Louis van Gaal is leading the way in our Nations League Group but for him, it’s not about the Nations League. It’s all about prepping for the World Cup. And with difficulties, as the playing calendar means he has to shuffle the pack in order to keep players healthy.
The Oranje tactics work. For LVG. The two training sessions of the past days were defined as “fantastic” by the 70 year old. He is quite happy with the Oranje progress.
It seems the questions are being answered. Not necessarily in a positive way, but still.
De Ligt as left centre back is not something we’ll see Van Gaal do again.
I believe Hateboer and Teze will have to be concerned by competition from Rick Karsdorp and who knows, Devyne Rensch should he make that spot his at Ajax.
Koopmeiners is put on notice by Van Gaal: “I want to see the dominant Koopmeiners I know from Atalanta. He hasn’t played like that in the orange jersey yet and Van Gaal needs to see more.
When asked about the system change in the Wales match (when the 3 forwards changed positions in the 20-something minute): “That also hinges on how the opponent plays. The way we started versus Wales can work, but Wales didn’t play the way we expected them. So in that case, it made sense to switch it. We played Noa Lang on the #10 role and our game improved as a result.”
LVG now calls the system, the 3-4-3 and the wingbacks/midfielders are key in creating triangles everywhere on the pitch. And thus it’s possible that forward Bergwijn is playing deeper than wingback Malacia, who was on hand in the final seconds to cross the ball to the striker.
Van Gaal kept his cards close to his chest re: the starting line up versus Poland. It’s certain that either Ake or Blind will play on the left centre back spot. I think we’ll see Cillesen again and as Lang and Vincent Janssen will be on the stands, it seems Klaassen or Berghuis will start, as will Memphis, who will captain the team. This might indicate that De Vrij will start on the bench, and De Ligt will be the central defender, with Timber to his right.
I hope LVG gives Gakpo another go, as the youngster drowned a bit versus Wales, amidst a team of fortune-seekers. With the more settled players around him (Frenkie, Memphis), we can expect a better Gakpo. He was voted the best player of the Eredivisie last season and I’m convinced he can do better than he did last Wednesday.
Janssen made an impression at training, becoming the top scorer at practice in the 5 v 5 matches, scoring some beauties with his left and right foot. Still, Van Gaal will treat him like he did Schouten and Martins Indi. “He is part of the group, so he is with us pre-match, in the dressing room and he can experience how we do things and what he can expect. Once he has that experience, he will be part of the squad. Vincent will play versus Wales, coming Wednesday.”
Vincent Janssen, standing on the right, celebrating his goals at practice
The Polish counterpart of Van Gaal has used his top players versus Belgium and some – like Lewandowski – might be rested for the Oranje game. It seems the coach wants to use his big guns in their home game next week against Belgium.
There is quite a lot of murmur re: the players from Young Oranje and the wish of many to see players like Brobbey and Geertruida in Oranje. Geertruida has indeed made amazing progress under Arne Slot and deserves a call up. He can play central as well and he can play as a defensive midfielder even. Geertruida is definitely a better option than Hateboer.
Brobbey is a real fan favorite. He scores goals, he has an impressive physique and he’s a funny guy in interviews. But is he ready to solve our #9 issues? Is he the killer in the box? According to the experts, Brobbey is not ready yet to play the full 90 minutes at top level and simply needs to play, week in week out first.
It seems Brobbey might be a better “Oranje striker” than Vincent Janssen, but it feels right that LVG tests Janssen now and allows Brobbey to hone his skills at a lower level. Should Brobbey get playing time in the coming season and if he keeps on finding the net, he’s most likely in the WC squad.
Poland is not a bad opponent to have for Holland. We played them in the previous Nations League and beat them twice. The last time we lost against them was in 1980, some 42 years ago! Dennis Bergkamp is Holland’s top scorer versus the Polish, with 3 goals.
Memphis can make further steps up on the Oranje all-time topscorers list. One goal vs Poland and Memphis equals the tally of one Klaas Jan Huntelaar. The Van Persie record of 50 goals might be crushed by Memphis before the World Cup starts.
Brobbey, lamenting a missed chance
The Poland match is in De Kuip, in Rotterdam. Traditionally, Oranje’s bunker. Since 2007, Oranje won all their games in Rotterdam. The players love playing there because of the vibe and the perfect pitch. The only thing is: the VIPs have to use dirty old toilets….
Turkish ref Halil Meler is officiating the match. Feyenoord knows him well. He was the referee in the Slavia Prague game, where he showed eight yellow cards, of which five for the Feyenoord players.
The line up I expect:
Dumfries – Timber – De Ligt – Blind – Malacia
Frenkie – Berghuis
Bergwijn – Memphis
With sub turns for Gakpo, Schouten and Weghorst.
Oranje will win 3-0: Memphis, Klaassen and Berghuis scoring.