Why Berghuis is in the team

It is always interesting to see how football fans respond to things going on, versus what experienced (ex-) players or coaches say. We had years of discussion about Kuyt, Daley Blind, Nigel de Jong and Heitinga, to name a few and now recently Berghuis is also on the list.

For me, it’s about how fans watch football and how the pros watch football. Spoiler: the pros use statistics nowadays to support their decisions.

I posted an analysis of Daley Blind some months ago, explaining using stats why Blind is actually in the top 10 of Europe (!) in a certain stat and this makes him quite unique.

Looking at Berghuis, we can do the same. Because surely, coaches like Van Gaal, Danny Blind, Erik ten Hag and Alfred Schreuder would not play Berghuis if they watched football they some of us here do.

Steven Berghuis was not very remarkable in his performance against Senegal. But important, he was.

In the 79th minute, the number 11 sign comes up and #20 is going to replace him. Berghuis was seemingly invisible and made way for Koopmeiners, whom he had beaten for the starting spot next to Frenkie.

Data analysis shows that the criticism on Berghuis is not valid. Berghuis only played 79 minutes, whereas the other starters who were not subbed played 98 minutes. Almost 20 minutes more. But no other Oranje player was able to play more successful passes into the final third of the opponent.

Berghuis (and Daley Blind) both played 14 balls into the attacking zone successfully.

Frenkie de Jong came after them with 11 successful passes. Then Dumfries, with 7, followed by Bergwijn (6), De Ligt and Ake (both 5) and Virgil van Dijk a mere single successful pass.

Senegal plays it smart versus Holland. They used Gueye, their defensive mid, high up the pitch to make life hard for Frenkie. The Dutch build up was made harder due to the fact that behind Gueye, two holding mids played quite narrow.

Oranje analysed the game plan patiently and after 15 minutes of probing, it’s Berghuis who breaks the spell. He’s constantly scanning the pitch and when the ball is played into him in the mid circle, he already knows what is happening behind him and he turns and curls the ball in one time to the left flank where Daley Blind has escaped Senegal’s block.

Just before the break, there were two moves again started by Berghuis, resulting in flowing attacks. First, he floats to the left side of the pitch where he finds space for a pin point pass to Bergwijn.

The Ajax forward drops the ball to Frenkie who immediately plays in to Vincent Janssen, but just too heavy, so it doesn’t result in an actual chance for the Antwerp man.

Next up, there is a one-two combination with Frenkie allowing Berghuis space in between the lines. There will be four orange jerseys in the box but no cigar, as Dumfries doesn’t manage to cross the ball in good enough.

In the second half, Berghuis role is diminished a bit, as these stats show.

First half: 33 touches, 25 successful passes, 92.5% pass accuracy

Second half: 16 touches, 12 successful passes, 80% pass accuracy

This is the result of a tactical change. The invisible Gakpo needs support so Berghuis is moved higher up the pitch, by Van Gaal. The Ajax midfielder becomes a second “10” next to Gakpo in what would become a 4-2-2-2 system. In this way, Gakpo doesn’t need to battle two midfielders, and Berghuis is sacrificed to support the PSV youngster.

Still Berghuis has the best pass in the game which is the result of a wicked mind. He sees right back Sabaly isolated against two players. Berghuis recognises the opportunity and has the skills to execute. Memphis bounces the ball back and the whole left flank opens up for Daley Blind. Berghuis plays a firm ball into space for Blind to pursue. His cross resulted in a half chance for Dumfries who can’t control the ball.

The lanky and lightfooted Berghuis will never be the midfield duel monster that a Pogba or Rodri or Rice is, but with his specific qualities in his left foot, he will always be the go to man, if you want to penetrate an opponent with forward passing. This is why he and Blind are almost beyond criticism with Van Gaal. And the stats simply support this.

This is the dats profile of Berghuis on FBref. Progressive passing and touches are actions in which the ball is played at least 11 yards forward, vis a vis the previous six passes.

Thanks to VI Pro

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  1. Japan just scored to tie Germany in the 75th minute. Not a fluke either. Their speed has been causing Germany problems this entire second haf.

    @Wilson, from the previous thread, your comment about re 2010 team: “what you guys have failed to mention is how fluent their attacking threat was compared to what you are seeing now. Creating opportunities, free kicks threats, attacking pros, close misses before eventually scoring”

    When you have some time after this WC, go watch the 2010 Denmark or Japan game again, I don’t think it was as you described.

    Update! Wow, Japan just took the lead in the 83rd minute!

      1. I’m actually working on a financing transaction now with a Japanese business, and so we’ve been emailing back and forth about it. What a comeback and what a game-winning goal!

  2. This WC is turning out to be more open. I think many teams considered rank outsiders are creating a flutter. Also this opens chances fot the dutch team.

  3. Putting this out here if someone can help. I have an empty space on my living room piano and I am in desperate search of mini sculpture of Berghuis. Anybody knows a place I can buy from? Even though my non Artificial Intelligence capable brain can’t catch all the stats that Jan mentions here I am willing to trust LVG, Schreuder and all the other coaches from his kindergarten years until now that discovered this genius of a player and would never drop him in the bench 🙂
    Jan, this is in the spirit of laughing and I hope you’re no offended. I am a simple football fan who only sees technique, action, running, grittiness, creating chances or scoring goals out of which Berghuis doesn’t do exceptionally well in any of them in my eyes. Sorry.

  4. Probably a tough day at the office for the administrator of costaricansoccersite.org…

    Fielding comments about Spain outpassing them by 800 passes, and longing for the bygone days of Bryan Ruiz

  5. @ Jan- How come you are the only one that is seeing these stats? Please tell me. How come no one from Man City or Man U or Real, Barcelona, Benfica, Tottenham, Atletico, Chelsea, Napoli are seeing these stats? Berghuis spent 1yr abroad and he was a disaster. This guys is playing for Ajax for God’s sake. I think you need to put this to rest. There is nothing special about Berghuis Period.

  6. Thanks for this in-depth analysis on Berghuis. I may be the only person commenting on this site who hasn’t formed a strong opinion about him. To be honest, he just always seems innocuous to me. More attacking oriented than de Roon, but not truly impactful. I know there are lots of players like that, who don’t get the viewer’s attention and are more subtle in their contribution, but those players typically play in a more withdrawn role. In the Senegal match, the central midfielders just seemed mismatched to me. De Jong was doing all the heavy lifting, and we seemed to be focused on playing centrally in build-up, but Berghuis didn’t seem to be contributing to the process, and Gakpo was rarely targeted too. I certainly think Berghuis can be an effective part of the team, but his skill set didn’t seem to fit well in the overall system we were attempting to play…

    1. And from a statistical perspective, against Senegal, Berghuis had 2 shots, 1 key pass, 88% pass accuracy and 49 overall touches. He attempted 42 passes, 2 crosses (neither of which were accurate), and 5 long balls (3 of which were accurate). He attempted zero through balls, and had zero defensive stats (tackles, interceptions, clearances, blocked shots). He just comes off to me as an Ozil-type player, but without the sublime passing skills. If we could afford to make him the focal point, maybe he’d shine, but I just don’t see that happening within the current team dynamic…

  7. I don’t understand all the Berghuis hate either. Is he exceptional? No. But he makes an impact on games consistently enough to warrant a spot. He’s a little like Blind, whose productivity in the build up and final third is so often overlooked because they don’t score tonnes of goals or make an assist every game.

    Blind and Berghuis both have their faults, but the constant negativity on here is depressing. The selections have been made and our armchair criticisms aren’t going to change that. Let’s get around the boys and support them.

  8. @ andrew

    I went back and had a look, vs denmark after elia came in the second for Vaart, it was exactly like what I said, more attacking threat, chances created, nears misses and then eventually goal by kyut of elias rebound of the post. had a look at stats. 7 shots on target to three and 7-to 4 shots wide. this is exactly what I meant, fluency especially in the second half like I said when elia came on. sneijder was in the mix as always

    vs Japan was much closer affair, which is always the case vs the Japanese. like I mentioned its has be looked from a scope perspective , I remember always criticizing sneijder for always pulling the trigger rather than passing and creating more but that was his trade mark and where he was the most dangerous especially on freekicks and volleys.

    I think this was mentioned by someone in the previous post, we dont have that in the current team from attacking pros point of view and thats how the team in team 2010 was built on. big 3 and the same was in 2014 and compare it the current team its more across the board particularly on defense. you can argue its tatically but thats not an upgrade is it and neither from fluency/consistency point of view.

    1. @ Wilson:

      I think your analysis is probably correct, but I wouldn’t say that either the 2010 or 2014 teams really displayed the “fluency” that we’ve come to expect from Dutch football. And unfortunately, I think even what fluency we had then has continued to diminish as our prior generation of attacking players has ridden off into the sunset. Further, I think LVG’s system is really too rigid to encourage as much attacking creativity as we’d like to see, but he does win pretty consistently (or at least doesn’t lose).

      My concern is that now that we’ve finally developed a pretty sturdy backline (after years of that being the weak link), our front four or five don’t have the necessary attacking ability / talent. Oh well, we’ll see how far we can go with what we currently have…

      1. @Wilson, Cool. Kind of thought you might look back. I appreciate that.

        But lets put it in context. If I recall correctly, Elia came in that game about halfway through the second half, and at that point Denmark was chasing the game after giving up an own goal early in the second half. So, in the two games against Japan and Denmark, they had 1/4 of one game where they had a good, sustained attacking spell. They played a pragmatic style (almost Italianesque), and with a hard edged mentality, throughout. (The second half against Brazil was a triumph of will not style.) They weren’t set up for big offensive explosions, and Sneijder knows this.

        True, it does not appear that the NT has the offensive potential of a group like Sneijder, Robben, VDV and RVP…but I don’t think anyone is debating that. They have to find a way of playing that maximizes the talent they have.

        They beat a pretty good Senegal team in a WC opener, coping with the nerves that are part of that. Something to build on. I did not go into this WC thinking that by any means they are a favorite. All I ask is that I can see a realistic way they can win every game they go into, even if an underdog. After last summer, “darkhorse” sends pretty good. I recognize this may be a little delusional, but its more fun for me that way. 😉

        Speaking of the Japanese team; anyone who plays them has to be concerned about their speed and fitness. They didn’t slow down in the latter part of the game, and it looked a little bit like Germany did. Wonder if the conditions played a part?

  9. @Jan

    Re: You guys are going to love my next post 🙂

    This was a post from your last article.

    And now we know what’s your post about.


    At this point, you’ve got to be trolling 🤣

    And of course, Orangutan will indulge🙃

    Google just changed Berghuis’ stats from the last time I wrote about him. It was 2 goals in 39 appearances. Below is the current stat after the Senegal game:

    2 goals in 40 Fifa competitive games. Please let google be the judge.

    And yet, Jan, you’ve come up with this fuzzy stat of Berghuis’ last performance, in an attempt to defend the indefensible.

    Just like you did the last time I posted the 2 goals in 39 apps.

    We all want our players to do well because the team naturally would be better. But these efforts to try to make our players what they clearly are not remains baffling to me.

    Berghuis is 30 now. He probably reached his ceiling 5-6 years ago. And it shows.

    When he plays there are no expectations, just hope from fans like yourself. Even de Roon could be looked upon for a certain purpose and he delivers within his limitations.

    The tragedy of Berghuis is that he is viewed through the lens of the Eredivisie. And You, Jan, expects him to perform in the world Cup as he would against Herenveen. Even though the world Cup is not a game against Alkmaar.

    And I dare even say this is the tragedy of Dutch international football in relation to selecting it’s players.

    LVG’s failure overseas is directly related to this code of thought. He conquered the world in 1994 with a bunch of Ajax kids and and for a man as sure of himself as he is, his football template has been established, unshakable.

    That’s why he failed in Barcelona. And Manu. And every other endeavor outside of the Eredivisie.

    You can argue that he did well in 2014. But he did play a different model. But as 2022 proves, he is still tethered to what have given him his greatest glory of his footballing life. Chasing a high and looking back at the prospect of a Berghuis.

    There is nothing there. There never will be because there is nothing there.

    Two goals in 40, fittingly against Gibraltar and Latvia.

    How about that for a stat?

    1. @ Orangutan

      Wow, that was a pretty devastating takedown of Berghuis! Might have been a straight red if it happened on the field 😀

      I don’t know that my comparison to Ozil (himself a creator and penetrating passer but not a scorer) is apt, but even Ozil scored 23 times in 92 matches for Germany, with 2 goals in 16 WC matches.

      I’m not really an avid supporter or detractor of Berghuis, but just still not clear that he makes a difference one way or the other.

  10. @ Oragutan,
    Say no more brother! Jan talks as if no one else is watching the game but him. My frustration is, I understand that we don’t have the same talents that we had in the past but we can still find a good and decent line up we what we currently have. Up front we could line up Gakpo on the left like he plays at PSV and Lang on the right and benched Berjwin because he looks really out of shape and Depay as our # 10 since he likes the ball more and work hard. AS wing back we could use Malacia on the left and Frinpong on the right. I can see how Lang and Frimpong can connect well. In midfield, put De Jong and Kemp or Xavi depend on the game. For example if we win against Equator, we could play with Xavi against Qatar. Our back 3 would be Van Dick, Ake, De Vri or Timber.

  11. Some people hear suffer from reality distortion :-). “Jan talks as if he is the only one watching the game”. Are you kidding me?

    With me, LVG seems to concur. As does the Dutch football magazine VI, who came up with this article in the first place. And many pundits and “experts” like Van der Vaart and Van Basten. But no, they all think they’re the only ones. Only Jean and Orangutan have the wisdom.


    As for orangutan: yes! Whenever people here start to come up with shallow observations and underbelly criticism on Dutch players, I like to counter that with insights they might have missed.

    No one says “thanks for the interesting angle” but instead I get crap thrown at me.

    I hope I Oranje wins this World Cup so I can finally put this blog behind me.

    These stats were not made up.

    I think the difference between us is summarized as this:

    Jan : Berguis is selected by LVG and starts. HE plays a lot for Ajax too. I will have a close look to see what the coaches are seeing.

    Jean/Orangutan/Wilson/others: Does Berghuis score a lot? No. Did he make a dent in the EPL? No. Then he must be crap. Oh, but wait… Louis van Gaal doesn’t agree with me. Well, what does he know. He’s a loser anyway.

    LVG won trophies with Barca, with Bayern, with AZ and Man United and took a mediocre squad to win bronze in Brazil. He’s such a bad coach.

    1. @ Jan:

      For the record, I did appreciate the post and the further insight and analysis you provided, and am trying to keep an open mind on Berghuis. What do you think the best midfield combination is for LVG’s current system? I’m almost to the point where I’d pair Gakpo with Memphis up top, but I don’t have a settled midfield in mind behind them other than Frenkie. I really wish we did still have a Sneijder or VDV to provide a little more attacking creativity.

    2. @Jan

      Re:No one says “thanks for the interesting angle” but instead I get crap thrown at me.

      As Oranje fans, I believe we are all very appreciative of you for sustaining such a community for the pleasure of all.

      I enjoy our banter. Passionately disagreeing with you does not mean that you are not seen or your angles not taken seriously.

      It simply means we have strong opposing views that are being expressed as such. That’s all.

      Much respect brother.

  12. Quality in front line talk is a Joke. front line in 2014 could not win properly in knockout matches Robben acting and geting a penalty, Tim krul saving a shoot out in Quarters and then semis out in penalties. Just huffed and puffed in knockouts at that time. Where was the quality of that frontline.

    1. Oh manoj… You are seeing things superficial about knockouts in 2014..Roben got denied 2 penalties earlier.. So please stop that… There was a touch on third, he only exaggerated it in a perfect way.. Mexico, costarica and arjentina were parking the bus against us… Beacuse they knew if they try to attack an lvg team with Trinity they are going to get humiliation like spain had… Mascherano tore his ass while tackling Roben.. Check it in Wikipedia… However 2010 i agree even with Roben, sneijder RVP we struggled this was down to kuyt at front and Bert van pragmatic apparoach..

  13. Thanks for the kind words, orangutan, JB, Balkan and others.

    Your comments are appreciated. A smiley or a wink does a lot.

    It’s the negativity and attacks of Jean that get to me, so much so that I am actually wondering why I do this?

    I started this blog in 2004 in Australia when the Euros were not broadcasted as a service to my international mates who love Holland.

    I don’t accept ads on my blog, so I have no income from that.

    No one needs to pay a membership fee either.

    I only ask for donations every now and then and a handful of you wonderful mates help me out with donations. I won’t mention names here, but you know who you are and you are appreciated.

    Then there is a number of people who clearly enjoy the blog (visit and comment very often) but sadly with a lot of vinegar and vitriol. These guys have yet to thank me with words of appreciation or donations.

    And that is cool in itself. I don’t do this to make money.

    But when I sense negativity towards a particular player I tend to find out why the coaches/experts do like them.

    I spend personal time – usually at night – to share these insights with you.

    No one needs to tell me their minds have been completely changed due to the posts. No. But I hope it helps with some respectful exchanges. For instance “Ah so Berghuis is leading the forward pass statistic… I didn’t realise this” could be enough.

    But from Jean I get personal sarcastic comments and drivel about how Berghuis failed at Watford (!) 8 years ago. Wanna call me shallow??

    I fear the joy is being sucked out of me and many positive people here, many of whom lurk but don’t comment but are as deflated as me at times. They do write to me, you see.

    The comparison made with the 2010 and 2014 team is also such funny one. Manoj Kumar just worded it perfectly.

    In 2010, even Cruyff criticised Oranje for their sluggish play and lack of adventure. 10 years later, that suddenly is a masterclass of flowing football?

    The lack of objective reasoning here is mindboggling, at times.

    Sorry for the rant, I just had to get this off my chest.

  14. Jan, I very much appreciate this blog and your time spent on this. I have learned a whole lot since you started this blog. I not being negative at all, I’m just pointing out the facts. Berghuis is not the player that you want to make us believe that he is. I’m just tired of being ridicule for being a dutch fan. I just want to win and I don’t think we can with this current line up. We all have been watching Berghuis for years and the guy is 30 and never made any impact. If he is the kind of player that you claim, how come no body is chasing him? By the way, in your previous post, you had nothing positive to say about Dumfries regarding the game against Senegal, but you still don’t believe he should be benched. If you want to win, I think you should have the best players in every position one the field.

  15. Jan, Berghuis is indeed the type of player that will play more forward passes than your typical box to box midfielder but what Berghuis lacks is his defensive work. That it where he is practically a liability! If you have followed him at him closely with Ajax and against Senegal where he played as an 8 or a box to box midfielder his defensive work is invisible at the point where I can honestly say I’ve never seen him win a defensive duel. This was precisely the issue in the second half where Senegal crowded the midfield which meant De Jong was struggling to keep up with so many opponents moving forward. Once Koopmeiners came in, things improved in our midfield.

    Berghuis is not a box to box player. He can be used there against Emmen, Fortuna, against weaker opponents in the Dutch league but against any top club or national team out there you stand no chance. As a 10 he is much better and can bring more creativity in the team with less defensive work which like I mentioned isn’t his forte. Koopmeiners should be the partner of De Jong in the upcoming games.

  16. Re Berghuis

    Lol. Had to noise dive straight in.
    “Statically analysis”. No brainer. You have to just ask this simple question. Why was he subbed off if the stats suggests otherwise It’s either the stats is not giving the true picture or the statically interpretation being drawn is not legit. The reason be being first he never lived up to expectations, influence the game or make any impact( looked Lost,flashes here and there,defensively useless) ,then got subbed off and after koops came on, he sawed up the midfield proving to be better than him. Hence it can be concluded that his passing stats is null and void and can not be used to analyze his performance.

    Even though they won and probably this is not warranted but the finger has to be pointed at Van Gaal as to why berghuis. He is not both offensively and defensively balanced player and yet he got the nod, which is a disappointment again as it shows van Gaal has less confidence in koops. In the the build up to the game everybody had koops starting but surprisingly berghuis got the nod. I have also argued on this and the importance of clocking minutes especially in the case for koops who needs to play more and build up that chemistry playing along side frenkie. Also keeping his passing stats in mind I’m just thinking even Veerman could have been more useful then berghuis in that position.

    Above all it was the same story as usual. tempo dictated. This was, is and will be his tale. I have said this from day 0. just watch him vs Qatar he will RIP his chest out.

  17. I just watched the first half of Senegal 🇸🇳 match. Actually I found it quite decent a performance from the team; not expecting the team to come out with all guns firing right away.
    I found the play organized and purposeful; everyone covered well for each other; though zero shots on target, but certain opportunities would have ended up on target if not for the poor final pass.
    Hope the team grows as the tournament progresses. Hopefully they don’t refresh further against Ecuador. 🤞

  18. I think van van gaal better move to 433…
    —-=======Timber —-=====
    Malacia –Ake–Virgil–Frimpong
    This would be more balanced side..

  19. I only managed to watch first 10 minutes or so of Japan vs Germany game with my eyes heavily dozing off. Like I said in my post above playing vs Japan in world cup is never easy . Boy they started like bullet train travelling from Tokyo to Kanazawa. I tried hard to watch but fell off to sleep. Had to come back and watch the replay. The backline for Germany as expected is the weak link. Big Sule at Right back and towering Schlotterbeck stumbled big time vs quick and fast Japanese.

    The selection of Muller in the centre also played into the Japanese favour as they exposed the midfield big time. They were too causal going 1-0 up and instead of burying the game, got pegged. Argentina lost exactly the same way.

    I also never realized toni kross has retired from international football.

    Germany are in danger of bombing out again and I don’t think they will be able to beat Spain. The class Spain showed vs Costa Rica, it’s going to be a huge ask for the germans to beat them. Even with sane nursing injury and if they qualifier, dont think they will be able to go far.

  20. Jean, thanks for your kind comments and perhaps I was a tad too sensitive this morning, but it does get to me that a post I put effort in is ridiculed or brushed aside as nonsense.

    You mention you point out the facts, but the stats are actual facts :-).

    You make assumptions, based on facts. You say “Berghuis failed at Watford”. That is a fact, but it deserves context. He was signed by another coach. The new coach wanted to play football that didn’t fit the qualities of Berghuis. He should have gone to a different club. You can’t say that based on the FACT that he didn’t succeed it is a FACT that he is a bad player.

    I mean, Bergkamp failed at Inter. Would you say he is a bad player. He would have proved you wrong.

    The fact that no big clubs (Ajax is a big club by the way) doesn’t want him, is not a fact. How would you know? But even if it was so, his wife is the daughter of a very wealthy entrepreneur and works for her dad. Could that be the reason why Steven prefers to stay in Holland? Were there a lot of offers for Tadic? Does this mean he is a lousy player.

    Like I said before, I have my doubts about players like any fan. I believe Dumfries should have more competition (not Hateboer or Veltman, but Karsdorp or Frimpong). I am also not 100% about Koopmeiners or Bergwijn.

    But I can understand why Van Gaal won’t hook Dumfries as his impact is there, his energy is applauded, he’s a popular player in the group, he is strong in the air.

    But, he is no Reiziger.

    Bergwijn did a lot of business for us against weaker teams in the qualifications, but will he be as lethal versus Argentina or France? I don’t know.

    The thing you also ignore, is the briefing players get from the coach.

    I worked in advertising and the public tends to judge ads without knowing what the briefing was. You can’t judge the advertising agencies if you don’t know what they were asked to do.

    Same with Van Gaal and his tasks for the players. Frenkie is told – like Memphis – to always make his actions, always try and take on the opponent. So when Frenkie does this but loses possession, he will do it again and again. Because his coach expects him to.

    I can criticise players on their football contribution and if I wonder how a player is maintained in a team, I try to find out why? I ask questions. I don’t make statements based on facts/assumptions/opinions.

  21. Tomy14, if you read the analysis, you will have seen that Berghuis played as a 6 in the first half and as a 10 in the second half. Never as an 8. Again, it’s important to find out what a player was told to do. Berghuis was instructed to stay next to Gakpo. Van Gaal believes the best defence is offense.

  22. Wilson – I’m not going to honour your comments with a long answer. You seem to be the authority to determine that certain stats are useless. I thought this couldn’t get sillier.

    A player who doesn’t perform is not subbed at the 80est minute, but at half time or the 60st minute. A player who is subbed at the 80st minute 1) makes way for fresh legs and maybe a different type of midfielder and 2) might be spared for the second game. Ever thought of that?

    You too make up your own reality. How do you know “everyone expected koops” when everyone in Holland (the sports media and the players) all were convinced Berghuis would play.

    Louis likes taking risks and will play De Roon and / or Koopmeiners when the opponnent is stronger. Don’t forget, Koopmeiners have not really been too influencial under Van Gaal in the qualification games. Clearly, Berghuis delivered more.

    Or are you again claiming you understand football better than Van Gaal?

  23. Currently trying to watch the Uruguay – South Korea match, but I’ve watched about 40 minutes of it now and still can’t get into it. Uruguay looks like the team that time forgot. Their kits look like something from the 60s, which I actually love, but Suarez looks like someone’s grandfather running around out there. And the best chance of the game came off the header from Diego Godín, who I had no idea was still playing. Then I looked at their bench and saw that Muslera was still on the roster too, and now they’re about to sub in Cavani. I guess Diego Forlán was unavailable?

    Korea is wearing neon red monochromatic kits, which you would expect would make them exciting but that really hasn’t happened either.

    Another interesting aspect of tuning in to the World Cup every four years is to watch these generations of players cycle through. With Son nearing the end of his prime years, this is probably South Korea’s best chance, but they’ve really not shown much that would cause you to expect them to advance in this tournament. Uruguay‘s peak was probably 2010, and they obviously haven’t produced enough young players to displace most of the aging stars from that tournament. Each national team has its own story I guess…

  24. I read that LVG said in an interview after the Senegal game that this team is better than the one from 2014. I understand he needs to inspire his troops but I think there is no comparison. This can actually only be validated if this team makes it one step farther and gets into the final. In 2014 we were in a group of death where we blew away the world champions + south america champions and we showed a strong character in coming from behind and beating a strong Australia. Yet, we struggled badly against Mexico and Costa Rica and couldn’t score for 240 mins against CR and Argentina. If you remember back then in this blog we used to scream about LVG make better use of Huntelaar which I still believe was a big mistake. If Depay was today the player he was 2 years ago I would have much more hope, but unfortunately he is a shell of his former self. I still believe that Luuk de Jong can be our new Huntelaar if LVG uses him. I like this guy a lot.

  25. And Portugal has taken the lead right back! What do they say about goals being scored right after other goals are scored? And now they’ve extended their lead with another goal!

    Ronaldo 65′
    Ayew 73′
    Felix 78′
    Leao 80′

    1. And Ghana scores again! I was about to complain that it has been 10 whole minutes since someone had scored. Wonder how Portugal’s manager feels now about having subbed out Ronaldo, Silva and Felix all together? And now NINE added minutes. Can we get at least one more goal?

    2. Terrible substitutions by Ghana coach. They were controlling the ball well, now can’t stitch 3 passes together.
      About fans, I think we’re way behind some other teams in Qatar. Mexico, Wales have had impressive displays. Against Senegal i didn’t feel like there were more than 2-3K dutch fans in the stands.
      3-2 now and I hope Ghana ties it.

      1. What a crazy match! And Ghana almost stole one from the keeper at the last second!

        Neither team could keep possession at all down the stretch, even if they wanted to.

        This might be the most competitive group, with Portugal, Ghana, South Korea and Uruguay. None of them are all that dominant, so anything could happen in each match

  26. I am so shocked by Serbia. I expected them to be much better. They have some very good players. Instead they settle for a 0-0 from the very first minute with very negative tactics. They haven’t had a chance or a shot in Brazil’s goal all game. They have nobody who can dribble or pass.

  27. The PK gifted to Ronaldo was an absolute joke.

    It happens in all sports, I suppose, but it’s still irritating to see the ‘special’ players given special treatment. This was happening in the Brazil game as well with their typical theatrics being awarded with free kicks. This ref was actually a little better than most at ignoring the dives and rolls and face holding, but he also didn’t even seem to consider giving a PK to Serbia when Silva elbowed someone in the face in the box.

    Brazil and Portugal both looked more vulnerable than their rosters would indicate they should be.

  28. @ Jan

    “Louis likes taking risks and will play De Roon and / or Koopmeiners when the opponent is stronger.”

    again vs stronger team this player and vs less stronger team that player.

    No other team does this, injuries aside and it only happens in dutch football. well under van gaal at most, when it works wonders he is a tatical genuis when it fails, side step with medicore excuses. remember 2001 post-match claims that the noise at Lansdowne Road had made communication difficult, while the pitch had hindered his team’s passing game (10 vs 11)

    Im not claiming I know football better than Van Gaal, But its a no brainer you cant be experimenting and big mouthing at the same time that you can win the world cup. you cant be doing trial and error at world cup level and expecting it to work every time. van gaal has a history of this and faced the music according through out his career. and when you see this things happening, just lose hope.

    “Don’t forget, Koopmeiners have not really been too influencial under Van Gaal in the qualification games. Clearly, Berghuis delivered more”.

    are you serious. how many games has koopmeiners played. both are differnt players as Tomy14 explained precisely. Berghuis is more attacking midfielder. cleary the thing I see with you is you dont want to see the flip side. berghuis is lightweight and easily gets dispossessed in duals so why start him and especially vs a more robust senegal who played with 3 defensive midfielders. just argument sake off course.

    “A player who doesn’t perform is not subbed at the 80est minute, but at half time or the 60st minute. A player who is subbed at the 80st minute 1) makes way for fresh legs and maybe a different type of midfielder and 2) might be spared for the second game. Ever thought of that?”

    flip side my friend. why only bergwijn, berghuis and janssen. why not lang for gakpo, Frimpong for dumfries ,malacia for Blinnnnnnnnnnnd. did you think about this.lol

  29. @Wilson

    You say no other team change their personnel in relation to the opponent? Okay. if you say so.

    I am not sure what trial and error you are talking about. You are not clear. LVG worked with full quads always and will know exactly what De Roon gives him, or Klaassen or Koopmeiners. There is no trial and error with LVG. It seems like you really have no clue about how he works. There is no coincidences with him and his approach.

    I am serious. LVG said it himself, that Koopmeiners is playing too timid, to much safety on. At Atalanta he is more settled and takes more risks. When LVG told Koop to be more decisive he immediately scored his first Oranje goal.

    No need to repeat the weaknesses of Berghuis. I think I already mentioned them in the posts. It’s not secret. Repeating them all the time doesn’t give you more points.

    I responded to the comment that “Berghuis was subbed” and therefore “had to have been crap” and you come back with the question if I thought about replacing Gakpo with Lang??? Why.

    Why not Noppert by Malacia? Or Frenkie bij Bijlow? What are you trying to say? You believe LVG needs to change more players?

    I hope you stay off the alcohol.

  30. this is like chasing a ghost. I repsoned in context to your THIS COMMENT

    1) makes way for fresh legs and maybe a different type of midfielder and 2) might be spared for the second game”

    this is where I brought up why not spare gakpo for fresher lang, or malacia for blind. why only bergwijn, janssen, and berghuis. it obvious there were struggling to make impact in the game.

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