While the umptieth war is waged (I am not talking Israel – Hamas, but Laurent vs the rest, which I choose to ignore) lets have a look at our future…
When Louis was signed I was cynical. I thought it was all about Louis’ ego and personal ambitions (and it was, actually) and feared he would screw up in the social realm (media, clubs, some players) but he actually did remarkably well. And that is an understatement.
I have said it here and will say it again: he did an amazing job. With Three World Beaters, one World Beater fighting back to top form and a group of young talents and/or mediocre players, he was able to squeeze the maximum out of the orange. And if Robben took that chance to shoot in the dying minute of the Argentina game, we could have gone all the way.
So Louis has taught us some things. 1) Preparation is everything. Working hard on tactical discipline, game plan and physical fitness brings dividends. 2) It’s not about the individual names, it’s about the team! 3) Good changes / substitutions can alter the game and affect the result. 4) Focus and believing in the mission allows athletes to rise to the occasion and exceed expectations.
To me, this means that there are no more excuses possible in the future. Germany for instance, has a great team. But they do not have a Messi or a Robben. They have many great team players and a number of players who are more than a team player (Kroos, Muller, Lahm, Ozil) but none of these will be remember in 30 years, like a Beckenbauer, Muller or Netzer. Only Klose, as a result of his record. Depending on how long that will stand.
It’s the TEAM that wins it. Brazil was all about Neymar. Argentina was all about Messi. Oranje was definitely leaning on Robben a lot but we did have that massive team spirit. Vlaar. De Jong. Blind. De Vrij. And those wonderful subs: Huntelaar. Depay. Wijnaldum. Fer.
I was not too happy with the choice of Hiddink but I now believe it is not a bad move.
Lucky Guss will not add a lot of tactical wizardry to Holland. But he will bring his typical toolbox. He will bring a sense of “relax, it will all be good” charisma to the table. His pizzazz and cool will deal with the media and some of the big boys (Van Persie, Sneijder) while Blind will continue the work of Van Gaal.
And when RVP, Sneijder, Robben move on, Blind will be the man with the authority before a new group from 2016 onwards.
And with all the talent that is emerging, and with Blind’s skills in managing and prepping teams (assuming he has learned a thing or two or three from the Master) we should be VERY confident.
The key thing is: how and when will we move from the reactive style to the more dominating style we like to play. Ajax, Feyenoord, Twente, Heerenveen, AZ and PSV all tend to play that game. So does Bayern. We can only hope LVG will do the same with Man United and I guess Galatasaray will not play reactive football in Turkey?
Guus is not as adventurous as I would want him to be, but in the lead up to the EC, in that qualification group we’re in, I cannot see Holland play like we did in Brazil.
When Guus Hiddink was introduced to the media the other week, and he praised the work of Van Gaal. “Louis has add a dimension to Dutch School football. I will pursue that avenue myself too. Sure, playing creative and playful is fun but we need to watch out that we are not just being world champions playing nice football within the borders of our own country! It’s key for our talents to learn how to perform under pressure. The pressure of winning! We have many talents but they need to be transformed to players who can win games.”
Ruud van Nistelrooy, assistant of Hiddink and Blind: “I never listened to the assistant coach…”
Hiddink emphasized that winning is important. Silverware is important. He also stressed that Danny Blind will have an even more dominating role. “Danny will be in charge as field coach but will also be involved in the media and press conferences. He is a very astute coach and we will jointly manage this two years, as we both bring our specific qualities to the fore.”
Blind is an astute tacticus and I hope he will find a way to have Oranje play the Dutch football style we see being played by Bayern and Germany. (Ouch, I didn’t expect THAT to come out of my keyboard!!!).
But when you have the likes of Promes, Boetius, Robben, Depay, Kishna etc up front and the likes of Maher, Wijnaldum, Clasie, Klaassen, Van Ginkel, Siem de Jong, Strootman, Blind, Fer, Sneijder, Afellay in midfield and wing backs like Janmaat, Van Rhijn, Van der Wiel, Willems, Kongolo and Van Aanholt you cannot but play attractive attacking football…
The only worry I have is the center forward of the future…. Is it Castaignos? Or Luuk de Jong? Or Van Wolfswinkel? Or is it a player that has yet to be spotted? Or will we play without a real center forward…..? We were spoilt for choice in the past (Van Nistelrooy, Kluivert, Makaay, Hasselbaink, Van Hooijdonk, Van Basten, Van Vossen, Gullit, Kieft, Bosman, Gillhaus, Houtman) but we seem to not develop any real killers anymore… Is our development to blame? Or is there no more space for strikers…
Klose doesn’t seem to agree with us but most other goal scores at the World Cup are more attacking midfielders (James) or false strikers/wingers (Muller, Robben, Messi).
I personally don’t mind. Because whatever the need: we have Dirk Kuyt.