Why Berghuis was the free man v Belgium

Our lively discussions on the forum sometimes show quite a gap in understanding and appreciation of the Oranje games and players.

Just like Daley Blind now (and players like Memphis, Kuyt, Nigel de Jong before them), it seems Steven Berghuis’ contributions are not truly appreciated.

Louis van Gaal said after the Belgium match up that with this 3-4-3 and with a solid execution of that system, Holland will always have a man-more situation anywhere on the pitch. “Whatever the Belgium did or could do, we were always outnumbering them.”

Frenkie de Jong and Steven Berghuis were the key players in this.

Months ago, Van Gaal lamented that “he didn’t have any real classic wingers”. At that point. Berghuis was still a right winger for Oranje (and Ajax) but with the break-through of Antony at Ajax, Berghuis was moved to the spine of the Ajax team. A signal for LVG to consider the same: “Berghuis is not the type of winger that takes on his direct opponent. So I decided to use him in the central part of the pitch.”

Belgium plays in a 3-4-3, like LVG wants. But Van Gaal also has a strong principle, to never play the same system as the opponent. “I don’t want to make it easy for them to make duos on the pitch, I want the opponent to have to think, to have to decide what to do. So I switched the roles in our midfield.” Where Belgium plays with one attacking mid and two holding midfielders, LVG decided to use one holding mid (Frenkie) and have Berghuis and Klaassen free in their movements.


In this way, he presented Belgium coach Martinez with some additional decision making. Now it was up to Kevin de Bruyne to defend against Frenkie, something the brilliant Citizen only did sparsely.

Defensively, it became easier for Oranje: Berghuis kept an eye on Witsel and Klaassen covered Vanaken. Frenkie only had to pick up De Bruyne, whenever he dropped back into midfield. Due to Berghuis’ smart positioning, we never got a man-more situation against us. We were always in control in midfield. As Van Gaal said in the post match presser: “Our midfield won the game for us.”

Berghuis dropping next to Frenkie to offer another option

Berghuis: “What the coach predicted was exactly what happened. We trained like this and we saw it happening exactly this way in the match. I played a bit deeper, at times close to Frenkie. This allowed us control in midfield and with Davy and his movements, we always had an option in midfield and were never outnumbered. I think we executed the plans really well.”

Frenkie moving up and creating man more situation

The 4th minute shows exactly how it all worked. The three Dutch central defenders (Timber, Van Dijk, Ake) are in position at the back, while Dumfries and Blind have moved up along the touch line. Frenkie drops back to assist with the build up, so now Holland has 4 players opposite 3 Belgium forwards. Once the forward pass is played, Berghuis drops back closer to Frenkie who can play in the Ajax midfielder. With Witsel pulled into that zone, Frenkie can come up – leaving De Bruyne behind – and again creating a man more situation. Holland kept on playing this cat and mouse game, luring the Belgium forwards to try and take the ball, without success.

In this situation, Frenkie dropped all the way back to a central defender’s role, luring De Bruyne with him. Berghuis and Klaassen are behind the Belgium controllers, who feel to be in … well… control. But when Berghuis drops deep to receive the ball, he has the freedom of midfield, allowing him to turn and pick his pass. Memphis was already on his bike. As Van Gaal said: “We always have the free man.”

Making Belgium believe they’re in control

Berghuis finding the space….

…and the pass

In the final third, Oranje did similar things: Blind and Dumfries kept the pitch wide and their movements kept at least two opponents busy. The four attacking players (Bergwijn, Depay, Berghuis, Klaassen) kept on changing positions, making the central defenders of Belgium nauseous.

Berghuis as right winger…

Berghuis’ heat map covered practically the whole pitch, as you can see in the following screen shots. Due to his movement, he always found time and space for the forward pass. The yield of his passing was a tad disappointing, with the only success the assist for the 0-2.

Berghuis as #10

Berghuis as left midfielder

Most of the stats show that Berghuis and De Jong were the two key players in Van Gaal’s plan to win the Battle of Midfield, versus Belgium. Only Blind and De Jong created more chances (4 vs 3 for Berghuis). Memphis had more shots (3) on target than Berghuis (2). Frenkie, Virgil and Daley Blind played more passes than Berghuis (44), who was subbed after 82 minutes.

Wednesday, Oranje plays Wales, in Cardiff. The Welshmen has just qualified for the World Cup by beating Ukraine 1-0. The Welsh Dragons will have some celebrations in the legs and might not play their best eleven. Good outlook for Oranje, in other words.

Tough to predict our line up. I think Cillesen will play 2 matches and Flekken will play 2.

I think we will see:


Hateboer – De Ligt – De Vrij – Ake – Malacia

Koopmeiners – Berghuis


Memphis – Bergwijn

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  1. Hey Jan,

    Great analysis. I think sometimes people get caught up on the “technical” ability of players. At a high level of sport Technical ability is just the foundation that allows a player to implement different tactical plays. I think van Gaal has built a system that doesn’t require extremely “technical” players, like a tiki-taka system might. His systems are more about creating space through formations and analyzing the man vs man situations as they evolve through the game. This type of tactical set requires players that are willing to run and be flexible, which we have in players like Blind, Klaassen, Berghuis, Bergwijn, Depay, Frenkie, van de Beek. The flexibility of these players is going to be van Gaal’s greatest asset.

    If he had a team with Neymar, Messi and Mbappe, there would be only one formation he could play, and he wouldn’t be able to use his mind to beat other teams.

    1. Excellent comments Derek, I agree. I also believe most fans watch the ball and will judge players on what they do with the ball.

      It’s important to realise that a player probably only has the ball 3 mins per match. Someone like Messi probably 7 mins but I think most players (Ake, Dumfries, Klaassen) less than 3 mins.

      It’s what they do without the ball. The movement, offering options, dummy runs, blocking the pass lines of the opponent, etc.

      usually, a coach will judge a player way differently than us fans do.

      1. I played very high level football for a long time. I rarely had the ball. All I did was run as hard as I could for 90 minutes up and down the pitch. Get on someone who had the ball, and cover passing lanes. There were matches when I might only touch the ball a dozen times and play short five yard passes backwards. But I was a big asset to my team not based on technical ability but sheer work rate. I never gave away the ball, I won it back, and I shut down space. I would never be on a highlight reel but still I played 90 minutes every game for my whole career.

        I coach tennis at a high level now, and we rate players on the following pillars:
        Technical, Tactical, Mental, Physical.

        You cannot make it into professional sports without a certain level of technique, you need to be at least 7/10. The guys who make it to the top are the guys who excel in the other 3 pillars. We’ve seen lots of players (Quaresma) who are 10/10 technical, but flops in the other categories, and never make it.

        The same goes for hockey. Lots of guys who are lighting up juniors scoring 100 points a season, will get into the NHL, realize they can’t do the other 3 pillars, and end up on the 4th line of some team just chasing pucks.

        1. We often say that it’s like building a house.
          Technical is the material you build your house from.
          Tactical is the blueprints for building your home.
          Physical is the actual work that is done.
          Mental is all the nice additions.

          A guy like Quaresma has brilliant raw marble, but because his blueprints and work are poor, he ends up with an awful house.

          A guy like Marten de Roon might be building his house out of wood, but because he puts a plan together and works hard, ends up with a nice log cabin.

          1. Very interesting insights indeed. I like it. I always have to think about JC and how he praised Wim Jansen in the 1974 midfield. Rensenbrink, Rep, Cruyff, Neeskens, Van Hanegem, they were the stars but Jansen was the brains. Most football fans wouldn’t recognise this.

            Same with Lasse Schone in his Ajax days or Fabinho at Liverpool. Once these guys don’t play, you notice.

  2. Nobody with any remote football knowledge will question the tactical acumen of LVG. He had his tactics on point as you all have so well pointed out with illustrations included.

    The problem I have with this write up is the use of Berghuis as a justification of how well the system works. This system with a lesser player than Berghuis would have worked just as well. Berghuis is not the system.

    Yes, he plays a role to bring everything together. But his participation and contribution to this team has always being greatly exaggerated.

    Going on 40 games since his debut, I doubt that Berghuis even has 5 assists let alone goals. One can argue that he attempts a lot of high risk pass to offset the fact that he loses the ball at an alarming rate.

    One can excuse the fact that his gilt-edged chance conversion rate is abysmal by imposing that he puts himself in that position to score in the first place.

    One can also say that he has never imposed himself in a physical game against any opponent of a significant technical ability because he is slight and clever and it would not but be his cup of tea.

    But when you put all these variables together, it only points at one thing; Berghuis has never being good enough and never will be. The only reason that has kept him in this team is the world-renowned stubbornness and groupthink of this organization.

    How could you not have a suitable backup(even from Jong Oranje) for a player who you regard as your creative fulcrum but who never played a SINGLE convincing game in the qualifiers against a single opponent of any significant mettle?

    Mark my words, Berghuis wil be Berghuis when it really matters.

    1. That is correct, Orangutan. I wasn’t making the point that Berghuis is the key to this team. You are spot on. The tactics worked and Berghuis is just a cog in the system.

      But it’s like with Ziyech for me. Ziyech at Ajax was The Man. At Chelsea, he is one of the lads. When midfielders or defenders at Ajax repossessed the ball, they’d look for either Ziyech or Tadic.

      At Chelsea, they can play in Havertz, Mount, Kovacic, Pulisic, Kante or Werner. Or Ziyech.

      I don’t recall all Berghuis’ games in Oranje, but he was told to “fit in the right winger” role. But he’s not a typical right winger (neither is Ziyech) but more a playmaker. Van Gaal and Ten Hag have found a way to get the best from him.

      When Gravenberch, Donny vd Beek, Gakpo and/or Ihattaren join in, we might not hear from Berghuis again, but his left foot is quite unique. Something Ihattaren offers too, but the others not so much.

  3. @ Jan,
    You always talk as if Berghuis is Pirlo or Donadoni or Valderama. Hi is not. This guy is very average. Why is he in the EREDEVISE? How come no clubs are after him? The only reason Berghuis is in the NT is because in Holland, these coaches play their friends and family members. You’ve always mentioned these Dutch analysts to make your point, Holland have not won anything except the 88 Euro. So all these dutch analysts are irrelevant or maybe no one listen to their opinion. No dutch analyst is going to convince me that Berghuis brings anything spectacular to this team. Van Gaal brings that same starting 11 to this world cup, we are done and I’m going to stand by it. If we are going to make any impact in this world cup, we need to replace at lease 4 players from that starting 11. Time will tell!

    1. No I don’t :-). I never compared him with Pirlo. Or Valderama. I merely say, that he has skills that are unique. Ten Hag wouldn’t play him otherwise. Ajax signed Tadic, Haller, maybe Bergwijn, Antony and others from big/foreign competitions. If Ten Hag wanted another midfielder, Ajax would have signed that player.

      But Ten Hag wanted Berghuis. He keeps Kudus and Klaassen on the bench.

      How do you know there are no clubs after him?

      These guys (Tadic, Blind, Haller, Berghuis) make around 4,5M per annum, same as they would get at Atalanta or Wolfsburg or Valencia. Berghuis would never get an offer from Juve or Real Madrid, so why would he go to a mid tier team in France or Spain if he can play CL football with Ajax??

      Your logic is wanting. The points you are making are moot points.

      If Ten Hag, Advocaat, Slot, Van Gaal, Blind, Hiddink, Kieft, Perez, Gullit, Van Basten and Van der Vaart to name a few, can not convince you that Berghuis is a class act, it probably means you have way more football know-how than them.

      Btw, you use the word “spectacular”. It’s not about spectacular. It’s about having the mix of players you need. You need depth, speed, goal scoring abilities, you need grit in midfield and you need creativity. For this last aspect, Berghuis is a candidate.

      The comment that we didn’t win much since 1988 is a bit lame. Belgium had a super squad for years, what did they win? Argentina with Messi? How is Italy’s recent World Cup run?

      Anyway, feel free to tell us which 4 players need replacing?

  4. @ Oranguntan, WELL SAID MY FRIEND.

    @ Derek, In my opinion if we can find 2 better defenders (left back, right back), definitely Klassen and Berghuis should be starters. We don’t need Blind on this team anymore. We now have better option to replace him. I would play Kardosp over Dumfries (not sure how to spell his name)
    Berghuis is a big fat NO on my list. I think Van Gaal should have used these game to experiment Depay as his # 10 and see how it goes instead up freeking put Berghuis on the field.

    1. Aha, here are your comments :-).

      I agree re: Karsdorp over Dumfries, but the difference between these two is not that big.

      As LB, I think Malacia is the man, but you can’t claim Blind played bad. You can bet $1000 that Van Gaal will always take Blind along to the WC.

      You clearly have something against Berghuis. He could have scored 3 goals v Belgium, I don’t think that would change your mind.

    1. Just name names. If not Berghuis then who. You know there’s a limited list of players for van Gaal to pick from. It’s not like he’s picking Berghuis over Fernandes, Pogba and de Bruyne. I’m curious as to which Dutch Midfielders you think should be starting ahead of Berghuis in van Gaal 5-3-2 formation.

    2. It’s interesting, because I too don’t think Berghuis and Klaassen should be starters. But I’m not so against Berghuis as I recognise his qualities and in the LVG set up: he delivers.

      I think Gravenberch, Vd Beek or Gakpo will be better options, but that is all based on their indfividual qualities. Any coach will look at the balance in the team.

      In 1988, Michels took creative player Van’t Schip out and brought hard working Erwin Koeman in.

      Van Marwijk benched Van der Vaart in favour of Nigel de Jong.

      Coaches do not always play their best players, they look to find the best team.

  5. Lately Xavi have been used Depay as a #10 and Depay have done very well. I would try Depay as our #10 with Danjuma on the left and Bergwijn on the right as usual. Get rid of Berghuis. That answer your question

  6. From previous post

    @ Kevin

    ” counting the chickens before they hatch”

    It’s obvious what I see, you are not seeing it but I will walk you through it. The potential of the current players both on and off the bench, injured and few others who can make the team, like VDBeek, Karsdorp, I would say NT, if was molded together from the starting would have the potential to take on any team and reach the final regardless of not being or having household names but with the current form they are in at club level and in NT

    Benzema- Depay
    Mbappe- Danjuma (injured)
    Casmerio- Frenkie
    Neymar- Lang
    Mane – Bergwijn
    Van Dijk – Best CB in the world

    The only players that NT doesnt have is of Modric/ KDB esque which are attacking midfielders and again fingers crossed Ihattaren gets back to his very best/ old form before the next round of Nations league. this can be addressed. if not VDBeek surely will bounce back under ETH and definitely get a call up. not a big fan of his but his experience in NT will be decisive come final selection.

    On a flip side side I said this about Ajax in CL and Im saying this again for NT, Berghuis, Klaassen and Blind are are not big game players and come the Knock out stages the whole team will suffer because of them. Then you will have some section of the critics saying like you also said , QF was a good achievement and they couldn’t have done any better which again is Bogus and deceptive, should their approach would have been different and more productive to changing formations and accommodating players who shouldn’t be.

    Those two morons know this and have seen it but think by changing formation they can overlook the deficiencies of players to their strengths and defy the odds, when there are other players who can complement the team better. it a shame talents like gakpo, Lang, injured Danjuma, karsdorp and few others are still fringe players and have not been able to lay much stakes in the team just because they cant get minutes due to needless changes which is not required. NT has some of the best CBS on the planet and why on earth you would wanna sacrifice talented wingers like Gakpo, Danjuma, Lang for and extra Cb which is again insane and like I always say “hitting the fork in your own foot”. Blinds weakness has been exposed so many times but they still wanna drag /squeeze him in and look at what its doing to Malacia who has already shown he has a better package than Blind and only needs to clock more minutes building on his confidence level at NT level but simply wont get that benefit of doubt. dont have to say much here. there was comments on Blinds assists vs Belgium, which is fine but to assume that Malacia would not have been decisive as he was in that position would be misleading.

    You can write this down somewhere, come the knock out stages, its gonna be same story and the same culprits if they are starting. Simply because this is where player head to head becomes very critical and decisive to the outcome of the game. you can say anything you want but that will not change this fact and you dont have look far to see this. it is on the records.


    World Cup is not euros. its impractical to compare euros and concluded the same can happen in the world cup. again the records speaks for itself.

  7. @ Derekvdberg91

    ” I think sometimes people get caught up on the “technical” ability of players. At a high level of sport Technical ability is just the foundation that allows a player to implement different tactical plays”

    First of all I would say from a sporting point of view this statement is vague and not necessarily applicable .There has been many sports and players who have defied odds without any technical ability and went on to become the greatest players of that sport. the great NBA legend Allan Iverson immediately comes to mind.

    In football it has to be Filippo Inzaghi who was king of right place at the right time. Robert lewandoski,

    technical ability can come in different spectrums, hope im using the right word. its this spectrum that separates best player from a better player , good player and so on from an average player while all can have certain degree of technical ability as well. you fail to correlate this in context to your views. there so many examples I can come up with but sticking to what you said, it obvious you are looking at it from a very general perspective and not in context to how this spectrum can be different for different players and which determines who has a higher ceiling and who has a lower one. I dont think anybody is caught up with anything here as it is straight forwad.

    Take Antony (22) and Berghuis (30) for example at Ajax, Both are similar esque players. Antony has come up and dethrone berghuis off because of his technical pros. He is a better ball carrier than him. What has this to do with house building concept that you mentioned. Material, blueprint, work, mental etc.

    Now if you throw Riyad Mahrez (30) into this picture, who is again similar esque player as both then he is sitting on another level. The difference again here is the spectrum of the technical ability they posses . Now Antony is still young and could potentially take it up to other level but for Berghuis its remains limited as it is and it will be the same where ever he plays. Again I will say this is straight forward and it has nothing to do with Quresama not making to the top or not. There are 100s of players who never lived up to expectation changing clubs all of because of different reasons and factors but this doesn’t mean they flopped because of the were weak in other so called pillars that you mentioned. I mean you look at Hazard. Which pillar do you think he flopped now that Vinicius has popped up Madrid.

    “I think van Gaal has built a system that doesn’t require extremely “technical” players, like a tiki-taka system might. His systems are more about creating space through formations and analyzing the man vs man situations as they evolve through the game. This type of tactical set requires players that are willing to run and be flexible, which we have in players like Blind, Klaassen, Berghuis, Bergwijn, Depay, Frenkie, van de Beek”

    I find this utter crap man. Are you saying here players like Gakpo, Malacia, Danjuma, Lang, Koopmeiners are not flexible and cant run/ workrate is poor. This is why van gaal needs to rotate the squad and let other players prove themselves. This is what he should do vs Wales.

    I do see the tatical part though Which you mentioned about analysing the game and man man situation as the game evolved but this often comes with the risk of being nullified when the opponent is a suppressing team and the you have to defend and attack on the same rate. This is when you see individual mistakes popping up typically in knock out stages. In simple words Van gaal is tatical genuis when there is loop hole or weak area in the oponenet team. If they come up with a team that doesn’t, that’s when it comes down to who has the best player head to head and typically this where the game gets decided if not it drags to the PKs like vs Argentina in 2014.

    1. The technical ability factor is not vague. At all. It means: being the boss over the ball.

      You can compare a maestro in ball skills like Van Basten with someone like Gullit.

      Van Basten was the ultimate technician (like Vanenburg, like Van der Vaart, Davids, and in the current squad Memphis). Tremendous technique.

      Gullit lacked that. He had hard feet. Couldn’t dribble his way out of a confined space. But Gullit had physical abilities that were amazing: speed, strength, jumping ability, explosivity.

      Ajax players are usually players with an amazing core technique.

      Traditionally, PSV and Feyenoord developed more physical players, runners.

      I think the mental aspect is our biggest weakness. Tactically, we’re strong and in some cases, maybe relying on tactics too much (Ten Hag, Van Gaal).

      Physically, we could do better. We had a bad generation of defenders a decade ago and now we seem to have developed some amazing defenders (and defensive midfielders, like Toornstra, Schouten, Van Bommel, De Jong, Koopmeiners).

      But mentally… we are weak. We don’t know what it takes to play game after game, week after week, month after month, season after season at the highest level.

      Even Sneijder, Van der Vaart and Van Persie struggled with this. Take Messi, Modric, C Ronaldo and Kroos to name a few. Or Pique, Fernandinho, Henderson.

      Players who know what it takes to perform literally every day.

      Our mental weakness is partly the result of the weak competitions we develop our players in, but it’s also part of a bigger, cultural Dutch issue.

    2. I figured you would respond to this, and I’m going to be honest you were one of the people I was referencing when I mentioned getting caught in the technical aspect. After years of having you list off players you think should be playing in the NT, it’s become very clear that if on FIFA a player doesn’t have 5/5 Skill Stars, you don’t want them in Holland’s team. The model of player you think is top caliber is the same across all positions. They need to be fast, they need to do stepovers, they need to score flashy goals and beat defenders. If you look at all of the players you’ve talked up: Buttner, Malacia, Karsdrop, Dilrosun, Danjuma, Redan, Zivkovic, Simons, Stengs, Reis, they all fit the same model of player. If you look at all the players you dislike: Blind, Dumfries, Klaassen, Berghuis, Wijnaldum, van de Beek, Ekkelenkamp, its the same thing.

      You rate players single-handedly based on how much flair they bring to the game. The PSG model if you like. If you see a Dutch kid do 8 stepovers and score a worldy in the 8th league of English football, you start penning your letter to van Gaal immediately. You would take a player doing tricks in China’s third league over a guy playing regularly in a German first division team.

      A good example to imagine, is lets say against Senegal, Sadio Mane escapes after a corner, and he’s got 10 yards on our defensive line and he’s going to be 1v1 against our keeper. I guarantee you that Karsdrop, Malacia, Buttner, Danjuma, Simons or whoever don’t even think about getting on their bike. But I bet that Dumfries, Klaassen or Berghuis would. Dumfries would probably catch him too.

      In terms of those other guys needing to get a chance, they’ve had a whole year to show off what they can do. The International fixtures are the test, they’re not training anymore. If you can’t show what you can do at club level, you’re not suddenly going to find a new gear for internationals.

      1. Oh man, why did you mention Buttner? You know that we’re going to get weeks of how harshly Buttner was treated compared to Blind…

  8. @ Jan,

    Coaches don’t make the right decision all the time and playing with 2 defensive mid in that final against Spain was a major mistake. So Van Marwijk was wrong. Van Der Vaart with his technical ability could of hold the ball, pressing and created chances. We did not need Nigel De Jong against Spain. Anyway, I don’t have anything against Berghuis, I think he simply doesn’t deserve to be on the team and never mind as a starter. This guy have lost more ball in a game then everybody else. I don’t care what these analyst are saying because I am watching the same game they are watching. I’m saying this again, we put that same starting 11 on the pitch in the world cup, we go home very early. By the way, Equator isn’t going to be easy and never mind Senegal.

    1. @Jean_venette I actually agree my friend. I mentioned Bert and his decisions because that is how he saw it, but I too was a big fan of Rafa in that line up. I remember vividly that the team played better with Van der Vaart in the holding mid role.

      As for Berghuis, I don’t agree. You will have seen the same game as me and the analysts but at times people see different things. There is also that aspect of what you / one finds important.

      Players like Memphis (and Berghuis) do lose the ball often, but the focus should really be on the times they don’t. Memphis scores goals for us. Two versus Belgium. If he loses the ball 15 times but scores twice: who cares. Wingers, and creative midfielders actually need to lose the ball at times, because that means they will be taking risks. Which is needed.

      It’s about balance. I focus on what the player contributes. Blind: 2 assists and zero fukc-ups. Berghuis: 1 assist and 1 pre-assist. I don’t care how often he loses the ball. It also depends on the sort of possession loss. Is it a square pass, that went astray? Or a creative pass forward through the eye of the needle that went wrong?

      Which player in the style of Berghuis do you rate higher on the #10 position?

  9. I really don’t know which player in this generation I rather as # 10 because they’re all suck. Why do you think people talk less about this generation? Very few of them have success overseas. As Dutch fans we have to accept that and not fool ourselves. That starting 11 Van Gaal used against Belgium isn’t going to take us far because I have seen them play several times and I already what the end result is going to be regardless of tactics and I am going to stand by it.

    1. jean, I am of the same opinion, 100%. Because of this I am trying to enjoy as much as possible the “success” of a dazzling performance once in a while.

  10. Have to say I lost this piece to power failure but did my best to recall, recollect and piece it together again. So Les go.

    some good points and insight views but I feel the counter arguments, examples are not alined and are all over the places.The Allan Iverson example I used was to argue technical ability point being the foundation that allows a player to implement different tactical plays in high level sports. note here what DVDB91 said”high level sports”and not just football. I hope im making my self clear here
    Maybe vague was not the right word but this can be challegened with respect to different sport and in context to football Inzaghi was never a boss over the ball but still made it to the very top. So are lewandoski, huntelaar to name few others.

    @ Jan
    I havnt watched Guilt and Van Basten play ever but I did though watch the old clips and documentaries of the great Milan team of the late 80s and earlier 90 and the only thing I saw was Guilt dribbling on the flanks and Van basten scoring. the other stuff that you talked about players and team, I think I did cover it in the spectrum scope of technical ability in context to different level and in different players. best, better, good, high medium,low. Hope I have not strayed away.

    “Our mental weakness is partly the result of the weak competitions we develop our players in, but it’s also part of a bigger, cultural Dutch issue”

    I agree to this 100%. still stuck in the past.

    “Casimero = Frenkie de Jong???I think you lost me there”

    Just meant Frenkie De Jong is world class as per any other CM right now. Just used casmerio as an example.

    @ DVDB 91

    “After years of having you list off players you think should be playing in the NT, it’s become very clear that if on FIFA a player doesn’t have 5/5 Skill Stars, you don’t want them in Holland’s team. The model of player you think is top caliber is the same across all positions. They need to be fast, they need to do stepovers, they need to score flashy goals and beat defenders. If you look at all of the players you’ve talked up: Buttner, Malacia, Karsdrop, Dilrosun, Danjuma, Redan, Zivkovic, Simons, Stengs, Reis, they all fit the same model of player. If you look at all the players you dislike: Blind, Dumfries, Klaassen, Berghuis, Wijnaldum, van de Beek, Ekkelenkamp, its the same thing.

    You rate players single-handedly based on how much flair they bring to the game. The PSG model if you like”

    not really and I have said this countless times before as well.. I view it from the pespective that for an upgrade of a position you need competition or rotation and this is where I do a side by side comparison of potential players based on their skill, form, pros and cons. Its only from this you can determine who can complement the team better and also build up on ( depth factor) with quality backup should there be injury crisis to key players. Depay, Frenkie, Van Dijk. We all know the team will collapse if they get injured.

    What you call flare (They need to be fast, they need to do stepovers, they need to score flashy goals (not necessarily) and beat defenders, I simply call it technical ability because if you look at it from modern day football perspective these are the players who influence the team big time in winning . Tadic antnoy, ajax, perfect example. this is in general and in context to dutch players you have to agree with what jan said about weak competition and development and how usually 1 out of 10 often make it to the top. (danjuma) . Those who dont, there are many contributing factors to it from money, taking next step pecking order behind other players, seasons played, time to move on, upcoming players, injuries, wrong choices,coaches, tatics. Some of the other players you mentioned are still upcoming and in a season or two you will be talking about them. Dilrosun, Stengs, Simons, Reis provided they keep on playing regularly. Karsdorp as well fingers crossed in September

    Then you can also look.at the careers of players you mentioned I dislike except for wijnaldum whom I said his consistency level has declined in NT after 2018 and Dumfries whom I dont think ever said was a weak link in the team but due to karsdorp form and who would be a good competitor for starting spot with him

    Klaassen, VDBeek,Blind, Ekelenkamp were all highly rated but they flopped outside of eredivisie. These are the players you claim are flexible runners and will be assets for van gaal. These are the same players who fade out vs suppressing teams which every body knows it but gambling continues.

    ” In terms of those guys needing to get a chance, they’ve had a whole year to show off what they can do. The International fixtures are the test, they’re not training anymore. If you can’t show what you can do at club level, you’re not suddenly going to find a new gear for internationals”

    This depends if danny Blind is in the mood and if he decides to scout like he did for Vincent Janssen. Everyone is asking the same question, what did he scout??

    This brings me to your another question you asked.give me names as to who should replace Berghuis at 10. My answer to you is Tonny Vilhnea who had a good season in La liga for espanyol on loan from krasnodar and to the impact that coaches want sign him permanently. I wonder if Danny scouted him or whether esponyal is not deemed a big enough club for NT selection. Even though he is known in Ziest like Jan always says, versatile and is well know to Van gaal with NT experience. Or should he return to feyenoord in eredivisie like others to get better and then deemed good enough to get the nod.

  11. @Wilson, I think you are all over the place with your logic.

    Re: Gullit. what you saw on the flank is a player being successful due to speed and explosivity. Gullit was limited in confined spaces. Dribbling to me is taking on 3 players with success, Messi-style, Bernardo Silva style. This is why Gullit was great in a 4-4-2 (with space to run into) or on the wing.

    Re: Dutch culture, you say “stuck in the past”. That is not what I mean with cultural. The problem we have, compared to Brazil, Portugal, Italy, is that young people in Holland have it very good. There is not a lot of struggle.

    When talents move to bigger clubs (Ajax, AZ, Feyenoord, PSV) they win their matches without too many issues. We are a bit soft. Nothing to do with the past (ask Israel, Laseroms, Huslhoff, Van Hanegem) but with our society and core values.

    In England or Spain, youthful talents call their coach “boss” or “mister”. In Holland they call him by his first name.

    Re: players “failing”. I don’t believe Klaassen, Blind and vd Beek failed. As you should know, we develop players to play in a certain style. Blind is revered at Ajax and in Oranje and was fine under Van Gaal. Once Mourinho took over, you know he wants tall, strong CBs. Maguire was one of them. Do you believe Maguire is a better CB for Man United than Blind??

    Vd Beek, similar issue. He went to the wrong club. At Barca or Lyon or Dortmund he would have been top.

    It’s easy to say players fail when they end up in a bad situation. No one said Salah should stay in Egypt, when Chelsea didn’t want him anymore. Or De Bruyne (also Chelsea). You cannot judge players on the basis you judge them.

    Di Maria failed at Man United. Schweinsteiger at Man U? Pogba at Man U?

    And you think it’s Vd Beek who failed??

    If you think Danny Blind is the one who pushes Janssen through Van Gaal’s throat, you have no clue who Van Gaal is. LVG wants a striker, who can play with his butt to goal, with an eye for movement around him and with a snapshot in the box. Do you know strikers like that (apart from Brobbey) for Oranje? Janssen did well at AZ, he did well at Oranje, so why not check him out? LVG will use every option available to him. If he does, he is criticised, but if he doesn’t and we fail at the WC, everyone starts to say he didn’t try all options.

    Lastly, Vilhena for Berghuis? Well, this is the clinker. Vilhena is a runner, a Davids type pitbull midfielder. NOTHING like Berghuis.

    You keep on coming up with interesting posts and suddenly this type of comment comes along as well and I lose all faith in your ability to judge the game.

    Alternatives for Berghuis are Gakpo, Ihattaren, even Joey Veerman. But not Vilhena.

    Vilhena would be an alternative on the left for Malacia. I wouldn’t mind seeing that.

  12. @Wilson, there is something wrong with how you look at this.

    Ludoveit Reis is 22. He has never played in a top football league. Jurgen Ekkelenkamp is 22. He plays regularly for a Bundesliga team. For some reason Reis is “up and coming”, but Ekkelenkamp is a flop.

    You have Xavi Simons in your Euro 2024 team, but to me, this guy is the king of flops. At 16 he looked like the next Messi. At 19, he looks like he’s gonna end up in France’s second division. He’s one year younger than Gravenberch who has played dozens of Champions League games. At nineteen, de Ligt was leading Ajax to a European Cup final. At ninteen, Babel was a regular for Ajax. Xavi Simons can’t get 3 minutes in a game when PSG had clinched the title five weeks prior.

    Again, I think you get stuck on the “flair” of players, or their “potential”. When a player is 16 they always look like they’re going to be world beaters, but things become more realistic when they age.

    You need to understand that being a starter in the Eredivisie week in, week out, is echelons above being on the bench of some French team, or playing in the 2nd league of Germany. Yes, the Eredivisie is weak, but it’s not that week. You rate players based on perceived potential rather than what they are actually doing on the field. Does Simons have a high ceiling? Yes. Is he currently an international level footballer? No. He can’t even get onto Hollands U21 team. Which Rensch, who is his age, has already done.

  13. Typical superb van gaal…Man keep his word,honest,dying breed…What a man…
    11 changes from team faced Belgium…@wilson you must be happy….
    i remmber and feel pitty about fart van marwijk who ride the prime time of RVp,vaart,Rpben,Senijedr,Dejong,the team built by Marco van basten,…..Fart van keep presenting same elevn to every friendly untill unless there is an injury….
    The Wc final should have been
    Van bronkhost—Joris–Heitinga–Van der weil
    AS@$$hole spoiled it with kuyt…then took Dejong/Bommel for vaart later..got as###whoooped…Got the the negative name for dutch football..Cryuff supported spain…darkest 4 years of dutch football….
    Doesnt matter we loose to wales …we need experiment…chance for all sqaud memmbers…if you dont deliver you will be kicked out next selection…if any doubt ask Gini wijnaldum….

  14. @wilson….i used to criticize Berghuis as well…i wanted cahnces for Boadu,Danjuma,Berjwin etc…both boadu and berjwin did not disaapoint me…instead Berjwin surprised me….But Work rate is key untill unless you are a messi or CR7,…No excuse…there is not much on ball skill level difference between Danjuma and berguis…both are better skilled than Guus till,klassen etc…but the work rate is where it seperates them..Berghuis is a nuisense with his work rate for opponent…While danjuma loooks clumsy,lazy gives ample time for defenders to have strategy,plan etc…no position cahnge ,no availabity..We struggle for chance with him…with berghuis we create more chance,offcourse i agree berghuis is a poor finisher…But memphis,klassen,Berjwin will finsih their chance and number of gaols makes difference..

  15. We are playing with a very weak Wales side and still after 20 minutes, ZERO shots on target. HAHAHAHAHA
    We are finished! Now it’s only the memories

  16. Our 2nd string can hardly keep up with a weak Wales team. Luis should try to win nations Cup because it could be the only winnable one for NT. We can’t afford to lose points today.

  17. I am still waiting for Noa Lang spectacle. I have yet to see a glimpse of that so far.
    I love Weghorst but he looks like an 100 year old viking fighter out there.

  18. @Jan

    I saw Gullit play many a times and I’m surprised that you’ve put a question mark on his technical ability. Dribbling is part of that criteria and Gullit did it fairly well with his pace and power. Van Basten was a goal scorer with superb technique. Dribbling? No.

    Gullit’s positional awareness was spot on and he had assist after assist plus chip in with goals.

    Your comment speaks on the general sense of suspicion that the Dutch view physical prowess and brute strength. A technical player has to be a languid, svelte character who glides and float effortlessly akin to what the great JC did.

    For me personally, Lothar Matthaus will be a perfect caricature of a technical player. Low centre of gravity, can strike the ball with precision and power, pace to dribble when he has to, great passer, dictate a game with his positional awareness etc. Gullit was all that.

    Berghuis can be as frail and clever as he wants to be. He can never do half of what these two gladiators were capable of.

    1. Did Jan try to draw a comparison between Berghuis and Gullit? This would be insulting to the Golden Ball winner. Berghuis is not even worthy of shining Gullit’s shoes.
      I am starting to worry about Jan 🙂

    2. Orangutan, maybe I don’t use the term “dribble” correctly. With dribble, I mean to take on opponents and swoop past them, with full control of the ball. I am talking about technique, ball control in the confined spaces. Van Basten could pass two players on a square inch. Highly skilled.

      Gullit lacked that skill. Did not have tricks. He could run, play the ball past an opponent, run after it and cross it in.

      We had artists with the ball like Van Basten, Vanenburg, Van’t Schip and we had athletes like Gullit or Gillhaus.

  19. No matter who we put on the field makes no difference. They’re all suck. Really, cancel anything to watch the Netherlands plays, is a total waste of time.

  20. It’s not just a change of personnel for Holland, but a massive change of tactics. Against Belgium, Holland was playing a high press, not letting the Belgians have a second of time. Against Wales, we’re using a low block, letting the Wales defenders and midfielders hold the ball and holding a strong defensive shape.

    Clearly LVG is experimenting and treating this as a practice match.

  21. Happy with the win just to keep the momentum going and why not even win the nations league, but not happy with most of the players today, 8-9 of them are not oranje material unfortunately, schouten might be good with some confidence he looks more comfortable on the ball than koopmieners!!!

    1. It wouldnt say this. for same like Malacia, Lang, Koopmeiners and gakpo, you expect them to more minutes to jell in to the team better and with A team players

  22. I wouldnt say this. for sOme like Malacia, Lang, Koopmeiners and gakpo, you expect them to more minutes to jell in to the team better and with A team players

    1. I wouldnt say this. for some like Malacia, Lang, Koopmeiners and gakpo, you expect them to to jell in to the team better with mo0re minutes and with A team players

    1. Not really I think 3-5-2 doesnt suit him. He is not known for his defensive qualities like
      Gravenberch who offensively are more balanced. I know they play different positions but just saying as example. Bergwijn and Lang are good in dropping deep and then exploding offensively.

  23. Sloppy match. Sluggish and lacking of patterns but Wales also had their tactical set up spot on. Leaving our CBs to do the build up and locking up the forwards.

    Sadly, we have no runners in behind. Weghors, Gakpo, Lang, Memphis, Janssen… not enough depth in their play.

    The likes of Brobbey, Bergwijn and Danjuma can offer this but this line up v Wales was way too static.

    Full match review later today lads.

    Winning goal was a superb one. I’ll find the clip. It starts with a nifty little chip by Frenkie to get out of trouble. Little 1-2 with Bergwijn. Then Frenkie explodes and two Wales midfielders try to hack him down. Malacia is playing left winger. The pass is on time, the cross is perfect, the flying header by Weghorst sublime: 1-2.

    Happy for Wout. I thought he played relatively well for a player of his limited ability.

    But Brobbey will be our striker in Qatar. That much is clear to me.

    1. I agree with Brobbery as well and instead of Janssen. He really uses his big physics to his advantage and could be useful in those later stages of the game when the oponents are tiring down.

      Hopefully September will bring everyone together. Danjuma, Karsdorp, Gravenberch,Brobbery and fingers crossed For Ihattaren.

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