Phillip Cocu passed the ball into him. A quick turn and a shot on target: goal! He jumps laughing into the arms of Pierre van Hooijdonk, at the side of the pitch. On the bench, coach Dick Advocaat. Oranje team manager, but without hair from front to back and Willem van Hanegem next to him as his assistant.

Ajax’ total management team was on the pitch. Marc Overmars on the left wing, Edwin van der Sar on goal. Sneijder was just a kid, gel in his hair and a somewhat oversized Orange jersey.

He walked and laughed like a teenager, that day. A school boy, but he played the match of his live. November 2003, Holland-Scotland: 6-0.

wes debut

This was not his debut, but it certainly was his breakthrough. Just watch in the first 30 seconds of the game. Sneijder demands the ball, creates space from his own box, sprints across the length of the pitch, gives an opponent a knock at the half way line and walks away, chin up and chest out.

The Agassi-style walk, a bit pedantic, with the high raised elbows. The look saying “no one can touch me” and his fabolous kicking technique.

When Sneijder walked onto the pitch of De Kuip – one of his favorite venues – for his 131st international game, he doesn’t have that mercurial dynamic anymore. It was 14 years ago. His muscles are less agile, he’s got more tattoos, he bridges the distances with a bit more effort, but he is still Wesley Sneijder. Pure player. Bravado. The Man. Proud like no other.

He gave Oranje venom, will, class and bravado. But also a smile and a cheer. The many interviews, in the dark underbelly of a stadium, sweat dripping of his face. Or at the sideline of a windy practice pitch on Katwijk. Sometimes long and philosophical conversation, other times short soundbites. In hotels across the globe, at the training camps of Inter or Real Madrid, or at airports or amongst 1000s of insane Turkish fans.

wes raf scot

Sneijder Superstar but always himself. Good mooded, positive, opportunistic even. For some an annoying alpha male but usually a happy-go-lucky larekin. Always good for a story, an anecdote or a fierce debate.

The World Cup 2010 in South Africa was the pinnacle of what would be his most successful year on the field. But also off the pitch. In South Africa, in Johannesburg, he would share stories about his faith, about love, about the talismans he brings on his travels, about his son, God, about him mother and life as a public persona.

Sneijder is streetwise. He may not have been educated too well, but he’s incredibly intelligent, and his emotional intelligence is a gift. He never lost his Utrecht dialect, but turned an ego-centric punk into a mature man, with an eye for the less fortunate. He is always happy to help old friends, will always give the young Oranje fans the time of day and is always available to the press.

lvg wes

In March, the last international game under Danny Blind, Sneijder had a speaking engagement before a conference hall with parents of young cancer patients. Sneijder knows how to: warm, upbeat, spontanious and will a good feel for timing and atmosphere. Whether he’s speaking with Princes Maxima, or the sick kid in the wheelchair, he is always at ease.

But it didn’t all go smoothly. Sometimes, Sneijder behind his mask of manliness could be unhappy and vulnerable. During his time at Real Madrid, he divorced his first wife and drowned himself in the Spanish nightlife, with a mediocre spell at the club. Self critical as he can be, later on he said “I was completely shit” about that period.

His love for life was a stumbling block a couple of more time. He didn’t always live like a pro. It seemed he almost missed the World Cup 2014 when Louis van Gaal attacked him agressively and forced the proud Sneijder to shape up or ship out. Sneijder took the bait. He was insulted. Humiliated. Angry as hell at Van Gaal. And he trained himself insane with kickboxer and personal coach Gokhan Saki. He was ignored for a while by Van Gaal but he kept at it. At the WC in Brazil, Sneijder was to play in service of the artists Van Persie and Robben and accepted the role. He had his value for Oranje with a killer game versus Spain and the equaliser against Mexico.

wes yo

Glory embraced him in 2010, the year he won the Champions League with Inter and headed Oranje past Brazil at the WC. Or that pass through the eye of the needle on Arjen Robben, on his way to meet the toe of Casillas. One inch away from world gold.

It would not get any better than that. And this is another point of criticism: he seemed to settle to easily for Galatasaray. It might have been a couple of years too early. He became a demi god in Instanbul but as a club player, he said goodbye to the European top.

“He still is the best player of Galatasaray, hell, maybe of Turkey!” said Dick Advocaat this week. Sneijder took that quote and taunted the media: “You guys don’t follow the Turkish competition, but maybe you also want to make a judgement about me?”

wes dick lux

He now has the record which he has been chasing fanatically. On his birthday even. 131 caps. And Sneijder even hinted at staying on after the WC2018. “Why not? I really value it, playing for Oranje. Every time again. Wesley Sneijder, figure head of Oranje in good and bad times. An Oranje legend in his active playing days. Worth a standing ovation.

April 30, 2003: Oranje – Portugal 1-1

There is a first for everything and this was the first for our record international. The young Ajax upstart came on in the second half to replace Phillip Cocu in a friendly vs Portugal. Dick Advocaat was his coach here as well and Arjen Robben made his debut as well.

October 11, 2003: Holland – Moldavia 5-0

The second international for Sneijder was a good one. Advocaat allowed him a starting birth and he got his first goal in the 51st minute, on a Kluivert assist. Signs of things to come.

wes scotl

November 19, 2003: Holland – Scotland 6-0

After being absent at the 2002WC, Oranje couldn’t afford to miss another big tournament. The qualification was not a smooth ride and we needed a play offs game vs Scotland to get to the Euros. We lost the away game 1-0. Oranje needed to set things right in the Amsterdam Arena.  The 19 year old Sneijder took the reigns and led Oranje to a big win. Wesley scored the 1-0 after 14 minutes and allowed Ooijer and Van Nistelrooy goals via his free kick delivery. Van Nistelrooy also scored the 4-0 after which Sneijder delivered a corner-kick onto the head of Frank de Boer: 5-0.

June 9 2008: Holland – Italy 3-0

After another difficult qualification campaign, Oranje found itself in another Group of Death, with Italy, France and a strong Romania. The openingsgame vs Italy was on Sneijder’s 24th birthday. The world champions were played off the pitch 3-0, with a goal and assist by Sneijder.

wes 2008 ita

June 13, 2008: Holland – France 4-1

A couple of days later, the World Cup runner up was the opponenent: France. Sneijder again dipped in with an assist and a sensational goal in injury time. A wonderful no-look distance striker pregnant with spin. His goal was choses as The Goal of the Tournament.

July 2, 2010: Holland – Brazil 2-1

A weak Oranje had to play cat and mouse with Brazil. With Oranje as the mouse. Robinho scored already after 10 minutes and Brazil was actually playing with Oranje. If Stekelenburg wouldn’t have stopped a marvelous Kaka effort, the game would have slipped away. But Bert van Marwijk was able to bring a totally different Oranje onto the pitch, with Rafael van de Vaart as holding midfielder. In the 53rd minute, a free kick by Sneijder remained untouched and found his way past Julio Cesar. Fifteen minutes later, the little playmaker scored a surprising header in amongst the Brazilian defense. 1 meter and 70 centimeters and the header was the winner. Oranje in the semis!

wes head bra

July 9, 2010: Holland – Spain 0-1

Uruguay was the next scalp in the semis, with another Sneijder goal (and Gio’s Goal of the Tournament). The finals vs Spain was supposed to be to ultimate. Just before the break, Sneijder released Robben with a pinpoint pass but Casillas toe came in between Sneijder and the World Cup. There were a number of goal opportunities but no goals. Nigel de Jong scored the biggest upset by kicking Alonso in two (almost). Oranje was headed towards penalties after Heijtinga was sent off and Van der Vaart took his place as man market. In the 116th minute, Iniesta decapitated Holland. For the third time, a runners up silver medal for Oranje.

September 2, 2011: Holland – San Marino 11-0

One could say any international game vs San Marino should be a footnote and nothing more. The question is not: who wins, but with how many goals will we win. But it was a benchmark game. The first time Oranje got double digits. Sneijder scoring two goals and an assist.

wes xavi

July 13, 2014: Holland – Spain 5-1

The openings game for Oranje at the WC2014 was Sneijder’s 100st cap for Oranje. The Spanish Seleccion had won three major tournaments in a row and was favorite versus a – alleged -weak Oranje. Xabi Alonso scored the first goal from the spot kick. Just before half time, Van Persie scored the equaliser on a deep pass by Daley Blind. After the break, Holland scored 4 more, with two assists for Sneijder. Oranje’s revenge. Spain would go home after the group stage.

wes score

29 juni 2014: Nederland-Mexico 2-1

Oranje qualified with ease for this tournament and actually sailed through the group stage after finishing of the reigning world champs. In the first knock out game vs Mexico, it almost went wrong. Dos Santos scored the first goal in the first half and it took till the 88th minute before Oranje could salvage the game. A loose ball fell on the gifted foot of Sneijder who finished the ball emphatically. Not much later, Robben was awarded a penalty and Huntelaar hammered the ball home. Mexico went home, Oranje moved into the quarter finals.

Bookmark and Share

49 responses to “Wesley Sneijder: Mr Oranje Record Breaker”

  1. Oranjeboven says:

    Great article as usual on a epic player in really appreciate alot! I still dont see anyone that can step in his shoes unfortunatly! I still remember when i had high hopes on his younger brother rodney, lots of ppl considered him the even bigger talent but as it often happens with our talents lately they never amount to anything..

    And i am not as positive about the France result as most of you guys here, for the simple fact that France is gonna be even more motivated against us. And Didier Dechamps seems to have learned valuable lessons by playing Kante, Dembelee, Mbpapp and Le Mar which is the much stronger lineup!!I just hope that Sweden slipps up in one of their away games, but winning in France is gonna be difficult i would be happy with a draw! All that would have been fine if only that regular Goal of Dost vs Sweden would not have been wrongly disallowed, i knew back then that could cost us dearly!!

    I am glad though that we seem to have a good coaching Team with a charismatic Gullit and Dick with lots of experience!! But one thing must be seen by them Strootman is not our man to single handly shield our Defense, i dont see him as a number 6 at all!!

    Personally i would play in a very special counter attacking way against the french at their home stadium:

    —————-Cillessen—————–
    ——-De Vrij—–Virgil—- Blind——-
    Karsdrop————————Van Anholt
    —————Vilhena——————–
    ——Strootman———-Wijnaldum——–
    ————-Robben——Promes———–

    So a very defensive 5-3-2 with 2 fast strikers for counterattacks! With a very physical Midfield to hold and a very fast wijnaldum who can iniate counterattacks, same goes for Karsdrop and Van Anholt both bringing lots of speed!!

    i really hope we make it to Russia, i really dont care though how we make it xD

  2. Jan says:

    Yes Justin is the son of Nico Hoogma who had a good career in Holland and the Bundesliga as a central defender.

  3. Jan says:

    As for France, I do hold on to the fact that in 2014 we faced the World Champions, were “without a hope” according to many, even conceded first but went on to win 5-1.

    Might I remind all that Daley Blind was instrumental in that win, with two assists?

    • wilson says:

      Jan as What I always say. it not about what he can do. it all about what he can’t do. speed and grit.two of the most essential attributes of a defender,both of which he does not have. yet he has gone uncontested for 3 years. injuries aside.

      this was the biggest downfall of Danny. most of selection was based on players who lack individual capabilities and were one dimensional players or had certain qualities which lit them at club level. Danny tried his best to use klaassen in every position where he could thrive to level he was at Ajax but yet he was average at best.why? guess? Propper was another one. Sonny boy. I have said a lot about him over the years and with a new coach it won’t be long he will in pecking both at club and as well as in NT.

  4. Jan says:

    Was reading your comments on the other post… Re Wijnaldum for instance.

    I rate him high, but I do also believe he lacks strength in the duels. I see him play weekly as I follow Liverpool and on the ball he is great, his movement and his positioning are top notch. His first touch impeccable.

    But he is still a lightweight for me in the EPL. Would not want to see him one v one with Pogba.

    I personally think a smaller player, with a low centre of gravity is needed in midfield vs Pogba.

    Nathan Ake.

    • Emmanual says:

      Jan..i am surprised to see your opinion on Gini..Only thing i agree with you regarding is that Gini is still light weight.He has mysterious strength to sheild the ball with his astonishing ball control.He sledom looses his balls,it is impossible get the ball from him,He is not useless bulky player like Akinfeewa,Depay etc..He has core strength like Jaap stam etc..IMO He is the next kuyt in this NT..with better ball skills as bonus..

  5. Jan says:

    I also read comments (Wilson and Sybe) about how Blind got it wrong with his choices and Grim/Advocaat got it right?

    I really need you to explain why you believe this?

    I am not saying I disagree. I’m a bit puzzled what this claim is based on? I might well agree after you explain it?

    • wilson says:

      you can’t really say DA has got it right just by looking at the Morroco and Luxembourg game. I think Danny also would have scraped past with his selection.
      but looking at DA selection and how some of new players performed, standouts contray to what Danny was trying for three years.

      if only Danny would have used a rotation system for individual spots with right players, by now it would have been another story.

    • Emmanual says:

      Danny wasted too much time of certain players such as BMI,Dost,klassen,propper,Depay,All of them are failures little except for klassen
      Danny was always predictable and he was a failure to inspire the players..He lacked the charisma of LVG,kluivert,Gullit etc..But he had eagle eye for talents and unfortunatley some talents didnt came in to his eye sight.

  6. van banger says:

    Great story Jan, Wes truly was special (still is), he will be hard to replace but I’m sure someone will surface over the next couple of years that will be equally as good. Players generally are getting better so we must have hope that the Dutch will produce quality players in the coming years, if you watch games from 20yrs ago and compare to now you can see the difference in speed and skill, it’s no different to any other sport, and hence the reason why records get broken.
    France were average against Sweden, we should not fear them we should cross the white line with only winning in mind!
    Hup Holland!!!

  7. JB says:

    One thing we shouldn’t discount is the massive international experience of Sneijder and Robben. Just looking back at this retrospective of Sneijder is amazing — 2004, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014… Very few players in Europe have competed at that level for that long.

    And while people downplay Sneijder now playing in Turkey, he is still getting regular minutes and performing well — he started around 25 games for Galatasaray, scored 5 goals and played to at least 65-70 minutes in virtually every game he started. Robben is similar if not better, having played in more than 30 games for Bayern this past season and scoring 16 goals with 10 assists.

    Very few players in their early to mid 30s are still competing at a high level in the bigger leagues — Zlatan, Dani Alves, and a few goalkeepers. Most, like Iniesta, Toure, Rooney, etc, are in rapid decline.

    Yet Robben and Sneijder carry on. They are leaders and legends for these younger Dutch players. And while they perhaps aren’t as good as they once were, they can still provide a professional performance and consistent competence with periodic moments of brilliance, and I’m hopeful that they get one more shot at a major international competition.

  8. Jan says:

    Ajax appointed Marcel Keizer as the new coach.

    Good choice!

    I will post the Ajax post soon!

  9. andrew says:

    Tete to Galatasaray?

    • wilson says:

      Van Wolfswinkle signs for Basel

      Moreno signs for Roma.PSV looks like will be hit hard by the transfer.Arias, willems,Zoet,are all subject tof transfer.van Ginkel has returned to chelsea.
      nicolas isimat.mirin has also agreed to join hoffenhiem.

      Reidewald also being scouted by chelsea and other clubs.

      • Jan says:

        PSV is cleaning out the squad. They’ll applaud the exits, in particular Arias, Moreno and Guardado don’t seem to have their head in the game anymore.

        No surprises I don’t think.

  10. Sybe Pals says:

    @ Jan

    Haha I guess I should have been more clear, although still I’m not sure how you got that from me!

    In agreeing with Richarde’s comment I had meant only that ‘Blind got it wrong’ in a big picture sense – not necesarilly referring to his player choices – and I believe this because of his overall record and also because he got fired! 😉

    As far as Blinds player selections, I think he was generally quite logical, but there were a couple times I scratched my head a little! But when that happens I usually assume there are reasons which I do not know, I don’t like to make things up (like 2 others around here)..
    Actually I don’t think anyone can truly say they knew what Blinds best lineups or preferred selections would be, he never had even close to all of the players to choose from at the same time.. part of the reason he selected an unprecedented 47 different players!

    Also I have not said anything about Grim and Advocaat getting it right – but I really hope that they do!

    Now pass me that joint!

    • Sybe Pals says:

      And that’s 47 players in less than 2 years which he was in charge! damn

      • wilson says:

        for you sake I accept I was making things up.but yet the outcome turned out to be exactly what we were making up. so do you agree what ever we were making up turned out to be correct.

        Also would like to know you Side of the story since you don’t make things up.where did Danny go wrong?

  11. Jan says:

    Thanks Sybe, that is a well balanced response. I didn’t get any detail from Wilson, but just a repeat of the statement.

    See, I’m with you: I can not put my finger on any specific selection fuck up Blind made, other than De Ligt in de last match. I would never have done that and I doubt Dick would have done this.

    Irresponsible.

    A lot of people give Blind flak for Ziyech’s decision to play for Morocco but that is obviously bullshit.

    If Ziyech really wanted to play for Oranje, he would have given a sign to build bridges.

    Sybe, would you suddenly decide to play for a nation you don’t “resonate” with, because you’re mum has a – say – Japanese passport and play for Japan because you don’t like the Oranje assistant coach??

    So, I’m open to hearing what selection fuck ups Blind made?

    I think he was hard done by, the players let him down. The players sacked him. It’s a sad thing in sports, I believe.

    Like Nigel Pearson at Leicester. He saves them from relegation. Ranieri comes in and is the nice uncle and no one talks about Pearson anymore.

    • wilson says:

      Jan I have one question for you. was there any productivity or progressivity you saw under Danny. with respect to 42 players.

      also on which basis are saying the players let him down when he himself for three years was building the team around only a handful of players.?

    • JB says:

      Jan:

      I know that you didn’t ask me directly, but I feel that Blind’s primary failure was really just from a general leadership / managerial standpoint.

      Some great players go on to become mediocre managers, and some mediocre players go on to become great managers. The great player who is also a great manager is pretty rare!

      In Blind’s case, I don’t think the problem was so much player selection or tactics as much as it was the ability to inspire confidence in the players and meld them into a coherent unit.

      Blind managed Ajax for one season I believe and the national team for 15 games or so. Advocaat has essentially coached continuously since 1987 at either the club or international level. To put that in perspective, Blind’s first year as a player at Ajax was 1987. Advocaat’s wealth of managerial experience is probably very helpful in galvanizing the team, especially since he’s coached so many different teams 🙂

      I also think the possibility that they would fail to qualify for the World Cup is certainly a real motivator for the players, although the possibility that they would miss the Euros didn’t seem to get them going.

      To me, the line-up / formation / tactics don’t seem that different between the two coaches. It’s just that the team looks much more motivated, purposeful and cohesive now. Grim and Advocaat have taken a no nonsense approach and lit a fire under them.

      I guess sometimes change just for change’s sake can work

      • wilson says:

        are you saying when DA left for fenerbache, the the team went stray and now when he is back now every thing is Ops normal. you have to be joking .I find this ridiculous and also that Players let Danny Blind down

        the midfield was the priority area from day 1 Danny took over and yet for three years he jus kept dragging with one holding who even doesn’t play there. it’s ever clear beyond doubt that DA just reshuffled that midfield and everything has fallen into place. Nothing much, nothing less. playing with two holding mid limits the work load up front who can coNC entreated on attack only while the hold mid jus concentrate on breaking the play down and feeding the ball upfront.it’s clear the intention of DA is spot on but this is where I raised issues on Wijnaldums defensive

        • wilson says:

          are you saying when DA left for fenerbache, the the team went stray and now when he is back now every thing is Ops normal. you have to be joking .I find this ridiculous and also that Players let Danny Blind down

          the midfield was the priority area from day 1 Danny took over and yet for three years he jus kept dragging with one holding mid who even doesn’t even is a holding mid.

          it’s ever clear beyond doubt that DA has just reshuffled that midfield and everything has fallen into place. Nothing much, nothing less. playing with two holding mid or runners limits the work load up front for the forwards who can concentrate on attack only while the hold mid jus concentrate on breaking the play down and feeding the ball upfront.it’s clear the intention of DA is spot on but this is where I acknowledge wijnaldum lack grit and this is where DA will need to look into if he continues with 4-2-3-1.

          it obvious DA by knows Sneijder lacks stamina so he has cut his workload by having 2 runners behind him who can cover his defensive dutie while he is full committed up front where he is most dangerous.

          you don’t have to look far again here. BVM did the same in 2010,with sneijder in his prime though.

          • Emmanual says:

            That whole team of BVM was developed and groomed in NT by San marco..BVM only added van bommel to that team by avoiding Englaar that was really a nice move..However Bommel was the reason behind a static midefield we had in 2012EC and we got humiliated..Sneijder played with Dejong and Bommel…Dejong and Snejijder had to take everyshit..we got humiliated..

          • Emmanual says:

            What u mean by grit…
            Gini was captain of PSV,he won dutch eredivise as captiain who lead from front.
            He is incredibly strong on ball and its near impossible to get ball from him.
            He is fast and speedy.
            He joins a lower level club,and he was their top scorer even from mdifeild.
            Now he is starter in liverpool were as mempiss ran away from EPL.
            Wijnaldum plays in most physical league and he outclass them in every departments.
            if wijnaldum doesnt have grit who has grit??You IDIO$$%%T?????

  12. JB says:

    Pogba sure breaks out the dazzling skills when the game doesn’t matter — like in today’s friendly vs England.

  13. wilson says:

    why isn’t NT playing more Friendlys like France. with the season over now, this could have an idle time to give new players more time and exposure at international level.

  14. JB says:

    Wilson:

    In response to your comments above, being an assistant / advisor and being the head man are two very different things. My point was that Blind is inexperienced as a manager and was probably pulled in many different directions in trying to develop and establish a style of play, a formation and a line-up that he wanted to use and that would work best for the players he had to work with. He was trying to place his own imprint on the team, but I don’t think he really knew what he wanted to do. Maybe he hoped to make a 433 work going forward, but there never seemed to be a clear game plan or consistent line-up. He’s a stand up guy, but I think he was just in over his head.

    Advocaat, when he was handed the job, had a very different role and directive. He came in with vast experience and an open mind towards all the players, with the challenge of assembling a coherent system as quickly as possible. He was no longer merely an adviser offering suggestions. And with most of the more experienced players now available to him, he made use of them right away.

    You point to the midfield and the number of holding mids. Perhaps that’s true, but if you look back at the recent games, I really just think it was the quality of the players around them and their motivation / intensity that improved the team overall.

    Against Bulgaria, Blind’s last game in charge, our back line was Karsdorp, de Ligt, BMI and Blind. Mids were Wijnaldum, Klaasen and Strootman, with Robben, Dost and Promes up top. To me, that back line is very inexperienced and very weak in possession. The midfield was not particularly strong from an attacking standpoint, but was burdened with a porous and poor passing back line (other than Blind). Further, the front line, particularly Dost, was not a high pressuring group, meaning that Bulgaria’s back line and mids would have more time and space on the ball, and thus our midfield could not be as proactive in attack. You could certainly point to player selection or tactics as the culprit here, but to me it was just an overall malaise and lack of coherence in the use of the talent available.

    For Grim in the friendly against Italy, we fielded a back line of Tete, BMI, Hoedt and Blind, the exact same midfield of Wijnaldum, Klaasen and Strootman, and a front line of Lens, Memphis and Promes. Again, with a less than ideal back four, we conceded two and scored only an own goal, albeit against substantially better competition than Bulgaria.

    Then against Morocco, we began to experiment a bit more with younger players, and the back line started to come together, both in defense and attack. Veltman, de Ligt, Hoedt and Ake were our back four, Toornstra and Vilhena were holding mids with Promes as the 10, and with Berghuis and Memphis wide and Janssen up top. Janssen was very active in pressing, which makes the midfield’s job easier, and Memphis and Promes were active on the ball with Toornstra and Vilhena making passes from deeper positions. It was a physical game, but we were able to assert ourselves much better from an attacking standpoint, but de Ligt saw red and we had to scramble at the end.

    Next came the offensive explosion for 5 goals against Ivory Coast. Tete, Veltman, BMI and Blind were in the back, Klaasen, Strootman and eventually Wijnaldum were the mids again, with Robben, Janssen and Memphis up front (possibly our best front line available). That back line to me was still mediocre. BMI has reached a marginal level as a defender, but is still not a good passer. However, the other back line players were decent and were not really tested by the opponent, who surprisingly played off and did not pressure us in our own half until the very end.

    Finally, in the qualifier against Luxembourg (Advocaat’s first game in charge), we probably had our strongest overall line-up yet – Veltman, de Vrij, Hoedt and Blind in the back, Wijnaldum, Strootman and Sneijder (vs Klaasen) as mids and Robben, Memphis and Janssen in attack. We pressed relentlessly (even Robben) and moved the ball with very high pace and quickness – the best I’ve seen us play stylistically in quite a while.

    In summary, when we play with a backline that is competent and can pass the ball forward (e.g., de Vrij, Hoedt and Blind) and use a front line that presses (Janssen, etc.), the midfield can then boss the game. Ideally Wesley does the creating, Wijnaldum does the running and Strootman covers and passes from a deeper position. Neither Wijnaldum nor Strootman is a prototypical defensive / holding mid (both are more box-to-box), but when our center backs are strong and our front line presses, they don’t need to be.

    Back in 2010 when our center backs were Heitinga and Mathiesen, we needed both a de Jong and a van Bommel to provide cover, and bringing in VDV (although I love him) made us too weak defensively. Four years later, our defensive problems were still not resolved and Van Gaal at that point effectively needed 5 defenders (with wingbacks) to make us even compete defensively and had to just rely on Robben, Sneijder and RVP to make something happen up front.

    But now, in 2017 our next generation of defenders are consistent enough, and we’ve got enough work rate up top where I think a Strootman – Wijnaldum combo can work.

    At the end of the day, Advocaat quickly put together a coherent system and structure and placed demands on players to carry out their specific roles with much greater clarity and purpose than Blind was capable of. Plus, the coming together of a much stronger back line (both with and without the ball) has made us a much stronger and more solid overall team.

  15. andrew says:

    Klaassen to Everton, apparently for 28.5 m.

    @JB, that is really good post.

  16. Jan says:

    Yes JB excellent analysis indeed.

    Tiju, did you just call me an IDIOT??? Really :-)?

    I think this is all what we call scoreboard journalism.

    Because Blind failed, it is because he lacked experience.

    When Guardiola succeeded as young upstart (see Beenhakker, De Mos, De Boer, Van Gaal) it suddenly is because they were fresh and young?

    I’m sure Blind will have had his flaws and is simply a different type of coach than Dick, but that is not the analysis of why Danny didn’t succeed and Dick will/might. It’s very shallow analysing.

    Blind was installed to bring the Dutch school back, by the KNVB.

    Dick is brought back to win 5 finals and I’m sure the KNVB will tell Dick “any which way you can!”

    Apples vs Pears

    And no matter what you all say about the players letting Blind down or not, if you watch the Bulgaria game you’ll see what I mean.

    Any coach would have been in trouble with that performance. I can pick 11 players from the 42 that were used, put a line up together blind folded and then still the Oranje team should beat Bulgaria.

    FFS!

    And Wijnaldum and grit. Yes, he has grit.

    But he has not been as strong in the duels in EPL as he was in Holland. Full stop. Watch the games dude!

    • Sybe Pals says:

      Haha careful, don’t listen to Wilson it is 47 players not 42 😂
      (also Blind in charge less than 2 years, not 3)

    • Emmanual says:

      Wijnaldum comment was for wilson,who was saying he lacks grit..
      Then come on Jan there will always be varience in duels unless u are a Jaapstam or Paulpogba..As i have seen jaap struggled vs jan koler of cezc..
      Gini is 175 and he has physical limitations so it is acceptable..he is permitted to fail in some duels,So is same as strootman and Ake..

  17. Jan says:

    Pickford to Everton as well. Not good for Stekelenburg.

    Karim Rekik to Hertha BSC.

    Tete prefers to wait until signing for Gala as he is keen to move to EPL.

  18. wilson says:

    JB in other words you are are saying there was no movement from the back line. but you see the defence was never a problem until that Bulgaria game where all Bruma, De Vrij, Van Dijk were injured.you are just looking at one or few games after that where as the midfield was always a area of concern since the euro failure.

    the rest I can see where you are coming from. but in DA case he would have done the mathematics jus by watching NT on tele.

  19. Flipo says:

    Great Sneijder – World Cup 2010 in South Africa was the pinnacle of what would be his most successful year of achievements.
    http://www.sportseon.com/live/real-madrid-live-stream/

Leave a Reply