, lungs and offensive power on the flanks. Verhaegh and Janmaat offer this on the right. I do think Van Aanholt will be among the final seven who will not make it.

Kongolo can also play center back and midfield, so a safe bet. There is not much this kid doesn’t have, apart from experience. But he could well be the sensation of the World Cup for us and on his way to bigger things fast.

The goalie question is quite straightforward for me: Cillesen had a top season and is a very good goalie for the Oranje style of play. I can only assume playing EPL for years will give you the upperhand over a talented goalie who played for PSV only one season. So Zoet goes home.

janmaat kongolo

In Defence, we’ll lose Van Aanholt and possibly De Vrij or Rekik. I think Veltman, BMI and Vlaar are certs for the CB role.

In midfield, I think we will not see de Vilhena go to Brazil and I don’t rate De Guzman too high at the moment either.

Lastly, Promes and Boetius will have to set their sights on 2016 for their first tournament.

This is what I think will happen.

I personally would prefer LVG to leave Kuyt home. I don’t see his role as a winger and as a central striker we have RVP and Klaas Jan (and even Rafael van der Vaart). I think Kuyt has a lot of everything, but not enough of one thing.

I prefer a young buck like Boetius in his place (he could be the Elia of 2014).

Rafael van der Vaart is the most experienced Oranje player with 109 caps to his name, although Dirk is the oldest player (33 years old) and currently has 98 caps to his name.

Van der Vaart hopes to commence his sixth (!) tournament and joins Aron Winter and Edwin van der Sar as record holders in number of tournaments. If he remains fit and valuable, he could easily reach seven in two years.

Sneijder and Robben can join Rafael in that exclusive club, by the way.

Oranje now has three debutants for the ball: Kongolo, Vilhena and Jeroen Zoet all have to collect their “hare”.

Van Gaal now only has 8 players who were present in 2010. Normally, Strootman, Afellay and Van der Wiel would have been part and parcel if fit and so could Stekelenburg have been, if if if….


Wesley Sneijder commented in his own style from Istanbul. He still has no clarity re: his position and he has not heard from the team manager about the tactical changes we might see. “Apparently, the hierarchy has changed.”

But, Sneijder can’t wait to go to Brazil. “It’s quite exciting. I don’t know what to expect. If I’m in, I will be joining the group in Portugal. I still have one game to play with Gala, but I’m doing really well. I am in form and I will keep that form as I am super excited to play this World Cup. That is just the best.”



sneijder tong

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Lots of work to do for Oranje

Not a title you would associate with an upcoming game vs Andorra.

But the State of the Union of Oranje is not too positive after the shock draw against Estonia.

And it’s not like Holland is not allowed to draw. After the amazing run we had under Bert and under Louis, it’s not a drama to not win for once. But what is a drama, that it happens in a game where we led 0-1 after 2 minutes. A game inwhich we dominated in the first 20 minutes. And a win would have secured our spot in the top 7 of the Fifa Ranking and would have given us that record to snatch away from Ze Zjermans.

The way we let this game slip away and the way we had to salvage a point were embarrassing, really.

Johan Cruyff is per usual the biggest contrarian. Where people only see good things, he sees negative elements. And the other way around. “It’s probably a good thing that Holland is not the first nation after Brazil to qualify. In all honesty, if we would qualify that easily and quick, people might believe we are really good. And we are not. Now, Van Gaal can work on the elements that need improvement, without bringing the qualification in trouble. This is maybe a blessing in disguise, this draw. Because now everyone realises: oops… We are not that great….”

JC Est

The oracle talks on: “Take Tiger Woods. If he plays without concentration for one day, he can simply tumble from the 1st to the 10th spot. The differences are minimal in the top. If we want to go for silverware in Brazil we will need to work really hard. And that is easier for Louis van Gaal now. Because if we would have won, criticism would not have its desired effect.”

The other Dutch icon, Willem van Hanegem, spoke as well. “I like Louis and I can’t really criticise his football vision. But the last weeks he seems to be losing it a bit. He has lost his consistency, it seems. First he claims he doesn’t need a type like Sneijder anymore. But when Wijnaldum gets injured, he calls Sneijder up. At first he’s not fit. Then he is fit enough? And the result? Sneijder feels the pressure and plays his own game. In order to prove himself. You could have predicted that. And Sneijder does play too close to Van Persie, basically suffocating the Man United striker. He needs movement around him and space. Sneijder doesn’t offer movement and doesn’t allow space. When Kuyt came to play centrally, things changed a bit. Another problem Van Gaal generated is that weird switch of Robben and Lens. Why? He was adamant that Robben should play on the left flank and now that is not needed anymore? Sure, Robben scored. It took the Estonia coach a couple of minutes to realise Robben played on the right, but since that goal Robben and Lens did not produce one single cross for Van Persie and Robben blocked Janmaat too. I think Van Gaal should sit down with his key players (RVP, Sneijder, Robben) and determine what system will be used. And lastly, De Vrij vs Bruma. Everyone who watches the Eredivisie can see that De Vrij is not in his best form, while Bruma is very strong. Why would Van Gaal use De Vrij and then sub him when he made a mistake? This is not good for the lad, not for the team and not for the coach… He should have simply said: Stefan, you will be rested, I wanna try out Bruma for this game.”

Oranje needs to regroup and will do so by acknowledging the weaknesses of the team: defence. With players like Van der Vaart, Sneijder, Van Persie, Kuyt and Robben, most international opponents will be very careful. But with big names like De Boer, Stam, Rijkaard and Reiziger missing in the current squad, most opponents feel there is something to be had against this Holland team.

robben est

Skipper Robin van Persie does not allow criticism to creep into the camp. “It’s normal that the fans and the media are unhappy with that performance, but internally, we are not negative. The last thing we will do is point fingers. We need each other. We need to play and act like a team.”

The media asked Van Gaal about his substitution of De Vrij. Was it because he was to blame for that first Estonia goal? “No. I subbed him not for that. If someone makes a mistake, the team makes a mistake and the team will need to resolve it. I subbed Stefan because he lost confidence and didn’t play the vertical, deep pass anymore. That needed changing.”

Kevin Strootman: “The Feyenoord lads have been starters this whole qualification series. We did very well. Do you seriously think they forgot how to play football?”

In 2004, Holland played an away game against Andorra, and that was a special game. The 34 year old AZ midfielder Barry van Galen made his debut in Oranje under Van Basten. The current AZ scout would never be called up again. “I am eternally grateful to Marco for this. I think he simply felt I deserved at least one international game. And sure, I’d love to have played that game against Brazil, like Bart Latuheru, hahaha. But it was the best day in my whole career. And Marco asked me after the game: what did you think? And I said: I was shit. Because I was. I didn’t do anything right. And Marco nodded, hahahaha. And after the game, I was interviewed, and who was standing next to me? Johan Cruyff. My hero. Ah, those memories. I played with number 10, even. Van Basten made me the happiest man ever.”


Barry van Galen against Andorra, 2004

A won against Andorra will give Holland a ticket almost for certain. Romania would have to bridge 6 points and 15 goals in two games, something that is highly unlikely of course (*cough* Spain – Malta!!! * cough*).

If Romania drops points vs Turkey, Holland will be definitely certain of Brazil.

Van Gaal has to make some changes, as Arjen Robben and Bruno Martins Indi are suspended. Ruben Schaken is the obvious replacement for Robben. The Feyenoord defender will most likely be replaced by Vlaar. Karim Rekik is an option too although he is not 100% fit. However, Van Gaal could decide to play with three defenders only, taking into account that Andorra will probably only field one striker.

In this case, we might see Janmaat – De Vrij / Bruma – Willems/Verhaegh

And maybe four midfielders, with De Guzman to support the build up. I wouldn’t mind seeing Sneijder, Maher and Strootman together.

And Lens – RVP – Schaken upfront.

RVP most likely wants to play, as he is only 4 goals away from Patrick Kluivert’s record of 40 goals in the Orange Jersey.

rvp kluiv

Arjen Robben is the unlikely vice captain. The egotistical self kicker Robben, as vice captain. “I like the responsibility. I love coaching and supporting the young lads. And it gives me great honour to wear the band, you know.” Robben’s drive has not diminished after winning the CL at last. He was furious when he left the pitch against Estonia. “If you score after 2 minutes and you are the better team, you simply need to win. Period.” Asked about his drive and his loathing of losing….” Ask my wife. I haven’t changed a bit since winning the CL at Wembley. I still play as if it’s my last game. But Guardiola said something interesting to me. We had a good chat and he said: you have nothing to prove. If you simply play good football, I will put you in the line up. Just enjoy yourself. I loved that…. I need to learn how to do that.”


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Oranje starts the new season with a decent draw… (edited)

Oranje broke the deadlock (and the horrific series) against Portugal last night with a draw.

Midfielder Strootman scored the Dutch goal in the first 20 minutes of the game, C Ronaldo was gifted a late equaliser.

Strootman is one of the three players Louis van Gaal considers starters. Before the game, he said “Van Persie, Robben and Strootman have a bit more credit points than the rest. They can consider themselves protected players. The rest? They all have to keep on proving their worth.”

Comments made, after questions on De Vrij and BMI who seem to be on edge after some lesser performances with Young Oranje and Feyenoord. “I too read and hear about De Vrij and Martins Indi lack of form. That might be the case at Feyenoord, but it’s not in Oranje. They haven’t let me down and I do not doubt De Vrij’s qualities. However, I am looking with glee at the development of Bruma and Rekik and in all honesty, if they do better than the Feyenoord couple I might be tempted…”
raf port


The following eleven were used as starters against “angstgegner” Portugal: Vorm, Verhaegh, De Vrij, Martins Indi, Blind, Wijnaldum, Stootman, Van der Vaart, Robben, Van Persie and Lens. It’s a special game for Rafael who joins Gio van Bronckhorst with 106 caps for the Dutch. Only Sar (130) and Frank de Boer (112) played more in orange.

First chance is for Portugal but the header is too weak. Van der Vaart and Van Persie demonstrated some nice build up play in the start of the game but nothing comes of it. Paul Verhaegh has a decent debut and offers Van der Vaart a chance with a good cross but Raf can’t control the ball. The start of the game is lacklustre. Both teams forgot to take the handbrake off.

In the 17th minute, it’s Kevin Strootman who scores for Holland. The midfielder gets the ball on the edge of the box and pulls the trigger. Goalie Beto doesn’t have a chance. In the 28th minute, a mistake by De Vrij allows Micael a sitter but the Portuguese aims badly and misses. Van Gaal acts his role again when Verhaegh fouls a Portuguese player and the whole Portuguese nation starts to complain, whine and provoke. Memories of 2006….

C Ronaldo does find the net after half an hour of play but the winger is given off side. His chip was nice but won’t be allowed.

c ron port

Van Gaal keeps on playing his part, when the frustrated Portuguese make more and more bad fouls, like Coentrao who can’t control himself.

In the first half, Oranje played with a three man midfield with the center player in an offensive role (“the point up front”). In the second half, Van Gaal switches tactics and plays the center player as holding mid (“the point back”). It’s Van der Vaart who is rested and Van Ginkel coming in. Van Rhijn comes for debutant Verhaegh. In the first 5 minutes, it’s Vorm with a good save on a Coentrao attempt. After one hour of play, RVP is subbed for Huntelaar. Robben gets the captain band.

Robben offers Lens a decent chance but the winger mishits the ball completely. Robben gets a nice chance from the right, later, but curls the ball just over the goal.

The game starts to open up and C Ronaldo tests Vorm who won’t be beaten tonight.

In th 70st minute, skipper Robben has a good action with Wijnaldum, but is tackled on the edge of the box. Free kick. Wijnaldum, Robben….they can all do it, but it’s Huntelaar who hits the ball weakly in the wall.

The Portuguese are not happy with the score line and put more pressure on the Dutch. Machado hits the cross bar. With 10 minutes to go, Lens is taken off for Schaken. And five minutes later, it is C Ronaldo scoring for Portugal after a corner kick. De Vrij didn’t look too good there, but he wasn’t the only one. Ball watching (De Vrij), not alert enough in the marking (BMI) and more silliness (Van Rhijn)….

robben port

C Ronaldo gets a free kick in the dying seconds of the game but hits straight at Vorm, who stops the ball.

And thus it remains 1-1.

All in all, not a great game, but Oranje didn’t do too shabby. Paul Verhaegh can look back on a decent debut, as the defenders were under the microscope this particular game. They all faired well. Verhaegh set up the attack resulting in Stroot’s goal and bar one costly mistake (De Vrij), the defensive four did alright.

Louis van Gaa had difficulties naming positive points, although he did see “a fantastic Verhaegh”. Mostly he saw things that went wrong. “In the first half we did create chances and we scored a goal, so I can’t be too critical, but in the second half we made a lot of mistakes in possession. We were very poor. And with some lads, you could see the tank was empty. We haven’t lost against Germany, Italy and Portugal now, so we haven’t do too badly, but this was the poorest game.”

About Verhaegh: “I think he did very well. He played with maturity and smarts. He could leave C Ronaldo to De Vrij regularly, we knew he would try and come into the center a lot.” Van Gaal also emphasized that the door is open for Sneijder. “Listen, Wes knows what he needs to do. If he is fit and in form, I can’t ignore him. We all know how good he can be. But it will also depend on how players like Van der Vaart, Maher, Van Ginkel and Wijnaldum develop.”

orane port scoresRobben was vice captain and took his job seriously in front of the microphones. “I’m disappointed. When you lead 70 minutes, you want to win it. You don’t want to concede so late. And it’s a bit sour grapes for us. A deflected ball and our friend happens to be on the right spot. It’s shit. But all in all, a good lesson. These types of opponents will be at the World Cup and you will need to learn to beat them. We did well in the first half, I think but in the second half we sort of forgot to play football.”

Van Gaal repeated his words, that he is not really happy as team manager. His passion is club coaching. “I have trouble working in this role. I am not only dependent on the players but also on their coaches. How do they prepare them? Do they get playing time, etc…. As a club coach, you have more control. Now, I only see them 7 or 8 times a year. But….in the coming months it will become more fun, I guess.”

Paul Verhaegh ended the night on a high, with his first Oranje jersey in his bag. “No way I would have exchanged it, not even with C Ronaldo. This is a boyhood dream for me. If you would have told me two years ago this was to happen I would have had you locked up. But this now does give me a taste for more…. But I can’t count on anything. I will keep on doing my best at my club and then we’ll see.”

“The lads told me that C Ronaldo basically floats everywhere and doesn’t really get bothered with defending. This did allow me to attack and support the build up. He is very strong and athletic, that bloke but I still got to play my own game. ” Verhaegh was one of the better players in his passing and positioning and he started the play that resulted in the 0-1 by Strootman. But at the end of the first half, he felt his hamstring. “At my age, you know your body well. Probably the result of the tension. My hamstring tensed up and I felt I had to make way.”

Ricardo van Rhijn came in, while normally Daryl Janmaat and Greg van der Wiel are also in the picture. “Yeah I know there is competition, but that is good. I won’t say that I am better than they are. How can I?”.

robben cr


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Oranje – Portugal preparation

The Deer in the Headlight look of Paul Verhaegh

The first international game in the new season. After that breezy Asian tour, important wins over Indonesia and China, we are now facing our menace Portugal. 2002, 2004, 2006, 2012… Just some random numbers for you.

And in the lead up to this friendly (…) there is some unsettling news:

– There is LVG’s criticism on our former skipper Wes Sneijder… Is it justified? Is LVG motivating the little playmaker?

– There is everyone’s criticism on De Vrij (and Martins Indi). Can the Rotterdam man face the pressure?

– There is the generic criticism on our young and somewhat naive back four ( Janmaat? Blind? De Vrij? BMI? All untested)

dirk oranje

On top of that, LVG has demonstrated his fickleness in his selections. No Nigel and Siem, for instance. Although Siem would have had to thank for the invite anyway (as Schaars and Janmaat had to do). Schaars is injured. Janmaat has the flu. But Siem de Jong is in hospital with a collapsed lung? He is out for weeks.

The media can’t help themselves. When Dirk Kuyt came to the Dutch trainingscamp, most journalists wanted to hear what Dirkie thought of Wesley’s fitness. The two recently played the Turkish Super Cup against each other and Sneijder (and Drogba) won.

Kuyt: “I see Wesley a lot in Turkey. And we talk about football of course and about our families… Wes is really disappointed about the whole thing but he is committed to fight his way back. That is how he is. He really wants to be part of Oranje of course.”

Asked about Sneijder’s game, Dirk said: “He is fit alright. He trained all summer and he played really well against us.”

The largest Dutch newspaper was quite critical on Van Gaal and his selection criteria. As per usual, Van Gaal loves players he can mould to his own liking. Players like Maher, Wijnaldum, Van Ginkel (the ideal sons-in-law) and doesn’t like player with a mind of their own ( Sneijder, Robben, Van Bommel). With a number of key players lacking the form and rhythm it will be interesting to see how things will develop.

gio wijn

Paul Verhaegh is the player most media jumped on, as he is the big unknown in the squad. And the Augsburg player has just gotten the chance to get used to the idea being part of Oranje, or the next surprise came in: Daryl Janmaat can’t make it. So there is a fair chance that Louis van Gaal will let the former PSV prospect start against one C Ronaldo….

Verhaegh: “I will see what happens. I heard Janmaat is not here so who knows. All I can do is do my stinking best and hopefully I get the chance to show myself. And sure people are surprised hearing my name. I was surprised! I will turn 30 soon and this coach is known to go for youth, so….”

Paul Verhaegh was with one Klaasjan Huntelaar at the PSV youth system and like Hunter, Verhaegh was moved to AGOVV which played first division back then. He moved to FC Den Bosch and after a year he was signed by Vitesse. He somehow made a move to Augsburg in Germany, which has since moved up to the Bundesliga. “I took a long and winding road, haha. Many of my team mates from back then play for big clubs now. Augsburg is not a big name. Most people think of Schalke, Bayern or Dortmund when you talk Bundesliga.”

raf oranje

As Verhaegh is somewhat older and not playing top drawer football, people wonder why Van Rhijn and Van der Wiel are not above the debutant in the Oranje squad hierarchy. “I don’t think I am above them at all. I would not even state I am better than them. How can I? I think Van Gaal wants to see me up close. I am not even considering the World Cup. That is so far away still. I will take this one step at a time.”

Although the Portugal game is “but” a friendly, Holland does need a good result. A win – and maybe a draw, will keep Holland as number 5 on the FIFA ranking. The first seven nations will have a protected spot in the draw of the World Cup. Holland is well on its way of qualifying of course but the differences in the Top 10 are small. Portugal is now number 7 while Belgium is on the rise, as the number 10. If the draw was today, the following nations would be group leader: Spain, Germany, Columbia, Argentina, Holland, Italy, Portugal and Brazil.


Jeremain Lens and his dad, former PSV winger Sigi Lens

lens oranje

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Dutch Transfers…

Here is my update on transfers. I will not even try to be “complete” in my analysis as I am a bit far removed from the actions and people like DRB and Alex and others will have much more insights than me.

So, I will start this thread and you guys can add to it, ok?

In general, the transfer market is a bit timid at the moment. It’s still early days, as the actions will go onto September 1 and some clubs will pounce late in the process.

New coaches usually bring new names. We have seen some action already by some high profile coaches, like Mourinho, Moyes, Cocu and Blanc. Cavani’s move to PSG and Neymar’s move to Barca are the biggest headlines. Barca is eager to sign Brazilian PSG defender Silva, but the PSG chairman said that if Barca approaches the player, they (PSG) will make an offer for Lionel Messi… And pay the 250 Mio euros which is in the contract.

The economic downturn will most likely have its impact. Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, Man City, Man United, Liverpool…they are all doing some business but major signings have not yet been done. ManU might sign Fabregas and Chelsea might sign Rooney, and once these things start to happen, the co-called caroussel will really kick into gear.

It always starts at the top. Napoli is spending their money and PSV is another big spender, what with the exit of Strootman, Mertens, Lens, Pieters and Toivonen.

The actions is limited in Holland though. PSV is changing tactics and is an exception to the rule. Most of you know I don’t have anything with PSV, but I have always been a big fan of Cocu and I think he might well be the real deal as a coach, like Frank de Boer. PSV got it wrong a number of times in the past and their sterile and elitist profile has always put me off. But their current actions on the transfer market are inspired (by Cocu no doubt). Signing Advocaat as coach last year was a coward’s act. Placing Cocu at the helm is more like it.


rekik psvKarim Rekik gets playing time as a loanie at PSV

And as PSV will allow young talents to shine (most likely) and support the Dutch cause, I am happy to give them the benefit of the doubt. Players like Wijnaldum, Depay, Jozefzoon, Narsignh, Maher and Schaars are always good value to watch.

PSV is also keen to score Jens Toornstra of Utrecht. The dynamic midfielder recently got his first Oranje cap in Asia. But Jan Wouters does not want to sell the midfielder so PSV will have to wait a bit.

Ajax is remarkably silent on the transfer market. Both in selling and in signing. Marc Overmars said it early on in this transfer period: we will not join in this madness (referring to the Maher option). Frank de Boer agrees: as long as no one leaves, we will not buy new names.
Siem de Jong gave a huge signal when he announced to want to stay in Amsterdam. His chances for the Oranje Brazil squad are obviously a factor. Frank de Boer hopes this will motivate Eriksen and Alderweireld to stay to. When Babel left, De Boer opted for Krkic and De Boer picked up Utrecht defender van Hoorn to cover for Alderweireld’s potential move. But as it stands, Alderweireld and Eriksen remain in Amsterdam. Eriksen could sign a massive deal with Leverkusen, but he aims high. And if the Barcelona’s or Man Uniteds do not bite, he will stay in Amsterdam. Should Eriksen leave Ajax, it seems Duarte will be his successor. De Boer and co popped the champagne when expensive Sulejmani left for Benfica, creating some space in the salary-budget.

Ajax does need to fear for Liverpool, as the Reds have followed both Eriksen and Alderweireld extensively. Brendan Rogers is only allowed to spend money when Suarez is sold, though, who is on the list of Real Madrid and Arsenal. De Boer wants to go for an internal option if Eriksen goes. Victor Fischer, Davy Klaassen or Lasse Schone can play in that role. Lerin Duarte of Heracles is an option too, although Ajax has some competition here from PSV.

SIEM stays

The Ajax skipper stays in Amsterdam

AC Milan is another club to follow Eriksen. They have offered the Dane 2mio Euros nett per season and are preparing a 16 mio Euro deal for Ajax.

The Oranje Selection for Brazil is also what keeps the Feyenoord talent in Rotterdam. Martins Indi and Clasie were both rumoured to move to London (Arsenal) but it appears that interest was not solid. Both players (and add Janmaat and de Vrij to that list) can count on a role in Brazil provided they will keep their starting berth. Italian striker Graziano Pelle might well leave. Italian, English and Russian clubs are on the prowl and if a good offer comes, I’m sure Feyenoord will let him go. One John Guidetti might well be his successor. Feyenoord does not have the funds to go berserk and Koeman will have to wait until a player leaves before he can move in. With Boetius, the left winger injured, Koeman does want to add Assaidi (not longer needed in Liverpool) to his squad and for now, that’s about it.

Darryl Janmaat frequents many lists in Europe, with Inter being keen to make a move. Feyenoord hopes that his Oranje ambitions will keep him for one more year in Rotterdam, and Feyenoord is preparing a new deal for the right full back, to extort a higher transfer fee, in case the player has a great World Cup campaign.

AZ and Heerenveen are the most active on the market, of the sub top. AZ has lost quite some good players over the last years and this summer prolific goal scorer Altidore (Sunderland) left, while playmaker Maher wears the colours of PSV. Verbeek is known to be a good picker of talent and with Jeffrey Gouweleeuw in Alkmaar and Nemanja Gudelj from NAC and Wuytens from Utrecht, Verbeek is creating his new team nicely.

At FC Twente, they refuse to play along in the game of expensive transfers. Top players Chadli and Tadic are still in Enschede, although the French media report that the Belgian winger might join his fellow countrymen Vertonghen and Dembele at Spurs. Central defender Douglas left for Russia, while Fer got his EPL transfer. The biggest signing is ex Feyenoord talent Ebicilio, who came on a free transfer from Arsenal.

kyle twente

Another young Dutch talent to be watched in the Eredivisie

Some remarkable news… With Royston Drenthe in the Championship to help Reading return to the EPL, we also see Quincy resurfacing after a Russian and Greek adverture. The former Arsenal youngster was one of the hot players in the Under20 Oranje squad in 2005.

Anderlecht is seriously eyeing Hedwiges Maduro. The former Ajax and Valencia player knows Anderlecht coach John van den Brom from his Ajax days.

The biggest “deals” till now is Kevin Strootman’s move to Italy and Van Ginkel to Chelsea.

His name was linked to Man United and Tottenham Hotspur for a while, but there was no offer coming from Albion so Roma picked him up.

Strootman: “I was always keen to move to England and I simply don’t know the Italian competition that well. But Mark van Bommel had a wonderful time in Milan and he told me a lot about the serie A and life and work in Italy. I kinda like the passion in Italian football and I think the lifestyle and playing style suits me.”

The midfielder doesn’t fear his spot in Oranje with this move. “Roma is a very strong team and the Serie A is a strong competition. I was really ready to move and I discussed it with Mr Van Gaal.”

Man City full back Maicon, deadly unhappy in England, will become Strootman’s colleague. Strootman was heralded as the new hero when he arrived at Roma Airport and if he ever returns to Sparta, he will be given a similar welcome as his transfer will add some much needed euros to the war chest of Sparta as well.

Marco van Ginkel to Chelsea is also a transfer that got people’s interest up. Who the hell is Van Ginkel and who the hell is Vitesse? In England, it’s only Ajax, PSV and maybe Feyenoord that have solid names. Although Twente and AZ have done well to establish their names. But Vitesse is like a branch or subsidiary of Chelsea these days. Vitesse puts players not longer wanted by Chelsea in the shopwindow and allows young talents to play regular games. So it’s quite simple for Chelsea to “scout” in Arnhem.


Marco van Ginkel clearly still in shock

Bony, the prolific striker, apparently wasn’t interesting enough for Chelsea (who have Lukaku already) but box-to-box midfielder Van Ginkel was high up on the Blues’ wishlist.

And why not? A diamond in the raw, the young midfielder. Tremendous athlete, in the Michael Ballack / Steve Gerrard mould. Good mentality, all round in skills. The only thing Van Ginkel needs to learn is tactics. He can be a bit rambunctious. Picking the right moment is key. Knowing when to take the pace out. Knowing when to go and when to stay (he should listen to the Clash).

With this season leading up to the World Cup in Brazil (excited already???), it’s key for our lads to have a solid spot in their teams. I prefer Sneijder to be a starter at Gala, than a benchwarmer at Chelsea, for instance. I believe Wes will have a cracker of a season, as will Rafa at Hamburg.

Van Persie, Robben, Vorm, Krul, De Guzman… I can’t see any problems there. Just as De Vrij, Maher, Janmaat, BMI, Blind, Vermeer, Huntelaar will have secured their spots at their respective clubs.

It will be less certain for Lens, Strootman, Elia, Fer and Van Ginkel, to name a few, but Lens and Strootman should be doing well.

We will be following the lads as per usual in the coming months but before the season starts, we will look just one more time at the 1988 Victory. After that, an indepth analysis of Oranje TODAY is in the planning and after that, we’ll see what pops up…

largestAssaidiDespite some promising performances it didn’t work out for Assaidi at Liverpool. Feyenoord wants the former Heerenveen winger








Anyway, I am really excited for next season.

And I am grateful to PSV and Twente among others for being able to keep or attract talent back to the home soil or keep them in Holland. Really keen to see Rekik, Ebecilio, Krkic, Maher and hopefully Assaidi perform….

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