Louis van Gaal has announced his squad for the Portugal friendly. Schwarzenegger, Willis, Statham, Stallone, Jet Li…. Oops.. wrong list.
Louis has come up with some surprises… We miss Clasie (not in great form yet), no Nigel de Jong (long injury period), no Siem de Jong (LVG chooses others), Ricardo van Rhijn ( some lad from Augsburg gets the nod) and Adam Maher (because Wijnaldum was more impressive).
And other surprises: Schaars and Wijnaldum are in. The latter had a good spell with Jong Oranje in Israel and started well (as skipper) for PSV. Schaars was always a Van Gaal fave (AZ days) and has always been close to the Oranje squad. Schaars will go for the defensive midfielder spot ( with De Guzman).
Another big name not present is Wesley Sneijder. De former CL winner and Oranje skipper has not done himself many favours. When he wasn’t picked for the prelim selection, the Galatasaray midfielder couldn’t stop himself and was critical about his coach. “He will need to get fit first. Then regain his form. And only then can I compare him with the other players I have….”. Van Gaal was annoyed that Sneijder made comments in the media. “He should not have said that. Experienced players know what will happen with that. I don’t like that, as I constantly have to respond to questions from the media. Sneijder needs to vent internally, not via the media.”
“Players need to talk about their club when they’re at the club and the should talk about Oranje when they are with Oranje. That is the manifest.” Van Gaal also wanted to make it clear that Sneijder was wrong: “I have talked to him many times. In Turkey, Hoenderlo, Indonesia and China. If he still doesn’t get, than I don’t know what to do next with him.”
Van Gaal has not yet written Sneijder off. “No, he is still on the radar, but he will have to show it. It’s not an automatic situation that he will be part of the Oranje squad.”
Gio Wijnaldum is a fresh face in the Oranje squad. Criticised last season at PSV but a central part in Cocu’s vision for the new PSV team. And one of the best players at the Israel EC with Young Oranje. Louis van Gaal is clear about his choices. “PSV has played three official games. Those players are easiest to assess. Clasie, with Feyenoord, only played one official game and Feyenoord lost that game. Schaars and Wijnaldum were very impressive. Wijnaldum is a real surprise. I know what Schaars can do, but Wijnaldum has made a big step, in his maturity and the way he dominates the game.”
Oranje does not have a great record against Portugal. And Van Gaal is partly to blame, as he played two qualification games against them for the World Cup 2002.
We played them 12 times and we won only once! It was 1991, in the EC qualification game for the Sweden EC. We won 1-0 in Rotterdam, thanks to a Richard Witschge goal, under management of Dick Advocaat. Oranje played couple of remarkable games against Portugal. The home game in the 2002 qualifications, in which a fan blew a whistle and Davids stopped playing, gifting the ball to Portugal, who scored the 0-1. Reiziger played left back and led in the second goal with a horrific back pass.
In the away game, Oranje needed the win and was 0-2 up. With 10 minutes to go, Van Gaal took off two midfielders and put two extra strikers in, to go for the jugular. Davids was red carded however and Portugal pulled two back: 2-2.
The most infamous game was the 2006 World Cup knock out game. Referee Ivanov lost control and handed out 16 yellows and 4 reds (he gave one player 3 yellow cards if I am not mistaken). Maniche decided that game for Portugal, with horrific misses by Cocu, Van Persie and Kuyt.
Richard Witschge scoring
The Festival of Mistakes
The Hitchcock Thriller