The Big LVG Interview – Pt 3

A lot has happened in between PT2 and PT3. For starters, we saw Sneijder being subbed, Robben being benched, RPV getting injured, Heitinga being snubbed, Mathijsen fumbling, Stekelenburg not playing, Van der Wiel rested, Huntelaar injured and out of form, Afellay injured….

Not too positive.

But we also saw BMI/De Vrij, Blind, Janmaat, Clasie, Maher, Lens, Ola John…

Not too shabby.

But for now, we will take our mind of all that and return to the thoughts of our Great Big Leader.

SV: In terms of playing style… Is it correct that in your system, you left the team sit deeper when losing possession than Van Marwijk?

LVG: Correct. In my view, this fits our skills better. We want to create some space. Make the playing field tight. Easier to get possession back and once we do, we can use the space up front with the specific qualities of Robben, Lens, Narsingh, Schaken and Van Persie. We sort of demonstrated that against – of all opponents – Andorra. Against them, we pressured high up the park. We did get the ball back early but hardly any space to move. Against Romania, we dropped deeper and we were much more effective. I call that provoking pressure. We did that in my AZ days too, but no one recognised it. Everyone said we played so offensive, but we really didn’t. We were quick on the break once we had the ball, sure, but we always created our space first. That is a subtle difference to the Barcelona system, which I want Oranje to play. The passing game Barca plays is technically perfect, but its too wide. They play the ball 10 meters diagonally max, and then back again or wide to the other flank. I believe in bypassing the nearest stations and finding the goal more directly. You need to provoke the space first, so to speak. And then you can utilise space for swift, deep actions. I think it’s more entertaining and more effective. Barca wants the ball really quickly but they will be high up the park and they will have absorped lots of space doing so. Despite the moments of genius of a couple of world class players it gets boring, to me. And the KNVB wants me to develop – or re-discover a Dutch style of playing. The Barca style is not that. I am happy with the feedback I am getting and we’re only 7 months on the way.”

SV: What strikes me too is the way midfield operates. Your midfield rotates constantly, and squeezes and adapts. Sometimes it’s two defensive players, then it’s one. What kind of agreements can you make with the players at that level?

LVG: It’s all about football intelligence. And this has to do with the skills of Kevin Strootman. That is a a great player. He is the man with balance in midfield. He makes his decisions instinctively and he hardly ever makes the wrong choice.”

SV: And the rest simply follows?

LVG: Strootman adapts quickly to what is going down. I have seldom seen a player with those qualities. Philip Cocu, Jari Litmanen, Iniesta… Strootman allows us to play with one defensive mid and he can play box to box with tremendous legs and lungs. And with Leroy Fer, we simply have another player like Strootman. Fer needs to prove himself but is these type of players are essential. And if you combine these qualities with the top 3 or 4 of our creative players, you have a lethal team.”

SV: Does this mean you will be pushing either Sneijder or Van der Vaart on a flank?

LVG: No, Sneijder and Van der Vaart are the guys who make the play. And these lads need to play where they feel they offer the most value, where they feel most comfortable. But in my system, I think only one of the two will play, normally.

SV: It seems that Oranje has basically qualified… It’s key to keep everyone motivated and focused. Is it hard?

LVG: I don’t think it will be. I am very self motivated and my whole staff is intensively following our progress. Danny, Pat, the others…we are all focused on process more than results. So once we qualify, great! But that is not the end goal. The end goal is be the best we can be. I think that as long as we are super motivated, we will have that impact on the players too. And if I notice that one or more players are not that focused, I will replace them. Quite easy for a national coach. Less easy for a club coach. But our goal is: to get better every time, so there is never time to sit back and loose focus.

We will now look at one favority practice Louis van Gaal uses with his squads. It looks simple but it covers quite a philosophy.

– passing distance – 12 to 18 yards
– even if a mistake is made, the players keep on rotating as to keep the pace going
– good pitch
– match balls.

– de receiving player is supposed to run away from his marker with an explosive sprint, into the ball
– if the player turns away on the right hand side, the ball needs to be passed on the right foot
– if the player turns away on the left hand side, the left foot
– there needs to be continuous movement without the ball
– the ball needs to be passed as fast as possible
– players should ask the maximum of one another, making mistakes is not a problem, the main condition is utter concentration

– the triangle format is chosen as it represents the system the team plays in the matches… (left back/left midfield/left wing or leftback/centerback/centermidfield or leftback, leftmidfield, centermidfield, etc etc)….
– the triangle offers most of the often occurring passing options like players will encounter on the pitch.

– Van Gaal chances instructions sometimes, allowing players only touch, or two touches, or a bounce back first…
– sometimes the passing player needs to track back around a marker
– sometimes a player needs to sprint to the next marker and the pass needs to be perfect in pace
– finding the third player

Thanks to magazine De Voetbal trainer

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  1. “””- the ball needs to be passed as fast as possible
    how fastly Afellay,schaken,Elia,Williams,kuyt doing this?????????

  2. “”””Strootman allows us to play with one defensive mid and he can play box to box with tremendous legs and lungs. And with Leroy Fer, we simply have another player like Strootman. Fer needs to prove himself but is these type of players are essential. And if you combine these qualities with the top 3 or 4 of our creative players, you have a lethal team.”””””””””
    This was the idea i wanted to see dutch to implement at last i got it. i was looking for this since i got it..
    so how the team will be
    De Vrij
    Van annholt
    Kevin strootman
    Jonathan De guzman
    Jordy Clasie
    Leory fer
    Marco Van ginkel
    Adam Maher
    Van der vaart(for experience only either wes/vaart)
    Arjen Roben
    Ola john
    Jermain lenz
    Urby Emmanuelson
    Strikers -2
    Robin Vanpersie

  3. i would play a team with
    Vanrhijn————————Van annholt
    De guzman———————–Roben——–
    then i will have 4 box to box runners in Clasie,Deguzman,stroot and fer…We will see unfathomble strong team.

  4. interesting about making space, not pressing up so high on the field. Provoking pressure. After watching the Barca-AC game, I was wondering if Barca would be more effective in allowing Milan some of the ball, if only to open up the field a bit more for a counter-attack. I like that Van Gaal has made this a practise. When your opponent is really well organized, you need to change it up a bit. Might be Barca’s weakness. Admirable that they play their own game, but they seemed unable to adjust to AC.

  5. Strootman and Fer are important to this team. Only 1 of Sneijder or VDV will start. I do not think LVG read this site yet but we can be proud to say those ideas were discussed at this website, and the near future (WC2014) looks bright…
    I think Strootman may move to bigger club next year.

  6. I am happy LVG thinks highly of Leroy Fer because I believe he has the conditions to be a great player. If Fer develops well he can be a great asset for the national team.

    I read he will face a trial for some crime or something like that…remember Patrick Kluivert? he also had problems with justice.

  7. Thanks Miguel Rosado. Nice to see how amazingly good we were then. The best game from that generation was Real-Ajax in 1995 in the group stage. Total domination and 2-0 at the end. For all those who keep criticizing Ajax, just remember that Feyenoord may have the best players right now and certainly the best youth, but Ajax still has the best coach by far in Holland. There are no other good coaches at the moment and that is also worrisome for the future.

  8. I don’t know how long this link will work but since my last comment was about VDV (not exactly the last perhaps), I’d thought I’d post Sneijder’s goal as well (VDV’s was a bit further from goal with more power, but Sneijder’s has this lovely curl and is a really old-fashioned Sneijder-goal for me because of that (he used to score those goals for Ajax all the time I got the feeling from the highlights I saw with him wearing an Ajax shirt, oh yeah, and I may have seen a few Ajax games in that period, at least I remember him shooting like that for Oranje in the early years all the way up to his long distance goal against France in 2008, some for Real Madrid in his first season as well, or at least 1, maybe the one I saw was already in his second season for Madrid):

    Also a freak own goal by the keeper at the start that makes it worth taking a look.

  9. van Gaal is the right man on the right place. it is now maybe the most important thing for holland NT. Native in dutch nature is that every metre in the space must be used or ,corrected,want to be used.. I called it geometry . van gaal has geometry and he demonstrated it. geometry is not bore.with changes rhythm in geometry you can get new space. it,s a beauty. then middle passes,short passes,long passes become,s the strongest weapon for holland NT. it,s a realy dutch road and van gaal said that. but on that road has many dangerous. when other teams destroy this geometry then opened many holes. johan crujff saw it long time ago. he is genius in the football game and he had vision. today and yesterday we have solutions this things in barcelona. but for me barca now is bore like italians clubs used to be in ,catenatio,era herera,s inter etc… though styles are defferents(I,m watching them only against real( m),milan…). and we can see how two players bayer(L) ,killed, each other for shirt leo messi.(and we can see the market.) everybody says that barcelona untouchable .they are strong technically.and very speed and have much condition . but holland geometry could be opened many holes in barca and spain .(spain could beaten by croatia last summer but croatia maybe hadn,t braves to do it.) because I support van gaal.his work gave good base for today barca and today bayern and he knows what say. but in this geometry must be added,step by step, much speed,much strong, and passion and why not,killer instinct(not for red cards).And individual,the one on the one. many others big football countries have that. it,s a very important to feel like winners.of course without empty underrate others.used to be small footbal countries today know play footbal very well. that,s it. next text never mind with theme. yesterday DRAGON gave me super question but I didn,t know answer on it. I can,t write like TIJU and others.They know much better than I analyse all players and football. I,ll try to explain in few words .Very important things is to be on the right place. example pep gvardiola in bayern next season(it will be very important thing for europan football).interesting. He refused many rich clubs and going to bayern.I think he goes on the right place where base gave by van gaal. I think if you work right things on the right place and money will come.look at miralem sulejmani in ajax.I think that he was biger talent than dejan stanković(inter).he could be play in milan inter juventus but he didn,t know that his right place(box)is in he wait on the bench to some english club to buy him… Even and for mateja kežman was be better that he played in strongest matches for PSV when all team play well kezman play weak and when all team play weak kezman play well(there are some except). when he go in chelsea I said in joke:this season PSV going up in europe.ha. on the end PSV could beat liverpool in final.No happy with milan. In the past, for bergkamp box was in england,not it italy.for velibor vasović box was in ajax,holland…etc I think that eriksen,s right box is in england.danish players play good in england always.eriksen have enough good matches for ajax in ajax.Money won,t run away.there are big hit from ABBA .money,money,money. I ll try to made defferent between money and game.

    1. No racist comment was made. Lens has specifically said that. There was an elbow or half elbow and Lens wanted to know why Joris did such a thing. Lens is fined by the club (10% of his months salary) and has said sorry. KNVB will still be on the case and will maybe suspend the player for a few games.

      the reason why Joris played hard is simple. His position has been subject of discussion a lot and it has motivated him to give his all. His last games where very good.

  10. local report thar lens has played h is last game in holand. Psv are looking to immediately release him. His a dutch career is over. .what a criminala criminal

  11. I always found Mathijsen a professionnal and serious player, but since he came back to Feyenoord, don’t know what happened, but I always see him having problems and provocating. Last time Altidore, this game it was Lens and Wijnaldum, I wonder how they do to stay together with the dutch national team.

    1. At present Lenz is more important for NT than Joris ,if any problem occurs… Joris should be dropped..No room for disharmony…Since we dont have good forwards apart from Robin and Roben,lenz is the hope.this guy is better than Afellay,kuyt,Elia, and Narsingh..So needs to be selected..his criminal mentality can be treated and belive roy keane was like him and you all know how many trophies are won by keane ,this keane has kept hooland out side in 2002 WC.These guys needed for fight to become a champion.thats what i like in Stroot,Leroy,Wesly,Robin,Heitinga etc..though at present Wes and Heitinga looks out of shape and form.
      Joris was acting like cunt and lenz was acting like criminal,both made mistakes…

      1. No need for that language, little man.
        Calm down. This site is read by all ages.
        And show my countrymen some respect, please. Oranje National Team is not a club side. Thank you kindly.

  12. I think Lens has missed out from becoming a world class right back. You heard it here first.

    There are almost no players in Eredivisie who win as many duels as Lens, he has speed, a decent cross. He has enough ability to give intelligent passes to center playmaker. He has very high start speed allowing him to correct and react quickly. He is so clever and skillful to take that ball off people and then has his physique to shield it to top it off. How did Clasie lose the ball in Sunday’s game? Who exactly made Balotelli kick the ball hard against the boarding in frustration? Who was a rock in the last 10 minutes playing emergency right back with a 10 men PSV side against Utrecht winning every duel? If I look at the size of Raphael then Lens should not have any problems as well. Lens is a pretty lousy finisher, despite the fact he is on fire for Dutch NT. He is always moved back to the wing for that reason: does not score enough as a striker. Not efficient enough. I think he missed out on becoming world class in another position. Right back. I think he would have become easily better than Reiziger. He has so much natural ability to become a defender that it hurts me to see him being this fun, but forgettable attacker. Comparing him with a big back in today’s game, I think he could have reached Ashley Cole level.

    1. I may respectfully disagree with you , DRB .
      Well , Lens isn’t a great finisher , but he is too skillful for the RB position imo .
      I’d put him as a finisher in the same level with Drik kuyt , which is good , considering his excellent skills , speed and great stamina .
      i think he should be our Right winger in 2014 with Robben on the left , Narsingh and John as their subs. .

      1. @Mohamed …Narsingh is mediocre at best..doesnt have thye legance to play with greats.Even De guzman and Ginkel can play in his spot.i just wish we get a better player for that spot.but he is a team man and and better player for team than Afellay the overrated guy..

      2. And maybe Boëtius will stand up soon enough to make it to the WC 2014. Lens has done well as a winger for the Dutch NT. Could not ask for more and when he wants, he is the best attacker at PSV. How he took Napoli apart was a thing of beauty. I agree on Lens having quite some skill that can be used for attack. It’s just that I keep asking myself, who in the world has the same eye foot coordination to get opponents off the ball with those well timed blocks of him? Who is time and again quicker than the other players in those duels at such a consistent rate? His duel power combined with his natural strength, engine and speed is a rare gift that is not only rare nationally, but internationally, while his ball skills are not. They are on the international stage at the level of “nice”. So weighing these options got me thinking where he would stand out using these skills and I can’t stop thinking of what could have been.

        Anyway I just wanted to share a funny thought. Will never happen anyway, so we can move on.


  13. LVG: It’s all about football intelligence. And this has to do with the skills of Kevin Strootman. That is a a great player. He is the man with balance in midfield. He makes his decisions instinctively and he hardly ever makes the wrong choice.”

    LVG: Strootman adapts quickly to what is going down. I have seldom seen a player with those qualities. Philip Cocu, Jari Litmanen, Iniesta… Strootman allows us to play with one defensive mid and he can play box to box with tremendous legs and lungs

    Couldn’t agree more. An incredible leader for his age, can’t think of another 22 yold Oranje captain… Very intelligent, versatile, equipped with 3 lungs and 2 hearts.

    He can surpass Rudy Krol… Krol was the orchestra conductor in the back but he was not box2box. He would simply throw a long accurate pass to advance the team like the one that FDB threw to Bergkamp.

    I have very high hopes for Strootman. He might lead us to a WK victory. But I would feel a lot better if we had one more player similar to him, does not have to be another DM. Could be a Center Back…But I don’t think Fer cuts it… We need someone with the same tenacity and physical strength but with better football skills. Maybe Van Ginkel?

    We will need two of that kind to have a better chance in 2014.

    1. I wish Strootman goes to United. I think he is a typical Ferguson player. Martinez is already at Bayern, Dortmund is doing a lot to keep it’s players under contract (Gündogan could be a big competitor for Strootman) and that Wanyama kid from Celtic was plain bad against Juve. I think Strootman is affordable for a club like United and with Strootman’s long ball distribution and Meulensteen’s instructions to give the long ball over the top to RVP, I see benefits for the Dutch NT. We basically get a tandem handed for the WC.

      EPL will also force him to up his handling speed, which has been my main concern about the player.

      If we take the model van Gaal uses:

      * 1 DM
      * 1 BtoB
      * 1 attacking midfielder

      Then I see these players in the following category’s in his laptop:

      DM -> de Jong, Clasie, Strootman*, de Guzman*, Anita
      BtoB -> Strootman, Fer, van Ginkel, Afellay*
      AM -> Sneijder, Maher, VDV, Afellay, de Guzman

      * For second position option.

      Both Fer and van Ginkel may have combined tenacity/physical/technical quality’s in abundance or not, in this van Gaal model they tend to compete with each other, rather than playing together in one team. Only the Turkey game we saw Fer and Strootman in the same team, only after the typical DM type, Clasie, failed. Clasie however played almost the perfect match against Italy (33 passes given, all of them landing, 0 ball loss, plus some good creative ones, 2 interceptions). With that, Clasie is back in his position and Fer is probably competing again for the BtoB spot with Strootman and van Ginkel. Against Germany Afellay played BtoB as VdV and Nigel held the other two roles. Then Afellay got injured and van Ginkel came in for him. Before that, Afellay played 2 times in the AM role IIRC. Afellay is no winger under van Gaal in any case.

      So my point is, that the players embodying those 3 quality’s (or get close) are competing with each other, the way van Gaal has set up his system.

      Janmaat has tenacity, is physical, but does not posses technical quality’s. Lens shows all 3 quality’s during parts of the game, but I guess that the point of tenacity is that you do it over the whole game 🙂 . That brings me back to Janmaat. Janmaat is a pretty bad defender and heading a ball is also not his forte, however has tenacity in abundance. Anita has tenacity, lacks real physical presence (is stronger than people think though), but is pretty technical. Maher is more dynamic than possessing tenacity and can be pretty casual.

      So all in all, I only see in van Ginkel the complete package and he competes with Strootman’s spot in the van Gaal setup. Also, he is pretty young and the 3 quality’s are not yet fully developed. Last game:

      In the 11th second of this video you see a van Ginkel press that results Vitesse to scoring. I think you like this. Later in the video you see his full arsenal. Scoring, box intelligence with another goal, he can also head a ball well. Was dipping for a good amount of games before and around winter break, dipped a bit at the end of this game again, but I think he is getting out of it and all quality’s do probably exist in this player.

      1. I understand the LVG system and that Stroot and Van Ginkel are mostly destined to compete for the same position. I was simply using Van Ginkel as an example of the 2nd leadership personality that we need. In my opinion, I would ideally want one of our Center Backs to be like that. Like Puyol. I prefer to spread the leadership between defense and midfield. Offense is a whole different subject. The leaders mostly push from the back lines.

        Anyhow with LVG things are moving a lot better than I thought and I am relatively happy. I am not thrilled with Jaanmat and De Vrij … But things can never be perfect.

        1. on a second thought, I don’t even know why I used Puyol. How about Frank de Boer in CB/Sweeper position and Strootman in the Box2Box midfielder position…

          MuseumPlein here I come for the WK celebration party 🙂

  14. for michels and crujff ,idea for total football was to take the all space .take the space and rival can not to play.(but the space haven,t end). barcelona (gvardiola) take the space and rivals can not to play.they maybe try it: on the way old russian contra_atack, or what real(m)does with mourinho,or what did croatia doing against spain (last summer)with strong individual qualities(all balkan country have strong individual qualities).and barcelona can,t always be in top form and rival can surprise them.but match has two points.possession ball by barca and waiting what they do. it,s the first.if they start good and give goals match is can stop watching.if they don,t do it we,re waiting what rival(real,milan..)can do,s maybe only thing,s like catenatio(old italian footbal).and there you must waiting same thing and it is interesting on the same way .but if barca and spain atack on holland geometry(system) holland geometry can make new space like all football field (right balls first in our possesion spice and then same along all fields)even in possession ball( 30 ).some example.2007 (final u21 )holland-serbia(4:1).I think (maybe wrong) holland had possession 40 serbia 60.watching the match I,m thinking that holland has 100 possession.that,s foppe de haan geometry.magic…….I was enjoyed too in the second half real(m)-ajax.frank de boer proved that is good and with energy.with a just little bit speed and killer instinct for goal result could be on the end 4:3 for ajax .goals would be the first half ajax was afraid by speed and strong and technicaly real players.individual. they was running like usein bolt.and real(m) -ajax 1995 (0:2) (could be more) was top geometry ,control field……

  15. The worst thing i have seen from the people are their attiude and beleive.Many thinks that dutch is inferrior/Weak with out Afellay,Luuk Dejong,Narsingh Wesly and vaart..Are we??????.infact team is more stronger and lethal withy out them..and some beleives kuyt,joris,johny can still contribute to team.Will their contribution be suffeicient to WIN a WC????????thats is what my question..

  16. I Just wish that Jesus opens the eyes of everyone and LVG selectes a balanced team team according to merit and irrespective of Age,Experience and influence.If LVG takes a honest approach towards the team and slecetion,Definity we will beat any team and Would be the champions of WC2014.

    1. ‘Jesus’? what the f……….
      oh no, oh no no no! someone call the men in white coats.
      we’ve got a sandal wearing, paid-up member of the god-squad here.
      Tiju, everything you’ve ever said – all that low-brow simple claptrap, all that repeated idiocy, it all makes perfect sense now.

      1. Hi Dragon,

        I understand where you are coming from with this comment and I strongly disagree with most of what Tiju says-especially when he uses Jesus’ name and justifies things this way. But I would ask that you please be respectful of the Christian faith (which is not represented by Tiju’s comments.

        Let’s enjoy Oranje together!


      2. Tiju.

        Remember, we all have our own opinions here. No matter what language you use, or how many times you repeat something, you won’t change it.

        When I was young, my Mom told me to treat others how you want to be treated.

        You are on one hand quoting scripture and talking about Jesus.
        And, in the same breath, you are calling people fools and idiots.
        Does that make sense?

        Lets keep it civil.

        1. @Van Den berg…Your question in the last was very sensible.I have never attacked any one or any one’s comment UNLESS they attack me.why should i bare them?????Jesus has reacted against the evils and wicked..isnt it???
          He was never soft to wicked or devil.Devils needs to to be punished…its the devil in dragon who is doing fight is not against the body,against the devil..
          My point is that i earn for myself and my father and heavenly father took care of me always and who this dragon to say am idiot????he has no right to call me like that coz am not idiot but he is…i hope he wont continue as idiot…i have ignored him once and he is coming back again…Buddy everything is possible with Jesus.I am a testimony for that….

  17. If I had to select 23 players today (considering that the injured one are fit), I would go for :


    ————–De Vrij(Douglas)—-BMI(Vlaar)————

    –Van Rhijn(Janmaat)———————-Willems(PVA)

    ——————-N.De Jong(Clasie)——————

    ——–Strootman(Fer)——–Van der Vaart(De Guzman)

    –Lens(Afellay)————————Robben(Ola John)

    ——————Van Persie(Dost)——————-

    Hoping that Douglas will join the team soon, it’s a powerful central, quite speed in 1vs1, only 24, we need him, though he still makes a lot of little mistakes and need to be more concentrated. Van Aanholt above Blind and Buttner according to me. For the defense, not a difficult choice I think, we almost all agree on the same names.

    Midfield, De Guzman is to discuss with Maher, Van Ginkel and even Schaars if he reach his best level, I go for the first one as he is doing it well with Swansea, and has more ability to score and to be efficient compared to Maher and Van Ginkel I think.

    On the right, Afellay though I don’t really like him in this position. He is better on the left or as number ten, but I prefer to take John rather than Narsingh, so let’s do it like that. As striker, Dost as he is able to bring some diversity with his tall, like Vennegoor before, but it would really as substitute, to come in the last 20 minutes, if Van Persie is injured, I go rather for Lens.

  18. way more = 3 selections lol Narsingh scored and played quite good, but look, his three goals are thanks to counter attacks. He is a good player when he gets space to run, make often the right choice on his pass also. But when the game is closed, he is really useless, saw him many times with PSV this year and with Heerenveen last year, he seems to be completly blocked in 1vs1, his depart speed is really poor.

    John didn’t play good his first selection, but it’s really a great player, like him since the first time I saw him with Twente. I think he needs some kilos more of muscles, he got speed but seem to be a little bit scared to go on 1vs1 and does it without power, the same when he defends. But on potential, he is far better than Narsingh for me, also two years younger, excellent distribution and capacity to skill and can use both feet.

    You would probably answer that Narsingh finished with best assist rate last year, but many of them are corners, or passes in counters attacks, really few long balls from his side.

    1. Only problem with John is his lack of aggressiveness. I think his cross accuracy is among the best in the world. It’s his tracking back and softy pressing that gets me annoyed. I had hoped that Jesus would get that out of his game, but I don’t see improvement so far.

      1. Yes, and that’s quite worrying, cause if you look at his goal against Leverkusen, it’s really bad from the defenders, he dribbles them quite slowly, on the same way he did it against Benfica when he was with Twente. Seems like the german haven’t seen a video of him before the game.

        But defenders will start to understand his way of dribbling, and he will be blocked, like Elia is now. Elia also used to be impressive before with his skills, but now defenders are 2x concentrated when they’re against him, and he can’t make the difference often.

        John needs to use more speed in his play, be more explosive and agressive, I’m sure he can do it.

        1. Fair point. It also sips into the way he takes on defenders. However his stats at FC Twente for assist and goals were good, so I was less worried about that department. There is indeed this phenomena where wingers become increasingly ineffective in their one vs one’s and only the really good ones stay up as game changers.

          The only rebuttal I would have, is that Ola can do those crosses Beckham style. His accuracy is so good, that he could be the exception.

    1. Hi Hien,

      I was thinking about that. He seems to be the most likely candidate. I sure hope so… The leadership shows quickly and then it develops. You cannot invent it. It has to be there to begin with. BMI is not bad, I just wish he “mans up” faster 🙂

      Regards ….

  19. all times – 5:00 gmt or new york standard time

    today february 27th

    2;30 or 14:30

    Bayern vs Dortmund (robben starting due to ribery suspension)

    2:55pm or 14:55
    PSG vs Marseille (van der wiel)

    Thursday 28th

    14:30 or 2:30
    cercle brugge vs Club Brugge (ryan Donk)

    Friday March 1st

    14:30 or 2:30
    Frankfurt vs Borussia monchengladbach (luuk de jong, roel brouwers)

    2:00 or 14:00
    Vitesse vs utrecht (van ginkel, van aanholt) and a special hidden gem, don’t call me any names, but this dude jens toornstra is great

    Saturday march 2nd

    9:30 am
    Wolfsburg vs Schalke 04 (dost, huntelaar)
    Hamburg vs Greuther furth (van der vaart, bruma)
    Werder Bremen vs Augsburg (elia)

    Everton vs reading (heitinga)
    Man Utd vs norwich city (van persie)
    Swansea city vs Newcastle (vorm, de guzman, krul, anita)
    sunderland vs fulham (emanuelson)

    12:00 pm

    Eisenkirpor vs Galatasaray (Sneijder)
    Besiktas vs Fenderbache (kuyt)

    1:45 or 13:45
    PSV vs venlo

    2:45 or 14:45
    Twente vs AJax
    Sporting lisbon vs FC Porto (van wolfswinkel, boulahrouz)

    Sunday March 3rd

    NEC vs Feyenoord

    waalwijk vs AZ alkmaar

    9:30 am
    Hoffenheim vs Bayern munich (robben)

    14:30 or 2:30pm
    Beira mar vs Benfica (ola john)

    14:45 or 2:45pm
    As Roma vs Genoa (stekelenburg)

    Monday March 4th

    15:00 or 3pm
    Aston villa vs manchester city (vlaar)

    Tuesday March 5th Champions league
    2:45 or 14:45
    Manchester united vs Real madrid

    3pm or 15:00
    Bolton vs Blackburn (karim rekik)

    wednesday march 6th champions league
    PSG vs Valencia (van der wiel on the bench)

  20. I did not watch any game,but it seems today was a good day for dutch players.
    Robben scored a great goal(winning goal),was man of the match.

    Nathan Ake played full 90 minutes for Chelsea and was rated pretty good,people saying he played very clever and composed for a 18 year old. He played in midfield.(looking forward to DRB analysis)

    Adam Maher destroyed Ajax(sorry Ajax fans,but that is good for National Team) with two assists.

    Locadia scored a hat-trick and is now on 10 goals in only 673 minutes for PSV this season. He should play much more,as should Depay but Advocaat again left him on bench while not making any subs AGAIN! That is just…No comment,because it could get ugly,lol…If he was in Feyenoord he would probably have played many games, scoring and assisting many by now,but Advocaat is too conservative,no balls.

    So all in all,good day!:)

  21. Analyses of Nathan Ake’s FA game against Middlesbrough:

    First all his mistakes:

    Minute 20: Let a man run in front of him who could have been crossed to from the left side offering him a shot on goal. Not necessary his man, but Terry pointed to the man to take him and only after that Ake ran to him in highest tempo. He should have done that himself on highest tempo earlier and be closer to the guy in the first place. It was after a turnover, but nevertheless not good.

    Minute 27: Heads the ball to the back in the feet of the opponent. Now I saw his other team members do this as well and then the ball was picked up by the CB’s, but with Ake it landed in enemy feet. So maybe there is a rule or agreement to solve it the way he did and the center defenders should have been more tight to kick it away after the first bounce, but I still put this one 100% on Ake.

    Minute 47: Lousy back pass that made Terry having to run 4 meter wide. Just sloppy and flow disturbing.

    Minute 55: Mediocre pass in the stride of the Chelsea wight winger, making him having to hold and cut back as he was pressured as a result of the pass. The moment was over and I put that on Ake.

    Minute 83: Wrong guiding header to the side resulting in a long ball that created a dangerous situation, even a goal chance. Not all his fault as other defenders have to be alert about their man, but it started with Ake and so I put that sequence on Ake.

    3 imperfections and 2 mistakes.

    With that out of the way, I can say he was the best player after Moses, Hazard, Oscar and Ramirez. Probably the 5th best player on the field. He won header duels, had a very good tackle that prevented a big shot on goal, and a bit less threatening shot he also deflected to a corner IIRC, he made himself available constantly and when there was no space he tried to take a guy with him. I saw some people on the net saying he tried to hide at the start, but that was IMO more trying to get a man with him and open up space for the build up. So not sure I agree with that comment. He is a player that is constantly looking for the footballing solution. One point of critique is that he should have opened up more often to the front after receiving the ball. Probably 2 or 3 times more. 2 times he made an attacking intention. In the final stage of the match he ran into the wide front area and his opponent tackled him to receive a yellow, for otherwise he would have given a free cross. The other moment he was tackled again at the edge of the box, but the ref did not whistle, while I think it was a foul. Too bad. Terry did not always play the ball to him at the start but Ake gained his trust a bit after he turned himself out of a tight situation to pass on well. In the second half Ake was already more dominating and center.

    Characterizing the player:

    I have seen this player already at U17 when Netherlands won the Euro and thought he was the stood out player. Other 2 were Hendriks and Haye for me. After seeing him for another 90 these are my observations about the personal traits of the player:

    * He is a thoroughbred 360 image builder. Looks at every opportunity left, right, behind him to refresh and update the situation around him. He is a very aware player.
    * That results in him being a shape keeper. He constantly takes care of the people and spaces between them at the back. He moves off ball in this and that position to keep good shape and create options in ball possession, make defending easier when the ball is lost and bring down the possibility’s of errors at the back.
    * He always knows the solution before getting the ball.
    * He still is pretty slender, but his height is more than proper and with some years of fitness and growth he should win even more (header)duels.
    * I think that he is a player that makes all players of his team rotate around him, certainly the other 5 defensive minded players. Looks like everybody gravitates around his central position.

    Some critical notes:

    * Speed. Or better: the lack of it. He does not come off as a very fast player.
    * Energy and bringing a spark. This is the flip side of his aura. The other side of the medallion. As he is such a calming player, he does not do much energetic runs and actions, ones that Ramirez and Luiz do with the first player even scoring today.
    * Should be a bit more aggressive in his dispossessing and tackles and also up the volume of making them. made already a decent number of defensive interventions, but at times I had a feeling he could go in a bit more firm and also more often.

    Closing the piece with naming one more quality:

    There was this moment in the game at the side line where it was crowded with players and two times quick after the other, he was able to make a nice feint action to the back to make space and then make the wall pass without being tackled or intervened. That way he was able to football himself out of the situation, while a fellow senior player could not keep up with him. Was funny to see.

    All in all I have high expectations of this player. Certainly if he is able to include some offensive intentions into his game. Meaning some on ball or off ball deep runs and of course the creative pass forward. Man beating passes that give his fellow teammates at the front that edge to score a goal. He needs to deliver that stuff if he wants to be starting material. He had 2 nice balls to the front the attack could work with, but that is still too low in volume.

    However I also say right now at the start of his career the following:

    I think that this player should not so much be judged by all his attacking output. That is maybe the wrong metric and question to start with. He is a kind of player that creates a defensive demand that maybe was not ever there at the level he is able to deliver, something different. After a game, when people rate this player, the first question that pops up in their mind, should maybe be: “Did he make me feel reassured on a higher and different level, than with any other player, that defense was in check and under control?”. He gives this different kind of control that many, if not all other DM’s go about differently. He is not a cleaner in front of defense (which he does also), but first and foremost he is the commander keeping things in check and in shape. He is a very special player. The only offensive demand I place on him is developing his creative passing. Those forward runs with or without ball would be a nice extra, but to only be “the center” would be a shame with his quality’s. I also think that with dead ball moments like free kicks in the attacking third and with corners, he could become a force with his head.

    Can’t wait for his next match.


    1. Here is a (bad) video of his on ball moments. Make sure to put it on the highest resolution and I turned off the sound as the moments are cut so fast after the other, that it makes your head spin. There are also missing moments, most notably his last ditch tackle saving a big shot on goal. Also the double one-two at the sideline is cut in half, while that was a nice demonstration of ability. Anyway, it’s something I guess:

      I think this is the first all touches video that does not grasp a player. Ake for me is a player fun to watch off ball. Bit of a squash player always seeking to dominate the center position of situations.


  22. Hello everyone,

    I was following this blog for some years and posted here occasionally. Today I would like to ask some experts here such as Jan, DBR300 or Alex one question that concerns me for long time.

    Will the Netherlands team get into very big troubles for the upcoming years?

    I read the posts and comments here often and I do not understand the optimism surrounded the next generation. I watch Maher, Strootman and Classie played very good games in the past. Still I am very worried about the trend going on.

    When was the last time that a new star come into this team?

    As far as I remember, it were Sneijder, Robben and RVP. For years, rising star from the Dutch league could not match the level of other leagues when transferred. I can list many cases here: Babel, Drenthe, Elia, Van der Wiel, Luuk De Jong … The best that we got were Huntelaar and Afellay. And they are nowhere near the status of Sneijder or Robben.

    The Dutch talent that are choosing to develop their career in foreign countries is not having a better fate. Bruma were constantly named by many ppl here as a big talent and then he did not become what he is supposed to be. Given that he is still young, he can still develop. But then there are many other cases such as the striker in the youth team of Arsenal some years ago and now I do not even remember his name.

    The fact is that our league is so bad and there is no team that performs consistently. The players may have some talents but when they go to a bigger leagues where consistency is required, these talents are just burn out. These could be observed in case of Babel and Elia.

    I was reading this post from Laurent before:

    “If I had to select 23 players today (considering that the injured one are fit), I would go for :


    ————–De Vrij(Douglas)—-BMI(Vlaar)————

    –Van Rhijn(Janmaat)———————-Willems(PVA)

    ——————-N.De Jong(Clasie)——————

    ——–Strootman(Fer)——–Van der Vaart(De Guzman)

    –Lens(Afellay)————————Robben(Ola John)

    ——————Van Persie(Dost)——————-”

    And I think that I would pick the same players if I were the coach of the national team. But how sad is this?

    We only have RVP and Robben are doing good at top clubs.
    For second tier clubs, we have:
    Dost (the top scorer of the league go to Wolfsburg),
    Afellay (for years he was named as the best talent for the next generation, now in Schalke, injured), Ola John, De Guzman, De Jong(injured) and the three keepers.

    And dont get me wrong. I am trying to bash the talent of Dost or Afellay.
    They were doing good recently. But I was expecting more of the top scorer of the league and the best talent of the generation.

    Consider that many stars of the last generation were already retired (Gio, Van Bommel) is on their downhill (Sneider, VDV). I am really worried about the future of this team.

    So could you guys give some analysis about the situation?

    1. @Kevin there some real worldclass talents coming for Orange..its ture that after RVP,ROben,vaart and Wes we didint had any one of that catagory.Hunter is a scorer against weak teams failed miserably with Madrid and Milan and now failure in Schalke,though he did scored against weak teams in bundesliga and eneded up as top scorer.Afellay was always overrated because of his gimmic tricks with the ball,and some how he presented that he is a talent and fooled many,he fooled me too.he had the all skils for a footballer but had a little brain.No wonder he flopped.I remmber him being dropped for u21 2007 and Bakal got the chance and bakal played very well to win that trophy for us.If its was Afalley played for us that tournament i really dobut about our chances,he simply hangs on too much time on ball and a zero in quick thinking and quick pass.
      There are some intellignet players coming up for us those are
      Anas Achabar,Adam Maher,Jordy clasie,kevin strootman,etc.they can form a very strong and lethal potent team with a good coach.At the same time there many headless chickens who also grab the headlines.just forget them…
      Bruma is still a talent and only needs a better coach,i jus wish he joins Vittsee or Feynoord again.then we will see who real bruma is…..

      1. HI Tiju, I appreciate your answer. I get your opinions about the next generations such as Achabar and Maher. But I would say that in the end I do not get your disrespect attitude towards many of the players.

        Imo, Huntelaar and Afellay are the best talents of the 85-89 and IT IS NOT THEIR FAULT because we really do not have better talent in this period. And the way you talked about them just create many enemies for you here. I were going against you in the past because you are constantly talking bad about Kuyt. However, now I understand that you are just another person who cares about the progress of our team.

        IMO, you can just say that something like Afellay did not become a big star like Robben instead of trying to criticize him in your every single post. Moreover, if you think that someone is better, you can just talk about their good point without trying to insult Afellay. I am pretty sure that his intelligence in football is a little bit higher than the average of the national team right now.

        Regarding Bruma, I am just saying that until now he did not become what we think he should become. I am still hoping that we will finally become good. It is just sad that Savic from out of nowhere is doing what we were expecting from Bruma. Since the first time I watch Bruma, I saw that something very special in him. I hope he will become the best defender some day.

      2. You chat some bull not gonna lie bro. Huntelaar was excellent the whole of last season, did not have the team around him but his linkup with Holtby, Raul and Farfan was exceptional. He showed what he can do when he is full of confidence.
        This season has been plagued by injury thus far, namely the eye injury which did little for his confidence.

    2. Kevin, the generation 85-89 has been a flop. Our best players from there are Afellay, Babel, Elia,Drenthe maybe Emanuelson,Van der Wiel,or Maduro…A lot of them were announced as futur stars, but no one really became. And guys like Bakkal, De Ridder, Rigters who were brillant at Euro-21 we won, are really nothing today. Lens, who was quite discrete before, is surely the top player of this generation nowadays, with De Guzman.

      But I think the new generations are quite good, guys like De Vrij, Fer, Wijnaldum have already played plenty eredivisie and young international games for their age, they started very early. And if you look at the new generation, 94-95, we probably have the better one in europe, two times winners under17, with players like Willems, Vilhena,Boetius who are titular in good eredivise clubs + Ake,Rekik…I don’t see another country with such players of this age.

      But yeah, we need new “stars”, and compared to before, best eredivisie dutch players go to middle european clubs. About Dost, I’m not so surprised, he was the topscorer ok, but everyone knew he was no big talent, I’m quite happy with what he’s doing with Wolfsburg, it’s even good for his level.
      I expected more of Luuk De Jong, a better club, and even in Gladbach, his rate scoring is very poor, reasons to worry, yes.

      Was also quite disappointed when I read Fer will go to Everton, not a bad club, but hoped better. He can still get something better.

      We’ll see this summer, Strootman can get a Manchester United or Milan, Lens can have something quite good, Douglas also as he is free. And in one or two years,De Vrij,Clasie,BMI Maher, Van Ginkel, Boetius, Vilhena, Willems can go to topclubs if they continue to developp.

      In all those players, we can hope 2 or 3 become top stars cause we will need for the future.

      1. Thanks for your answer, Laurent. Maybe I was a little bit more worried because of the 85-89 generation. I hope this is not a trend.

        What I think is that we really have some big talents because we did win the U-21 twice. But we do not have a system to develop them and if we do not address this problem, we will face the bigger problem in the future.

        In the end, let see what wil happen in this summer.

    3. > Will the Netherlands team get into very big troubles for the upcoming years?

      If that is not qualifying anymore for 2016, 2018 and 2020, then I think we might trip one time, but we should be able to keep up. Going deep into tournaments is another matter though.

      What you try to say is also visible in money rankings like this one:

      Sort out for total value and you will find out that the market value of the last Dutch NT that played against Italy makes us dip even under Russia. Saying that VdV was not there and Sneijder and maybe Afellay not helping the case is true, but the new generation was playing so this is a good number to look at. We start over and from the new core kids nobody really plays in a top leagues yet, let alone being the main man over there. The analyses of the situation is simple: Louis van Gaal played against Italy almost with the youngest NT in history. Laurent raises an interesting point in his first sentence: 85-89 has flopped. We have a big gap between the magic 4 (RVP, Robben, VdV and Sneijder) and the next boys. The next boys are all still in Eredivisie or being far from top in foreign country’s.

      How come there is a big gap and why were we forced to play with such a young team? I know people that think that Dutch technical education has declined. That many other country’s have followed our path, while we have tried to copy more from the old German robot model. They also think that we will start paying the price soon. Feyenoord and recently Ajax might prevent a long period of drought, but what we really need is a nationwide revolution.

      I find it very hard to say something about it. I often look at the money side of things. Though imperfect, market value (that also include and stands for other factors than quality of players alone mind you) is some kind of indicator if a country is on to something. Belgium is easy to spot this way. After that, there are so many factors to calculate for. I mean England had Lampard, Scholes and Gerard in 1 era, but they sucked together. You can guess their effect on the NT market value, but for what good? You need your hotshots nicely spread and complementing each other. Look at what RVP vs Huntelaar did to us at the Euro. It even made us sub optimal, yet they add both big time to the total market value of our NT. I heard a quote from Guardiola recently saying: “You can only have 1 star in the team”. Talking about Messi vs Zlatan. Not working in his opinion. Sneijder and RVP also never really worked. I do think that a star axis can be brilliant though. In 88 van Basten-Gullit-Rijkaard-Koeman. Wouters as that tough hard worker. Did not bite us, but all top players we had, more or less complemented each other. That won’t happen quickly again, but what I try to say is that having super stars is not always that great to have if they mess up the balance in the team. Denmark won a Euro without Laudrup IIRC and then there is Greece.

      As we start to work with very young players it is a good thing we have van Gaal around. Probably one of the best coaches to work with U23 players. He collides with older players, gets the best out of younger players. As we seem to be in that phase, better to have somebody like him around. However he will maybe cover up some real issues on the technical level with his good coaching that should be addressed in the education department country wide. I have a feeling we can’t hold a candle to what is happening in Spain and Germany and that is something I do not like for one bit.

      So in conclusion: Follow the money!

      1. Hi DBR300,

        Thank you for your answer. I really appreciate your knowledge. I was following this team for 20 years. I know that many ppl here have followed this team much longer than me. And that is the reason I follow this blog because I found many ppl who has passions here.

        But I must say that you are one of the few persons here that impresses me the most. In my supporter life, I spent at least 8 hours each week to follow new of the team and players. But my knowledge is nothing compared to yours.

        I agree with your intelligent comments about the situations of RVP vs Huntellar in Euro 2012. However, I think this is only a small picture. We all know that Denmark and Greece won the Euro but in the end they do not have football identity as ours. I know that most of us will be happy if we can just see in our life our team win a WorldCup or Euro and I was supporting BVM’s team even if our team was playing negative football (hey, it is what i am supposed to do). But in the end, it is only small picture. Yes you can win once in a while but that not gonna make you a big nation in football. You must have a plan or a philosophy and stick with it.

        In the sense of the above statement, I think we are having some serious problems right now. Your conclusions is follow the money. Ok, I get it. In the end, this is a sport which server the purpose of entertainment. But I feel that KNVB is doing very bad job here (in business term). I remember in the 95, our league is way better than the Portuguese league. And still I fell that our youth development systems are working better. But our end product is TERRIBLE. And I would say that because our league management is much worse than our league or our whole system is much worse.

        I do not get the reason why Ajax have to sell Suarez with less money the David Luiz to EPL. We are also selling vermaelen and vertoghen very cheap compared to their actual value. We are doing very bad business and it is because of our management system. No one is trusting the end product from KNVB. There is something wrong with our system and if we are not trying to solve that, I am afraid we will see bigger problem in the future.

        1. I think there are a couple of reasons to point to if it comes to selling players for a lower price by a club.

          In no particular order:

          * Club success in Europe. As Eredivisie has lost significant credibility as a proving ground of real ability, clubs want to see clubs and their players show the ability to win in Europe. Every goal Suarez would have scored in the CL would have added to his price, but in his period Ajax played in the “loser league” (Europa League) and got knocked out already in CL qualification. He also did not do something special like Falcao in the EL to stand out and Ajax never came close to winning the EL. So no real boost in this department.
          * Suarez turned really hot for country at the Copa America that was in the summer of 2011. His transfer was in the winter at the start of 2011. At the WC he was IMO pretty damn good but the handball incident maybe overshadowed one and other. Also, in the qualification for the WC I remember Suarez being subbed off often. Suarez goal ratio was pretty good for country, but it did not click with him for some time at the front in the NT. I have had serious debates with South Americans at the time not believing he was special and questioned if he even was of the level of Farfan.
          * One of the biggest arguments is the financial position of Ajax. As a result of the poor results and not owning their stadium, Ajax had/has to sell players. This makes their negotiation position weak.
          * Also, Dutch teams are not allowed to have as much debt as the Portuguese clubs. I think I saw a number one time, that said that Porto alone has more debt than all Eredivisie clubs combined. So Dutch clubs are more forced to get the books even and that leads to a bigger need to sell.

          Suarez did go for a significant sum of money, but it could have been more if above points would have been more favorable. The first thing all big Dutch clubs should push for is owning their stadium. TV money will never be significant compared to EPL/Bundesliga etc., so the big thing to do is building a new stadium that you own and use it for every activity. From concerts to organizing weddings in it. Renting space to schools, companies and casino’s. Build as many sky boxes in it. That’s the way forward. It’s also the reason why Feyenoord will leave the beautiful “Kuip”.


          1. The priceless advantage of having a low budget league is the fact that it forces you to nurture/groom your own talents. How many homegrown talents do the so called big clubs across Europe have? The Dutch youth academies are easily the best in the world when it comes to producing players of high quality. The interesting thing is, even our worst players are as good as decent ones of other NT’s across the globe. It all boils down to the quality of the Dutch football education system.
            So as long as we keep on producing homegrown talents, we’ll have a competitive National side capable of contending with the very best in the world. The only thing that irks me is that our players tend to waste their talent/stall their development by going abroad at a very young age. This is something that must be stopped and the KNVB must intervene in the entire process. Brazil produces top talents every year despite having a low budget league like the Eredivisie. While they certainly can afford to lose 2-3 top talents(Brazilian of course!) to the big clubs in Europe every year, we simply can’t do that owing to the vast difference in size of the talent pools. Thus , the KNVB must implement some rules to prevent these young kids from going outside before a certain age.

          2. DRB300, hits the nail as always. the same will be said once we sell eriksen, fischer, alderweild etc… unless ajax reaches the quarter finals of UCL next year then that would be a good time to sell eriksen. EUR 20m+ no problem!

  23. Loving these LvG interviews!! Thanks Jan.

    DRB thanks for your analysis on Ake…. I think everyone hear appreciates the effort you but in.

    And gee I love Robben!! For those Bayern fans who jeered him earlier this year… You need to take a hard look at yourself, he has been the main reason for any of your trophies over the passed few years. Will be interesting to see what happens when Pep takes control

  24. Yes they should be more thankful as you say because Robben has been much better than Ribery, well simply the best player in that team is Robben without a doubt.

  25. His only problem is that he is not German, if he were German they would’ve worshipped him after the season 2009-10 where he scored extraterrestrial goals against fiorentina, man utd and that crazy goal in the German cup semifinal that year in 120thminute!! That’s the German arrogance, I am not surprised!!

  26. Rekik has been burned at Blackburn guys. Burned pretty bad it seems. Played at left back and was overrun.

    Stupid kid thinks he can handle other position than center back, his natural position. Goes to the hoof league and plays into their strength. He is a guy used to football himself out of pressure, but there is probably no position game to start off with. So he will have to run up and down the wing against older stupid guys that can only run hard up and down the wing playing work football. That’s why they play there in the first place.

    Now confidence will go down, won’t maybe play anymore this season and development is out of the door, which did not happen in the first place over there to start with. He is a higher paradigm player forced to adapt to lower paradigm football. Maybe the resistance in Eredivisie is not that great as in EPL, but we do play higher paradigm football, preparing players to football themselves out of pressure situations that is demanded by top teams around the world.

    This is something these kids do not seem to understand.

  27. Team of under21 which won in 2007 :

    Doel: Tim Krul (Newcastle United), Kenneth Vermeer (Ajax), Boy Waterman (AZ)

    Verdediging: Ryan Donk (AZ), Calvin Jong-A-Pin (sc Heerenveen), Arnold Kruiswijk (FC Groningen), Erik Pieters (FC Utrecht), Frank van der Struijk (Willem II), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Gianni Zuiverloon (sc Heerenveen).

    Middenveld: Ismaïl Aissati (FC Twente), Otman Bakkal (FC Twente), Luigi Bruins (Excelsior), Royston Drenthe (Feyenoord), Hedwiges Maduro (Ajax), Haris Medunjanin (Sparta Rotterdam), Robbert Schilder (Heracles Almelo).

    Aanval: Ryan Babel (Ajax), Roy Beerens (NEC), Tim Janssen (RKC Waalwijk), Julian Jenner (AZ), Daniël de Ridder (Celta de Vigo), Maceo Rigters (NAC Breda).

    Only Krul and Vlaar were in the euro 2012, one as substitute, the other one played two games. If you compare with the german team which won in 2009, they have 7 players, and 5 were titular in 2012 (Neuer, Boateng, Hummels, Khedira, Ozil).

    1. I totally agree with this insight. I was at the final of 2007 team and Babel was unstoppable. That Babel has never left my memory. His biggest mistake was not understanding he was a 4-4-2 player in a 4-3-3 country. Rigters played main striker IIRC and Babel played close to him in the second half. That was so lethal. It allowed him hover horizontally over the field close to the opponents box and feint a shot all the time. Then he did shoot or deliver a nice through ball for an inside going winger. This pattern was so ingrained and strong in the player (Babel has a great shot) that he could have reached the top with it if he understood himself. He was never a true winger, never a striker and certainly not a 10 (blind horse). Babel was a 9.5 striker in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 (whatever you want) with a big target man in front of him and him having the freedom to horizontally roam the area behind him.

      The biggest waist in Dutch football from not understanding himself, together with Winston Bogarde and my newly adopted project, Jermain Lens.

      Coming back to the point. There is maybe 1 explanation for this phenomena. Germany and Spain are simply bigger nations with many good players. Netherlands does produce top players, but after that it goes down in quality far more rapid. So these top kids do not punch through as easily as Dutch top kids with the Dutch senior NT. That keeps the German top kids incubated longer into the Young Germany team, where in Netherlands they would even skip the team. I know Iniesta was in the Young Spain team and a lot of others as well. Now they certainly have many top players walking straight into the Dutch senior NT but still play for Young Spain.

      I mean the really good Dutch kids skip young Orange or get out of it pretty quickly. Sneijder was already getting us past Scotland at a very young age. Robben was young. VdV was young. RvP was a special case at Feyenoord, in trouble all the time with Bert van Marwijk.

      So that got me thinking, maybe that U17 is the best age to spot bright prospect. The downside from that age group is though, that difference in build per youth selection still gives the most physical team a big advantage. Small technical players need a bit more time to adapt, like Clasie after Excelsior became very good for Feyenoord. Then again, U17 players are not ready for the senior team and if they win a tournament in their age category then it’s maybe worth to pay attention. We are actually now at that precise point of happening. Netherlands was in 3 finals for the last 4 year and won 2 of them. It does not get any better than this. So we must be able to see if winning these tournaments at that age group turns into a golden generation.

      De Vrij is now in the senior team and was finalist in 2009, Castaignos as well, but he took a detour at Inter and messed up development. The best kid from 2009 was Özyakup but he choose to play for Turkey. Is also playing for a Turkish club and is doing well from what I heard. What a shame. From 2011 Willems looks pretty good for an 18 year old. Pretty insane what he already has been through. Kongolo from 2011 looked already good for Feyenoord, but was set back by a big injury. Depay thus far not making it. The next 2 are double participators of 2011 and 2012. Vilhena starts to look like something in the making, running midfield with Clasie and pushing for a title at a tender age. Ake making it at Chelsea or not, I liked him within minutes seeing him playing for U17. That’s just looking at intrinsic quality’s.

      Some of those kids have become early risers in club football and making already quite a name for themselves. Boëtius belonged to one of the squads also, but got seriously injured before it took place. He now also is making a name for himself.

      All early risers so far are also not really biting each other. Kongolo was often/always played right center back, but is left footed, so can play with de Vrij. Willems next to that. Ake DM, Vilhena BtoB. Boëtius left wing and if Depay starts to rise next year he can play in other positions as well, even striker IMO. Does not look unbalanced with all early risers in one or two positions.

      So all in all we should revisit the U17 Euro winning sides in the next years again, to learn more about it’s prediction power.

      Young Orange has been disappointing in that respect.

        1. Anita is a good call. Though I think that the fact he is only used sporadically for the right back position at Newcastle, communicates him having made clear during negotiations what his prime position should be at the club. The fact he choose a hoof club like Newcastle to go to however communicates he does not got a clue about what kind of player he is.

          Certainly a player belonging to the group above.

  28. it is sad to see all these talents get lost like that!!
    someone like karim rekik couldve stayed in his home country and played for ajax or psv or twente and became a star there for few years then when he is mature enough 23 or 24 he can make the big move, but unfortunately all of them want to leave when they are 17 or 18 and thats the result!!

  29. I think Deguzman is one of the best penalty taker in the world ,he had to beat his own team mate dyer before beating the opposition goal keeper.Players with dyer mentality are artocious..what if he missed that penalty???….
    @DRB and ALaa
    there is lot of money invovled in football,there are players who ended up career after getting huge injuries at small kids may be afraid of injury and might have a plan to earn bigger check in shorter time…i dont know

  30. @DRB,

    Always interesting comments from you, thank you.

    Your comment about Bogarde reminds of a little story during the ’98 WC. With Numan suspended for the Brazil match, Bogarde was set to play left back and then he had the unfortunate injury (leg fracture) in training, and the position fell to Cocu. Cruyff and (I think) Pele were having a discussion. Pele commented that he liked Bogarde. Cruyff replied, “Bogarde is an athlete, Cocu is a football player.” And yet…my recollection is that it was Cocu who Ronaldo snuck behind to take Rivaldo’s pass for Brazil’s goal to open the 2nd half.

  31. If you look at the 2 latest WC, both Italy and Spain won without having the superstar player (says like Zidane carried France in 98 or Ronaldo carried Brazil in 02, arguably). They won as a collective group of players, with some individuals performed above expectations (Buffon, Canavarro, Pirlo, Cassilas, Xavi, Iniesta) and of course timely goals from other players (Grosso, Materazzi, Puyol…). The current Dutch team is less talented, but if they plays well as one unit, get some timely goals and with a luck of draw, this team can go as far as Semi-final, and if they peak at the right time, we can have our first WC. I admit I am optimistic here, but it is long overdue. Having a legacy is nice, but we are still known as the best team that has not won a WC (the only country with 3 lost in the WC finals).

    1. I think some fans haven’t understood that dutch team became weaker, and didn’t notice the changing beetween the 90’s generation and the last one. Many people complained about the poor way of playing,creating, in 2006,2010,2012 (2008 is a an exception, I’ll explain why), always thought it’s a team problem, but didn’t look at details.

      First, the defense, without thinking only about “defending”, the fact is that the basic of a play is the first pass of defenders. And there is a huge gap between Mathijsen, Heitinga, Ooijer, Boulahrouz, Van der Wiel who play too much between them, with the keeper, instead of playing forward. It was completly different with Blind,De Boer…It’s the basic, the first pass, and in all the big nations, Netherlands had the poorest defenders for that last years.

      In all last competitions, seemed that we only played with counter attacks, two defensive midfielders to break the game (Van Bommel, Cocu, N.De Jong, Engelaar), fake wingers (Sneijder, VDV, Kuyt in left…), you can’t pretend to play a good football with that .

      Dutch coachs understood that the team was weaker and tried to build something around those qualities (pass and vision of Sneijder, speed of Robben etc.) instead of playing a beautiful football with 70% possession which would be really dangerous with our defenders playing high.

      In 2008 Netherlands have been underrated (logically because of the really sad qualify) more than in every competition by the opponents. Everyone and also dutch people believed it would be impossible against France and Italy (and even Romania which beat the Netherlands) I remember Raymond Domenech making an arrogant joke with the fact the Netherlands were in the pot number 1 for the draw. The result was 3-0 against Italy, 4-1 against France, 2-0 with the substitutes against Romania. What’s the point ?

      Teams played and attacked against the weak Holland, and it was the perfect way to counter attack. Against Italy, one goal coming from a free kick, and two goals are counter attacks, against France a corner, two counter attacks, and the Robben goal which was scored with 3 passes. Against Russia, I think Hiddink have really understood it and we had almost no counter attack, always 4-5 russian players behind.

    1. Yes, I am not convinced he hit the ball properly. The main rep of that goals should go to Locadia, who did all preparation work in a great way.

      Depay played hot cold. Had a great cross from the right side, but also had some shocker corners and touches on the ball if it comes to short passes. It might also be some rust from not playing for the first team properly in quite some time. Worked hard touch and I saw some great defensive work here and there.

      I mentioned Locadia and I thought he had a quiet game. What he did often looked good to me contrary to the Cup game against PEC. Against PEC I thought his field game was lacking, but as he scored 3 goals nobody talked about it. Liked him now better in that department, but the volume of game involvements was low this time. VVV was pretty compact and Locadia seems to be a player who likes to play against teams who player higher up the pitch. That could turn out to be a weakness in his game, but for now it’s too early to tell.

      Willems remains a huge talent for me. Did certainly not play a perfect game, but there are actions, passes and runs that are pretty insane for an 18 year old. His cross at the back line and decision making at the edge of the box are points of improvement. He still takes too much risk at the back, but that is simply a matter of time. I think that the mistake the national media is making is that they look at him as an international and an international should be able to boss most opponents in Eredivisie, if not all, in their opinion. I see him as an 18 year old kid, who was better against Schaken than last season, who lifts PSV’s game against all low classified teams and does a proper job against the best Eredivisie teams. After coming back from injury he has been more than satisfying. Such a great thing to see him making steps every week.

      I was a bit disappointed in van Ginkel on Friday. For me it looks like he is regressing in his technique. Has anybody noticed any differences? Last season I have seen him making first touches (consistently!) that were easily on par with Maher. I was even ready to say he was more consistent with his first touch than Maher, but he looks technically awful now at times. Not only his first touch, but yesterday there was a turnover situation with a fast counter on ball from him and his third touch was so heavy that he kicked the ball over the back line with a good 30 meters still to cover. I also noticed that his start speed to get past people is pretty slow. He is on ball making a rush good, but the time to get to that top speed leaves him many times exposed for an intervention. The good thing is that van Ginkel keeps going on also when having a bad game. Threw out some hard tackles, did his defensive job and at the end came up with some good crosses with his left foot while being right footed.

      PVA remains a player being able to give you headaches. His cross is oke, but he makes mistakes at the back that give me an uncomfortable feeling in case playing for Dutch NT. I hope he is smart enough to stay another season at Vitesse. He will need it.

      A defender I did like at the side of Vitesse was Jan Arie van der Heijden. Footballing defender lacking the solid component. Still keeping an eye on him.

      I have only seen 45 minutes of FC Twente vs Ajax, but in an analyses I saw before the second half started, they finally made my point about Fer: his lack of handling speed:

      The man explains how he does not know the solution before receiving the ball. Look at that FC Twente player close to the left line. 1 correctly angled wall pass to that player, maybe even a bit in front of the player and he beats a lot of Ajax players for his team. Instead he takes a first touch, he is closed down and FC Twente get into trouble. Fer is clueless of his surroundings and does not have a 360 degrees image of the situation in his head. Not even a 180 degrees image. 2 players that would have solved this problem better are Clasie and Nathan Ake. Still have to see more from the last player to be certain, but I think he is that kind of player.

      1. I also watched first half of Twente-Ajax, and Fer wasn’t good, how many short passes does he miss…Seems like he isn’t comfortable with the ball in his first touch/pass, it’s never precise, always approximative. Douglas is maybe the best dutch defender in 1vs1, but also gives awful and dangerous passes.

  32. @Laurent
    I agree with u on the netherlands team from 2006 to 2012, it is no where close to the 1998-2000 team we had!!
    heitinga-mathijsen vs de boer-stam, davids vs de jong, are we joking those were a different class of players compared to this generation, and thats why u had that team all played in milan-barcelona-man.utd-juventus and all the other big teams vs heitinga and mathijsen playing in everton or hamburg!!! with all the negative views I have on van marwijk but definitely if he had kulivert, de boer stam, bergkamp, overmars and seedorf he wouldve had a much more attractive style!

    it is funny just before u posted ur comment I was looking at some videos for willems and thinking he is a very talented player!

    1. 98 was humble and confident, 2000 were mercenaries who believed the hype about themselves. 2010 was humble and confident, 2012 were conceited and arrogant.

      now we have a trainer who is conceited and arrogant…. this circle never ends. I have seen it all before. Van Persie will not bring us a WK – he barely scores when it matters.

      Maybe if he can rise to the occasion against Madrid, then maybe I can believe the hype. If not, I cannot trust that he could ever lead us to a tournament victory.

      Van Basten was that man, he scored when it mattered not just in friendlies but in the big games. He won the ballon d’or 3 times (as did JC), he was the “real deal” Van Persie is a pretender and we should not pin our hopes on him.

      Sneijder is the key and I hope he can put his Inter Milan nightmare behind him and regain his form of 2010.

      As for 2010 vs 98/2000

      Kluivert – we had Van Persie and Huntelaar,
      de Boer/Stam we had a solid defence that conceeded few goals and kept that team unbeaten through all qualifiers and the tournament (until the WK final),
      Bergkamp – we had Sneijder creating the chances and pulling the strings, Overmars – we had the best weapon of 2010 Robben – who if not for the tip of Casillas boot would be the most cherished of all Dutch footballers by singlehandedly bringing us the WK,
      Seedorf – the enforcer, the muscle, we had De Jong and Van Bommel the best defensive midfielders in the world (outside of Barca)

      2010 will be more fondly remembered in the years to come – not the swashbuckling of 74 or 78 but remember a WK final appearance is a rare thing. Ask any English football fan… they admire our competitive consistency and probably appreciate the 3 finals we have been in more than most of you…..

      1. Ed you have put some serious questions.though 1998 team was humble and they faced three dangerous teams or may be 4 if we add Mexico,they conceded goal against all team except Belgium and korea..against brazil we missed Numan that was a big blow.otherwise brazil would have conceded 3/4. and i dont think Ronaldo would score against Numan.he was lucky to get cocu as was bit unluck and lack of penalty takers.
        2010..We almost won WC,but i think if we created more chances or player with another danger winger like Roben.We would created minmum 4 chances and would have scored at least 1 before 90 minutes…But it all past…most worying thing for me is ,there are 4/5 shit players are playing still.
        I dont think RVP is flop against bigteams..he has scored against Manu,Arsenal,Chelsea,Pool,Barca etc in big games..the problem is he is not good with Wesly in the pitch…and in big games he gets outmuscled easily…thats must be taken care of..

        1. I don’t imagine that any of my Dutch brothers and heroes should be reduced to such a pitifully ignorant descriptive-term as ‘shit players’.

          If you are incapable of selecting a more suitable and less insulting adjective, may I ask that you refrain from spreading any more of your hate on this site henceforth?
          I find both your language and your attitude disrespectful.

          I also find your football analysis to be woefully amateur at best. Your understanding of the beautiful game is shockingly poor. Your knowledge of players is weak and muddled. Your thought process is confused, your claims are juvenile, your insistence is unwelcome and your spelling is atrocious.

          You repeat the same moronic statements over and over again in the vain and wasteful hope that someone will agree with you. Will you please realise that repeating something again and again will never actually make it true.

          Please do not bring religion (or any other ridiculous and scientifically unfounded belief system) to a civilised debate about football. There is no place for that nonsense here.

          I’m certain that, despite all this, you have some valid ideas that might be welcome to this grand discussion.
          I only ask that you bring them to us in a correct and becoming manner, and not like some ranting child with a sharp stick up his arse. Thanks.

          1. @Clog .The problem is that i cannot say all is well when things are not well…My understanding of football is poor that i agree but what about urs???Can you write a word in malayalam?or even hindi????.there are leeches in the dutch national team.i never taught team tactics to any coach.i would not do that,but i have eyes ,better eyes a than many,i can identify who is deal,efficient and missing puzzle for a champion team.So i was pointing that repeatably.
            Always pointed about wrong players or right players.unfortunately i have seen 4/5 wrong players at every tournament since 2004.its hard for a real fan to his team keeps sucks when it matters.So i was angry…as fan i hope u understand that frustration..

  33. Suarez has surpassed RVP at top of scorers table and numbers stand 21-19. At one point RVP had like 1 goals more than suarez. Bale is right behind with 15. What seemed to be a record crashing season is turning into an ordinary one. RVP has cooled down but he will win his first ever Premiership trophy.
    I see no chance ManU goes past Real.

  34. Robben not starting today… Not even on the bench… I hate mattias summer. He refused to acknowledge robben’s performance against Dortmund. But he was quick to praise schweini, lahm and kroos!!

    RvP may not win the golden boot at man united, but he will win the epl for sure. At Arsenal, he was the only man, now he has a good cast to support him like Rooney, welbeck, Hernandez, and kagawa. I think man united will beat Real Madrid and progress.

    1. His problems were scoring and the final pass. Concering the last issue:

      It’s still not sorted out. His scoring though, starts to become a thing. 3 goals in his last 4 games. Hope he becomes a winger with real output, contrary to Elia, who does not score and make many assists at Bremen.

      Exciting fellow and I would not mind him getting a call for the NT. Ola disappointed against Italy and Boëtius plays without any fear. That state of mind is more important than being a bit older and experienced. Depay is not a regular, Narsingh is injured, Kuyt lacks speed and is not doing that well. Plus that Kuyt for 2014 will even be less of an factor. Schaken is already less good as Boëtius at Feyenoord.

      I would take Robben, Lens and Boëtius as wingers to the game against Estonia.

      Bonus: Boëtius can actually play football and I want to see how he and RVP+Maher would click together. Could be sweet.

      1. Well I would not be surprised if Van Gaal calls Boetius for the next game,going by his philosophy of calling only in form players. Boetius is at this moment(last few games) the best winger in Eredivisie.
        If he gets the call I hope he will not stagnate in his development,I hope that it will be his motivation to work even harder and improve his running-cross,physical game,defensive work and so on.

  35. Tuesday’s game will be crucial for RVP. I see Ronaldo scoring in almost every big game unlike RVP who barely scores in big games.

    He didn’t score vs Brazil, Uruguay, Spain, etc…although I believe he is a great player he should be scoring more often in big games!!!. He does score in big games but not as often as Ronaldo, Messi, Robben, Sneijder.

  36. ROMA
    Stekelenburg 7,5 – para (quasi)tutto, Salva tutto quello che può: determinante in particolar modo su Kucka e Bertolacci. L’hanno fatto scendere dall’aereo per Londra, poi con Andreazzoli è rinato.

    very good rating for steklenberg on after the genoa game today
    translation: “save (almost)everything” then they say he saved on kucka and bertolacci and they say roma brought him back after he was in air going to london, they conslude with they saying that he is reborn with andreazzoli the new manager!

  37. I hope most Dutch players will have good performances and their teams advancing in CL, EL this week. I’m happy to here Stek is doing well when he is trusted by the coaching staff.
    How is Advocaat performing so far with PSV? Would you think those young players’ regression this year related to Advocaat’s style of coaching?

    1. His attitude towards Depay might not be that bad. I think Depay played for Depay Inc. all the time, rather then playing for the team. Last game, Depay put in some good defensive efforts. He scored and had some good crosses. I think he did play for the team that game and though he looked rusty, I can see it benefiting him long term. Another Ola John who does not track back will start to be annoy people very fast as well. Depay clearly collided with Advocaat and Advocaat went along with other players. That non verbal attitude from Advocaat might be better for the Depay kind of players. Some players need “soft love” and others need “hard love”. Depay probably falls into the last category. The problem comes with the first category.

      I did not forget how Narsingh told in front of camera that Advocaat never talked with him. He was not aware of what he did wrong. That told me that Advocaat is acting inaccessible. I remember clips of how Hiddink was sitting down with Arouna Kone and explaining him clip by clip what more optimal decision making was. Hiddink has won the CL, Advocaat never did…. . The Dutch league is very young and he works with young players. Many needs personal attention, guidance and teaching. I think Advocaat acts more like an angry barking dog.

      Advocaat is only interested in winning short term. After this season he is gone. He never really goes watching the youth players. He could have given Brenet his debut against Feyenoord. Have people seen how Zanka was toyed with by Boëtius? They have a Brenet in the youth who probably has played many times against Boëtius, yet Advocaat never considered it. That youth player is 2 times as fast than Zanka and speed was the problem for Zanka against Boëtius. He passed him by like he did not exist. People kept talking about Advocaat’s horrible substitute, but this was one bad decision under the radar.

      All in all I wished that Advocaat would have given the youth more chances, had instructed them better, but with some characters he might have hit the right string (Depay). Willems is still an awful crosser and should have improved like youngsters do at Feyenoord. If Advocaat now starts putting Matavz back in the team at the cost of Locadia, I would be disappointed in that as well.


    I will give you some comments from Blackburn fans on another Rekik game:


    1-“This is kean.
    Where’s givet? Rikic is hopeless
    should be 3-0 they already missed a sitter before goals.”

    2-“Did the goals come down our left side again? Rekik at fault?”

    3-“Murphy and Lowe have to be dropped and Rekik, what a disastrous signing that has turned out to be. ”

    4-“I only realised recently that Rekik was with him at Portsmouth. Why he’s signing players he used at the club he got relegated with I don’t know. Especially when they’re pathetically bad.”

    5-“Take out Murphy, Rekik and Orr and we may win one of our remaining matches. If these three continue to play, I don’t foresee another win this season. Murphy and Rekik are shocking, and Orr is poison.

    6-“Surely we have a left back in our Academy who is at least the equal of Rekik. For me he can go back to Man City. I have seen absolutely nothing about him that is good. ”

    7-“Rekik is awful and hopefully Martin is back sooner than later….. we need him for the relegation scrap looming.”

    8-“There were three in particular that caused problems – Rekik, Orr and Murphy.”

    9-“Just calmed down from viewing the worst first half performance since the seventies if Bradley Orr and Danny Murphy ever pull on a Rovers shirt again I for one will be lost for words and if Karim Rekik is the future of Manchester City then all can say they are having a laugh is he better than Gael GIvet I don’t think so.”


    What is the point of all this bashing of the kid? This post right here in the same thread that underscores the point I have been trying to make time and again:

    > “I defence of Rekik, on numerous occasions he was looking for people to play a ball to and nobody was interested at all, playing with Markus Olsson in front of you is enough to make anyone play crap, I almost felt sorry for him at times. I’m not saying I rate him as I haven’t really been impressed so far, but I can sympathise to an extent.”

    These games in the championship do not make young kids better, they make them more stupid and their adaptation period to lower paradigm football does not prepare them properly for the football that is played at the top. In top football players/defenders are expected to football themselves out of pressure. That is the thing that must be nurtured. That should be the aim of your education. Trying to nurture that in this league, in this team, with these fellow players, is like putting seeds into surface of the moon and expecting beautiful crop to grow. It’s both silly and impossible. The whole advanced passing game concept is simply not there and was never there. So Rekik does also not have any excuse. It’s just plain stupid.

    The thing is that in the Netherlands we can even make from players like BMI proper footballers. Think of what we would have done with the Bruma’s and the Rekik’s. Yet, they rather throw away their education in order to be allowed to play with Chelsea and Chelsea players or City and City players for a while.

  39. Fun read here, about all the things regulars here already know: “Five Reasons Eredivisie is The Best European League To Watch in 2013”

    Number 5 is often unspoken but true: lack of foreign investment. I love seeing ads for Dutch custom kitchens. And we all enjoy better football when petrodollars aren’t twisting things out of shape (I don’t count PSV ;).

    If it isn’t Dutch, it isn’t much. 🙂

  40. 1) PSV 53
    2) AJAX 51
    3) FEYENORD 50
    4) VITESSE 48
    5) TWENTE 44

    Feyenord is fighting for the 1st spot! who do you guys think will win it? and what team has been playing the best football?

  41. When Rekik played for the U-17, he played CB along side Kongolo. But now it seems like he is playing as a LB? Is that his future? Or is he being played out of his better position?

    1. He was loaned last season to a club where Appleton was in charge. Rekik accepted that loan deal and Appleton had the idea to play him left back, while Rekik is a left center back. He did fine at times. Appleton relegated (under special circumstances involving point reductions to punish the club) and has become manager for Rovers now. He likes Rekik and again asked him to come over. Now it seems that Rekik is off with a bad start at the left back position. He also started recently a game for City on the left back position. Rekik will never become a world class left back. Lacks speed, attacking intention and experience. Rekik is a left center back and looking at Nastasic (with Varane the biggest defensive talent in the world), he can use all the experience in the world on that position.

      Have to say that more center backs start at a back position. De Vrij at Feyenoord also started as a (right) back when he came into the first team IIRC. BMI at this moment fulfills the left back job at Feyenoord. Van Rhijn was a right center back for the Ajax youth. So it’s now plain weird, though Rekik should know his own limits and far more important, those of the league he goes to. Rekik tries to football his way out of pressure and no way his teammates even grasp the concept of doing that, let alone displaying it on the field.

      1. Yes, more center backs begin by playing at the back position… because at lower levels, the slowest players gravitate towards CB.

        At elite levels, speed is essential, even in CBs. So talents that started at back migrate to CB, as lesser, slower CBs fall by the wayside.

  42. There is no question the 1998 team is a very talented team (much more than 2010 squad) but it did not advance as far as the 2010 squad did. What I admire about 2010 squad is the strong mentality to win, you can say almost at any cost. You can also argue Brazil was tougher than Uruguay, but I was very disappointed the way the Brazil team performed in the final. There is too many what if to discuss.
    For MU-Real, I hope to see Van Persie scored and MU defeated Real.

    1. I have to say, watching from 78-today, the 2010 was one of the most inspiring teams ever. Sure, they didn’t play the best soccer but I have never seen such determination at any level in any sport… I met a lot of Spaniards who admired our team… Seldom ever the loser of a final is treated just as good as the winner (not by everyone but certainly by many)…

  43. Thanks DRB300 and Demi and everyone else who contribute to this blog. It is a wonderful experience to read your opinions and learn about Dutch soccer here. I think the 74 team is also treated as a winner. The difference is the 74 team wants to win with style while the 2010 team just want to win. I think Spain and Spanish fans were scared when Sneijder sent in Robben twice….Oh well.

  44. The Netherlands striker will join up with the Canaries in the summer after finalising a transfer to the Premier League side from Portuguese giants Sporting Lisbon

    BET: RETURNS: Wigan Athletic £19.10 Draw £36.00 Norwich City £40.00
    New Norwich City signing Ricky van Wolfswinkel believes his summer move to Carrow Road from Sporting Lisbon will prove the perfect next step in his career.

    The two clubs agreed a reported €10 million deal for the Dutchman on Friday, with the 24-year-old set to link up with his new team-mates ahead of the 2013-14 season.

    Van Wolfswinkel, who operates primarily as a striker, joined Sporting in 2011 from Eredivisie side Utrecht and has scored 14 goals this season after bagging 25 in the previous campaign.

    “It has always been a dream of mine to play in England and in the Premier League and I’m even more excited that I can hopefully fulfill that dream at such a great club like Norwich City,” he told the club’s official website.

    “Joining Norwich City is the perfect next step in my career. It’s a realistic club with great people both at the club and in the city.

    “I think this is the club for me and I hope to help them in every way I can. They have lots of ambition and I’ll be delighted to be a part of that.”

    The Canaries look to be heading for Premier League safety again after winning promotion under Paul Lambert and Van Wolfswinkel believes they can push on with the guidance of current boss Chris Hughton.

    “First of all, this is a club with great ambitions to become the team that they have been in the past in the top flight,” he added.

    “The idea that I can be a part of that progress at the club, working with such great people, was enough for me to make what in the end was an easy decision. This is the sort of club I need at this moment in my career.”

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