Tag: Stekelenburg

Louis van Gaal won't change much….

This week, new Oranje coach Louis van Gaal got presented to the press. His first working day got squashed in between much more important news: Olympic news from London and the first preliminary squad for Oranje.

Van Gaal will make the definite selection known on August 10.

The former Ajax and Barca coach decided to not rock the boat too much.

“I think Bert van Marwijk can not be faulted for his team selection choices. He clearly picked the best players at his disposal so I can not really make too many big changes, nor do I want to.

Mathijsen and Kuijt are still part of the squad, as are so-called rebels Huntelaar and Van der Vaart. They only players not longer in are Wilfred Bouma and Mark van Bommel.

Van Gaal did give the same signal as Van Marwijk before him towards the youngsters in the Eredivisie: Clasie and De Vrij of Feyenoord and Adam Maher of AZ are called back into the frame, as are Bas Dost (Wolfsburg) and Ola John (Benfica).

I personally believe Louis is taking the wishes of the people into account, but Bas Dost will not make it to the final squad, with Van Persie, Huntelaar and Luuk de Jong all present as well.

Erik Pieters is not part of the selection as he is still injured. Ricardo van Rhijn’s inclusion is pretty remarkable as he hasn’t played too much since Van der Wiel is back at Ajax, but with Vertonghen in London, chances are that the talented defender will see much more action.

As mentioned on this blog, Van Gaal loves defenders with build-up skills and both Van Rhijn and De Vrij fall into that category.

Jeffrey Bruma ( Hamburg) and Douglas (Twente) will both be on Louis’ radar as well.

PS Louis visited the Dutch hockey women at the Games, hence this pic 🙂

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Our line up??

The picture above shows the players who got the coloured vests at practice!

This is where we will follow what our Men In Black will cook up in 8 hours time!

Live. So join in ok?

In the meantime, some thoughts…

Germany will definitely win against Denmark. Reasons? 1) they can’t play half hearted. The Germans aren’t playful. They take it all very seriously. So they will go for the win. 2) They have to, as Denmark could beat Germany and progress and Portugal could beat Oranje (not really!!) and progress too….

Bert will make changes. That might mean: to his hair. Or a different jacket. Or maybe he will change his facial expression. But most likely he will change the team. But don’t expect too much. We won’t see Kuyt as full back or Narsingh on the wings. We will most likely see Robben on the right, Sneijder on the left, Van Persie behind Hunter. And Nigel and Mark as holding midfielders.

If Bert would really go out of his way (and comfort zone) he might even replace Mark for Rafael. But that is as far as it goes.

I would love to see Strootman, as I believe we need a midfielder who can go from box to box. Strootman is the only one who can do so. But I can’t see Bert benching both Nigel and Mark so a holding duo Strootman/Van der Vaart is out of the question.

The main thing is not who plays, but how they play. Will they be able to go through the pain limit? To work for each other? To track back? Then they have a fighting chance. If Wiel and Willems will stop the threats on the wings and if Robin and Hunter will do what they’ve done all season (score, duh!!), then we might end up partying like it’s 1999.

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Oranje – Germany; what went wrong?

It’s 24 hours after the Germany game. The Day After.

We are not yet out of the competition. It’s a simple calculation. If Germany wins against Denmark and Holland beats Portugal with two goals difference, Oranje is through!

So, let’s first analyse the Germany game.

What happened exactly?

We needed a win. Germany would have been happy with a 0-0. So Holland starts with some intent. Indeed, the first 20 minutes were fine. Not great, but we did create opportunities. Robin van Persie on a good long Van Bommel pass, Van Persie with another opportunity and Afellay with a cross to Van Persie which he basically squandered by playing it behind Van Persie.

The pace was good, the passing was ok, but when Germany had one opportunity, they scored. 0-1.

And fear entered into the frame. The defence stayed back. The midfielders drowned, the wingers didn’t get a good ball and Van Persie was on an island.

And when Germany had another option of slicing through our defence (another Schweinsteiger pass for Gomez) it was 0-2. And Oranje was chasing the game.

In the second half, Huntelaar and Van der Vaart came on and late in the game Dirk Kuyt came on for Robben. One great one-touch attack and Robin van Persie was able to score the consolation goal. Sneijder had an opportunity to score the equaliser but Boateng risked his ribs blocking this attempt.

Let’s look at what went wrong:

Our 4-2-3-1 doesn’t work if it’s not executed well. Our defence kept on tracking back while our forwards wanted to push forward. Space between the lines was huge and our holding midfielders drowned in that space. Our full backs didn’t do anything on the overlap. While our wingers lacked the form (Afellay!!) to make a dent.

The Goalkeeper
Stekelenburg actually had a couple of good saves. The Ozil ball on the post. The Badstuber header. The weird high ball falling almost under the bar. But he didn’t look too good with the second Gomez goal. The angle was astute. And for some reason, Stekel decided to go to ground before Gomez even hit the ball… Why?? If Stekelenburg would have stayed on his feet, he could have simply caught the ball.

Our defence is atrocious. Willems is a very young, inexperienced left back. Who did ok. He made mistakes, but that was to be expected. Where was the support for the young Sparta prospect? Heitinga and Mathijsen were both guilty for allowing Gomez all the space to score two goals and didn’t have the balls to pressure forward. Van der Wiel, like against the Danes, was invisible. Didn’t add any value to the game.

Both Van Bommel and De Jong seemed dinosaours. Too much space for them to cover, not enough balls or dynamics to push forward and play tightly within the team. Both Bommel and De Jong did not offer any added value and with defence were the “six players tracking back” while the forwards were focused on attacking.

The four forwards were again focused on attacking and scoring goals. But Robben and Afellay did not have the form while Sneijder had problems making his mark in the first half. He played a better game in the second half when Afellay made way for Huntelaar and Sneijder had more space on the left wing. Van Persie had a number of chances again, but he failed to convert them, while the Germans did.

Individual Form
Too many players lack the form needed to win gold. Robben, Afellay, Van der Vaart, Huntelaar, van Bommel and De Jong and the whole defence seemed to be seriously under par.

Physical Condition
It’s hard to say, watching a game, what the status is of the physical condition of the players, but it does seem like the energy oozes out of our players a bit quicker than with other teams. It could be result of being deflated due to the results… It could also simply be the result of the pitch being too long for our players to cover. But both Morten Olsen and Joachim Low stated that Holland didnt look fit. And of course this Raymond Verheijen character is yelling this in tweets as well. But then again, if you have 5 players in your line up that are not 100% fit (Willems, Van der Wiel, Mathijsen, Van Bommel, Afellay) is it possible to play this high energy game??

In a way, the mentality seems to be fine. Players like Van Persie, Robben, Sneijder, Huntelaar and co play top football for years already and are used to pressure and playing big games week in week out. Jetro Willems also doesn’t seem to be fussed playing with the big names, on the big stage, against big opponents. One thing that does puzzle me, is the fact that we have players who said a number of times already “we don’t have the form now, but once the tournament starts we will flick the switch and be ready”…. I don’t think that actually works like that.

The Dutch total football school is based on dynamics. JC everywhere on the pitch. Van Hanegem placing the ball anywhere. Krol being left winger. Rep center forward. Haan playmaker and Neeskens running from box to box. Etc etc. This worked with Gullit and Vanenburg and Muhren. And Erwin Koeman ran from box to box. And with Cocu, Bergkamp and Davids ran from box to box. But where are our dynamic players and patterns? Robben and Afellay? Predictable. Van der Wiel and Willems? Limited overlaps. Two central backs. NEVER pushing forward. Holding mids? Static. Just like Sneijder… Lots of dynamics in his passing, but doesn’t pull his weight in yards covered like Iniesta/Silva/Ozil/Modric… In my view, we lack penetration. Who runs from box to box? How many times did we see a potential cross (ok, they were mostly shite) but only Van Persie in the box? Maybe time for Strootman!

Gomez only needs 4 chances to score 3 goals. Van Persie, Robben and even Sneijder seem to be overzealous or maybe lacking sharpness… amongst ourselves, we might have had 15 good opportunities? Only 1 converted. And with his right! Is it lack of sharpness or too much will, too much eagerness… Did you see Arjen Robben’s face and grimace when singing the national anthem? Was he impersonating Jack Nicholson as the joker (Heath Ledger for younger generations) or does he simply want to it too badly?

The Run Up to this Euro Tournament
Before we started the WorldCup 2010, most of our players came out successful seasons. This time around, Sneijder has had his problems, Afellay hasn’t seen a ball, Van der Wiel was injured, Mathijsen was injured, Robben had some dramas to process and Huntelaar now has to accept that he’s not a starter.

Everytime Oranje played a good tournament, the next tournament was played crap. In 1974, we were vice world champs, in 1976 we made a mess of it. In 1978 we were vice world champs, in 1980 we were sent home after the group. In 1988 we won the Euros and in 1990 we ended in shame. And now we are the vice world champs, so this tournament might be the next drama…

Available Players
Looking at Germany, one sometimes wonders what kind of squad Holland could have if our country was bigger. If we has 30 Mio in stead of 15 Mio people. I’m not saying “Let’s invade Belgium”… But if there ever was a reason to do this, this is the one!! Add Vertonghen (left back), Vermaelen (CB) and Kompany (CB) and we’re laughing all the way to shake Platini’s hand. If we need to rely on an 18 year old lad who played Emmen and Helmond Sport last year….well….

The Coach
So, summing all the above up… Our coach is obviously responsible for this all. For team selection, for fitness, for tactics, for team motivation, etc (not for history, ok….).
He might be a great guy for a focused campaign when all the players are on a high and fit (2010) but maybe the wrong guy for a campaign where we need more tactical flexibility, more balls and more empathy. Who will tell him? I am guessing that we will….

Let’s create some solutions for the Portugal game!

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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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Let's get to know one another…

Dear friends, you all know that thing will get pretty hot very soon!! Before you know it, we are cheering, dancing, yelling, singing, celebrating, cursing, screaming and crying together. We will stand shoulder to shoulder and will sing hand in hand ( comrades). We will experience our wins and our losses together and even though it’s only virtual, only via this cyberhangspotforcooloranjefans, I think it’s cool if we would get to know one another a little bit… I mean would you jump into someone arms crying, without being introduced properly?


My name is Jan. A typical Dutch boys’ name. But I live in Australia now, where Jan is a…well…girls name. I grew up in Hendrik Ido Ambacht, close to Rotterdam. A Feyenoord town. Many Feyenoord players lived in our village. I played my football at ASWH – currently Hoofdklasse amateurs – and spent my weekends in De Kuip. I worked in marketing and sales in Holland and Europe before we immigrated to Australia. Why? Why not! Climate, space, lifestyle…

I’m married, have two daughters (who love football) and two labradors who love footballs. I live near Byron Bay on the east coast of Australia. I am in business and apart from football and writing, my hobbies are reading, watching movies, acting, playing the guitar, cooking (and eating) and playing sports (tennis, football, baseball).

The first tournament I watched in Oz was the EC 2004. I lived in Western Australia then and there was no coverage in tv. A friend of a friend in Oz taped the games of the commercial cable channel – not available in WA – and mailed it to us. We’d watch the games two days after they were played. But we watched them in the evening at least… I still remember the game against Czech Republic… Robben played great! Until Dick Advocaat…well…you remember.

I could watch the WC2006 live, early in the morning, after we moved to the East Coast. Which is when I found this site and not much later was asked to join as moderator.

Football background: Limited, was a talented but lazy left-footer, have had interesting connections to football (via players, managers, businesses)

Favorite clubs: Many… Feyenoord is in my blood, but I respect Ajax. Barcelona, Arsenal, Liverpool, AC Milan. But Oranje tops the list!

Fave players: Again, too many to mention: Cruyff, Van Hanegem, Nees, Van Basten, Bergkamp, Litmanen, Mario Been, Hoddle, Eder, Zico, Overath, Antognoni, Paulo Rossi, Richard Witschge, Edgar Davids, Gary Lineker, David Ginola

Fave players of our current Oranje: Raf van der Vaart, Mark van Bommel, Robin van Persie, Tim Krul

Fave moment of Oranje: The Van Basten goal in 1988, which I witnessed in the stands, behind the goal…

Sympathy for other nations: I do like Spain and have a soft spot for Italy and England. I truly wish Belgium will get their axto together for once!!

Bold predictions: Spain won’t survive the first round. Germany will but will be knocked out in the first knock out. Sweden will get far this tournament

How I watch Oranje: It’s bloody 4 am in the morning in the freezing cold here, so I watch with uggboots on and a blanket around me eating muesli and yoghurt where anywhere else in the world they party with beer and bitterballen :-(. Oh, and I’m obviously doing live webcasts for us all 🙂

One thing no one knows about me: Oh dear… Something secret…? Ok, I made my money in ICT and I currently blog like crazy but I’m actually the biggest computer illiterate you’ll find, hahaha…..

Anyhow, here’s a pic of me presenting a Johan Cruyff boot to the world… The guy next to me is actually the legendary no. 14



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A look at our rivals: Denmark

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…”

Tough talk. But let’s have a look anyway, ok?

Denmark is our first opponent this tournament. They are the filler in this Group of Death. All eyes will be on Germany, Holland and Portugal and Denmark will be seen as the ugly duckling, used to prop up the goal difference. But is that the right attitude?

Denmark was our first opponent at the World Cup in S Africa as well. They are seen as a weaker nation but we did need an own goal from them to start our winning campaign. Underestimating an opponent is always stupid and as Morten Olson’s men can look back at historical success at the Euros level, it is probably smart for Holland to take them seriously.

Denmark got their international breakthrough at the 1984 Euros in France, when they turned a 0-2 trail into a 3-2 win over Belgium. They lost the semi finals against Spain, but since then Denmark has been a staple at Euros.

They actually won it in 1992, in Sweden, as the so-called “beach team” that came to the tournament only because Yugoslavia was banned as a result of the Balkan crisis. Richard Moller-Nielsen’s team got a second bite of the cherry and totally relaxed and without pressure played themselves to glory. Partly by beating Holland in the semis on penalties. And this was even without their best ever player, Michael Laudrup.

Denmark was never able to even come close to this feat, but they did force Brazil to a hefty quarter finals game in the 1998 World Cup and they didn’t do too shabby at the 2004 Euros either.

Denmark has garnered fans all over the world by their joyous football: attacking, skillfull and somewhat undisciplined. Their former heroes include forwards like the Laudrups, Preben Larssen, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Allan Simonsen and more controlled players like Morton Olson and goalie Peter Schmeichel.

In today’s Denmark, youthful talents like Christian Eriksen, Michael Krohn Dehli and Nicklas Bendtner take the limelight, although the playing style under Morton Olson is more of a counter-attacking unit.

Coach Morton Olsen was the Danish Beckenbauer, a midfielder transformed to libero. He was the first Danish player to reach 100 caps the former Anderlecht star would later coach Ajax and Brondby IFK. Olsen still claims that the beauty of the game is more important to him than results, in real Ajax style, but the way his team plays doesn’t always exude that mantra.

The Captain
Stoke City goalie Thomas Sorensen is Olsen’s skipper. The seasoned goalie was supposed to be Schmeichel’s successor but struggles to make minutes in Stoke’s first team. Sorensen recently injured his back and might be replaced by Man United’s Lindegaard in the Holland game.

Defensive Rock
Andreas Bjelland is Denmark’s rock in the back. Strong and focused. Definitely not a big name player ( yet). He’s only 22 years old and has only played 4 international games for Denmark but he’s seen as the mainstay in Denmark’s defense. The young Dane will join FC Twente this summer. He plays center back for Denmark but is capable of playing full back and holding midfielder too.

Midfield Maestro
Christian Eriksen can play his football where he wants. All European topclubs are interested in signing the playmaker, as they were back in 2008 when he was only 16 years old. It was Ajax that snatched him up and Eriksen said only recently he will stay at least one more season in Amsterdam. He enjoys working with Bergkamp and De Boer and loves the open Dutch competition. But the biggest Danish talent since Laudrup will most definitely end up wearing the Barca club colours one day…

Star striker
Nicklas Bendtner is a lad with a big ego. And big strikers tend to have big egos ( ask Drogba, Ibrahimovic, Gullit and John Guidetti if you are not sure). The 23 year old Arsenal striker ( on loan at Sunderland) played an important role for Denmark in the qualifications, scoring key goals in important games.

Other interesting players: Daniel Agger (Liverpool), Nichoai Boilesen ( Ajax), Simon Poulsen ( AZ Alkmaar), Lasse Schone ( now NEC, Ajax next season), Mads Junker ( Roda JC, maybe Feyenoord?) and Dennis Rommedahl ( ex PSV, ex Ajax)

What to expect?
Denmark plays an interesting role in the group. We expect them to lose against Holland of course, but depending on the result of Germany – Portugal, anything is possible. If that game ends in a tie, and Oranje is capable of beating both Germany and Portugal, Denmark will have shot at second place. They will have to beat Portugal ( which they have done before in the qualifications) and need a result ( a tie? ) against Germany to be the dog that gets away with the bone.

Despite Olsen’s words and his reputation of playing attractive football, Denmark will calculate their way through the group and might be a surprise knock out rival.

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