Tag: Portugal

Post Match comments Nederland – Duitsland

Well my friends, if Willem van Hanegem still sees options, I am not going to be too negative.

We did start well. We again created three good chances at the start and Afellay did have a number of crossing options (which he squandered) and I was pretty upbeat.

But, Bert van Marwijk said after the 2-1 loss, our defense kept on tracking back. Our midfielders and defenders didn’t dare to play one on one and push forward. “Cocu and I don’t have a voice left so much did we have to scream to get them forward. They were afraid. At a certain point it was as if we played with 2 offensive players and the rest all walked back.”

Germany scored first, which was a practice goal. Gomez looked like Messi. Schweinie with too much time on the ball, and Mathijsen lost Gomez completely.

The second goal was even worse. Again, no one picking up Gomez and again Schweinie with all the time. And this time, a weird fall by Stekelenburg!! Why did he go to ground? If he would have stayed on his feet, he would have simply caught the ball?!?!?

A string of mistakes and that deflated the energy from the team. Afellay became invisible. Mark van Bommel is spent. Robben couldn’t pass a corner flag and poor Van Persie received poor service. And when Robben finally got a cross in from the left (second half), the Arsenal man demonstrated what he can do.

Our late goal kept things alive a bit. But we were not able to get more out of this. Van Persie had a chance, Sneijder had a blocked opportunity and Raf tried a long distance strike… And that was it… No penalty calls this time and a bloody effective German side.

Willem van Hanegem: “Seriously, this was not even that bad. Sure, the lines were drifting and some players lack form, but with a tad of luck, we would have scored first and that would have made all the difference. We started tournaments bad before. And this time we didn’t even start bad. The Denmark game should have been won and this one was started well too.”

Robben: “We worked hard, we did what we could but it wasn’t enough. I don’t think we could have done better, unfortunately. But I still believe in a good result against Portugal. I have asked my German mates to win the Denmark game and we need to hope they keep their word.”

Van der Vaart: “This is shit! But if we win 3-0 against Portugal, we should go through. We should have scored in the first 20 minutes really. But Germany is a world class side. And we came up short.”

Robben: “It’s not fair to blame our defense or midfield. The whole team is lacking consistency. We are simply not as good as two years ago. Yet.”

Van Marwijk: “You always learn and I did learn something this game. I won’t go into the Portugal line up but I do believe Germany will not let Denmark win it. It doesn’t work like that.”

The AD reports their rates for the players and are devastating for Mathijsen, Willems and Van Bommel.

Wesley Sneijder apologised to the Dutch fans on television. “We started good but after 20 minutes we were suddenly chasing the game. We are not consistent enough, the patterns aren’t there. But we still have a chance and we should grab that last chance. But I do want to apologise to the Oranje legion. They are immense and deserve much better.”

Van Marwijk: “Against Germany, you need to be top. Our system wasn’t executed right. Our holding mids played to frightened. While our wingers couldn’t get a break. The communication and interplay between the lines was poor. I think Van Persie played really well actually but as a whole we were not good enough against this strong Germany.”

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Post Match Reviews…

Well, we’ve seen the opening games in Group A and B. We’ve seen half of the field in action. We’ve seen dark horse Russia deliver. And favorites Oranje and Germany not deliver. But we also saw Germany win the three points!!

Not delivering, but winning. Very Germany.
Playing well and not winning. Very Dutch.

Where to start? After having had a couple of hours to let this sink in, I still stick to my guns. We didn’t play bad. If we had scored a couple in the first half, we would have easily won this 5-0 ( or 5-1).

So why didn’t we score? Why was Robben’s aim so far off? Why did Van Persie look like Bambi on ice for the first time. (Not the drug, but the frozen water). Why did Afellay didn’t see his team mates in the second half? Why can’t Van der Wiel cross a ball in?

Bert van Marwijk said it like this ( and I tend to buy this): “We were too eager. We wanted it too badly. The guys seemed to block.”

This might apply to Robin van Persie.

At the same time, Arjen Robben’s decision making was not always good. I don’t agree with the Robben bashing. He played well in the first half, linking up with Robin a lot and even trying not to be selfish. But in the second half, tactics went out of the window. And everyone wanted to break the deadlock.

The only player with an eye for the game and for team mates was Wes Sneijder.

Tactically the second half was a mess. What struck me, was that Sneijder didn’t have a lot of space to play in, as Afellay seemed to block the left wing and Willems (rightfully so) came there too on the overlap.

In the second half, Sneijder got more space to roam in and was more important for us…

What does that say?

It sometimes felt the 4-2-3-1 was a 4-2-1-3 and the space was full up for the little midfield maestro to explore.

All in all, Sneijder was my MOTM. His killer pass on Van Persie in the first half deserved better, but Van Persie’s left foot abandoned him.

I personally don’t think Robin was shite. He actually played very well, again: linking up well in the first half and positioning himself wonderfully all the time. It is just the dreaded pulling of the trigger that went awry.

What will Bert do now?

Well, don’t expect too many changes. He will say: “We played well. We simply didn’t score.”

This image says it all..

And thus, I think Bert will change nothing. Subbing Van Persie now means losing him for the tournament. I’d start the exact same way against Germany.

The changes Bert needs to make are in midfield and defense though. Not upfront.

Our forwards will need to pressure better without the ball. That is a given.

But we need to keep the field smaller in possession. Wide, yes, but the defense needs to push up! At times, the distance between the creative 5 and the holding 5 was huge! I’d prefer Raf van der Vaart over Nigel de Jong anyday. Or even Strootman. I hope Mathijsen will be fit for Germany as Vlaar tends to keep the field too long.

Also, our full backs need to push up more. Van der Wiel was atrocious. Despite Willems’ mistakes here and there, I think he is da Man for the job. I wouldn’t sub him.

So, let’s look at the others:

Poland played well. Like Holland. Taking the game to the weaker Greeks, but forgetting to score. The Greek battled their way back into it and Group A looks like a lively group.

Russia wasn’t tested by the Czechs and the main problem Big Dick has with them is to get some consistency. They won this, they might win the next one, but Russia will most likely have an off day at some state and go back home.

Portugal can play football if they decide to do so. They have this sleezy counter attacking gameplan in their dna and as long as they play like this they will be depending on the opponent. They should have played more adventurous. I’m truly impressed with Coentrao, the Real left back. Great player!

Germany looked like Holland in the World Cup. Playing 4-2-3-1. Struggling to create. Ozil was mediocre in the first half, but very good coming from the left side. Podolski was invisible and Muller was struggling too, but they had luck on their side. They didn’t deserve it, but they did get it.

I think it’s about time Holland shows them who’s boss!

Afellay said he felt Oranje was bossing the game. “We created so much. It did resemble some games we played with Barcelona. What it is…concentration, luck, sharpness… no idea…”

Skipper Van Bommel was terrible down. “I don’t know what to say. I’m knackered. The humidity got to us too. But that was not the reason for this defeat. Even that handball, we can’t blame anyone. We had 5 big chances to score and we didn’t score. Simple as that.”

Sneijder: “We all worked hard, and we did what we could to bring our forwards in to position. If they don’t score, it’s game over. We know we would give opportunities away. At this level, the opponent will always get one or two chances. The point is, that we simply need to score more. And we failed. Now we simply need to win the remaining games. Hard, but doable.”

Robben: “I’m sure the Danes pinch themselves still. How could they have won this. I don’t think our loss was a disgrace. We played too good for that. It was more a miracle. And a total disappointment for us… But, we need to regroup and focus on winning all our other matches.”

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A look at our rivals: Portugal

Willem van Hanegem, Louis van Gaal, Johan Cruyff, Pep Guardiola… they all said at some stage in their career: “I don’t care who we play, what their tactics are or what they do… We play our own game. And we won’t change it for the sake of our opponents…”

As if playing Germany isn’t enough, Holland is also up against a recent blood rival, Portugal.

They were too smart for us in the 2002 World Cup campaign ( or was Louis van Gaal maybe so dumb???) and in 2004, they blocked us in the Euros in Portugal. Two years later we played them in what is debatable the most shameful match ever ( I think the rigged West-Germany vs Austria in 1982 was worse, by the way)…

That World Cup 2006 game, with all those yellows and reds, and what would be the seed game for the Van Basten vs Bommel / Nistel rift.

That Portugal! They made it through and would eventually be stopped in the semi finals. Two years before, they made it to the finals of “their” Euros and got beaten by Greece. There still is justice, I’d say. I remember I didn’t watch that game as I couldn’t stand seeing them lift the trophy and when I received the text messages claiming Greece won it and simply didn’t believe it.

So we meet again. And this time, we will win it. Statistically, that is what has to happen. Too bad for C Ronaldo, Nani and Meireles but Portugal is going home.

Their first big trophy will have to wait.

In 1984, Portugal did collect a lot of fans when the sympatico team lost against France in a sizzling semi finals. And 12 years of drought followed. In 1996, they finally re-emerged as they reached the quarter finals and the semis even in 2000 in Holland. With their golden generation of Luis Figo, Rui Costa, Joao Pinto and Fernando Couto….

This time around, they almost missed the Euros completely as they only got one point from their first two qualification games. Manager Paulo Bento took over from Carlos Queiroz and since that event, Portugal won 5 games in a row. They had to play a play-off match but won it convincingly ( 6-2 over Bosnia Herzegovina). They may not longer have a sympathetic sttriker like Eusebio was in 1966, but the annoying C Ronaldo and Nani must assuredly are highly capable forwards. With strongholders Meireles and Moutinho in midfield and butchers Pepe and creative Coentrao in defense, Portugal might be a dark horse.

The team manager
Paulo Bento was a Jan Wouters like midfielder. Strong, focused and tough. He played 35 international games and was part of the group that made it to the semis in 2000. Bento started as youth coach at Sporting and coached the seniors to two national cups and two super cups. He took over from Queiroz in 2010 and found his winning ways with the national team. In November 2010, his Portugal beat reigning World and Euro champs Spain, 4-0.


The Skipper
Cristiano Ronaldo might be an annoy

ing brat, he’s also highly talented. He played a key part in Portugal’s qualification campaign with seven goals. The former Man U star made his debut in the 2004 Portugal team amd won the UEFA Football player of the year award in 2008. In that year he received the band for Portugal.

The Goalie
Rui Patricio was third choice in 2008 but made his way to the top spot under Bento this year. The tall goalie played for Portugal in that Spain game ( 4-0) but had to wait a year before he was granted the starting berth.


Defensive Rock

The Brazil born defender almost quit football until Co Adriaanse landed at FC Porto and started to work with the shy defender. Pepe developed tremendously and got the big transfer to Real Madrid. Portugal didn’t lose a game whenever Pepe played in the starting line up. Pepe is fast, tough as nails and a good header. He has penetrative runs and good vision for a defender but tends to sometimes loose the plot. And when he does, he does that really really well….

Midfield Maestro
Raul Meireles started for Portugal since the World Cup 2006. The shrewd midfielder didn’t miss a game this qualification round and has 50 caps to his name. He is effective both defensively as offensively and scores important goals for clubs and nation. Meireles pairs physical strength to tactical smarts.


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