Young Oranje shocks France

There is always that outside chance whatever the balance of quality or euros, and Van de Looi knew his team could beat France. A top notch goalie, a solid defence, two talented holding mids and speed and guile upfront.

Despite losing some key players for this Euros (Koopmeiners, Gakpo, Lang, Brobbey), Van de Looi was able to inspire his team with courage, with grit and with efficiency. The much lauded France team with big name and big pay-check players didn’t play bad but didn’t have a solution for the Dutch organisation and the speed on the counter attack. Young Oranje proved yet again that a bag of dollars / euros can’t score goals.

Van de Looi went from the anonymity of a typical B team into the lime light back in March when the Euros started. He copped criticism on his playing style and system (4-2-2-2) and copped even more when he didn’t play a striker (Boadu, Brobbey) against Germany, but opted for midfielder diesel engine Dani de Wit.

Against France, the big favorite for the titel, the coach kept his faith in his system and simply replaced his missing key players. With a team that objectively had less quality than the team he could play in March he was able to beat the favorites for the title. Van de Looi stuck to his philosophy.

Heaps of strong performnances. Bijlow again demonstrated that he is Holland’s biggest keeper talent. Schuurs might have lost his starting spot at Ajax but he played his best game ever in an orange jersey. The Man of the Match though, was a name people didn’t expect to see: Tyrell Malacia, the 21 year old Feyenoord left back.

At Young Oranje he is known as the man with the eternal smile. At breakfast, at training, during the tactical talks, even on the team pic, when all other faces are stern, Ty shows his pearly whites. A true football fan who happens to be playing on the highest stage for him. Not a position that looked likely. “He had to wait a long time, although we did call him up earlier but then he got injured,” Van de Looi explains. “And I was clear to the players, a week ago. I told them, we need topnotch energy and intensity against France. We won’t have a chance if we’re not fit. So I will select the player who has the legs. And Tyrell trained like a beast. Sometimes, as a coach you can pick between good and not-so-good. Now I had to pick between very good and even better.”

Tyrell Malacia

Dani de Wit as controlling midfielder was a surprise too, as he has to fill in for Koopmeiners. The AZ midfielder may not have the fine qualities Koopmeiners possesses but he is a leader, a personality on the pitch and with his grit he did pull the team through difficult stages. Harroui dropped back into right back whenever the French pressed but after 54 minutes, the coach directed him to midfield to make use of the extra space there.

The only stain Oranje had to face was the French goal. Straight from a dead ball. It seems Stengs lost his man. Van de Looi will have to work on that for the semi finals against the Germans. Another issue, France was way stronger physically in the last 15 minutes of the game. Stengs, Boadu and in particular Kluivert stopped doing their defensive work. The latter even had cramp.

Van de Looi would have subbed these three if he had Brobbey and Lang at his disposal but he allowed them on the pitch and would have subbed them in the break before the additional time. But that threesome ended up being responsible for the winning goal.

In true form. Van de Looi immediately made a statement to the players: that same night the players were to report for a recovery training. When Boadu heard this he though the messenger was joking. But Van de Looi was in full tournament coach mode and already in the bus. “Listen, you saw the explosion after winning against France? Everyone is happy. But it’s not the end yet. We need to make sure now that we are top fit for the next game, and that means: telling the body it can’t relax yet. There is another game coming and hopefully another one still. Let’s do all we can to make it to that finals. Lets not throw it away now because we won one match. And I look back, when we started, you are so far away. You need to be play qualification games and after 8 years we are here again. And the group stage wasn’t our best series. But now, this win, it changes everything. We need to keep calm, keep focused and realise the dream is still alive.”

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  1. Frank De Boer confirmed that the team will play 5-3-2 against Scotland tomorrow! That’s great news since I have been saying we should play like that for a while now. This formation will give us the best chance we have to accomplish anything significant in this Euro.

    1. I agree, that’s good coaching too. A lot of Dutch coaches are fixated on this idea that we have to play 4-3-3 because “it’s the Dutch way”. Even when we didn’t have wingers, we were still playing that formation.

      Frank is doing the right thing and adjusting the formation to the players we have available. What don’t we have? Talented wingers. What do we have? An excess of centre backs. So let’s play a formation that utilises those two things.

      1. I probably haven’t said a good word for Frank since his arrival but every decision he’s made so far has been great from him (maybe with the exception of not including Karsdorp and Danjuma).

        1. I expect that Dumfries will be the staring rb (wingback), but I wonder if that is one of the reasons behind Promes’ selection. Koeman, IIRC, played him at right fullback in a match against one of the lesser teams in the EC Qualifying group. If FDB wants more offense against a team inclined to sit back, he could start Promes instead of Dumfries.

          1. I havent seen much of Promes crossing and not sure about his crossing ability either . he also cannot dribble as as well, so not sure if he will be effective at WB. also given now weghorst is in the squad reinforcing the aerial attack. his main strength is speed and can be a good impact player. this is where Karsdorp would have have absolutely detrimental as he shown with Edin Dzeko upfront at Roma. .

  2. just from Tomy14 post from the previous blog, I agree as well with his comparison of boadu and Kluivert. I watched the replay again and would yes he showed flashes of him with his two well taken goals. kluivert though was too clinical in finishing, which boadu has yet polish.

    in transfer news,Sparta Rotterdam have signed Kenzo Goudmijn on one year loan deal from AZ alkmmar, Good news for youngester and given the lack of options now surfing in the attacking NT mid,he is definitely some body to look out for. again good move for him and AZ too.

  3. 5-3-2 is certainly a right step forward, playing to the strength of the players.
    Now let’s see the players that he put out. Our WB can be Wijndal and Timber. Depay can play off Weghorst. And thinking De Jong, Koopmeiners/Gravenberch/Wijnaldum can form the midfield trio. I don’t like to see De Roon as I feel he stifles creativity.
    What you guys think?

    Goalkeepers: Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan), Alex Meret (Napoli), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino)

    Defenders: Francesco Acerbi (Lazio), Alessandro Bastoni (Inter), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Giorgio Chiellini (Juventus), Giovanni Di Lorenzo (Napoli), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea), Alessandro Florenzi (Paris St Germain), Leonardo Spinazzola (Roma), Rafael Toloi (Atalanta)

    Midfielders: Nicolo Barella (Inter), Bryan Cristante (Roma), Jorginho (Chelsea), Manuel Locatelli (Sassuolo), Lorenzo Pellegrini (Roma), Stefano Sensi (Inter), Marco Verratti (Paris St Germain)

    Attackers: Andrea Belotti (Torino), Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo), Federico Bernardeschi (Juventus), Federico Chiesa (Juventus), Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Lorenzo Insigne (Napoli), Giacomo Raspadori (Sassuolo)

  5. England squad for Euro 2020
    Goalkeepers: Dean Henderson (Man Utd), Sam Johnstone (West Brom), Jordan Pickford (Everton)

    Defenders: John Stones (Man City), Luke Shaw (Man Utd), Harry Maguire (Man Utd), Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Kyle Walker (Man City), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Reece James (Chelsea), Conor Coady (Wolves), Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid)

    Midfielders: Mason Mount (Chelsea), Declan Rice (West Ham), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), Kalvin Phillips (Leeds)

    Forwards: Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Man Utd), Raheem Sterling (Man City), Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), Phil Foden (Man City), Jack Grealish (Aston Villa), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Bukayo Saka (Arsenal)

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