Winners and Losers of Oranje

He who studied Louis van Gaal knows he is a true fan and follower of his role model Rinus Michels. As a young player, he would bike to the Ajax training ground, not to watch the Ajax players, but to watch Michels. When a young adult Van Gaal needed to pick a profession, he decided to become a teacher, phys ed, like Michels was.

He tries to copy Michels career (Ajax, Barca, Oranje) but wants to do one better: winning the World Cup. He will have noticed how Michels abandoned the Dutch 4-3-3 in 1988, in order to win the first and only trophy for Holland. He shored up the midfield and took a forward off, making sure his two stars Gullit and Van Basten wouldn’t need to do too much work and could focus on scoring goals. Realist Michels ignored all the idealists and won the big prize.

As a young coach, Van Gaal played uber attacking football, which has inspired many a coach, like Guardiola, Bielsa and Flick. But on 19 January 1989, something happened. Barca led Valencia, 3-0. In 20 minutes, Valencia scored four goals and Van Gaal lost that match.

His next big trophy, he won with AZ Alkmaar, playing counter football in a 4-4-1-1 set up.

During the years, he realised he was naive and started to focus on a way to win games with exciting football. He got more and more convinced, that the strongest team with the tightest bonds would win tournaments. And when one has mediocre players, reactive football will pay off, using tactical smarts, to cover your own weaknesses and to exploit the weaknesses of the opponent.

At the 2014 World Cup, he knew he had some world class forwards, but mediocre defenders. The players back then were on the pay roll of Ajax, Feyenoord, Aston Villa, Norwich, Swansea City, Galatasaray… He created a platform for Robben and Van Persie and disciplined the lesser heroes into a tight system. When he needed speed and pizzazz, he brought Memphis. When he needed legs in midfield, he had PSV player Wijnaldum.

We got to the semis, and a failed penalty shoot out blocked us from beating the Germs in the finals.

This time around, our back line has players who are at Man City, Liverpool, Inter, Juventus, Ajax and midfielders who play at Barcelona, PSG, Man United or Bayern Munich. Our forwards might not (yet) be of Robben status, but they know how to unsettle defenders and score!

Van Gaal believes he has a real chance of lifting the trophy.

He studied the way Tuchel at Chelsea works with his three at the back. Chelsea is able to put pressure on the ball and does this by using the wing backs in a tactical way. They need to see the moment to push forward and put pressure on the wingers of the opponent. Van Gaal noticed that Daley Blind has the tactical intelligence to recognise these moments. Something Dumfries needs to improve on, as he got it wrong recently versus Germany (and initially versus Belgium as well).

Van Gaal speaks of the 10 yard rule. When the opponent has the ball, the Oranje players cannot be further apart than 10 yards. In this way, players can put pressure and know that their spot will be covered. This was what didn’t go well at the Euros, recently, when the Czechs didn’t find it hard to play in between the lines.

Another aspect Van Gaal has been hammering on: coaching. All players need to be vocal, you need to inform your mates and create a better awareness or orientation. Van Gaal uses video analysis software to monitor this. The video software constantly calculates and visualises the distances. Based on this, Van Dijk is named the General of Pressing and he is the key man in coaching the team. Stefan de Vrij is his capable 2CO in this task. Interestingly enough, when Oranje is able to keep these distances, the opponent finds it hard to score. Once we are unable to fill in the gaps, the opponent will get chances. We were able to do it right for 70 minutes versus Belgium. Once we started slipping and getting more fatigued, we become vulnerable.

The lesson? If we can keep this up for 90 minutes, it will be hard for any opponent to score against us.

By using two forwards and no real wingers, LVG opens up the flanks for his wide wingbacks. This means Oranje has always an extra man in midfield. Vanaken and Witsel of Belgium were constantly facing three Oranje midfielders. When you control the midfield, you control the game.

Players like Memphis, Bergwijn, Lang, Malen and Danjuma do love the space on the wing to be available for them to run into. The experiment with Weghorst as deepest striker against Wales didn’t work out. As Wales didn’t press up, we were a man short in midfield, also because the two “half 10s” weren’t able to play the spaces too well. Van Gaal changed it back, by making Lang a midfielder again and this way we regained control.

Against Poland, Van Gaal went back to his 3 midfielder game plan (Klaassen, Frenkie, Berghuis) and we should have and could have won that too, if Memphis had scored the pen. The two Polish goals can be (and should have been) avoided.

The new Oranje system works well against stronger nations, who want to attack as well. It will allow for space, for Frenkie and Memphis in particular to create havoc.

Against team parking the bus – and they usually also sacrifice a player to mark Frenkie de Jong – this team needs to improve. Van Gaal had to instruct Frenkie to not try and dribble into cul de sacs, but to move away from the action. Find space on the wings, or in areas where nothing is happening. If the marker follows, it means other players will be able to get more space and take over Frenkie’s role.

The fact that it still takes the coach to point this out, as he had to do versus Denmark when Eriksen became the free man after he had come onto the pitch, there is still a lot of work to do. You want that tactical intelligence on the pitch, you want players like Blind, Van Dijk, Frenkie and Memphis to “see” these things and take care of it.

This new Van Gaal system has a couple of winners.

Steven Bergwijn – Van Gaal called him a Gift of the Gods, literally. Strong on the ball, a good partnership with Memphis, scoring ability, depth, speed. But… not able to play more than 70 minutes at high intensity.

Steven Berghuis – Van Gaal calls him the “passer” as opposed to the “runners” Klaassen, Wijnaldum, Van de Beek and Til. Berghuis is unique in this role, with Teun Koopmeiners as more defensive alternative. As there are no real alternatives, it seems the Ajax man is certain of his spot.

Jurrien Timber – He may have gotten the wrath of the coach against Poland but Timber has been impressing as right CB in Ajax and in Oranje. He is the complete package: speed, ability to play right wing back if needed, strong in challenges and very good on the ball. His off day v Poland was due to fatigue, Van Gaal concluded.

Nathan Ake – Van Gaal prefers a left footed left centre back. He seems to prefer Blind as wing back so Ake is the only left footed defender in the squad. Martins Indi was called up for this reason and we’ll see Sven Botman most likely too. Ake doesn’t play much at City, but he keeps impressing in Oranje.

The Losers

Stefan de Vrij – Van Gaal is a super fan of the Inter defender as he also used him successfully in 2014. “Everything Van Dijk can do, De Vrij can do as well.” It seems he is the ideal stand in for captain Virgil van Dijk.

Mathijs de Ligt – The young and solid Juve defender was tested as left CB but that was not an overall success. It seems De Ligt needs to focus on a spot in the centre or right CB. For these positions he’s competing with De Vrij, Van Dijk and Timber. Tough test for Mathijs.

Gini Wijnaldum – One of the key players for Oranje in the past years, but Van Gaal is not impressed with his performances in Oranje. “Gini has to deliver. We cannot bring players in to help them find their feet. He will need to do this at his club.”

Arnaut Danjuma – Scores for fun in Spain (and everywhere else) but hasn’t impressed Van Gaal too much. “He is still injured. He’s not my #1 player and when you’re not fit, you move further down the hierarchy. Danjuma needs to get fit and he needs to perform. Only then can I select him again.”

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  1. I’m not going to go in the intricacies of the 10yard rule and how effective it has been. I will leave that in trust with the Zens of football and how these calculations are met.

    Rather, I will focus on the basics and fundamentals which I believe have been bungled, not out of ineptitude but mostly out of spite and wilful contumacy.

    Bergwin- he has been a revelation and it shows what happens when players are given legitimate chances. It’s hard to forget that he was unceremoniously dropped after a good showing and only came back in the fold after a rash of injuries. Six, seven pounds off his bulk and he could really be one to watch in Qatar.

    Berghuis- ironically he belongs under the winners column because it is unfathomable how a playmaker or “passer” could be so underwhelming and still retain their place.

    Berghuis is not fit for purpose and the wilful delusion that the management operates under is simply laughable at this point. Lang, Gakpo, Depay have all proven that they could do better in that role. But we all know we have another de Roon situation in our hands. The price we pay not to be wrong, ever….

    De vrij- he is the second best Oranje defender by a mile. Rarely caught off guard, strong, deceptively quick and he can play. De vrij is no loser nor a stand in for nobody in this team. He stands shoulder to shoulder with VVD for a team that would have any chance of progressing.

    De ligt- as mentioned, there is no comparison between de ligt and de vrij. De ligt has proven to be mistake prone and has this habit of been caught off guard. Pace and power is his saving grace but still not a natural defender. He belongs on the bench not ride the waves of promotion he enjoyed when he bursted on the scene with Ajax. De vrij on the bench for him? Never again.

    Gini- he has been declining since his Liverpool days. Was quite surprised PSG opted for him as his game has always being physicality and running. Age catches up and given his club situation, this might be the last we’ve seen of Gini.

    Danjuma- he needs to regain his fitness and get back in the groove. If given half the chances Berghuis have been afforded and “needs to perform”, that left side is his.

    The real winner of all this ironically hasn’t been mentioned. We all know who he is.

    1. I guess the Real Winner ( I like that nickname for him, let’s make sure it sticks) is not mentioned because he was never in doubt. The list is about players who have played themselves into the WC Squad (provided they stay fit and remain in form).

      I think Berghuis is not a question mark for LVG. Whatever you or I think about it.

      As for Wijnaldum, I personally felt he was a bit overrated, even at Liverpool. Gini is a water carrier. He can score goals, he can play on any position, he will always deliver but he is not a Gravenberch or a Frenkie. Wijnaldum did well at Liverpool for one reason only: Klopp and Lijnders.

      They came up with a very tight and restricted tactical plan. The Liverpool midfielders were not the artists back in Gini’s day (Henderson, Wijnaldum, Milner). The forwards were and the full backs. Today, with Thiago it’s a bit different.

      But Wijnaldum was great when he knew exactly what he was supposed to do.

      When he came to Oranje, he was always seen as a key creative player, because of the Liverpool success, but he’s not a playmaker. He’s not a 10. He’s a box to box midfielder and we have players now who are as good or better (Klaassen, Van de Beek) and we have other types of midfielders too now.

      I felt he always was slow on the ball on picking the pass and when there was an option to play a forward pass, he’d turn back and play the safe pass.

      I love the guy, I think he’s a great guy, but he’s not that good.

      At PSG, this came to the surface I fear.

  2. @ Jan
    Van Gaal is going to pay for his arrogance. He is dead wrong on Berghuis. Berghuis has not convinced anyone since he’s been playing for the NT. He went abroad, he did nothing. I’ve been watching him for at least 3 years now and there isn’t one time he did anything convincing on the field. I have been following Dutch football for 34 years now and I can tell you, he is the worst I have seen. You don’t have to be an expert to come to that conclusion.

    1. Jean, explain to me… You see something differently from people like Advocaat, Ten Hag, Louis van Gaal, Arne Slot, Gio van Bronckhorst, Danny Blind just to name a few. I could add Rafa Van der Vaart, Willem van Hanegem and Rene van der Gijp.

      And you have the audacity to come to this site and claim they are all morons and all wrong and all arrogant. But you, Jean-Venette, you see it correctly.

      Do you ever have a sliver of self doubt? Something that says… could I be wrong? Do I miss something?

      The problem with most people: they know what they know, but they don’t know what they don’t know.

      Has it occurred to you that you might be the arrogant one?

  3. Dutch football can be the winner, if everything is done right in the lead up to the world cup. If we take present form and team , it could have been Argentina all the way. The six month delay has given an opportunity for other teams to catch up and perform well. The Netherlands also stand a good chance to perform well and go all the way.

  4. One quick google search on “Van Basten on Berghuis” returned this little quote:

    John van ‘t Schip praises the development Steven Berghuis has gone through at Ajax. The former international also thought the thirty-year-old attacking midfielder made an excellent impression in the Netherlands’ friendly against Denmark.

    “They had a surplus in midfield and Denmark had trouble with Berghuis in particular. He had to get used to it in the beginning, but then he played well,” says Van ‘t Schip at Rondo. “He also looked for depth. He played in and walked on, while Memphis and Bergwijn sank. The three of them stood very close together. They had a lot of variety with Memphis, Bergwijn and Berghuis. The Danes just had a lot there difficulty with.”

    Van ‘t Schip understands that national coach Louis van Gaal prefers Berghuis to Georginio Wijnaldum. “Of course he looked at the players who are currently playing and who are in good shape. Berghuis plays in that position at Ajax and does well there. Then it makes sense,” says Marco van Basten’s former right-hand man at Ajax and Orange.

    “At the moment it is good to see a Berghuis in that role,” continues Van ‘t Schip. “Everyone forgets that Berghuis has really become a team player. If you see the difference between how he played at Feyenoord under Dick Advocaat and now at Ajax under Erik ten Hag, that is a world of difference. He plays for the team. ”

    In case you are wondering: Schip is one of the most gifted Ajax wingers, one of Cruyff’s master students, captained the team, played numerous internationals, coached Oranje with Van Basten, coached in Australia and Mexico. Was part of the City Group and most recently performed well as the Greece NT manager. He may have a knack for understanding football.

  5. @ Jan,
    I’m not Van Gaal but I’ve been following this game long enough. Example: In the 2014 semi against Argentina, remember Martins Andy was struggling against Lavezzi on the left side to a point he got a yellow card. After the yellow card he struggled even more cause a second yellow card would put him out of the game. While I was watching the game, I said to all my friends, if I was Van Gaal, I would bring take out Martins Andy, I would moved Kyuit to the left side and bring in Janmaat. The game went into half time and Van Gaal did exactly that. No lie!
    2nd Example: If I was coatching the Netherlands, in the final against Spain, I would not play with 2 defensive mid. I think that cost us the game. In that game, we did not need Nigel Dejong. We should have played with Van Bommel as our 6 and Rafael Van DerVart that is it.
    I said this to say, I am not an EPL coach but I understand the game. When you reference Van’t Schip, and all of these guys, it don’t matter to me because I am watching the same thing they are watching. There is nothing exceptional about Berghuis. He is very average. He does not deserve a spot in the starting line up. For every 4 matches, he’ll gave a good pass or 2. I went back and watched some of these games and my impression of him has not changed. Technically is not there, physically is not there and he is not that smart of a player. So what does he brings to this team? Let’s wait and see!

  6. I don’t think anyone is claiming that Advocaat, LVG & co are morons. The assertion is that there is no safeguard from them being wrong because they are high level coaches. And their actions and decisions have proven this over and over again.

    The Dick Advocaat that withdrew Robben(at the height of his form) against Czech Republic, in the Euros, and still maintains to this day the wisdom of this decision, can be wrong. The one who would have like Gullit appointed as Oranje head coach because French players fawned over him, after a game Oranje woefully lost, could certainly be wrong. Never mind Gullit’s sorry record as a coach (see FDB for more reference)

    The van Basten that didn’t know what to do with the serial champions league winner and midfield hub for every team he’s won with can be wrong. The one whom insisted on playing demy de zeuw until the eve of an Euro final can be woefully wrong. Not to mention his spiteful decision of leaving Van Nistelroy on the bench whilst chasing a goal on a world cup knockout game. Petty and disgraceful.

    I’m not even going to get into the Danny Blind and other parrots involved. They are living in an echo chamber of ideas that are reinforced and re-reinforced to insulate themselves from facing the fact that they could be wrong. Otherwise, why would he(Blind) be sniffing around that team as Assistant coach almost immediately after his abysmal tenure. There really is something called mass narcissistic psychosis. The idea of Dutch football exceptionalism has to be maintained to soothe and gauze up the malignancy of near-misses and outright failures.

    I always say 1+1=2

    I don’t need the ghost of Einstein to send me assurances.

  7. @ Orangutan

    “I don’t think anyone is claiming that Advocaat, LVG & co are morons”

    Knowingly hitting the fork in your own foot can be categorized as morons. this is what is wrong with these so called high profile dutch coaches. they think they know it all until it strikers them leaving them with cold faces. koeman is in the same boat as well and I also feel, he will end up the same with this talented generation.

  8. So for Jean and Wilson and Orangutan, is there any former coach of the National team you think has any sense about them, or are we cursed with only having idiots as coaches.

  9. I’m not going to continue the Berghuis is a bad player thread. Again, dozens of “experts” watch him play and praise him. One amateur football fan watches the same games and think he is shite. Whatever. I’m not giving it any energy.

    There is always that one music fan who thinks the Beatles are overrated and the Hollies were way better.

    Transfer rumours:

    – Joshua Zirkzee on the radar for Ajax, who have sold Haller for 33 Mio to Dortmund. Brobbey and Bergwijn also on the hit list

    – Wolves’ Hoever signed by PSV on loan for 1 season

    – Guus Til is free to go for another club, his contract was torn up.

    – Feyenoord signed Mats Wieffer from Excelsior. Little anecdote (Jean may like it): I never watch Excelsior or any KKK division team play. But I watched the play offs of Excelsior v Heracles and I immediately noticed the 8 in Excelsior. Tall, constantly moving, always playing the forward pass, great lungs, silky touch, good header.

    I pointed this out to my mate and said: that kid has potential.

    That was Mats Wieffer. Excited to see him come to Feyenoord.

    Ajax has the likes of Tagliafico, Alvarez, Martinez, Timber and Antony on scouting lists across Europe.

    Man U wants Frenkie, Timber and Antony. Christian Eriksen is also on the wishlist.

    It’s quite around Danjuma…

  10. @derek

    Re:…. or are we cursed with only having idiots as coaches.

    This is why I say you should make a conscientious, honest effort to cope.

    Even though I categorically stated that nobody is labelling LVG & co as morons but rather a question mark at this idea of painting them almost infallible, you still read and understood what you wanted to.

    I am somewhat curious how it feels not to operate objectively.

    1. Also I didn’t understand a lot of what you’re saying. Were you criticizing van Basten for playing Demy de Zeeuw in the Euros? Because he only played the dead rubber.

  11. Some good news; FIFA has us ranked as the #8 team now. Of course it means little when the “metal meets the meat” so to say, but it is nice to see the lads rise from n the rankings.

  12. Liam Gelderen- Jong Ajax – Groningen. Had some injury setbacks and now looks to be on the move. No break through at Ajax with Timber and Rensch there.

    Bobby Adekanye- lazio- Go AHead Eagles. Things were looking good for him under Inzaghi but with the arrival of Sarri, it all broke down. he was sent out on loan in serie B where he only managed few cameos. Really hasnt fulfill his expectations and like others finds himself coming back to eredivise. Crafty player and probably needs to pull it up together starting from the scratch. Still 21 and full season of football should put him back on the track

    Ian Maatsen- Chelsea- Feyenoord. Deal is almost complete on permanent basis. Will be Malacia’s replacement. Feyenoord are also being linked to Clavin stengs

    Danilho Doekhi- Vitesse- Union Berlin. Good time for him to move. He will team up with Rick Van Drongelen there who also had injury setbacks and went out on loan at Mechelen in Beligan league

    Daishawn Redan- Hertha Berlin- Utrecht. on loan and to be made permanent after the end of the season. I must say his trajectory is on a ascend. 6 goals and 3 assists last season for Zwolle. Probably full season of football has been a factor for this. he also looked good for JO in the last outings.

  13. Watched the highlights of Ajax first training run. Ihattaren body language and physic looks good. Really looking forward to seeing him in Ajax shirt.

  14. PSV were looking to sign Xavi Simons, but now it looks like he’s going to renew his contract and then go out on loan to PSV. Could be a good move for him, and also good for PSV. I hope this is the year that we get to see two Eredivisie teams in the CL.

    Also, Stengs looks like he could be returning to the Eredivisie, but with Feyenoord. Sumerville may also be on the move.

  15. One big hope is that some players whom we thought could miss out on worldcup 2022 final squad list, can actually make the cut along with some others who might have lost their form and may be even new young players could get a chance as the max number of players has raised to 26.

  16. Looking at the transfers and trajectory of players I will again say 2024 and 2026 should see the rise of next Dutch golden generation. It has to be, given by then the options will stacked and more importantly with experience factor ( caps) as well. I’m mean just look at the forwards, Danjuma,Lang,Gakpo, Depay, Malen, Bergwijn,current. Don’t wanna list those who are not far behind and in 2 years time they will be hitting their prime and will be hotting up competition even more. There cannot be any excuses and if its the same old case where they keep hitting the fork in their own foot in context to selection then, the drought is set to continue.

    For Van Gaal I have already said this he has run out of time, he has managed to build a good foundation but unfortunately he won’t be able to build and fine tune the best team in time, with some players still not in full rhythm and certain positions still a question mark . You have to look all around at the competition level and and what other teams are bringing. Brazil and Argentina both whom NT are likely to face in knock out stages, this time around are on another level. Van gaal managed to pull it off in 2014 because of Robben, Sneijder and RVP. They were still world class. This time around he has none (upfront) and will be forced to playing chess. This will be the ultimate difference this time around. Alot of big guns either came depleted like spain or the quality factor was low like Portugal, England, Italy (group stage), France in that tournament . it was a very low competitive world cup and definitely will not be on the cards this time around . you can go back and compare those team to that of their teams now. there is a big gap in context to the quality. for NT like I said, it fell in place because of the big 3 upfront and with van gaal pulling string here and there with subs.

    there was also some questions posed here as to the winning rate of NT compared to other big nations whom have had bad outings recently like France, England. this will certainly not the case come the WC as the experienced players will raise up to boost the team or so can in the course of the WC. NT certainly doesnt have the luxury of this. I more talking about france here and not England because they cant win under southgate. Progba (Juventus) and Kante didnt feature in the Nation League and with both of them in the team you can expect things to be very different for them and overall the losses they suffered will give them more to work on which is positive compared to winning, winning and winning. im not saying winning is bad but like I said NT certainly has grey areas which if not addressed will be exploited and again in crucial stage rather than before hand.

    I just cant see NT beating Brazil and Argentina. so am expecting R16 to be their final destination. on the other end of the draw like I said, France definitely will rise up with all their experienced and in form players in the team. spain is also gaining grounds, I would say with their young barcelona contingent. they could be the surprise package in this tournament. could face Brazil in the quarters though.

  17. In 2024 and 2026, Daley will be 34 and 36, which should work for him too. His dad Danny played at Ajax until 37 years old.

    How wonderful for these young bucks to have the experience, vision and skill of Daley behind them.

    I can see what you are saying Wilson!

  18. On a more serious note, one of our saving graces will be that the players in big teams and in big competitions might be leggy at the November WC.

    We see it in every World Cup: at times it’s just too much for the big guns and it simply doesn’t work for them. Germany in 2018, for instance. On paper, top quality, but on the pitch it didn’t work.

    As we will hopefully have a number of players from weaker competitions ( Eredivisie: Gakpo, Malacia, Bijlow, Bergwijn, Berghuis, Klaassen and Turkey: Weghorst or Belgium: Vincent Janssen).

    That might come into play as well. The full playing calendar can work for us.

    And yes, I mentioned Malacia, as the Lyon deal is not a deal yet. Feyenoord is firm on their asking price. Gakpo might well stay at PSV.

    Frenkie might have a tough season, physically, but most of our strong holders (Virgil, Frenkie, Memphis, Bergwijn, Dumfries) have demonstrated to be physically strong, so lets hope this goes to our advantage.

  19. @ Jan
    I dont agree to this.

    “On a more serious note, one of our saving graces will be that the players in big teams and in big competitions might be leggy at the November WC.”

    Firstly this world cup will not be at the end of the season where they have to continue with the full brunt of the hectic season and the n players will be relatively in good condition on back of the current break leading up to WC with not even half season of games. Injuries aside it will be same as what happens like during the Nations league but with extra days for prep. I think its 2-3 weeks. Like I always say this is where the depth factor will trickle in. Proven and quality Bench will work wonders and the team that brings the best package overall is most likely to win . for NT, they dont have MUCH luxury in this department. Again Memphis, Frenkie and Van Dijk are the spine of the team. Any of them missing will drastically change the dynamics of the team. Knock out stages in particular. Its also too early for some players as they still need more game time to really get into full rythm. Gakpo, Lang, Danjuma. No doubt they can put up a good fight but then you have look at other factors here as well such as scoring and conceeding scenarios which brings the whole team under the microscope and like I always say player head to head which absolutely becomes crucial in those tight affairs particularly in knock out stages. All the hard work can instantly go flushing down the drain with exploitation of one of any player. Dont needs elaborate much on here but it’s a fact.

    If you go back to the 98, then you led wanna have a team LIKE that or some where near that calibre to win the WC. That team he all attributes, traits to winning the WC. Again like I said I see that happening come 2024- 2026 with transfers that are happening and the player development that will yield in the next 4 years.

    Imagine Xavi Simons(PSV), Ihatraren (Ajax) in four years time. Others like in the midfield especially Gravenberch ( Bayern), Veerman, Reis, Matusiwa.

    1. I think you are wrong though. There is no 2-3 weeks prep for the World Cup. According to my info, only one week.

      Everything you mention is the exact same for any World Cup, winter or summer.

      However you cut it Wilson, whether it’s 5 months into the season or after the season, the pressure on players in the EPL or the Liga will be more than players in the Eredvisie or Belgium division.

      And the comment you make about the depth of the squad is also a cliche. Of course it is. It always is. Nothing innovative about that.

      But what you fail to see, is that any team with multiple stars in their midst (Spain, France, England) runs the risk that the coach fields the stars even when they’re not performing (Germany 2018 for instance, or Oranje 2012).

      That is the process you need to manage as an NT manager. The French coach has some very tough decisions to make. Same with the German one, the English one…

      Will Southgate bench Grealish? Sterling? Who will play right back?

      We don’t have these issues. All the big names will play (when fit) and all the supporting cast players will be glad to be part of it. Players like Klaassen, Malacia, Weghorst are not going to give Van Gaal grief if they don’t play.

  20. Quiet a squad PSV will have this season. Nisterloy could easily go back three with Ramalho, Teze, obispo, Boscagli, Hoever. Midfield will defintely lighten up with xavi , Veerman as well, Sangare. There are also some good young contingent who could not up com petition as well. Bakayoko in particular. Madueke and Gakpo up front as usual. Gakpo should just sit tight, and close his Eyes on any transfer that comes by. Only after the world cup he should think about moving. PSV should again provide a neck to neck race with Ajax this season.

    In other news Gailter to PSG could be good news for wijnaldum if he deploys 4-4-2. Wijnaldum is type of midfielder ( workrate) that he prefers to have for his formation.

  21. @Jan Another point is Argentina abd Brazil are in good form and both in unbeaten run for 33 and 20 odd games but here is the catch, the law of averages could catch up with them and they could lose forn and could loss a match, may be in the quarter finals.

  22. @ Jan

    I think you are correct, its only one week time frame for the players to join with their respective teams. On the other hand isn’t there one month time frame prep during summer WC.

    The pressure part, Not necessarily, Ajax, Feyenoord, PSV will all play European competitions and so will most of the dutch players abroad who are currently in NT. Ake, Van Dijk, Dumfries, De Vrij, De Ligt, Frenkie, Memphis,Lang Then how many eredivisie players are in starting 11 for NT. Timber,Blind,Berghuis.

    Being fatigue can be argument point but pressure for professional footballers who play week in week out and like I said, early in the season, I doubt it again.

    I will though agree on the 1 week break for coaches like Southgate and some other coaches will not be enough and they will crumble under pressure to deliver but then there is also tendency for teams to pull through as they play along.

    Also agree that van gaal currently has no dilemma and with a good winning rate but this doesn’t mean all the teams are currently facing with problem. Argentina and Brazil are two teams that NT will face and both are lock and Loaded. France defintely will bounce back, for England,Southgate is just not good enough tatically to win a WC.

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