In the past, we had the Big Interview series and had prominent football icons like Johan Cruyff, Louis van Gaal, Guus Hiddink and Bert van Marwijk, among others. Time to add Erik ten Hag to that list. I truly believe he is a world class coach and he deserves this interview here. Thanks to VI Pro.
Ajax is the best of the country again. Finally!
“All compliments were nice and just as well. But we knew we needed silverware. And with the double, the first since 2002, we finally rewarded ourselves with something tangible. In top sports, its about winning! This is the crown on a tremendous season.”
How much does this mean to you?
“A lot! Firstly, it’s hard to win the title in The Netherlands. Look at PSV. They won basically everything. And they could focus on the title fully, which we couldn’t. But in May, we were still fighting on three fronts. It was all about PSV and Ajax and we couldn’t slip up. If you look at the points PSV won, they normally would have the title. And for me as a coach, it’s a milestone isn’t it? I am proud of the players, the staff, everyone. It’s the success of the collective and our challenge will now only get bigger.”
And also in the manner Ajax likes: dominant and attractive football…
“That is partly why we are proud and happy. It’s not just winning. It’s winning beautifully. And people will talk about this team in 20 years time I think. That is partly why we do this. And it needs to lead to titles.”
Who had expected this last year?
“Also in our darkest days, I knew I could get this team to play at this level. I was convinced of it. But that the players would be this good and the team would develop as it idid, I didn’t expect that. I don’t think anyone expected this.”
A year ago, your VI interview sounded bitter. There was disappointment in Amsterdam.
“Well it was a tough season. The pain of Nouri’s situation was huge. Is huge! That placed a wet and cold and heavy blanket on everyone. Everyone loves that kid and this had a tremendous impact. And it was tough to turn that around. We did win games and we played ok, but we didn’t win a trophie. But I saw that our management was building something amazing in the background. Marc Overmars, Edwin van der Sar, Henk Veldmate and Said Ouaali were performing magic and when negativity was at its peak, we kept on believing in our vision. I believe in staying true to your vision. I despise opportunistic behaviour.”
Last summer was the big turnaround, working on a new team?
“Well that started much earlier. In March 2018, I was in Southampton with Marc Overmars to talk to Dusan Tadic. My analysis about last season was clear. We lacked balance in the squad, in that important age group of what I call the middle category. Players with experience, but also with desire. We didn’t have any. Well, Tagliafico but he was a new signing too, basically. And Nico is a born winner, a fighter and so important with his mentality. We had to make steps in mental strength and this is how our blueprint for a new season started.”
Ajax needed to make a step, which is why Overmars signed you, correct?
“Something had to happen but it’s not easy in Amsterdam. There is a vibe of “we know it all” here. And they did linger too long in the historic successes. Football has developed and Peter Bosz as an example, was successful in making changes. But…he still left. There was too much resistance and that culture needed shaking up. Which is why Alfred Schreuder and I were brought in. We were coaching from outside of the club and that always brings resistance. And that is ok, but I always felt support from the key people in the club. By the way, my mission wasn’t merely “make Ajax champions”, my mission was also to make Ajax Europe prof. To introduce modern elements of the game. After 1,5 years we won the double and made it to the semis of the CL. That is just great.”
You did break with the old 4-3-3 system?
“But I wasn’t the first to do this. I do remember that Adriaanse got a lot of flak when he started fiddling with the house style, but the qualities of the players determine the system, not the other way around. And it’s not even about systems. It’s about what you do in possession, when you lose possession and in those turn around moments. And you need to be able to change that up.”
This season, the so-called Double 6 was the solution?
“Well like I said, the players’ qualities determine how you play. Take Frenkie de Jong. We have really been looking to find ways to use his skills in the best manner. Where can he play best, for the team and to showcase his talent. Everyone was screaming: Frenkie is the biggest talent, etc etc. Well yes. But, where? In midfield? Ok, but which role? His quality is that he makes the forwards perform better. He is a wanderer, an adventurer, he’s always on the move, like a shark. With the ball, often, but also without the ball. So if you put him on 6, he’s away too often. But you need to give him freedom, otherwise you can’t the best out of him. It wasn’t an easy puzzle, so I dediced to play with two number 6s and only one attacking mid. And in this way, we can also dominate the half space, and force opponents to choose. So on the first day of pre-season, that is how we started. And we started without Frenkie, by the way, as he wasn’t fit at the start of the pre-season.”
Did you plan for him and Donny van de Beek to be the two 6s?
“Yes, this goes to show that plans are just plans, the reality needs to want it as well, haha. And in reality, Donny is also a player who likes to be on the move. For both Donny and Frenkie it is a strength. So Lasse fulfilled the role perfectly! And Lasse wouldn’t be the ideal #6 by himself. He really needs a dynamic player with him and they have a click now. Denmark also plays with a double 6 and Lasse does really well for them to.”
And then there was Hakim Ziyech…
“Yes, last summer we were convinced Justin Kluivert would stay and Hakim would leave. And it became an interesting jigsaw, yet again. We had Lasse and Frenkie for the 6 role and I had Tadic, Neres, Ziyech and Donny for the other midfield role… But these seasons are long and we knew we needed all players. The competition was huge and then sometimes a player is benched who feels he should play. It’s part of playing in the top. Lacazette, Lukaku, Gabriel Jesus, Gareth Bale, Dybala, they all spend time on the bench. But the fun thing is, all the players (Donny, Neres, Hakim, Tadic) can look back on a tremendous season! And all this humbug was created mainly by people outside of the club. Internally, we never really had any issues. We never were distracted and we demonstrated that we had a squad of first team players… Everyone played their part: Huntelaar, Dolberg, Veltman and also the youngsters.”
And Tadic as central striker!?
“That worked so well versus Bayern. Just perfect. And he kept on developing. Dusan is such an amazing player. He can play on either wing, on the #10 spot but I never thought he’d be my #9, hahaha.”
That must be a bummer for Dolberg. Is he on his way out now?
“Certainly not. Kasper is tremendously skilled, but he has not had a single injury free pre-season. And it is so hard for a player to not be able to have a solid pre-season. Dolberg is a fighter and we still saw some brilliance of him this season, didn’t we?”
But he is not your primary striker? He is not a starter?
“But no one is, in my book. And I told them this. There is a hierarchy, yes, but whether you’re 19 or 29, you play when you’re the best for the position. And Kasper is still young, this is all part of his development. And Klaas Jan as well, he could think “I’m the #3 striker, I’ll relax a bit” but he is as hungry and keen as when he was 23… I think, because I didn’t know him back then. But we extended Klaas Jan’s deal, because he’s crucial for us as well.”
Also important, the interchange between coach and players improved this season.
“I think that started last season already, but this season we did get a boost. When Keizer and Bergkamp left, that was a shock for some. Earlier in the season, the team had to deal with what happened to Nouri, and this season, we came back from a well deserved break and we started fresh. And don’t forget, players like Blind and Tadic do something to a squad when they come in. And Matthijs became my skipper. Cool as a cucumber, very mature, a real leader. And a good communicator. Dusan is my vice captain. A tremendous duo.”
Which other players are your strongholders in the squad?
“Definitely Daley. Not a big talker, not the extraverted leader, but the tactician of the squad. My right hand man on the pitch. He sees everything just quicker than any of the other player and he always makes the right decision. I use him as my extension and he only needs three words to know what I want. Klaas Jan is important with his experience and Andre Onana as well. That is rare, that I mention a striker and a goalie. Usually they’re quite individualistic. But they are people persons. They manage, they talk and coach. And then there is Lasse Schone. Lasse is control personified. He’s relaxed, calm and collected. A wonderful guy. A technician pur sang, but also a sober team player. Very intelligent player and everyone here loves him. He can hang with the teenagers and he can mingle with the board, you know?”
And Frenkie and Ziyech as the leaders on the pitch?
“Exactly! Frenkie is so important as a player. He became our conductor on the pitch, he determines the rhythm of the team. He takes care of the yield of the attacks, finds team mates, opens up spaces and then Hakim… The classic individualist, in the good sense of the word. You need him to make the difference and at times you need him in the team structure too. He can see the team cohesion and he sees the bigger picture. Whenever resistance is at its highest, Ziyech shines. We have many players who can create but in the final third, no one is as good as Hakim.”
How do you operate with these players?
“We find each other when need be. Blind, De Ligt, Tadic, I will always keep them in the loop. And then we have different team talks, in difference combinations. We look at things from multiple perspectives. Tactics, group dynamics, agreements we make on and off the pitch, you name it.”
Can you name an example?
“Well, before the Groningen away game, I decided to go a day early and spend a night in a hotel close to Groningen. When we played Vitesse a week later, the players came forward and said they would appreciate that again. Leaving a day early and staying in a hotel, like we do with European games. One of the key aspects of coaching, is listening. Verbally and non-verbally. My task is to find out: what makes my players perform best? Within the boundaries we put on them as a club, we are open for the preferences of the players. I do this with my staff as well.”
Last season, your analysis was hard and critical. What is your current view of what needs to improve?
“Good ain’t good enough. We need to get better. Push boundaries. In July, we start at level zero again. Trophies are all in the cabinet and we need to start again. We do have a good foundation, but on the first day, we have zero points, like all other teams. We need to try and keep the quality of the squad at this level and if possible improve it. We signed Razvan Marin, a player with tremendous dynamics in his game. Our speed up front is another aspect we need to improve. Neres is quick, and Dolberg too but Kasper is playing in the axis and doesn’t have the space to run into, usually.”
With Frenkie, De Ligt and potentially Ziyech leaving, you will need to build a new team.
“Yes that is what might happen. We are prepared. But there will also be surprises, you can’t stop that. But Ziyech was expected to leave last summer and stayed, so who knows. He might not leave…”
Do you fear an exodus?
“I don’t fear it, but we need to plan for the worst. If you ask me, who do you fear for when he leaves, I have to say Tadic. What a season and what a tremendous yield we got from him. We have the commitment of Onana, Tagliafico and Mazraoui that they’ll stay. That is a good sign.”
How will you deal with the players who leave?
“Replacing Matthijs de Ligt is the biggest challenge. We have some options in mind. We signed Marin for Frenkie de Jong. But both De Ligt and De Jong are special and can’t just be replaced. This applies to Ziyech as well. Neres can play from the right but he’s a different type of player. Hakim is a real playmaker and we’ll probably need to go and find one if he leaves.. Or, can we find him in our youth system? We are mapping all of this now.”
Martin Odegaard was the ideal replacement for Ziyech?
“But even him, who is probably gone to Spain, he can’t just replace Ziyech. He too is different. We will see what happens and probably need some time to solve the new jigsaw.”
Quincy Promes is coming from Sevilla. That is a similar coup as signing Tadic and Blind.
“Yes, I think we are becoming more and more interesting also for big name players in his age category. Our image has gotten a boost and players will enjoy playing the sort of football we play.”
Your image got a boost too. The media are now lining up to smother you with compliments. What does this do to you.
“During the season, not so much. Simply no time for that. All energy and focus goes to the team and the process. I do enjoy successes, but briefly. It’s not who I am. I want to stay sharp. Some people start to believe in the stories about themselves and I try to remain realistic. In media, some people painted me as a loser, last season. This season, I saw in some media the word “legend”. I have to laugh about both. It’s ridiculous. I do monitor the messages in the media for the impact it can have on the team. Good or bad, it will reach me and the dressing room and then I need to manage it. Simple.”
Always: control control control…
“That is the job. I need to know what stimuli people get and need and what they’re influenced by. And where new people show up, new ideas are coming in too and people started to get scared. In Amsterdam, there is also the superiority. The “We are Ajax!” mantra. I see the benefits of this, don’t get me wrong, but I also see the danger. We introduced a modern approach and it worked. The performances on the pitch are crucial in this. Through the successes, people started to buy into it.”
How long will you be coach here?
“Who knows. I have the intention to stay, and to be honest: I haven’t thought about leaving at all. My contract is extended and I have no intention of leaving but you know how it is in football. I do have to stay critical about the circumstances in my job. The available funds, the vision and values, you name it.”
What is a realistic expectation for next season?
“We want to be part of the group stage in Europe. Even if it’s the Europa League. We all want to be playing Champions League football but it is not an automatic thing anymore. We are still a Dutch club. Domestically, we need to play for the title. Full stop. The resistance in Holland is not good enough. We are so much better than the rest, with PSV. And in that battle you can’t afford a single misstep. We want to build an attractive team, play offensive football and win matches. But playing for three prizes in May, that is unique and you can’t expect that to happen again, just like that.”
I’ll write a blog post on the women when they win it. Otherwise: No!
Dijks is not overlooked by Koeman. He was terrible at Ajax. He’s quick and rash in the duels, but his crossing was terrible and he is constantly arguing with the ball.
I love it that he gets his chance at the top, he’s a very likeable guy and he has quality for a wingback but I think we have way better left full backs (Blind, Ake, Haps, Van Aanholt to name a few).
I cant see anything what you have said above.
The one downside to his stay at ajax was when bosz switched sinkgraven to LB. He was deemed surplus there on wards and his contract also expired after returning from Norwich loan.
yes, The video seems to give a good impression of Diks. He is stepping up now. Hope he is also looked at and considered by koeman and at 26 age is on his side. He will be 29 at the time of Worldcup. He will improve. whoscored.com stats for his last 10 matches at bologna shows a rating 6.5 and above 7 for 5 matches and above 6.5 for 4 mathces and only 5.47 for just one match. A really steady player for that position.
Arjen Robben retires from football 🙁
End of an era.
Expect an interview soon!
Very good season for Orange at all of aspect
– Good to see Women team reach final worlcup, hope they will become champion
– Ajax reach semi-final champion league, Orange men reach runner-up National cup
– Good to see de Ligt/Beek/Jong/Winajdum/Dumfries become worlclass player, van Dijk become 1st player int the world
– Stepp-up: Vlap, Shouten, Danjuma, Kluivert, Pierie, Brobbey, Kokcu, Malacia, Malen, Ihattaren
very eager to see how they perform next season
Kluivert, Chong, Malen, Dilrosun, Danjuma, Vlap,Shouten, Pierie, Brobbey, Kokcu, Malacia, Malen, Ihattaren, Gravenberg, van de Berg, Hoever, Adekanye, Redan, Boadu, Pierie, Steng, Fosu, Zirkzee,
Here’s my scouting report for the US women’s team for this Sunday’s WC final (in multiple posts):
First and foremost, this US team is an elite group of female athletes. They see the WC trophy as their birthright and their primary objective, meaning everything they’ve done on a day-to-day basis for the last four years has been in an effort to secure a spot on this team, to win a starting role, and to dominate in this tournament. They don’t have anyone in this squad who’s there just to fill out the roster. It’s true that the US “second team” would likely be among the top 4-5 teams in the world. The potential weakness here is that they are very arrogant and rely extensively on their athleticism (rather than skill or savvy) to play well, although much less so than in the past. The challenge is whether their opponent is good enough to advantage of these weaknesses.
The number one challenge the Dutch team faces, in my view, is the match-up of our backline vs the US front line. The regular starters for the US are Megan Rapinoe, Alex Morgan and Tobin Heath. Morgan is really in the apex of her prime years and has become a much more well-rounded player than in the past. She is very fast and athletic and has greatly improved her finishing skills, but she is still susceptible to physicality and fluffs a good number of seemingly easy chances in open play, especially in close matches. Rapinoe and Heath are probably two of the best all-around players the US has ever produced, male or female. However, both are aging and don’t quite have the same cutting edge they once did. That said, both wings are very adept at creating chances and almost equally skilled with either foot (they’ve been the primary inspiration for my son starting to take corners and free kicks with his left as well as his right). The problem for the Dutch is that the front line is the obvious strength for the US and our backline is our biggest weakness. We are very slow and readily give away corner kicks. While our height and physicality can give the US trouble, we CANNOT let them play the ball in behind us, which means we may have to play deeper than usual while still pressuring their midfielders. The further challenge for our team is that the substitutes up front for the US are almost as good as the starters, and have a similar mix of youth and experience. Whereas the starters have the skill, savvy and experience on the outside and the athleticism and speed up the middle, the subs are the reverse, with Carli Lloyd (who scored a hat trick against Japan in the 2015 WC Final!) as the primary back up striker, and Christen Press and Mallory Pugh as the speed and athleticism out wide. It is very hard to prepare or deal with all of these attacking options, particularly when the players who need to deal with them have been our team’s glaring weakness throughout the tournament. I really have no solution for this matchup other than for us to play slightly deeper, be physical without conceding free kicks, and try to frustrate the US as much as possible and keep them off the scoreboard as long as possible. If they fail to score early, the pressure on them will mount and they may start to panic.
In the midfield, the contest should be more evenly matched. The US midfield has featured a variety of players during the tournament, but the primary starters have been Rose Lavelle, Lindsay Horan and Julie Ertz. Lavelle is easily the best passer of the three and a young, up-and-coming dynamic player. She is very attacking-oriented and skilled at providing the killer pass. However, she takes on little defensive responsibility and has a very slight build, and was substituted out of their semi-final due to a recurring hamstring injury. Groenen should be an excellent foil for her if that is the match-up that is what Weigman chooses. Horan is the most complete of the starting US midfielders. Unlike the others, she came up playing the sport in Europe and so she has a much more nuanced approach to the game. She can pass, score and defend, but is probably best suited as a facilitator of the front line. She is more limited athletically than some of the other US players, but is dangerous in attack and played a very physical game against England. I’d use Spitse to neutralize her. Finally, Ertz is one of the best athletes on the US team. She used to be a center back and plays like a female Sergio Ramos. She’s very dangerous on set pieces as a header and serves as the US’s midfield destroyer – a Nigel de Jong type role. But she is less skilled as an attacker and a remarkably poor passer. Van de Donk, if on her game, could give Ertz fits. The back-up US midfielders are fairly strong as well, but more limited in their usefulness. Samantha Mewis is very tall, physical and attacking-oriented and would be a good matchup for some of the Dutch center backs physically, but is young and often displays questionable decision-making and inaccurate or overhit passes. Morgan Brian was another star of the 2015 tournament as a young player, but injuries have held her back since. She is more of a deep-lying playmaker at this point, and an excellent passer, but has only played in one match so far this tournament. Allie Long is another defensive midfield option, but shares Mewis’ weaknesses without any of her strengths (other than physicality). The back-up mids are all below average in terms of speed and agility. The midfield will likely be the key to this match and if we can control possession and make the US players chase and foul, we have the chance to really flip this match on its head! The problem is that I haven’t seen us do this yet at really any stage in the 2019 tournament (other than perhaps in portions of the second half against Sweden). One mishit pass or failure to provide an option by van de Donk, Groenen or Spitse and the US will be off to the races! And we’ve been generally guilty of countless mishit passes in each match so far…
So finally, we get to our front line and their confrontation against the US back line. Our forwards were reputed to be among the world’s best coming into the tournament, with some even saying that we rival the US’s front three. But we have failed to live up to the advance billing. Lieke Martens has generally been fine, but didn’t score until the knock-out rounds and even then her goals came off a corner and a PK. Vivianne Mediema has been solid and finished some opportunities nicely, but just hasn’t really been able to get going at her 2017 Euros level. Shenise van de Sanden has generally been awful throughout the tournament, and was finally replaced by Lineth Beerensteyn as a starter vs Sweden. All that said, however, we will provide the toughest test yet talent-wise for the US backline. The US outside backs are the strength of their defense, even if they are in reality converted forwards. Crystal Dunn on the left and Kelley O’Hara on the right are fast and ultra athletic and love to get forward in attack, but they are hard-nosed defenders as well and are not afraid to get physical. However, neither are really defenders by trade and rely on athleticism to get the job done, particularly to recover from poor initial positioning. Dunn vs van de Sanden / Beerensteyn and O’Hara vs Martens (or Jill Roord if Martens can’t go) should be very intriguing if (and it’s a big IF) we can get the ball to them in dangerous positions. The US centerbacks, Becky Sauerbrunn and Abby Dahlkemper, are also athletic but much slower than the outside backs. Sauerbrunn has traditionally been very calm and cool under pressure, but she has been caught out repeatedly in this WC and make a few glaring distribution errors that led directly to chances on net. Dahlkemper is relatively young and inexperienced, but still a decent overall player. The US center backs were victimized repeated, however, by England’s Ellen White, and through balls splitting the pair and crosses to the far post appear to be their real nemesis. I feel confident that we can get quality chances, particularly for Mediema, against this group, but we’ve got to be able to win the midfield battle and retain possession to do so. The backup defenders for the US (Tierna Davidson, Ali Krieger and Emily Sonnett) are high quality as well, and more legitimate defenders, but slightly slower / less attacking than the starters (although Davidson is an excellent free kick taker). In the past few matches, once the US has gotten a lead, they’ve dropped Ertz back as an additional center back and played with 5 – not a tactic you would expect from a team capable of scoring in double digits and perhaps another example of the questionable ability of this team to maintain a lead against an attacking side. Yet again, you have to be able to capitalize on their weaknesses to be able to punish them, and I’m just not sure that we have that ability at this stage in our program’s development.
One last note as to goalkeeping – Sari van Veenendaal has impressed more and more with each passing match. I was very down on her at the outset, but she has continued to come up big, with the majority of our goals conceded coming from massive backline breakdowns (vs GK errors). She will be under assault against the US and it will be an opportunity for her to shine. That said, the goalkeeper is only the last line of defense, and if we cannot pressure the US midfielders and prevent their forwards from getting behind us, even Edwin van der Sar would have a tough evening against these ladies. At the other end, Alyssa Naeher for the US has been fairly unproven (and untested). She’s a strong punter, but her distribution and decision-making with the ball is otherwise pretty suspect. She is strong and athletic but not particularly quick and her positioning and attempts to deal with crosses have also been poor (sometimes comically so). Yet, the US typically yields so few shots that none of that has been made to matter. Naeher did make an acrobatic save against England that was very impressive, but her save on the PK, which she is getting so much credit for, was about as routine as a penalty save can be. For me, she is the weak link for the US team and her confidence can be shaken, particularly with an early goal or a mistake that leads to a good chance.
At the end of the day, the US team is incredibly athletic, experienced and dominant. This iteration is likely the most dominant side they’ve had to date, and that includes all three prior teams that won Women’s World Cups. There should be no shame in failing to overcome them – they are truly an almost insurmountable force when playing well. But, there are gaps and lapses and deficiencies that can be exploited, and at times they can appear clueless, stifled and void of creativity. It’s really just a question of whether we can do enough to neutralize them and take our chances as they come. Regardless of outcome, however, this has been a fantastic run for the Dutch women’s team with a Euros victory and a World Cup final in the span of really just two years’ time. The legacy of this team will live long beyond this stretch though for the girls (and boys) who are inspired by these players. Looking forward to Sunday!
Good analysis, JB, thanks. Agree with your conclusion. I think I just had to get used to the idea that, despite the talk centering around the offensive stars of the team (Maartens, Miedema, et al.), the NT has been set up to try to be safety first, including accounting for CB’s who while having good defensive instincts and positional sense lack speed. The team stays organized and solid, chooses their moments to come out of the back, and otherwise will hope for a moment or two from the skilled forwards. The concern to me is if the US scores early and Dutch start to chase the game, they could get punished.
But as you say, it has been a great run, lots of fun. I know the US is a solid favorite, but the game starts 0-0, lets see what happens. Looking forward to it.
Oh, and considering the subject of the actual post, I love Erik ten Hag and what’s he’s done so far for Ajax. It’s amazing / ironic that someone had to come from the outside and play a different system just to get Ajax playing “like Ajax” again.
I’m often watching matches in our office breakroom at work on weekdays due to the time of day here in the US, and I’ve never had more people passing by stop and linger to watch portions of the matches than when Ajax was playing in the UCL this year.
To me, it feels like Dutch football has been completely reinvigorated in 2019
Philippe sandler off to Anderlecht on loan. Vincent compant is trying to forge a good team after signing as player/coach. Good for sandler and NT in long run. I also coyldnt stop notice PSV lost kid Zakaria Bakkali is also there.
Did feyenoord really sign Narsingh?
I believe, Feyenoord really signed Narsingh. UPDATE on my boys:
AZ won last two control games with PAOK (1:0) and Club Brugge (5:2). Stengs scored two goals in two games, Ferdy Druijf scored one goal against Brugge, and …..Myron Boadu is still without a goal.
AZ played fantastic attacking football against Club Brugge, up to 70th minute, the score was 5:0. The most important fact is that all five goals were scored by the forwards: Gudmundsson scored 2, three other goals were scored by Stengs , Druijf and Bjorn Johnsen. When the season started Arne Slot told Bjorn that he was free to find another club. However, in the past two games he has been using him and Ferdy as a winger/central attacker. Ferdy and Bjorn during the game frequently change their positions from a winger to a central attacker which creates a lot of confusion for the defenders of the opponents. The last two control matches show that on the left Gudmundson will be more likely preferred over Idrissi. Steng’s position is solid; big question is who will start in the heart of the attack: Boadu, Ferdy or Bjorn. Prior to the friendly games, Myron was preferred but he has not scored anything. IMO, Ferdy is in better form now than Boadu. Midfield stays intact: Till, Midtsjø, and Koopmeiners. Defense is another area where Slot has been experimenting with Swensson being undisputed right back. Owen Wijndal will be our new left back as Ouwejan will most likely depart to Torino. Center back will be most likely formed by Vlaar and Wuytens, although Pantelis x Wuytens could be another possibility. Maxim Gullit has been also used as a left back in two control games. He is very physically very strong boy and could compete very well wit Wijndal for the left back position. All in all, I confidently look for the Europa League game against Swedish Hacken.
AZ will play one more important control game against Ghent. As Morocco is out, Idrissi will report back to Alkmaar. Not sure whether he is going to be deployed against Ghent.
Any update on clasie transfer?
How did Danjuma do?
It was not very good game for Danjuma. Entire team (Brugge) was very poor.
I have not heard anything. As it is silent I assume Max is bargaining with Southampton to get Clasie cheaper. However, one thing to take into consideration that if Clasie comes then Koopmeiners will either has to sit on bench or go back to central defense. The first option is not good for the young AZ talent. We will see….
Another dutch contingent now at Serie A which is growing to be become one of the prominent leagues like in the 90s. Denswil, Schouten,Dijks all will be playing together next season.
Caught the extended highlights of ajax and anderlecht and again Noa Lang is setting the stage to hit the ground rolling in the midfield. Pierie was good as well but started at LB.another guy that could get his big break this season is sergino Dest.he is having a good pre season.
JB, good analysis. I enjoyed reading it. July 7 marks exactly 45 years since the 1974 final which still hurts. Maybe it is time we get some sort of relief this time around.
About the game:
– So far in almost every game we have started really slow and sluggish and make a lot of mistakes but we grow really well as game goes on. BUT we need to survive the wave of attacks that the US will throw at us. Are we going to be able to keep a clean sheet in the 1st half? So far all the goals we have suffered have happened during 2nd half.
– We have never fallen behind in this tournament and this applies to the US too. Who will blink first and how will game go after that?
– In my opinion Heath, LaVelle, Dunn and Horan are best players that US has. Rapinoe is nothing special, Morgan as well.
– Our team resembles the 2010 team in S Africa. Gritty, physical, opportunistic, tough. Will Miedema score that Robben like chance against Spain this time around (just kidding but you never know).
– Everybody has US winning and I like that we are underdogs. US is very strong but they will have to crash down at some point. Why not today?
– LUCK. We will need a lot. I am not counting in USA underestimating us as they are very hungry and with an army like mentality.
In the end it is 11 against 11 and a round ball. Orange is long overdue for a world title so why not TODAY?!
Nathan ake becomes a shock target for Man City as they desperately look to balance their home grown quota.
All the eyes will be on chelsea and frank lampard as he prepares to kick start the new season with transfer band. This could be the blessings in sky for the youths whom the future looked blick for so many years. Lampard worked with few loanees at Derby county and is aware of others as well who featured in the championship.Juan familia Castillo aslo extended his contract for another 3 years while a host of clubs are wanting to take Redan on loan.
Overall it has been a good transfer window for dutch players in context to euros also which is on the horizon. I think De Ligts transfers is becoming more a money game rather than best intrest of the player. I hope this will not exculate to a point where he will end up nowhere.
Thanks JB very detailed pre match report, I agree that it will be a very difficult task for our girls, the US team would be the best ever women’s team that I’ve seen, also the domestic US league is the strongest in the world most of the top players are there. However, think Denmark, think Greece, think Greece again, no one saw that coming least of all the Greeks!
So anything can happen, not conceding early would be our best defence as you have said, our structure must be rock solid in the back, I feel we have to play on the counter and hope for a breakaway goal.
Athletically the US girls are outstanding our girls look a little soft in comparison so the matchups are going to really test the Dutch.
Let’s hope the footballing gods are on our side tonight!
Utrecht is also on course for the new season and europa qualifications as well. As mentioned earlier Dick Adovcaat left a good platform for Van Den Brom to work on and with new arrivals and out on loan players, they certainly look like a team of good quality and depth this season. They did some good bargins getting Maher for free,Justin lonwijk as well. Im bit suprised how PSV let him go free.he was a good talent. They also captured valcav Cerny from Ajax,a very underrated player in my opinion.again like lonwijk , no way through into the ajax first team.
Upfront they have three very solid strikers Gryano kerk who can also play as a winger. Jean christophe Bahebeck and Cyriel Dessers whom Dick advocaat used very sparingly last season after his injury return. Nick venema should also be in the mix giving more depth upfront. Patrick Joosten also returns after spending a season loan at VVV Velno.
In the midfield, Maher and Gustafson should lead the attack with van der streek and former AZ man Joris van overeem also returning from injury.
In the backline giovanni tropuee also returns after spending loan season at ADO Hag.
Would be intresting to see what van den brom can do with this squad.
Remember, today is the 45 anniversary of Munich 1974. I hope this coincidence has some divine meaning.
Looks like Martens is going to start in the final today! She is likely our best attacking threat 1v1 and perhaps she an Beerensteyn can garner enough respect to keep the US outside backs from constantly bombing forward. If our front line can press high and stay in advanced positions, that may force the US to keep numbers back and limit their own options in attack — i.e., make Rapinoe and Heath for more on their own without overlapping / underlapping riuns from Dunn and O’Hara.
Two other surprises — Anouk Dekker starts in our back line over van Dongen. Dekker is slow like the others but very tall and physical so it will be interesting to see how / where she is deployed.
For the US, Mewis starts over Horan — stunning! Horan is really the US player best suited to play against a quality European side and very savvy and creative. Mewis is big and strong but inexperienced and inaccurate. She is physical but often gets caught forward. For me, her inclusion suggests a desire to overpower our team and turn it into a physical match — a decision that could backfire dramatically. We will see, but in any case, so glad to see Martens in the starting IX
Martens not started too well. Hope that goes is ok
We are looking competitive. Hope we can create some chances and be more decisive in the final 3rd
Spitse gets an unfair yellow. Americans are simulating and falling easily already.
Misplaced passes are our greatest issue.
Americans control the game and are being patient. We need max focus.
We have already broken a trend. USA is yet to score after 25 mins.
Mark my words. Berenstyin scores today.
Ertz is the spitting image of Brett Michaels of Poison.
Morgan you POS.
We’re panicking at the back. Min 38
Wave of pressure.
Van Venedaal the saviour.
Dominique Bloodworth— total football personified!
Venedal has 4 saved goal right now.
0-0 1st half. Good performance. Keep it up orange.
Another stat is broken. USA has not scored in 1st half for the first time.
I have followed very little of this world cup, but van venedaal has to be their best player. Good first half.
Was that a penalty?. Alex morgan going down in the box.
Tactics from Sarina Wiegman! An excellent first half forcing the US to play possession and countering quickly.
We’ll see how Jill Ellis, the US manager, responds.
If they give this penalty, VAR is unforgivable!
Just give them the game!
What a joke!
A World Cup should not be won like that!
The use of VAR throughout this tournament has consistently favored the favorites.
Such an unfortunate penalty to give away. Just a lucky deflection that caught de agragt out
That was not penalty. It is being handed over to the US. Fu.k this sh.t
It was pen. You’d have to extraordinarily bias to say otherwise. Look at the angle from behind.
Trust me, I desperately tried to make the case that it wasn’t
No way. Morgan had no control of the ball and de Gragt didn’t see her .
This is not the direction the game should go in general — men’s or women’s.
That can’t be a penalty!
Now we need to desperate find our euro 2017 free flowing attacking form and just go for it. There’s gaps in this USA defence, but we need better passing from midifeld to exploit it
I don’t see how we can come back. Very tired and can’t match them physically.
Look at this ball movement. Where has this been all tournament?
Why does van der Graght not close down?!
There’s nothing behind you!
Van De Donk…. this is what I mean about our midfield. We’ve given the ball away too much in this tournament. It shows by how few goals we’ve scored from open play
FOUL! Officiating is utterly biased in favor of the IS going back to Sptise’s yellow
This can now turn into a humiliation.
Miedema needs to shoot! That’s two great opportunities in the box
I really feel for de Gragt. She’s had an excellent tournament. And the pen was unlucky as it was an awful deflection that caught her our wrong side. She had to go for it. I wouldn’t even really call it a mistake, just a harsh moment.
If it wasn’t for that pen, USA looked like they were about to run out of ideas
The US was definitely the stronger team, but we battled valiantly!
That penalty changed the entire match. I just can’t comprehend how that type of call can determine a World Cup…
I watched the second half of the game. I think there was no penalty there. The impression that I have gotten from the Oranje is:
1. Very good defending. The strongest side of this team
2. Good goalkeeping
3. Physically not very strong.
4.Poor midfield that was unable to feed Miedema and made many bad decisions
5. Poor attacking potential
I also think, this Oranje team has very smart and visionary coach.
It is a great achievement that within two years Oranje became first in Europe and second in the World. Congrats!!!!
I have finally come to terms that I won’t see orange lift a world cup in my lifetime. I am at peace.
This game was stolen. F.ck VAR and the USA team. And I am an american citizen since 20 yrs. Totally undeserved. And I have serious doubts about using steroids and other banned stuff. These “ladies” are stronger than men. Anyway it is over.
Respect to my newfound Orange loves. I love all these brave beautiful blue eyed beauties. Orange forever.
I think netherlands women didn’t play a good game. Statistic show it to us. Usa shot 16 ned women shot just 3 or 4 times. Are u ok?? U r a little wrong about this game. Netherlands woman really didnt a better team in this game. I hope they did better job but they r not enough good to score a goal
where are you from originally?
I was pleasantly surprised by the intensity of our team in this final. I had thought the US would just walk over them, and we hold them well.
What I found very disappointing is the lack of lucidity of the middle and forwards. Countless time, they made short passes directly to a US player, while they were not under a big pressure. Weird.
To make those passes in a final it is unforgivable. Holland was lucky the game didn’t end 5-0. I am grateful they avoided that humiliation with some great tackles in the last second and also some luck. Keeper was huge in 1st half.
Successful passing ratio at the end of 1st half was like 180-80 for USA.
The tradition continues. Oranje… Cup Finals… losing.
I did not expect a win today, as opposed to the ‘74, ‘78, or 2010 Final were I can distinctly point out some travesty of officiating, political chicanery, or horrible luck going against us. For all the cross talk and possibility, this US Women’s team was far too strong. But I was very disappointed (although completely unsurprised) to see the officiating go against us. The yellow card reminded of how the Spanish players would fly into the air like being hit by artillery explosions in the 2010 Final, and the replay showed no contact, but the Dutch would get a yellow.
To be fair, our goalie kept it from being 3-0 to that point, but that altered the game decidedly into the US’s favor.
But remember, before we get too into how awesome the US women’s team is, this spring, they lost 5-2 against an U-15 boy’s club team out of Dallas.
Another positive is that our team is still fairly young.
Of the regulars, van Veenendaal is 29, van Lunteren is 26, Dekker is 32, Bloodworth is 24, Spitse is 29, van de Donk is 27, Roord is 22, Groenen is 24, van de Sanden is 26, Miedema is 22, Martens is 26, and Beerensteyn is 22.
All should be back for the next Euros other than Dekker, and probably everyone but her and Spitse for the next WC
Yes, the US looked the better team. But the penalty was not a good call, and after that there was little chance. Sad that this WC had so many crucial replay decisions. VAR may be a good idea in principle, but more often than not in execution in this WC it has reversed calls that it shouldn’t, and confirmed calls that it should overturn…in today’s game, that was not offside, it was not a hand ball, it was not an obvious foul on a player heading into an advantageous offensive position. If the referee was not going to call that penalty against Van de Gragt in real time, she should not have made it.
If u want to win a game u have to score at leat one goal. What u guys think?? What can ned woman win when they cannot score a goal. I think a scoreline was fair. Usa play better. Attack more. More shooting. Have 7 or 8 corners. Their physic was better. Why u want to kill refree when u shot just 1 shot on target. U know 1 shot. Just 1 shot on target then u want to win that game. Sorry but many gays here are prehydice.
If i find a real word. It call “Magnify”. Balkan and etc. I cannot undrestand what they see in this game. I think u guys Magnify what ned woman do. Im fan of them. But usa win becoz they attack and shot. Dont seduce me ned woman like their men did nothing in final. Really did nothing.
I did not know that w-Oranje debut in the WC tournaments was in 2015. So, this is only their second appearance! Although I am not a fan of women’s football, I think this victory will give a tremendous impulse to the W-football development in the Netherlands.
I went to sleep after the second goal and must say, they dutch never looked like scoring. not a typical final you wanna see. You could sense the USA were sniffing it until they found the net.
Interesting statistics related to LGBTQ community in women’s football
The U.S. and the Netherlands team both have five out players each, and the U.S. team also has an out coach, Jillian Ellis. Here’s a quick rundown of each team’s out players:
The U.S. Team
The Netherlands Team
Merel van Dongen
Daniëlle van de Donk
I do not think there is any out player in men’s football.
The game went how I thought it would, the US were just too good for our girls, although I thought we gave it a real go, obviously there were a lot of poor passing decisions and a real lack of attack, but we knew that would be the case.
The penalty ruined the game because there was no coming back from that for the Dutch, it was also a very harsh decision when you already have the odds stacked against you.
The Yanks are the best team by a clear margin in world football so they deserve their victory, for the Dutch the future looks bright, I’m not sure how much investment in women’s football there is in Holland but this is sure to give it a boost.
There is a massive push in Australia for women’s football over the last few years which I feel is fine as long as it’s not compared to the men’s game, as the difference in standard is astronomical. Definitely a lot of out players in Aus!
Morning after the loss and now that I am sober.
We couldn’t create any clear chances in attack, successful passing ratio was terrible, I hoped Beresntyin would be a threat in counter attacks but she had no support and used too much dribbling, so many half hearted passes after 1-0 one of which by de Donk led to 2nd goal, defense gave a ton of space to Lavelle by retreating inexplicably and so on and so forth. The key though was the penalty, terrible call provided to the strongest team which had also gotten advantageous calls in previous games. It just about sealed the game. I thought we would be a good match but the Americans had double the strength. I don’t understand how women can differ so much from one western country to another.
Sweden or Japan would have probably been the only teams to take this final farther.
But it is over. Congrats to the Dutch ladies for going this far albeit with some luck which abandoned them in the last hurdle.
If I were to identify the most glaring deficiency for this team it was the atrocious passing and stray crossing for good swaths of almost every game.
One of the big takeaways for me from the Women’s World Cup was the crazy implementation and use of VAR. Throughout the women’s tournament, VAR was used frequently (perhaps overused), and often led to a reversal of an on-the-field decision due to the smallest of margins or the slightest of touches.
I’m all for getting calls right, but the full implementation of VAR in the men’s game is going to be an even greater challenge. Currently, lots of things happen in the penalty box that the referee ignores or deems not worthy of a penalty kick. VAR, at least in the women’s matches, seems to negate that discretion, and resulted in lots of penalties given that would never be whistled by an on-the-field referee, even if they saw it, in the spirit of the game.
Additionally, once the men’s players fully understand the implications of VAR, you will almost assuredly see even more actions seeking contact in the box, with or without simulation / diving, in an effort to get VAR-reviewed penalties.
Taken to its logical extreme, we will then be left with one of three options: (1) no actual defending will occur in the box, lest a penalty be awarded due to minimal contact, (2) penalties will become commonplace, almost like free throws in basketball, as players will drive into the box and then actively seek contact that VAR will confirm, or (3) the rules of the sport will have to be changed so that not every foul that occurs in the box will result in a penalty.
I don’t see any of these potential developments as good for the game. Maybe a better system would be to allow VAR to be initiated / consulted only by the teams themselves, like in NFL football, and limit the teams to one challenge per half (unless their challenge is vindicated).
JB, if I remember correctly VAR was introduced to catch glaring/obvious mistakes made by referees and not go bananas over every inch of offside or contacts inside penalty area. VAR sucks and it will cause more harm than good in the long term. I hate it.
With respect to our Dutch women’s team itself, I think we all understood they would be overmatched against the US. The fact that we were able to keep the match at 0-0 for so long is a great testament to our coach’s tactics and the players’ efforts (particularly van Veenendaal’s).
Although we didn’t generate much in attack ourselves, it was tremendously disappointing to have the game essentially decided on a dubious penalty in a situation that would never have led to a goal scoring opportunity. Essentially, the referee bailed out the US and forced the Dutch to press forward in attack, leaving gaping holes in the back.
That said, the US was a deserved champion and is head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. There is a tremendous advantage here as the sport draws the best female American athletes (unlike the US men’s game) and the professional training and infrastructure that exists in the men’s game throughout Europe, does not yet exist for the European women.
In my view, the European women as a whole play better football than the Americans, but the Americans dominate due to their individual skill, athleticism and tremendous depth. As nauseating as all of the constant calls were for “investment” in the women’s game made throughout the tournament broadcasts, I think that is the reality. The European women’s teams will not be able to overcome the US unless and until a competitive women’s league exists in Europe and professional level training is provided.
The real challenge, however, is drawing spectators to make women’s football a profitable venture, other than every few years for these international tournaments. And as reflected on this site, most football fans will not tune in or turn out unless the quality is good, and really other than the US team, the overall quality of play is not yet good enough…
The reason why US Women’s football has progressed is the very real lack of competing sports in the US for women that can lead to a paycheck. Softball is popular, but not after college. Volleyball is great, if you want to make the Olympics. Basketball is legit, but the body type that goes with basketball seldom goes into football.
For men, football comes after baseball, basketball, American football, hockey, MMA, and staying at home and living off your parents. Somit makes sense.
JB, the penalty came when we were playing really well and were confidently looking to go forward. It was around the time we picked up and took the play into the next level as proven in previous games. At that moment the US was looking nothing superior to Holland. The referee ruined it.
As per quality of the US team, yes they are better than the rest of women teams but I happened to watch the 2nd half of the US-Mexico GC final and I can tell you it was exhilarating. US played really well and in all honesty the men game is much better due to the minimal number of errors and mistakes. I hear people say this US women team would easily beat men’s but it would never happen.
Personally I would not have paid much attention to this WC if it wasn’t for my love of orange.
This US Women’s team lost 5-2 to an U-15 boy’s team out of a Dallas club. The Australian National Women’s team lost 7-0 to similar boys team in their homeland. All respect to women, but they are not even in the same universe as any men’s team at any level.
Duh, but they want equal pay though 🙂
There is no need to cry over loss of women game..They were second to USA..they acheived maximum.They are not underachievers like our MEns team..congrats to them..Some are very brilliant players..kudos to them Lioness of dutch…
Yes they didnt had the luck of Italy VsDutch Euro2000..in that sense its yes..these kind of luck happens rare..
Lets go back to mens team…
Men were toothless in attack Vs Portugal..i think we have serious problem there with Babel-Depay-Berjwin combination isn creating chances..
They really need to do something about their backline.
They will be big time competition upfront. Malen,Lammers,Piroe,Gakpo and bergwijn
What did you guys think of Wiegman radically changing the Dutch formation for the final–playing a 4-4-1-1, with Miedema playing a very deep-lying 10 and in the middle of the field. Wiegman–worried about conceding goals–decided to move away from the 4-3-3 that her team /always/ plays and made a drastic decision to park the bus. One can say that it worked in the sense of holding the U.S. scoreless for a long period of time–but it made it almost impossible to score a goal: The mids had to do far too much running to get forward as they were sitting farther back than normal.
I did not like the change. You have a very successful team: play the way you play and let the chips fall where they may. Could the Dutch have lost 4-0 or worse if they’d played their regular formation? Maybe. But why panic and change radically for one last game? I think it was a defeatist decision by Wiegman, who has otherwise done a great job.
Miedema is good with the ball and a good passer–but she can’t really play at the halfway line. She needs to be in the attacking half. Neither she nor Beerensteyn had any support.
In any case, I would have preferred to see the Dutch play the same way that won them the Euro championship and got them to the WWC final.
This is a good/very good women’s team. But Wiegman needs to find one or two good, athletic young players to compete with, and beat the U.S. Left back is a weakness and the team needs another good centerback. Bloodworth has done an excellent job as a centerback given that she only plays that position for the NT. She has played outside back and midfield for her clubs over the last year, I think. She would be a good left back–but then you weaken your centerback position without her. Dekker is 32 and at the end of her career, and Van der Gragt–who was very good in the WC–is a bit injury prone.
I think the change worked well. We kept US scoreless for a long time. We just didn’t have good enough attackers. Multiple times during 1st half we had the chance to catch US in counters and were in 2 on 2 positions and yet lost the ball with some imbecile passes and senseless dribbling. We had a big problem with pass accuracy during the whole tournament. We were very lucky to reached the final. We shouldn’t have gotten past Japan and if didn’t happen it would exactly be that we were so wide open and caught at the break by a quick team but we dodged a bullet. Against US we were much more compact but I don’t think it affected our attacking capability. Our attackers are OK but nothing great and they showed how limited they were.
I still think that around the time US got the penalty we had started to establish a solid presence across the field and were at our best moment. This was our trend during the whole tournament, start slow and build up reaching best level by mid to late 2nd half. If not for that penalty I believe we still had a good chance. The thing that Weigman got wrong in my opinion was right after 0-1. We went into attacking mode like there were only a few mins left in the game. In the meantime there was almost 30 mins left. The team should have calmed down and played smartly and not throw the kitchen sink for an equalizer. We got so exposed at the back I really though we would get humiliated score wise. US had shown in previous games that they would try to preserve the score and this would give us a chance to attack better however the girls went berserk in attack acting like there was only 1 minute left after 0-1. That falls on the coach. She played it like a rookie and got exposed.
Van de Gragt saved us and I think she and Spitse + Groenen were our best players of the tournament. I was disappointed by Van de Sanden, Van de Donk and even Martens. I also expected more from Miedema considering she was PL player of the year.
Anyway these girls made me follow a tournament which I really didn’t plan to follow this close so Thank You for that.
So this is really good analysis by Richarde and Balkan and an opportunity for further discussion on this match.
First off, I just need to vent slightly. Jill Ellis for the US is not a good coach. She may be a great man / woman-manager, but she is out of her depth as a tactician. When you listen to her speak, she just spouts coaching jargon and platitudes, but she is rarely able to articulate a strategy let alone influence the quality of her team’s performance.
After all these years, the US still plays a very rudimentary brand of football. Their only creative passers are Lavelle and Morgan Brian, who hardly played in this tournament. The rest succeed merely due to athleticism and individual skill. When confronted by any other quality side, their only success came from penalties and ultra-defensive tactics once they had a lead (see Spain, France, England and us).
From a tactics standpoint, they are endlessly frustrating to watch because despite their complete physical dominance, they can’t play coherently or creatively as a team. The real frustration for me, however, is that they never are punished for their tactical deficiencies because their opponents are never able to combine quality with consistency to make them pay.
With respect to Wiegman’s tactics, I think she got it right. As we saw throughout the tournament, our backline was incredibly slow and susceptible to speed and quick passing. Going into the final, I was mystified as to how we could contend with that mismatch against the US.
Playing Bloodworth wide was an inspired move and she definitely stepped up her performance. Moving Martens and van de Donk to wider positions in a 4-4-2 / 4-4-1-1 not only worked defensively, stymieing the US’s use of their outside backs in attack, but actually helped our team from an attacking standpoint as well. I’ve not seen either of those players (van de Donk and Martens) play anywhere near as well in this tournament as they did in that final. Playing in a more withdrawn and wide position, enabled them to get on the ball much easier and with space in front of them, which really seemed to get them going, to the point where you could actually see they were good players!
Given the US’s propensity to score early, I think Wiegman’s plan was to sit back with two lines of 4, clog up the passing lanes and disrupt the US’s attack and then look for quick counters to Beerensteyn. This almost worked out several times in our favor. Miedema was not particularly suited for the role as a second striker in this formation (which kept her far too distant from goal), but she did provide a few very nice passes.
I think the plan was to hold the US in check as long as possible and then spring into a much more attacking posture either (1) once the US scored, or (2) with approximately 25 minutes left. As Balkan noted, once we conceded, we suddenly shifted into all out attack mode, which was probably not necessary at that stage and ultimately cost us a second goal. But up until that point, I thought the tactical plan was working to perfection.
At the end of the day, I am not at all a fan of the 4-4-2 formation and did feel like it minimized our actual scoring chances, but it’s not like we’d been playing free-flowing, fluid attacking total football all tournament. Up until the final, we’d generally been eeking out victories through last ditch scoring opportunities or converting set pieces. Thus, I don’t think we were actually giving up too much in switching gears for the final.
Hopefully, the confidence and experience that the Dutch team gained throughout this tournament and over the past few years will hold us in good stead, and although the team is still relatively young, we can always use more speed, athleticism and attacking capabilities…
Wiegman’s tactical change succeeded in keeping the U.S. from scoring for a long period–but we spent 80 percent of the first half playing defense and scrambling to keep the ball out of our net. Van Veenendaal was forced to make at least two very good saves. So we were hanging on, essentially.
I have only seen the first half, and I wouldn’t say that Martens did anything special during that time. Both she and Van de Sanden were not as influential as many expected in the tourney. Marten’s had an injured toe, which affected her, and maybe that was the reason she seemed to play tentatively for much of the tournament.
The team’s strength in Paris was the defensive work of the midfield–all three with a very high work rate and good at bothering opponents and winning balls. The two centerbacks were good most of the tourney–the team only gave up three goals going into the final. Van der Gragt and Bloodworth were a good pair. You aren’t going to win a WC with Van der Gragt and Dekker, however, who started in the final–as while they have size they lack agility and pace.
I do agree that the team was too slow and sloppy in attack in the tourney–which was very /uncharacteristic/ for this team, which is usually just the opposite. In any case, it was a good performance overall and, yes, Wiegman, must try to find another couple of skilled athletes like Bloodworth. Thanks for the thoughts!
Martens only got hurt when Roord stepped on her toe while celebrating 2nd goal against Japan.
The sad thing was that we actually had the US on the ropes a little bit. O’Hara had to be subbed out with a head injury at halftime, and Jill Ellis’ typical other substitutions — Press for Rapinoe or Heath and the the obligatory Carli Lloyd sub — were unlikely to change the complexion of the match. The penalty completely bailed out Ellis, who otherwise would have had to make some sort of tactical decision of her own (and also Alex Morgan, who had been fairly innocuous)…
All that said, without a phenomenal game from van Veenendaal, it still could have been 4 or 5-0.
It would have been interesting to see us against Germany, France or England. Their quality and style of play would probably mesh better with ours and have allowed for a more open, attacking game plan.
I agree with the comments from you guys, we needed luck to be any chance in this game and we didn’t get it!
We had a couple of chances to score but really stuffed them up through what I think is pure lack of quality and decision making.
But as Tiju said the girls actually over achieved in this tournament so we should be happy with that.
What the hell happened to Lieke Martens? Never lived up to expectations when this was suppose to be the grand stage for her to become a household name like Morgan etc.
Once again it has been proven that when it comes to final, its all about which team as whole is better and not just one or two players. This is something that should be at the back of thr mind of coaches when building the team especially when tbey think they can go with two or three players and forge a winning combo. Something like what koeman is doing with memphis, Frenkie and Van dijk.
With euros in mind and NT, I think this will an important season and hopefully given thr transfers I hope koeman will atleast a solid back up in each position.
As others said here with all due respect beautiful women out there..Game level is so pathetic compared to men..USA women are so arrogant,basically just blindfolded dumbs..i really wished they should loose..since they were better athletes than us they won it….its just money ,fame game,nothing in it.Football is not their cup of tea..
This is why feyenoord letting him go for free was a big mistake. Definitely somebody to keep an eye on. Unfortunately for him I cant see him getting a nod in the u21s as he will be overshadowed by those playing in eredivisie.these are the type of players whom the coaches need to recognize in respect to who have a better future,ability wise from those who will be lost.
Was surprised to see Ian maatsen get the nod even though its pre season. Was more hoping familio castillo would be there.