For the non Germanic speakers amongst us. An Angstgegner is an opponent that seems to always get the better of you. An opponent that instills fears in the hearts of the Orange Lions. An opponent we share a history with, and usually with not-so-good outcomes. In English it would be “anxiety opponent”.
Obviously, it’s Portugal I’m talking about.
Ronald Koeman will not be worried about the end result. He wants to keep on trying out new players and see other faces. Apparently he might change the team on 7 spots. Jesper Cillesen will definitely start, as will Tete in place of Hateboer. Ake might step in as centre back. According to the spies, Memphis and Wijnaldum will start for sure, as may Ryan Babel.
Koeman will keep on working on the system he started with at England, but will demand more “compactness” from the team without possession and much better quality in possession.
As he said after the England game: “You can’t expect us to just play England off the pitch in our first match.” I think a similar comment will be applicable for this match: “You can’t expect us to play European champions Portugal off the pitch in our second match.” And rightfully so.
The game will be played in Geneva, by the way, for some reason. So not as festive as a game in Holland, but also not as annoying as a game in Portugal…
I personally believe this 3-4-3 is not that ideal if you don’t have the players to execute it.
To sum it up, we need at least one central defender to be able to join in in midfield, with good passing abilities. For me, De Vrij/Van Dijk/De Ligt are too similar. I’d like to see Daley Blind in there.
I also believe that we need more leadership in midfield, from a tactical standpoint.
Against England, Henderson would drop deep which took Sterling back to midfield. They stretched Strootman and Wijnaldum who again had difficulties with the amount of space. We had a player over in the back and were lacking one in midfield. This Tottenham Hotspur system works well for the Spurs, but they have players like Son, Alli and Kane… We don’t…
Stefan de Vrij might not play, as his head might be a tad on his move to Internazionale, if we have to believe the Italian media. Apparently, Barcelona and Man City have shown interest as well and the Milan behemoth wants to do business quickly. I would normally suggest any Dutch player to sign with Barca and stay away from Inter, but as De Vrij is a defender, Inter might actually be great for him…
Ronald Koeman about his “system”: “I don’t use this system as a response to the opponent or something. I want to use this as our autonomous system, meaning we need to create things as well. Not just stop them. We didn’t create a lot against England, but then again: neither did they. I hear the English media were negative about us, but if we’re that bad, why didn’t England score four goals or more? I see this compact way of playing as the key to qualifying. I have gone from man to man marking to zonal marking and that is a big shift. We do need some more games to perfect it. We have four games to do so, before the real deal starts.”
Asked whether the debut game vs England was a failure, he is resolute. “Absolutely not. One has to start at some stage. If we would have picked Andorra or Luxembourg, we could have won and be proud and speak of a successful debut. But I don’t care about that. I care about perfecting the style we want to play in and against a strong opponent you know two things for sure: you can really test your strength, and you may lose… I don’t care, I want to see the progress and I want to see our players perform under pressure.”
So Monday evening, it’s Portugal. We don’t have very good stats vs the Portuguese…
In 2004, at the Euros in Portugal, we lost 2-1 in the semi finals. Ronaldo and Maniche score in the first hour and the Andrade own goal didn’t do much for us. Portugal got into the finals and got embarrassed by Greece.
In 2006, the Battle of Neuremburg happened. The Russian ref Ivanov produced 20 cards in total and I think he red carded one player twice. Or he yellow carded a player thrice. Or he sent a birthday card to Van Basten, I can’t remember. Again, Maniche scores for Portugal. No one knows where it went wrong. Oranje was tight as a string, following some internal issues (Van Nistelrooy, Van Bommel) and Cocu famously hit the bar, as Tiju famously keeps on ranting about how Kuyt cost us the tournament. Or something. Or Memphis. Can’t remember that either. Trying to block this game from memory as I do with Tiju.
In 2012, Holland has a chance to progress but it needs to win vs Portugal, after having lost against the Danes and the Germans. Rafael van der Vaart scores the first one and hits a similar shot on the post. Two C Ronaldo goals from a counter later and Holland goes home.
In 2000, I think we lost against Van Gaal as well. Two qualification games vs Portugal. We lost 0-2 at home. Famously, the right full back Reiziger played on the left and his misplaced pass ended up in the feet of an opponent. The other goal came when the Oranje defense stopped playing as some moron (Tiju??) blew a whistle on the stands. The Dutch players thought the game was stopped, the Portuguese players didn’t. In the away game, we took revenge and were 0-2 up with 10 minutes to go. Van Gaal was keen to kill Portugal off and brought two extra strikers in the last stage of the game. When the last whistle sounded, it was 2-2.
Didn’t we ever win against these guys?? Yes we did. In qualifying for the EC1992 in Sweden. Portugal had won at their home, 1-0. And it was Richard Witschge who scored the winner for us in De Kuip, 1-0. Enough for us to qualify.
Lets add another win tonight.
I say: 0-2 for Holland. Memphis scoring and a debut goal by Justin Kluivert…