Brave Oranje leaves sour taste….

Well, it’s over. No World Cup. Usually, qualifying for a  big tournament leaves a lot of potential for posts, but this new low we hit will also offer up heaps of opportunities for discussions… So expect more posts soon!

We will obviously honour the great Arjen Robben here (future posts) and we will analyse the sorry state of Dutch football too.

Some words on the Sweden game and the direct impact of the failure to qualify…

We were offered one last opportunity to do it. We had to score 7 goals versus Sweden. Apparently, Sweden scoring 8 versus Luxembourg was deemed “impossible” but three days later, Holland scoring 7 against Sweden was thought to be possible (by Dick Advocaat). The old sly fox didn’t come off too good out of these 5 games, I don’t think. But he was right the second time: it was possible to score 7, but sadly we didn’t really believe in it.

We “only” scored two in the first half, but for people who saw the game it was clear that we definitely could have scored four (Tete!). And when you go into half time with 4-0 on the board, surely 7-0 would have been possible!

Luck did leave us in this qualification series. It’s been mentioned before, but the disallowed goal vs Sweden in Match #1, the fumble by Strootman, the misjudgement by Stekelenburg vs France, the Lloris mistake vs Sweden, the absentees vs Bulgaria away, the tactical mistakes by Advocaat (France away, Bulgaria at home, Belarus away), it all was too much to overcome.

NL sweden


But, you do make your own luck and therefore also your own bad-luck. It seems we didn’t have the belief and the iron will to make it happen.

The first half vs Sweden was a positive to build on towards the future, but also left a very bitter taste. Why couldn’t the team play with this conviction and mentality away vs Bulgaria? Or away vs Luxembourg?

Many questions to be answered…

I do believe we have talked ourselves into a big depression in Holland. With the lack of talent of the level of Vaart/Sneijder/Van Persie/Robben it seems the whole football world was resigned to the fact we were not good enough anymore… This is a mistake. It’s not true. Yes, it’s true that we lack super talents and world class players, but we all know that you don’t need world class players to qualify. Does Sweden have a Sneijder or Robben? No. Does Iceland? No. Switzerland? No!

We could and should have qualified despite not having top notch talent.

We might not have won the world cup in Russia, but we should have been there at least.

Myth #1 – Holland doesn’t have the quality players

Well, this is simply not true. A cheap excuse for not qualifying. It’s true that we lack the talented generation this time around compared to the 1974, 1988, 1998 and 2010 tournaments, but we should compensate this with mentality, team tactics and work rate. Back in 2010, our defence copped a lot of criticism. This time around, it seems we have ample options for the last line (De Vrij, Van Dijk, Blind, Ake, De Ligt, Hoedt, Karsdorp, Kongolo, Janmaat, Tete) but maybe less so in midfield and upfront.


Nathan Ake and Karim Rekik

Myth #2 – Blind needed to leave, experienced success coach Advocaat is needed to rescue the nation

Well, Blind couldn’t be faulted for the result vs Sweden away. Holland didn’t do too badly vs France at home but failed miserably away to Bulgaria. The decision to sack Blind as a result was a knee-jerk decision. Made in panic. I do admit that Blind probably shouldn’t have been given the job in the first place, but with him in the role and on a journey with the group, sacking him was disruptive. Clearly, there was no successor, there was no plan B. The whole trajectory of replacing Blind was a public display of incompetence. Hans van Breukelen blundering through the process, with him lying about the Ten Cate appointment and the KNVB ending up having to plead with Advocaat to please take the role. There were no other options. Koeman said no. Ten Cate pulled out. Van Gaal wasn’t interested. Adriaanse wasn’t interested. Dick’s minimal objective was to win four games (Luxembourg, Belarus, Bulgaria, Sweden) and hopefully get a result vs France. But winning 4 and losing 1 would have still gotten us to Russia. We all though. Well, we did win 4 but didn’t score enough. And we did lose against France, but with too many goals conceded. Tactically, Advocaat’s approach left a lot to be desired. He didn’t do too badly, but he definitely didn’t make the most of it. The Bulgaria and Belarus games were simply not good enough. Lacking conviction, lacking a tactical plan, not enough tactical changes during the game, resulting in disappointing results. When Sweden beat France, it was clear that goal difference would be key and Dick failed to even realise this. The France away game being the absolute low, when we were 2-0 down with 12 minutes on the clock and no response from the bench. We conceded two more…

Dick now came out with quotes saying “We already lost the qualification before I started” and “Sweden is playing like a team in a firm and clear system. Holland should be doing this too”. WHAT THE FFFF??


I get sick of those sort of statements. We were still in it when Dick got appointed. We needed to concede less (France, Bulgaria and Belarus: that’s 4 goals too many!!) and maybe go for a draw vs France away? Why play 4-3-3 with Sneijder in midfield??? Stupidity.

And Holland should be playing a firm system in the future? What bullshit! Holland has been playing in a firm 4-3-3 all the time! And it’s Dick’s role to implement that system. That is what he was paid for. It’s as if the chef of a restaurant where 12 people died from food poisioning says “maybe the next chef should try bring in some more hygiene”. Pisses me off.

In hindsight, I think it’s clear that without the two conceded goals vs Bulgaria and Belarus and without the two late goals conceded vs France, we only needed to win 3-0 vs Sweden…. That was very possible.

Myth #3 – This is part of the cycle, we will be back on top soon!

No we won’t. It’s not about waiting for a new Robben or Sneijder to get up. The scene has changed a lot! Sheer talent is not enough. As Iceland and Sweden and other nations demonstrated, and as we can see week in week out in the big competitions, it’s not just about talent and skill. It’s also about physical strength, mental strength and tactical smarts. We need to quickly sort out our big issues in training intensity, in scouting, in youth development and coaches’ development to be able to compete. Just compare Frenkie de Jong (20 years old!) with Dele Alli (just turned 21) and you know enough. Frenkie looks like a kid. Dele looks and plays like a man. Frenkie is not a starter for Ajax, Dele is a starter for Spurs for 2 seasons already.

blind sweden

Daley, strong as central midfielder

So, until we have our act together (will take years of course) we need to quickly make some “tough” decisions to forge a team and a game plan that works in today’s football world and with our current players at hand. The developments in international football are quite clear: the role of the wingbacks, the role of the deep lying playmaker (Cesc, Matic, Pirlo, Vidal, Kroos), the role of the false #9. And in order to play a role internationally, it seems our clubs will need to – probably – lead the way. Bosz did it with Ajax, last season in Europe, and it worked. Gio and Feyenoord are experimenting with it (win over AZ without central striker) and I’m convinced Cocu is working on new tactics with PSV. Cocu is also abandoning the model with the static #9 (Luuk de Jong)  and is playing more in a 4-3-2-1 model with dynamic forwards (Lozano, Bergwijn, Locadia) to have more movement up front.

I was horrified to hear that Dick left the door open for the KNVB to appoint him as the new national team manager. We don’t need him. We don’t need the old guard anymore. We need new blood.

It’s key that the KNVB board of directors in conjunction with the new general manager (Eric Gudde) appoint a strong Technical Director soon. Fred Rutten would be my ideal candidate for the job. He ticks all the boxes. And with Rutten in place, the next step will be to appoint a young, astute national team manager. Someone like Joachim Low 12 years ago. Some people even think Low would be the right man for the job. I don’t think so. He would probably even laugh at the job (he gets paid 6 times what our NT manager gets), but a Dutch Low-type manager (the Low 12 years ago, I keep stressing) would be the right option. Erik ten Hag would be my candidate.


Fred Rutten

I would also check if Rene Meulensteen (ex Man United) would be interested in becoming part of the team, with a focus on player development and coach development maybe with someone like Wim Jonk.

The final step, we do need to have a man in charge who can overrule the club interests. It is high time we develop a competition where all the pro clubs can bring in their B-teams. At this point in time, clubs like Feyenoord do not have the option to have their Feyenoord 2 team play competitively. It’s a disgrace. And we also need national youth competitions where the top of the crop from the south can play weekly matches vs the youth of Ajax, Alkmaar, Groningen and Heerenveen.

Myth #4 – The Future is Bright

YES! This is no myth. It’s Truth #1. The future is bright. We do keep on developing players with vision and skills. But we need more than that. So the foundation is there, it’s the way we develop the talent that is in need of a thorough revolution.

In the past decades, every nation was keen to come to Holland and learn and listen. Today, they laugh at us. They don’t listen anymore. They know enough. And they’ve integrated our way of working with what they themselves did right already. So the Germans now develop players with great skill and vision, but they also have that iron mentality and physical strength. It’s time we start opening up and learn from what they (France, Belgium, Spain, Iceland, Germany) do well. And come down from our high horse and be humble and integrate the missing elements from the game into our protocols.


Frenkie de Jong

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  1. Great article as always!
    Things definitely have to change. Player development (physical/mental) and tactics should be the focus.

    Defense should be one thing that needs to be sorted out. I think we need a dedicated assistant coach that works with players on defense. The current defensive options we have are better than the 2010 team but we are still leaking goals. Both van Maarwik and LVG realized this and adjusted their formation. They were criticized for losing the identity and tradition of Dutch football. The day people start to realize this, we may have a better shot and getting results even if we don’t have the likes of cruyff, van basten, robben etc.

    1. Work with what you have
    2. Adapt to the opponent you face
    3. Give everything you got and fight like gladiators

    If we can manage to do these things, the future will be bright.

  2. Great article as always
    I’m going to ask you this question again Jan. I sepnt the past few days looking at pictures ans videos of our former dutch players. They were physical built, tall ect…
    When you at the size of Rijkaards, Gullit, Coeman, Davids, Zenden, Seadorf, Kuiyt and many more. When you looked at the team who played against Sweden, you look at Gio, Tete, Depay and all these guys, they are freaking so small. Is this a coincidence? Is it the food? Why we do not produce these big athletes anymore? I’m looking at this generation, they all look so small. just curious….

    1. FYI…Davids was small..i am sure he was lesser bulkier than Depay as well.
      Zenden was small as well…
      Seadorf was 177 as well i think…kuyt was 180….But the Rijkards,Coeman,Gullit was taller…..
      The difference was natural strentgh of the players…now all its gym freak,non agile bodies….Football is not a gym game…
      Look at George best
      Look at messi
      even look at carnavaro 175cm as defender…
      CORE strength of the body matters.HONESTLY IT COMES WITH gene…

      1. Players are smaller these days in soccer for the same reason they are in all sports. Because speed is looked at a lot more and is more useful which is why people are a lot less bulkier than years ago. It is a lot easier to get aroind someone with speed than strength. There are obviously a lot of soccer players who are tall and bulky it’s just they don’t go big time because the game has adapted around speed and if you don’t have speed you must have to be extremely talented at something else to succeed at pro level

        1. “””why people are a lot less bulkier than years ago.””””
          Ha ha are yo joking?????
          Look at Arjen and Depay…who is bulkier???
          loook at Geoger best and akinfeewa….
          there is a gym syndrome for new generation thats so stupid…i am talking from my expereince..i had very good stregth and agility…i thought i would increase my stregth by going to gym..yes i did my muscle got bigger(with out any steroid)…People said hi u are changing and you look better now…but infact i was F$%%ked up i was not able to dribble past an average player after that…
          Foot ball requires
          Game intelligence
          Tactical adapatbility
          Mental stretgh
          Not bulk muscle….

    2. Good question! France produces monsters don’t they? I do agree, Bergkamp, Zenden, Cocu weren’t that muscly. Gullit was, Stam was, but Sneijder wasn’t, Robben isn’t it.

      The Scottish coach makes some comments about it (ex coach Strachan) and in the 1980s some story emerged how the parents of players of that era were in the Hunger Winter in WW2 and didn’t have the nutrition the German parents had received and therefore the German players were physically stronger.

  3. Jan, a few questions:

    1. Is it possible to find Goes plan in English? (I didn´t find it)

    2. Why do you think that Rutten will be the ideal Technical Director? why no Marcel Brands for instance?

    3. Why Erik ten Hag would be the ideal NT coach? Why not the last candidate Ten Cate? Or van de Looi who is implementing the 5-3-2 in his team? or Ron Jans who made a great job in Zwole and he seems as a great motivator? Or Koeman, Bosz, Gio or Cocu?

    Can you analyse his qualities in deep? I mean, I think we both trusted before in Blind and Keizer and I think we made a mistake.

    3. Why

  4. Jan:

    Thanks for another good article. However, I still have to disagree with your assessment of our current talent level. Yes, we certainly should have qualified for the 2018 World Cup with our current player pool, and yes we probably could have made it beyond the group stage, but right now we don’t have the talent to go much further. Nor, in my view, do Iceland, Sweden, Poland, Serbia, etc. Further, when I look at our current selection of players against our prior squads that performed well internationally, our current team is dramatically lacking in quality in comparison.

    Back in the day, our 1974 team was made up of numerous stars of extremely strong Ajax and Feyenoord sides (Haan, Keizer, Krol, Neeskens, Rep, Suurbier for Ajax, and van Hanegem, Israel, Jansen, and Rijsbergen, among others for Feyenoord), plus Cruyff, who at that point had moved to Barcelona. Feyenoord had won the European Cup in 1970, and Ajax had won it the next three seasons. This was truly the golden age of Dutch football and these players were legitimate international superstars.

    By 1978, the Dutch players had splintered to some extent. Schrijvers and Krol remained at Ajax, and Jansen and Rijsbergen at Feyenoord, plus a variety of PSV and Roda players. Haan had joined Rensenbrink at Anderlecht, Neeskens had joined Cruyff at Barcelona, Rep was in France and Suurbier was in Germany. Not quite the same star power and level as the 74 team, but still quality players playing at a high level at quality clubs in Europe.

    Ten years later, at the 1988 Euros, PSV featured van Breukelen, Ronald Koeman, Vanenburg, and Kieft, while Ajax provided Winter, Muhren, Bosman, van’t Schip and Wouters. Van Basten and Gullit by then had moved to AC Milan and Rijkaard was on his way there as well. PSV won 5 of 6 Eredivisie titles in the late 80s / early 90s and also won the European Cup in 87/88. AC Milan would win 5 of 9 Serie A titles in the late 80s / early 90s with the star Dutch trio and won the European Cup in 1988, 1989 and 1993. In short, in addition to excelling internationally, our key players were all featuring prominently on the best teams in Europe.

    After another decade, in 1998, we reached the semi-finals and finished fourth at the World Cup in France. Ajax claimed van der Sar and the de Boers, and PSV provided Stam, Numan, Jonk and Cocu. Bergkamp and Overmars were by then at Arsenal, Kluivert at AC Milan, Seedorf at Real Madrid, and Davids at Juventus. During that era, Ajax was a perennial Eredivisie champion and in the mid to late 90s won the Champions League, the Intercontinental Cup and the KNVB Cup with a core of players consisting of many of the 1998 national team members. Arsenal meanwhile won the Premier League and FA Cup with Bergkamp and Overmars, Juventus won Serie A twice and the UEFA Super Cup with Davids, and Real Madrid won La Liga and the Champions League with Seedorf. Again, the Dutch national team was made up of crucial players playing crucial roles for the very top European clubs of that era.

    After another long lull, we finally made it back to the World Cup finals in 2010 in South Africa. Stekelenburg and van der Wiel were from Ajax, and van Bronckhorst was from Feyenoord. But most of our stars had already moved to major clubs in Europe – Robben and van Bommel were at Bayern, van Persie at Arsenal, Sneijder at Inter Milan, Huntelaar at AC Milan and van der Vaart was still at Real Madrid before moving to Tottenham. Even Kuyt and de Jong were at quality Premier League sides Liverpool and Man City. Both Sneijder and Robben won the treble with their respective clubs during this period.

    As 2014 semi-finalists, however, we did not maintain this same level of European dominance at the club level, and likely overachieved in that tournament primarily due to LVG’s tactics. Cillessen and Blind were from Ajax, de Vrij, BMI, and Janmaat were from Feyenoord and Wijnaldum and Memphis from PSV. Van Persie was still at Man United, but somewhat in decline, de Jong had moved to AC Milan, Sneijder was already at Galatasaray and Kuyt at Fenerbahce. Only Robben remained a consistent performer at a top level club. I would argue that the post 2010 era was the beginning of our latest decline in talent production, which has continued since then up to the present day.

    In essence, I see our players’ presence and role on top level clubs in Europe as a proxy for their quality. The Dutch league can no longer be considered top level, and so the assessment of our players’ ability is ultimately dependent on the demand for their services and their usefulness to foreign clubs. Currently, our starting keeper, Cillessen, is the back-up at Barcelona. Not a bad job, but not a starting role either. Our other two primary keepers play at Everton and PSV. Daley Blind is our only defender currently playing for a top club team (a position he received initially from LVG). The remainder of our current backline is primarily comprised of regular or semi-regular starters for weak Premier League teams (Southampton, Bournemouth, Crystal Palace, Stoke and Watford). We also have players at Lazio, Roma, Wolfsburg, Lyon, and Hertha Berlin.

    In the midfield, the only current players on top teams in competitive foreign leagues are Wijnaldum at Liverpool and Strootman at Roma, each of whom is a key player for their club teams, but neither of whom has proven to be nearly as valuable or effective for the national team. Other midfielders in foreign leagues include Klaassen at Everton (who apparently is now the third choice playmaking midfield option behind Wayne Rooney and Gylfi Sigurdsson), Propper at Brighton, Fer at Swansea, Sneijder who is winding down at Nice, and de Roon at Atalanta, who may be our most promising young candidate but who currently has only two caps.

    As for forwards, Robben remains the only standout and is seemingly still going strong at Bayern, but appears to have played his last match for Oranje. The rest have all washed out at the bigger clubs / leagues. In fact, we now have four national team players in playing in Turkey (Babel and Lens at Besiktas and Janssen and RVP at Fenerbahce)! Memphis is currently the third leading scorer at Lyon (8th place in Ligue 1) and Dost is the second leading scorer at Sporting (2nd place in the Primeira Liga).

    In conclusion, obviously we are in another down period in terms of developing world class players. My point above is that our only prior international successes have come when our national team has been populated with numerous world class players. Right now we have one and are heading towards none.

    Hopefully, the KNVB and our club teams can get their act together and start producing quality young talent that will once again be in demand throughout Europe. Until then, however, we can debate endlessly about line-ups, tactics, coaching changes, etc., but we will most likely not be winning anything.

    Hopefully the current 10-12 year lull actually began in 2010 and will be ending with the 2020 Euros / 2022 World Cup!

    1. Sorry tell u Wijnaldum is Feynoord guy…PSV just purchased him and strootman….Memphis yes PSV…
      FYI-We didnt OVERACHIVED IN WC2014..Please dont tell that..Sneijer-RVP-Roben–Vaart were the deadliest cobination players from 2006 to 2014..We should have easily had a WC and EC..SPain Robbed that from us..and some arrogant stuborn,inorant stupiditeis from our wn coaches cost us…Fab4 was Deoer generation they also underachived…
      tell me which spainsih or german player was better than our Fab 4…in their forwrad lines????
      With out Roben or Messi Germany and SPain won it….How?????
      We still have the layers to win the WC….all they have to do is slecet the intelligent players only…
      i found here that People are FU#$$kin Ake and Tete for bad crosses….if you WANT ACCUARATE PINPOINT CROSSESS THEN U MUST SLECET Williams at LB and Vanrhijn as RB…
      i am so gutted even this dutch team can reach at least semi of WC…considering Turkey in 2002 etc…
      @Jan Dick has done really well consiedering the situation..if WE PLAYED a better game in swden away match that was due to dICK ADVOCATE..
      just after that he left we got derailed…We needed a miracle header goal from Depay to win against luxumburg…we played crap against Bulgaria..Vs France out of the blue Steke got slecetd and he F##$ked us..
      Dick doesnt deserve that much critsicm..yes he made a blunder mistake…he should have got us draw vs France…

      1. Emmanuel:

        Just wanted to respond to your comments:

        Which Dutch team Wijnaldum played for in 2014 wasn’t really relevant to my analysis, although he was on PSV at the time of the World Cup and ultimately made over 100 appearances for both Feyenoord and PSV. My point was that very few of the Dutch national team players were playing for major club teams at that point.

        And we did overachieve in 2014. Without LVG’s back five and the talent of RVP, Sneijder and Robben up top, we go nowhere. We kept numbers back and played long to those three to score key goals. That said, we did underachieve dramatically in 2012 with van Marwijk. That was the most inexplicable of all of our recent international performances. I still don’t have any answer for the failure of 2012.

        And are you seriously arguing that Spain and Germany did not have numerous world class players when they won the Euros and World Cup?

        In 2008, Spain had Casillas, Puyol, Ramos in defense, Iniesta, Xavi and Alonso in the midfield and Villa and Torres up top.

        Germany, who lost the final that year to Spain, had far less talent at that point, but by 2012, they were ascending – Neuer in goal, Lahm and Hummels in defense, Schweinsteiger, Khedira and Kroos as midfielders and Muller, Gotze, and Klose in attack. However, Spain prevailed again, having added Pique, Busquets, Mata, Fabregas and Alba as regulars and basically playing without a striker.

        Ake and Tete were inaccurate with their crosses vs Sweden. But Willems and Vanrhijn are not regular national team members at this point, and haven’t played internationally to my knowledge since 2012 and 2013, respectively. I wouldn’t ever expect them to be selected out of the blue for a must win game in 2017.

        Finally, I agree with you about Advocaat having been somewhat of a settling influence, both before and after leaving for Turkey. But his lack of understanding of the value of goal differential was inexcusable and put us in a situation against Sweden in the final qualifying game that could not realistically be overcome.

        1. Ok if you are going to say without Sneijder, Robben, and van Persie we would have gone nowhere than without Messi Argentina would have been trash. Without Neymar Brazil was horrid in 2014 so you can’t use that argument because we had them so it wouldn’t be over achieving

          1. Depay9:

            My point was that we overachieved in 2014 not because of our remaining stars, but because of our talent level as a whole and because of the way we had to play just to get our stars the ball.

            In reality, Sneijder and RVP were already in decline in 2014, but if we played the two of them and Robben up top together and countered quickly with long balls, we could make the most of their experience and qualitative advantage. The rest of the team was either inexperienced or mediocre, and van Gaal solved our defensive liabilities by playing with a back 3 / 5. Tactically, it was a brilliant move, and I’m not particularly an LVG fan.

            In my view, LVG’s tactics got us to the semis (and almost to the finals) with less talent than we had in 2010. Yes, we dominated Spain, but rest of our matches were gritty and we just squeaked by against Australia, Chile, Mexico and Costa Rica, before falling to Argentina on penalties and then dominating a shell-shocked Brazil in the third place match.

            Ultimately, I think our success in that tournament papered over a lot of the flaws we are seeing now. And in hindsight, I think its fair to say that LVG maximized the talent we had to achieve greater success in 2014 than we probably deserved talent-wise.

    2. Thanks mate, I do agree with you.

      I never said we have similar talents than in the 1970s. But we should have qualified and even with lesser talents we should be able to perform well.

      I keep referring to Denmark 1992, Greece 2004, Portugal 2014…

  5. There has been a lot said about who should lead the NT next,coach etc but it’s not easy as it looks and any top coach,even van gaal will find it going tough this time around especially without Robben. It’s true that current generation is a level below to that of the 2000 generation which it self is a gap but also no coach will be able to bring them up to the level of the 2000s even if it takes another 4 – 8 years.It can safely be said that 2010 generation was a flop and it’s time for the next generation to take them through to a new era.
    I think the best place to start this is at u21 level so that the transition is smooth.even the current U21 squad seems to be lacking depth and I don’t think this contingent will be able to reinforce the current NT. As I said early it’s the u19s and 20s which are looking to have quality and has to be made sure this guys don’t get stray and are around together as they move from each level.
    Kluivert,Schuurs,De Ligt,Chong,Menash ,Stengs have all jumped levels which shows their potential and if these guys collide with others at U21 level,there will be fireworks.I mean plenty depth.

    Menash- De Ligt-van Drongelen,hoogma
    De Jong-VDBeek -stengs-Lammers-kluivert-chong -Piroe-Malen-kadigolu-Pierie-schurrs-Helmer-Dumfries,Van Amersfoort,Til,Grot,Sierhuis,Nunnely.
    There will be some big names in this bunch going forward and if everything goes smoothly this will the new golden generation for NT.

  6. stengs,Van de beek,frenkie are top notch…
    Justin seems like another Depay..i dont know..i am not that sure,i need to wiat little longer for him..Nunnley i dont think he will make the cut..Nunnely lacks typical “”VAN “”” is dumbfry..

    1. I like sampaoli 3-4-2-1 at Argentina. Certainly players like Icardi,Dybala,Gomez,perroti will take some time to fit in especially with Messi at the centre stage but if he can get the combination going I will put my money on them and also he has to realize Di Maria and banega time is up.

  7. THE VERY BEST manto build up the future team is LVG..nONE IS BETTER THAN HIM..
    LVG on Roben training…there is not many people can do what your mind wanted to do..Roben is like that…
    Instead of going to Gym players should do yoga and speed increasing stregth and should learn when to shoot,when to dribble on top how to shoot accurately..
    i suggest had depay gone like this he would have been unstoppable..wacth below link..

  8. there should be discussion on
    Who should be captain…
    whether to drop strootman permannaly or not..
    whether to play Gini as DM…
    Best crossing wingbacks
    We should drop static lone striker…

  9. We need to play to our strength..our strentgh is talneted defense and midfeild..Forwards are crap with only one decen winger thats boetius..we must utilise the accurate boots of Vanrhijn and willims for attack…

    on second line
    stand bye

  10. For everyone saying the problem is that all of the Dutch stars are leaving the Eredivisie too early just take a look at Messi and Ronaldo. They didn’t turn out too bad. I don’t understand how the players will become worse when they have better training in countries like Spain and England

  11. Nice summary Jan but I think you have been very soft on Blind, I don’t think he would have won 4 and lost 1 had he stayed in charge. He made all of the same mistakes that you say Dick made in the games he was in charge plus the massive error on player selections! I put him as the number one reason for non qualification, second I put the players for having no heart or will to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, thirdly I blame Dutch Football for enforcing a redundant football system with blinkers on to the real football world and style of play. And as a result we don’t have many world class players anymore, anyone who thinks that staying in Holland as a young player will do them good is kidding themselves, football brains is not taught, its gifted to players, not everyone will have Messi’ brain no matter how much trading they do.
    A strong team consists of only two or three “brain players” the rest have to do their job weather that be defensive or attacking skill, ” To many chefs spoil the broth!
    I had the pleasure of watching VvD play in a losing game against Stoke two weeks ago, now although he gave a pen away he presence on the field is amazing he commands respect from everyone on the pitch, not to mention that physically he is an absolute colossus, strong on the ball and sees the game early. When chasing the game they put him into the striker role for the last ten mins of the match where he almost had the assist for the eaqualiser, this shows his virsitality and he is the player that should lead Oranje from now on.
    Young Blind has a football Brain he should play more central and have a protector play next to him to compensate for his lack of speed and physicality, maybe Ake, Van Ginkle needs to find a spot in the team again has a brain the rest should be job specific players, players who will not make stupid mistakes and who have something about them that will strengthen the overall team objectives.
    I think you will all have plenty of players that you could add into these positions.
    @JB – I think you are right about not having players in top teams in top leagues, hence my comment about getting out of Holland early, Jan said it himself, Look at Deli Ali , the number one u21 pick in the world at the moment, Spurs told Barca that if they want him they would need to stump up $200 mil, now who do we have that could command such money?

    1. Absolutely true and this is where it comes down to the type of players you invest in.I remember in my old posts I mentioned about tjaronn cherry,Ruud Vormer, Van ginkle, and how they were technically better players than that of ,propper,klaassen who pretty much are one dimensional players.scoring goals should not be overseen to what they can or can’t do. Klaassen at Ajax was a good fit in the team but individually his ceiling was limited and this exposed when he came to NT but still the coaches believed he live up to expectation which never propper a tactician,is klasseen a tactician. Don’t think so and this is where that brainer part comes in. In a game if you keep looking to be at the right place at the right time is jus not reasonable and this is what was happening under Blind.

  12. So this is an interesting question:

    Are we better served by Dutch players staying in the Eredivisie and developing a Dutch football mentality and getting the opportunity to play regularly together with each other, OR are we better off with our stars leaving early to go to top teams in other European leagues and letting them train there, but without the guarantee of a starting role or regular minutes?

    Another question – When I looked back over the prior generations, there seem to be approximately 10 year gaps between our international successes – 1974 and 78 until 1988, 1988 until 1998, 1998 until 2008 and 2010:

    Do you think this is just the result of a recurring cycle in which each new generation matures from the 16-17 year olds into full-fledged professionals and senior international team players OR, do those young players not full develop until a place is cleared for them?

    In other words, do new players not get enough international experience to mature when the starter In their position plays on well into their thirties. Presumably, an up-and-coming young player should be able to force their way into the national team line-up if they are strong enough. But maybe it takes these lulls in between successes for the coaches to be willing to take the risks to play the younger players. Perhaps that’s where we are today?

    1. I definitely would recommend having the stars go abroad so they can learn to play with the best and be the best. Look at klaasen for example, he stayed in the Eredivisie far too long and has somewhat adapted to the pace of it permanently so when he moved to Everton it shows how slow he is compared to everyone else. Why do you want our star players playing against below average players when in international games they will be playing significantly better players and will be completely blown away. If you stay at a level so low for too long you will eventually plateau and stop improving like klaasen. The best players need to keep being challenged at a higher stage even if that means fighting for their spot in the starting 11. Even if it means moving to an average team in England before a huge club such as van dijk and wijnaldum, but ultimately it is the better solution

      1. Also players should not be written off jus because they play in average teams.player rotation is vital in building the right players for right position with back-up players.I don’t think this was feature in this NT as every time there was injury,the team was affected big time.

      2. Depay 9..Davy klassen is a limited player,he cannt make magic of his own,neither he is a greatfinsiher of given chances…He finshes 1 out of 7 chnaces.He thrives in games with exceptional intelligence,which is not present in Babel,Wijnaldum,Depay,Promes,BMI etc…
        I expecteed klassen to flop out side erdivise..He is proving me right…
        Players like him requires some skilled ones arround him to suceed..
        We are BETTER WITH OUT KLASSEN,STROOTMAN(OF LATE),Depay,Dost etc…we are much better and our chnaces to beat other teams increses when these players are not arround..

        1. on the other hand Virgil and Wijanldum are so strong on ball..wijnaldum is bale to sheild the ball even from 2 or 3 players…Virgil is strong and he dominates everyone..both works hell…u cannt compare Virgil and Wijnaldum to klassen..

        2. Emmanuel:

          It almost sounds like you’re faulting Klaassen for being an intelligent player and for needing players with similar football IQ to succeed. Aren’t we better off building our team around players who have such an understanding and ability to combine with teammates? Isn’t that what Spain and Germany have done? Andres Iniesta and Phillip Lahm were not imposing physical specimens who relied on strength and workrate to excel. Obviously those attributes are important as well, but I don’t think you’re going to enjoy watching a team built solely on strength and workrate…

  13. Crystal palace finally win their game beating Chelsea 2-1. All the Dutch contingent featured in the game with van annholt playing full 90 while Riedewald,Menash featuring of the bench.both teams wasted a lot of good chances including van Annholt who should have scored the third for CP.Also riedewald looks set to be deployed by Hodgson in the midfield which is good for NT.

      1. I watched Van Aanholt and Mensa play as well against City, they were both very good even though they copped 5 goals. Van Aanholt in particular was really giving his all to try and make things happen for Palace, he just had very little support.

  14. Good question indeed JB, if the Eredivise was strong like it used to be then staying at home would be ok, it’s just a shame that the league has deteriorated due to lack of money, I think it is still good for young lads (>19) to play in and get their game time up and learn the game. I think they need to look at the coaching and what they are focused on, any system has stages of development which are age related, by 16 players should be focused on “game play” more than anything else as they should already have their foot skills down pat! Then it’s time to focus on the physical side of playing matches, second ball, killer pass, long switches etc, I’m sure they already do this but sometimes I wonder. Maybe the overhaul of the Dutch System will change up a few things.

    1. According to the previous tech director of the KNVB Jelle Goes, the generation born between 88 and 95 lacks both in character and tech skills.

      Based on this article (your personal call if you find it relevant or not but it quotes several Dutch trainers with a lot of knowledge) there might be a general youth development methodology problem.

      But then again a lot of the issues mentioned apply to other nations that have been more successful lately than us. That young guys prefer the low hanging fruit is not a Dutch problem 🙂

      It continuous with a list of mostly technical and tactical flaws about Dutch football these days.

      The perennial insist on 4-3-3 and ball possession. A lack of focus on “action speed” is mentioned too. The need to have the young academies play in their own league. The need for a new structure in the Eredivisie to create more competition for the top teams (the lesser teams don’t like it)

      Many of the above points have good merits IMO. At the same time the talent wasn’t there (my personal take). It will take time to fix these flaws but they can be fixed in 8 years … But we also need some talented folks to show up !

      If you don’t speak Dutch I think google translate does a nice job overall….

        1. I think you need the right type of players to execute 4-3-3 formation and for NT Depay and Promes both lack that killer instinct up front. I think it was the game vs France when Promes was one on one but instead of penetrating he chose to pull the trigger with the ball no where near the goal mouth.Depay, both his dribbling and speed has deteriorated and if he doesn’t do sometime about this, he will very soon find himself playing to second fiddle at Lyon. Elia is the type of player imo you want to have when executing 4-3-3 or maybe someone who is an upgrade to him , but with similar explosiveness. some body who can run riot on the flanks.kluivert preferably yes given his outings at Ajax but he should be thinking of moving form there in other season or two, to play in stronger leagues. Zivkovic could be another one but he is in a big mess right now and again if he doesn’t do something quickly he will jus go wasted.he needs to concentrate more on football rather than on his ego.KV oostende is currently sitting last in Belgian Pro league, If I was him I would start thinking of returning to eredivisie or move to another decent league and start in an average team like what Bazoer did.

          Bergwijn, is being monitored by some epl teams but I dont see the finishing capabiities in him. is very similar to narsingh and lens who are great off the ball only.

          Malen and Nunnely is not far back and it will interesting too what the future hold for them next season.

      1. Thanks Demi. That’s a very good article. I think everyone is recognizing the same problems, but it is still challenging to develop the right solutions. Generational attitudes and the lack of free play in the streets are certainly contributing factors, but as you note, those apply same concerns really to all nations at this point.

        One one hand, it might be the best approach to try to develop a nation-wide, KNVB mandated solution to youth development so that training techniques, goals and approaches are more normalized among clubs.

        On the other hand, it might be more valuable to encourage different clubs to experiment with different techniques to analyze and evaluate which approaches to youth development may be best. While it might ultimately be more difficult to assess, considering the variations in talent available to the various clubs, such a more diversified approach might encourage greater creativity and innovation.

        Regardless of approach, however, I think we all agree that the emphasis should be on youth player development and also heightened training and experience levels (as coaches or former players) for those who are working with the youth.

        1. The word from Belgium is he has parted ways with the coach after not receiving the first priority status which he wanted. Last I checked he is also not in the causality list.

  15. The only way Dutch stars should stay in the Eredivisie is if all of them stay there including the really big stars. This will make the Eredivisie a better better competition and will have dutch teams competing in Europe again. Unfortunately this will never happen because big clubs take who they want because of their money and any decent player the Eredivisie produces will instantly be snatched up

  16. Im sincerely hoping players like El Ghazi,Clasie,Maher,Depay,Zivkovic will find their form back.there was so much hype when this guys were coming up the’s a shame that all of them have hit the rock bottom.

    1. Clasie is still arround,he needs game time ut in physical EPL i dont know….
      Elgahzi has full of S&&*T in his head instead of brain..u can write of him easily..
      Maher can be okay if he behave like man..
      Depay is spoiled gym overweight…
      Zivkovic again bad attitude like Maher he is thin and both are hysically still capable to come back.

  17. All the players that you listed above, Wilson, were very promising. Particularly, I would like to stress Adam Maher. It was such a huge bummer for me personally to see how this guy has deteriorated within last four years. Note that he did not leave Eredivisie. I have been always trying to understand the cause and always attitude comes first to my mind. To me, the arrogance and bad attitude of Dutch youngsters are one of the causes of their failure. What do you think?

    1. I’m sure Depay can make it in Madrid. I hear they are always in need to good ball boys. Depay’s problem is that he’s dreaming and his head is in the gutter. He couldn’t even cut it at Utd.

  18. Do you think that our Total Football concept has actually impacted our players’ mentality for the worse? Growing up in the Netherlands and hearing all about the versatility of our great players and their fantastic attacking skills has likely reinforced to each successive generation the notion that the real value in football is in flashy offensive play, to the neglect of the defensive skills, solidarity and physical toughness.

    My football hero, Johan Cruyff, always claimed to be more defensive in mindset than people realized, but his commentary has generally been interpreted by the public to be all about skill, creativity and attacking play, with less emphasis on the physical and defensive sides of the game. My own sense is that Cruyff had an appreciation for all aspects of the game, and especially how teams could expand and reduce space depending on the circumstances, but that he was in particular a champion of players who used their brains instead of brawn to play the game.

    Regardless of Cruyff’s views, the reality is that many of our great teams have featured hard-working, athletic and physically tough midfielders and defenders, who counterbalanced the free-flowing, attacking play of our front line and constantly put our opponents under pressure. I was reminded of this again when reading an article about Mesut Ozil and Arsenal (my son is an Arsenal fan). The article quoted Carlo Ancelotti as the manager of Real Madrid on his decision to let Ozil leave. He apparently said at the time, “Yes, that was a football decision. For the balance of the team, I preferred to have Di Maria. He has less quality than Ozil but I wanted him for his character and his help for the team. With Bale’s arrival, I believe that it is more important to have Di Maria than Ozil, looking at the balance of the team.” Of course, nowadays all of these men – Ozil, Di Maria, Bale and Ancelotti – have fallen out of favor. But the point is still a valuable one. And it is reflected in the current Madrid as well, in Zidane’s decision to drop James Rodriguez and instead feature Casemiro in the midfield.

    My sense is that “Total Football” for young Dutch players has taken on a mythical status, as something to be aspired to but not quite understood. Everyone appreciates the attacking side of it, but the grittiness and hard work in support of the team (from all players) is fading from our collective memories. Further, our 2010 side featuring van Bommel and de Jong as holding mids is now derided as a brutal, anti-football oriented team, which of course no one wants to emulate. And so, much of that side of our game has been fading as well.

    As a result, it could be that our own positive reputation for attractive, attacking play has now become so idealized that it is harming the mentality of our recent generations. That said, we do have a healthy group of young backline players at this particular moment – van Dijk, de Vrij, Hoedt, Tete, Rekik, Mensah, etc. – who seem to have some toughness to them, but we just can’t seem to find the right “balance” yet. When we’ve had the Fantastic Four up front, our backline was slow, old and/or weak and we needed the two holding mids to protect them. Now that our backline is younger and stronger, our most talented attacking players have aged out and have not been adequately replaced.

    Does this call for a nationwide countermovement that emphasizes more a physical and defensive mentality? My view is that, since we are the nation of Total Football, we should be the best of all at understanding the need for a balance of attacking and defensive skills and mentalities in each individual player and within the team as a whole, but to not overreact in one direction or the other. That’s at least what I’m hoping to find in the next generation of national team players – chosen ones to “bring balance to the Oranje Force” (sorry for the obligatory SW reference)…

    1. Agree with AZ-Forever, wonderful piece. Just to build on one of your comments, Cruyff was was one of the early proponents of the “when you lose the ball, get it back within 5 seconds” mindset now prevalent among many top teams. The theory being that the closer to the opponent’s goal you recapture the ball, the more likely you will be be to score. JC therefore really didn’t see a distinction between offense and defense — the purpose of defense is get back on offense as quickly as possible. Consequently, defense is EVERYONE’s responsibility, from the number 9 on down, as whomever is closest to the ball when the ball is lost immediately becomes the vanguard of an aggressive defense. I also see a direct connection between this mentality and a mentality that prioritizes north-south passing over the east-west/safe/possession first passing that oranje/dutch football has settled into in recent years (and needs to get away from — we need to get the Sneijder/etc. killer pass back into the repertoire!).

      1. Thanks Robin! And great follow-up point from you as well. I agree 100%! We’ve certainly lost the pressing aspect and the desire for vertical / killer passes, and those aspects of our traditional game can certainly make a comeback regardless of the current talent level.

    1. They Have LVG,Eric ten haag,Tengate,Bosz…they all can do better than any foregin coaches..May be giovani van bronkhost can do it as well..
      They lack the typical”” FOXY-CLEVER””DUTCH PLAYERS in Forward lines..So that must be addressed as collective team..i mean balanced team
      —–Vandebeek–Frenkie Dejong—-
      on bench
      These players are brilliant and hardowrkers..there u will see the magic..

  19. BTW guys,

    Fener started using Vinsent Janssen as a substitute. The same patterns like in England. If he does not score, he will be warming bench in Fener too.

  20. Apart from Ajax,Feyenoord,PSV,if two or more teams can raise their eredivisie can get more competitive. AZ Alkmaar in another season or two could be strong contingent given how they have injected young guys this season Stengs,Helmer,wijndal,Ouwejan,Boadu.heerenveen also have a good squad but are in switch on and off mode.they need some more competition up front after the departures of Larsson and te Vrede and I’m sure they need to get rid of henk veerman in Jan and bring a quality striker to compete with Ghoochannejhad up front.Also pelle van amersfoort is struggling for minutes when he has such a potential.I think.with some quality reinforcements,they could be another good team.Also I’m not sure why they are holding on to odegaard.
    Finally utretch,is also in the same boat as heerenveen,their new arrivals have somewhat not lived up to expectation and New players are needed in Jan.

  21. Since you touched AZ, here is my two cents. AZ Alkmaar can and must challenge big three. They have done that historically and they are capable of doing it. However, with all my respect to John van den Brom, he will not be a coach that could bring the team to that level. He is very one-dimensional and he is just another Dutch coach which is unable to adapt to changes occurring in Global Football. It is enough to watch how AZ defend, you can get a picture. I would love Gerjan Verbeek to be back as AZ coach. In addition, complete focus on internal youngsters will not let AZ to reach higher level. AZ management should bring foreign internationals at all levels in order to create internal competition for their youngsters. Stengs, Boadu, Til, Helmer etc will not grow if an appropriate competition exists. I do not know how coaches train AZ players, but injuries have been constant menace for the team. It has been early in the season but we have large first team players long- to medium-term injured: Stengs, Vejinovic, Vlaar, van Eiden, Pantelis Hatzidiakos. Last but not least, we have central forward problem which is not a surprise taking into account that this is a nation-wide problem. Although Wout Weghorst has scored six goals so far, he is not a central striker that would lead Alkmaar’s attack in the future. He is wasteful and very arrogant. He scored six goals and was expecting that Dick Advocaat would invite him to Oranje. What an arrogant asshole?! It has been three games in a row he wasted tons of opportunities and has not scored a single goal. After all injuries, in the current team only Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Bizot are two high level players. New signings (two Norwegian boys) are good too. Remaining team is very mediocre. So, a lot of work needs to be done in order to reach good European level.

    1. agree but my point was these three teams must challenge the top 3 and this is where KNVB should step in , maybe funding ways to give some credibility to the competition, other wise the only option would be to merge with some other league preferably with Belgium. 6 clubs each.another option would be to go a with top 6 clubs playing round robin after season has finished proper.this to get the players playing more in competitive in belgium.

  22. Failure to adapt to modern football? Complete focus on internal youngsters? Constant injuries? Center forward problems? Lots of work to reach a good European level?

    Sounds like a job for Arsene Wenger 🙂

    1. But that’s the thing, AZ. Arsenal has all of those same problems as your favorite club, even with their expensive manager! And I didn’t even originally mention their own defensive frailties and need for higher quality players to stimulate greater internal competition. All the concerns you cited at AZ are the exactly the same as for a top 6 Premier League team.

      FYI, Arsenal was valued earlier this year at $1.932 billion. I couldn’t find similar numbers for AZ Alkmaar but I assume they are worth slightly less than that.

      For your reference the top fifteen most valuable clubs in the world in 2017 were (in order):

      Manchester United
      Real Madrid
      Bayern Munich
      Manchester City
      AC Milan
      West Ham

      In looking over this list, I can’t see how football’s current economic climate is possibly sustainable! Seven of the top 15 are English teams, all of whom benefit from the Premier League TV revenue. Barcelona and Real Madrid have their own TV deals and perenially dominate La Liga. Yet, Atletico, who is so traditionally disadvantaged economically in comparison to those two giants, is still in the top 15 itself! Similarly Bayern is top 4 worldwide, and its closest rival, Dortmund, who sells all of its best players to Bayern, is 12th. The two most traditionally dominant Italian teams, and the sole dominant French team round out the list. And the relative scale of even these valuations in the top 15 is incredible. Atletico is worth over $700 million but Barcelona is valued at over $3 billion more than that!

      How can any other teams truly compete at this level without astronomical financial support from somewhere outside football? To quote Princess Jocelyn in A Knight’s Tale, one can only laugh to keep from weeping when the phrase “Financial Fair Play” is uttered.

      As I noted above, Arsenal has the exact same issues as AZ but is the sixth most valuable club in the world! West Ham, who possibly could be relegated this year, is 15th! If these teams cannot succeed with all the talent and resources available to them, how is it even possible for teams with 1/10 or 1/100 of their value to compete in Europe? The answer inevitably is that it’s not possible — they can’t compete.

      As we’ve already discussed, part of our current national team’s issues are technical matters – the skill level that our internationals possess. Part is tactical – the players’ understanding and ability to perform collectively as a team. Part is physical and part is mentality driven. But perhaps more than any other single factor impacting our league and our players is the economic inequality that now confronts all clubs and nations that do not have these types of resources.

      Finally, it used to be that national teams were distinct from each other in personality and style of play. Many club teams were the same way, primarily due to the characteristics of the players of that club’s home country. United and Liverpool were as English as Bayern was German as Milan was Italian as Ajax was Dutch as Red Star was Yugoslavian. Nowadays, however, with ever increasing globalization, all of that distinctiveness is fading. All of the world’s best players now play for English or Spanish clubs, with a few others sprinkled in on the top one or two German, Italian and French teams. Style is now primarily a function of how high a quality of players a club can afford. If you can afford Real Madrid’s or Barcelona’s or Man City’s or PSG’s players, you can play beautiful football and force everyone else to react to your dominance of the ball. If you can’t afford players of that level, you end up defending, soaking up pressure and trying to counter quickly. The funny thing is though, that the best way of playing modern football, the way that the very best teams with the highest level of talent play, is actually our very own Dutch School football. That is currently the pinnacle of the sport, the ideal style to be achieved by the best players. And so, while Dutch clubs may never truly be able to compete again economically on the European stage, maybe we can find some solace in the fact that everyone who is great tries to play our way now 🙂

      1. I Disagree JB.specifically speaking on arsenal and Wenger,they main problem as I see is his stubbornness to go for big names and instead getting players with raw talents from average teams and trying to develop them into another level, which hasn’t been fruitful like before when players like Perez,Ohenry,lumberg,Kanu,became household names under him.I have followed Arsenal before his arrival and after the invincible,his being on back track trying to follow the same culture. I don’t think this has something to do with him not being able to adapt to modern football or him being one dimensional coach. I’m sure if brings big names like what Mou and Pep have done,Arsenal would no doubt be title contenders again but you see this is the beauty about him,instead he goes for unknown players with talents and tries to turn them into elite players. Look at Giroud,he was unknown when he was signed from Montpellier where he was the highest goal scorer. Lucas Perez again from deportivo De la coruna.Granit xhaka Borussia Monchengladbach,Santi cazorla Malaga,Rob holding Bolton,Elneny Basel.though it has looked good from development perspective,it also has come to bite his back as it hasnt turned out to be as he may have expected. talents ways I think they have enough talents but if you can’t cope up with other teams in terms of depth and player quality you will simply drag and that’s what happening to him now.even the bottom feeder teams keep upgrading players every transfer window while he stone hearted doesn’t move a single inch thinking he doesn’t need to. Depth wise I don’t think they lack players but then again it’s the level of quality which has been a factor for them.4 seasons they have been knocked out from CL quarter finals but still he doesn’t wanna invest in big names.again you.Look at Lacazette.he is a good finisher but quality level is a question mark and again whether he will go on replicate the form of other top strikers in epl is another question.injuries aside this has been a big factor with players like Iwobi,welbeck,Ox,and Walcott who are quality players but come certain stage they are not able to take it to the next level and this was very evident in CL.

        Lastly it will all come down to what he wants.he only acts when he is in near crisis which is starting to suck big time.I’m sure any other big coach will overhaul this squad as what pep did at City.

  23. back to the top 20 by FIFA rank …. a little too late 🙁

    and we will most likely play two friendlies one with Schotland (nov 9 Aberdeen) and the other with Romania in Bucharest …

    the drawing for the euro WK playoffs is tomorrow… I know, we don’t care…

  24. Looks like Sweden got their hands full facing Italy. It’s probably the worst opponent they could get. I wouldn’t be shocked if Sweden won but Italy has to be the clear favorites here even though they are not as good as they used to be.
    Sweden likes to play an open game which is perfect for teams like Italy who usually like to get an early goal and then grind the minutes down. Oranje would have been in a tough situation too if we had to face Italy with this current squad.

    Anyways, it’s back to the drawing board for us. I hope lessons are learned and things turn for the better.

    1. I said “if we had to face Italy”.

      I don’t know how the seedings were done for the draw, but if it was based solely on current FIFA rankings, we would not have been seeded since Italy, Switzerland, Denmark, and Croatia all rank above Netherlands. (I don’t know how much the currents rankings would have changed if we qualified for the playoff spot finishing 2nd in the group)

  25. Times have certainly changed in both the Netherlands and world football generally, but in considering how to go forward developmentally, it may be instructive to look at how two of our best recent playmakers rose through the ranks of Dutch and then European club football. I’m sure others can add more detailed anecdotes and memories, but the basic timelines for each player unfolded as follows:

    Rafael van der Vaart first came to Ajax as a ten-year old and made his way into the first team by the age of 17. He then played with Ajax for five years, from 2000-2005. To put things in perspective, in VDV’s first year in the first team, Fred Grim was the keeper, Aron Winter was the captain, Co Adriaanse was the manager, and Ajax finished fifth. By the next season, Ronald Koeman arrived as the manager, Zlatan Ibrahimovic became the primary striker, and Ajax won the Eredivisie. Sneijder, de Jong, Heitinga, Maxwell and Stekelenberg arrived soon after and Ajax finished either first or second but made the Champions League quarterfinals in each of the following two seasons. VDV ultimately had a falling out with Zlatan in 2004 and Koeman was replaced by Danny Blind. Over his Ajax career, van der Vaart was Ajax’s leading scorer twice — in 2001 with 14 goals, and in 2002 with 18 goals. VDV then moved to Hamburg (for €5,500,000) for several seasons before signing with Real Madrid in 2008 (for €13,000,000), where he was reunited with Sneijder and fellow Dutchmen van Nistelrooy and Robben, and eventually Drenthe and Huntelaar as well. However, with Florentino Perez retaking the Madrid presidency and Kaka and Cristiano Ronaldo brought in for exorbitant sums, VDV, Sneijder and Robben were all permitted to venture off to greater success elsewhere, with VDV’s coming in London with Tottenham (via an £8,000,000 transfer) where he featured with future Madrid stars Luka Modric and Gareth Bale. Sadly, since the 2010 World Cup, VDV has been in steady decline, returning to Hamburg for several seasons, then to Real Betis, and is now with Midtjylland in Denmark. Injuries played a big factor in van der Vaart not quite living up to his potential, but with the Netherlands as well, there was always a struggle to incorporate both him and Sneijder (our two best playmakers) into the side together.

    Wesley Sneijder began at Ajax as a youth player as well (at age 7), made his debut for the first team in 2003 at age 19 and quickly became a regular. As noted above, he and van der Vaart overlapped there for several seasons, and at Real Madrid as well. Sneijder was Ajax’s top league scorer in 2004 under Koeman and his successor Blind (who had also been Sneijder’s youth team coach). Ajax finished second in 2004-5, and fourth (!) in 2005-6, a season in which Klaas Jan Huntelaar and Ryan Babel were Ajax’s top attacking threats. Henk ten Cate took over as manager the following year and Ajax returned to second in the Eredivisie. Stekelenberg, Heitinga, Stam, Vermaelen, Emanuelson, Babel, Huntelaar and Sneijder were all first team regulars by that point. In 2007, having scored 18 goals for Ajax in his final season there, Sneijder was sold to Real Madrid for €27,000,000 (which I believe was the second largest transfer fee for a Dutch player at that time). Sneijder had an immediate impact for Real Madrid, who won La Liga his first year, but was gradually phased out along with the other Dutchmen. He was sold to Inter Milan for €15,000,000 where he had his greatest club success in 2010, winning the treble for Jose Mourinho, and scoring some fantastic goals and assisting on the Champions League final winner. Mourinho left Inter the following year and Sneijder followed, moving to Galatasaray in Turkey (on a €10,000,000 transfer) despite many rumors that he would head to England. This past summer, at age 33, he signed for Nice in Ligue 1.

    My goal in looking back at VDV’s and Sneijder’s early career experiences was to see what we can learn regarding their progression and to try to gain more insight into the development of other talented young Dutch players. Both playmakers’ abilities were spotted early on, both played extensively in Ajax’s youth teams starting at a very young age, and both rose to Ajax’s first team in their late teens. Both also had instant impact and quickly became stars at the senior level, although Ajax was not necessarily at its best during their tenure there. Both left eventually for Real Madrid, with VDV taking a few years’ detour in Hamburg first. Both effectively washed out in Spain after some sporadic success once Perez re-initiated his Galacticos program, and both probably peaked at their next destination, van der Vaart at Tottenham and Sneijder at Inter. And despite each being highly skilled playmakers, both really required great positional freedom to attack and create with limited responsibilities in defense. And when placed in the Dutch national team together, they each did well but required extra defensive coverage from others.

    My conclusions from van der Vaart’s and Sneijder’s experiences is that great attacking talent and skill can be recognized at an early age and cultivated to create quality first team contributors by the time players are in their late teens. Both VDV and Sneijder left the Netherlands to ply their trade abroad when they reached 22-23 years old. Neither really peaked professionally, however, until 2010, when they were 27 and 26, respectively. And having reached that peak, both declined rather quickly thereafter.

    While every player’s path is different, VDV and Sneijder give us a good set of benchmarks for young Dutch players with potential world class talent. (1) Train from an early age in a quality Dutch club’s youth program. (2) Earn a spot in the first team of a top Dutch side by their late teens. (3) Become a full time starter and leading contributor to that club by their early twenties. (4) Look for greater adventure, challenges and financial reward abroad around 22-23. (5) And finally reach their peak in their late 20s playing for quality clubs in quality foreign leagues.

    Did these particular players leave their Dutch clubs too soon? Did they make good career choices with the foreign clubs they selected? These points are debatable, but I think the various points of progress demonstrated by their experiences can serve as a guideline for the developmental timeline for other young Dutch players.

  26. Looks like we are establishing a new record at club level. This season of European Cups, at the group stage, both Vitesse and Feyenoord played five games with zero points achieved! I do not remember anything like that for the past 20 years!!!!

    1. its all depending on coach and who he plays as first 11…
      Suppose coach is blind and Advocate is absent even as asistant then team would be BMI,Dost,Depay,klassen and Wijnaldum and strootman as DM….then we would fail even with Roben plays…
      But Advocate is coach and he feilds
      —–Vande beek—Vanginkel—–
      ———–Cillessen ————–
      We will beat them by 4-1…..
      So lots depending on whom u play and who is ur coach..

      1. Did you not watch Danny blind? The main reason why he failed so miserably was because he didn’t play depay. Depay only played in the Luxembourg game coming on in the second half and ended up saving blinds butt by scoring two goals. If it wasn’t for depay you realize we would have tied Luxembourg

          1. u mean in Friendly??? Depay had his fare share playing time in both ECQ and WCQ 2016 and 2018 matches..He couldnt do a SH&**T except that Luxumburg game with fluke header and a starnge freekick goal which happens when 1000times luck on ur side..I am not blaming him for the gaols we conceded or our losses(Our loss was collective effort of Hiddnik,BMI,Danny Blind,Depay,Dost,Klassen,strootman and bad performance from (Wijnaldum,janssen and janmaat and delgt)..,i am blaming depay for lesser hardwork and lesser availibilty and frequent ball looser in finala third and hence interupting the team play..So he should not be in team..

  27. Just watched how FK Qarabag played with Atletico in Baku (0:0). I think, Dutch clubs have to learn how to defend from this modest Azeri team. Not only did they defend well but also really dangerously attacked Atletico….

    1. It’s extremely difficult for any player to reject Barca. You don’t expect him to be a starter. He’ll get to train with the best and learn from them. Most importantly, he’ll see what it takes to succeed from world-class players. If there is real talent there, it will come through and he’ll get his chance.

      It not a completely lost cause. He can use that experience and move on to another team where he will get a starting spot. Cilissen is reportedly heading to Benfica. I doubt his time at Barca will be a waste.

      Leaving a club early generally stunts the development of young players but in some situations, if the player is indeed a special talent and the club is one of the best, it would not be a bad idea to give it try.

      1. whether its Farcalona or REalshitrid…Young guys requires REGULAR playing TIME…tHEY develop by playing regular not by Shi$%%ting in bench…Deligt should look for playing time in barca…
        Fortunalety i think Barca has weak backline Mascherno is 33 and Pique is not a great defender now…Only Umitti left…So he has a chance however i think he should play at another year at eredivise..

          1. De lift could easily be a starter for barcelona. they have pique and trasherona there is not much competition. De lift will be better than either of them ever were

      2. Yoyogi, what you said might be applicable for 23 + y.o. established young men, but not for 18 y.o. boy who needs to properly establish himself in the field playing regularly. By training with high level players and not playing any regular minutes will not do anything good for De Ligt. However, if he plays a couple of games and fails like he did with Bulgaria, then he will get sidelined permanently, destroyed by media and damaged psychologically. I personally do not think De Ligt can make any difference in Barcelona at this stage of his development and for him it will be another disappointing story like it has been for Janssen and Depay.

    2. While perhaps slightly harsh, Wikipedia pretty much hits the nail on the head on de Ligt:

      On 25 March 2017, despite having started in only two league games for AFC Ajax, De Ligt made his debut for the Netherlands national football team in a 2–0 defeat to Bulgaria in a World Cup qualifying match, becoming the youngest Holland debutant since Mauk Weber in 1931. He was substituted for Wesley Hoedt in the 45th minute, having been at fault for both of Bulgaria’s goals.

  28. Not looking good for koeman. Klaassen was a mistake and instead he should have gone for a striker.
    Rooney,Siguardsson,Barkely are better players than him and when Barkley returns he will really find in hard and also McCarthy who returned from long term injury and started with U23s.

    Lyon leading 1-0.

        1. I love Koeman as a player. I would like to love him as a manager, but am just not there right now.

          Part of the problem is the transient nature of his managerial career:

          Vitesse (1 year), Ajax (4 years), Benfica (1 year), PSV (1 year), Valencia (1 year), AZ ( < 1 year), Feyenoord (3 years), Southhampton (2 years), Everton (1+ years)

          Is that a function of his ambition or just his gradual ineffectiveness over time. Nothing about his tenure at Everton this season suggests that he has a clear tactical plan or a sense for player selection, both of which are pretty essential for leadership of the national team.

          He has tremendous top level experience as a player, and has first division managerial experience in the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and England, but I just don't see him as the best option at this stage when we need to develop young players and formulate a coherent playing style.

          1. Koeman is double edged sword …we cannt say where it will end up if he becomes in charge..
            I think Dick should continue if LVG is not there..i dont trust anyone else to steer the car…
            Koeman is also fooled by klassen hype..he made horrendous blunder by signing him.that was a fault by Koeman..klassen is not going to suceed in EPL or Danny Blind suffered with him NT..its just simple one mistake though koeman might have done more stupidity only hardcore everton fans knows it..

  29. Schuurs has signed a contract with his club until 2020 even with interest from Liverpool and Dortmund. At least he will have the chance to develop into a superstar here in Holland before he ventures abroad

    1. He is still 17. PSV also are monitoring him and that’s where he should go if the offer comes.I think eredivisie is a good for development of players between 17- 20 of age.he also would be good fit in jong PSV along side Armando obispo who is another rising CB.

      1. Wilson: I think you’re right. We do seem to be able to continue to develop young talent in the Eredivisie, especially players into their late teens. The challenge is for those players, when they reach their early twenties, to take the next step and transition to a more physical and competitive environment.

        In theory, the higher the level of competition, the better the player that will be produced. But for many of the young Dutch players, who have come up in an environment that is less physically demanding, and who may not have reached their own physical maturity yet, it can be a challenge that is extremely difficult to overcome when suddenly facing very fast, athletic, strong and experienced players who’ve had to physically battle for their spot in the line-up every day of their careers.

        It’s like high school kids here in the US going straight into pro sports. Sure there are some that can make it, but the professional leagues here pretty much mandate that players at least spend some time playing at a collegiate or minor league level until the players are closer to physical maturity. For every Lebron James or Kobe Bryant, there are countless other players who never made it and whose names you’ve never heard of.

        Maybe part of the new KNVB developmental program should emphasize and provide individual player education about finding the right opportunities abroad and encouraging the players to pursue more incremental advancement rather than jumping from PSV to Manchester United or from Vitesse to Chelsea. As I noted in an earlier post, even our superstars Sneijder, VDV and Robben struggled to find a consistent role at Real Madrid and had to move on again before reaching their full potential.

        Finally, consider Virgil van Dijk, who is now 6’4″ (1.93 m) and 200 lbs. He stayed at Groningen until he was 22 and then moved to Celtic for two years before transferring to Southampton. He had the size and strength to play in the Premier League right away, but played several seasons in Scotland first and has seemingly arrived at just the right time when his talents could be fully recognized and appreciated. And now many top clubs are after him. Had Memphis, van Ginkel, Ake or Janssen followed a similar, more gradual transition to the top leagues, they might have been more ready to perform at the requisite level upon their arrival. But apparently the money (for both the player and the selling club) can be too much to resist…

        1. Yah but the reason why so many players don’t succeed is because people in soccer are so overhyped. If someone has one multi goal game or goes on a good run of games suddenly they are the next Messi. Look at justin kluivert, he had a game where he was energetic and ran around the pitch alot vs nice in the Champions league. After that game everyone thought he is going to be amazing. But if you look at what he did, he has nothing to show for it, he didn’t create and goals and that’s what matters. In North America people are only hyped after they have proved themselves over a long period of time. So a first round draft pick will most of the time be a top player in the league.

          1. I agree. Everything these days is about instant gratification and hot takes. No one is allowed any space or time to actually develop. My son is the kicker and punter on his American football team and also the back-up quarterback. He is a sophomore and the starting QB is a senior. My son is used to being the starter at QB, but he’s learned a ton this season and runs the scout team offense in his practices. I remind him of periodically of Aaron Rodgers, who waited three years after being drafted to take over from Brett Favre, who kept retiring and un-retiring…

            But I think even in North American sports, there is still tremendous opportunities to be over-hyped and to expect immediate results. Andrew Wiggins, Bryce Harper, Jared Goff all were expected to make an instant impact as players in their early 20s. Some do, most don’t.

          2. Well it also will be interesting to see the development of Rick Van Drongelen ( hamburg)and Justin hoogma (hoffenhiem ) and compare that to that of in eredivise as they reach the u21s. So you have schuurs,van drongelen,de ligt,hoogma, st juste who is still 20 plus mensah who also is a utility.

            Now add Kluivert,stengs,malen,Lammers,De Jong,VDBeek,Chong,peeters,piroe,Grot to the above you can have one hell of u21 squad.

          3. I think Andrew Wiggins is a superstar he just signed a major contract. I think you mean Anthony Bennett. He’s one of the worst first overall picks in NBA history

          4. Depay9:

            I agree. Wiggins, Harper and Goff were all very hyped but appear to be among those that are going to live up to it. Bennett sadly does not.

    1. Chong has some good drible skills…Myron has got the physique and Brilliance which is rare in new upcoming dutch players..
      Xavi simons seems topnotch..i doubt since he is with barca he might choose spain over us…

    2. Sorry, Wilson, for the late response. I agree with what article says but I am also cautiously optimistic. I think he can grow into real start if he (1) recovers well from his knee injury and (2)does not get infected with “attitude” virus. He is only 17 and things can go either way for him.

  30. Here’s a Simon Kuper article on the current state of Dutch football:

    I’m not a big fan of Kuper, as he is typically very negative and tends to constantly inject himself in his own articles (both of which he does again in the linked article), but there may be a few points worthy of consideration in this one, particularly about the influx of outside ideas…

  31. Well, after more Everton misery, there’s a pretty exciting game and record crowd in London, with Tottenham leading Liverpool 3-1 at the half.

    Notable from a Dutch perspective is that Ajax have provided 4 of Tottenham’s 11 starters:

    Jan Vertonghen (arrived at Ajax at age 16, three youth seasons and seven first team seasons – 155 appearances, 23 goals; sold to Tottenham for €12.5 million)

    Toby Alderweireld (arrived at age 15, four youth seasons and six first team seasons – 128 appearances, 7 goals; sold to Atletico Madrid for €6.3 million)

    Christian Eriksen (arrived at age 16, three youth seasons, and three first team seasons – 113 appearances, 25 goals; sold to Tottenham for €12.5 million)

    Davinson Sanchez (arrived at age 20, one first team season – 32 appearances, 6 goals; sold to Tottenham for €40 million)

    Ajax is still producing / developing top level talents. It’s just that none of them are Dutch and none are still at Ajax…

  32. First of all : FORZA AJAX !!
    After that, I noticed that all goals of Feyenoord 1-4 Ajax of yesterday are from defense mistakes. Especially, the two firsts goals of two teams.
    The other goals of Ajax are lack of concentration of Feyenoord’s defense (loose marking).
    Dutch teams must focus on these mistakes. It’s not acceptable to see 5 goals like that in THE big game of Eredivie.

    Again, FORZA AJAX !!

    1. Sad!

      Here’s a BBC article that talks about what went wrong with Everton this season.

      Everton’s biggest failure was to replace Lukaku whose impact on their offense was massive. Koeman’s other signings also flopped big time. They also had a very tough schedule against top teams to start the season. There is enough blame to go around but Koeman himself has to share some of that blame. At the end of the day, it’s all about results and sitting in relegation zone is usually a time for change.

      This Everton job was supposed to be a stepping stone on his ambition to bigger opportunities. Taking over the Oranje job maybe a good thing for both sides. If he can show that he can bring back Oranje from the dead, he can redeem himself and get back track.

    2. It will be a really really sad day for Dutch Football if the national team appoints this f***ing loser as the coach. He absolutely ruined the club I support and I can guarantee will drag the national team further down.

      Couldn’t figure out a formation, had no sense of strategy, replaced a genuine striker with three week no. 10s, had no wingers, focused on back-passes to the goal-keeper (I guess this is the new Dutch style as the national team plays the same way) and what not.

      Paid 23 Million for Davy Klaasen. Enough said.

  33. Don’t know about Everton’s other signings, but trying to replace Lukaku with old Rooney was absolutely stupid–crazy–and Klaassen is very overrated. I didn’t realize that Koeman had had so many short stints at various clubs. Rather strange, though I realize that a lot of coaching stints at big clubs are short because they have no patience.

    1. Koeman’s signings for Everton this year (150 million):

      GK Jordan Pickford: Decent
      CB: Michael Keane: Was good at Burnley, deteriorated severely under Koeman
      RB: Cuco Martina: headless chicken, smh
      CM (No.10) Davy Klaassen: prime example of what is wrong with Dutch football today, dude can’t run, pass, shoot, track, cover
      CM (No.10) Gylfi Siggurdson: Good with set pieces only, slow.
      CM (No.10) Wayne Rooney: Everton legend, but past his prime. Still has better vision and sense than the rest.
      CF: Sandro Ramirez: WTF signing. I don’t think he has ever played football at any level.

      Here is the main problem: No targetman/striker to replace Romelu Lukaku. Already had a decent No.10 in Ross Barkley. Should have only got back Rooney for sentimental reasons, not the other CMs. In order to justify the signings, he stopped playing Barkley, stopped playing speedy wingers like Lookman and Mirallas, stopped playing with a striker at all.

      If I was the owner at Everton, I would have kicked this POS out LONG ago.

    1. If there is a RULE that it MUST be a Dutch coach to run the national team, then bring back a pragmatic person like Bert Van Merwijk or an up-and-coming young “coach-with-balls” that can light a fire under the sorry-ass team we have. Someone similar to Antonio Conte’s personality. I doubt if there is anyone out there like that. Why not try for Conte? Oh wait, he is not Dutch. Shit.

      Anyway, No Koeman. NOT AT ALL.

      1. Simon Kuper says he proposed Sampaoli to the KVNB and they said NO:

        “This spring I put the country’s soccer federation, the KNVB, in touch with Jorge Sampaoli, the Argentina-born coach of Sevilla, who had made little Chile into Copa America champions. He was keen to manage Holland. I’m only a journalist but I thought the KNVB would be pleased with a coach who had imbibed the “Hollandse school” style and then modernized it at the highest international level. Sampaoli’s teams play a kind of “Total Football 3.0″ but the KVNB then appointed Dick Advocaat (who turned 70 last month) for his third stint as Holland’s manager. Sampaoli became coach of Argentina instead.”

        1. I think I posted a link to the same Simon Kuper article. The guy is so full of himself.

          And why is everyone (other than Vikram, who has personal experience) so eager for Koeman? How is he any different from van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard? All were fantastic former players, but none have demonstrated any real ability as managers…

          I’d prefer one of Jan’s suggestions or even van Bronckhorst

  34. Jan proposed Erik Ten Hag as this new, out of the box, and modern coach.

    I wish if he can explain why he seems Ten Hag as the ideal candidate, instead others like Van der Looi (who is implementing the 5-3-2 in his team), Ron Jans, Koeman, Bosz, Gio or Cocu

    But we also need a Technical Director before appointing our coach. Jan proposed Fred Rutten. Why him and no Marcel Brands, for instance?.

    These will be an interesting topics to talk about.

  35. I think Oranje have to be led by ambitious foreign coach. However, I am 99% sure that KNVB will not appoint any foreign coach. R. Koeman is not a bad coach but he has his ups and downs (Valencia, AZ, and now Everton). I do not know if he is a right manager for Oranje. May be he is, maybe he is not. I am, also, against Ten Hag as I believe he is not Oranje material yet. Yes, he is a young coach who thinks out-of-box but he does not have that iconic image that Marco van Basten had (players will not follow him) and he has not proven himself as a good coach at club level either. Look how inconsistent Utrecht play with quite a good set of players.

    Taking into account how conservative KNVB is in choosing coaches and current circumstances with Koeman and Oranje, the former (KNVB) will quickly go for Koeman. I believe Koeman will take this job.

  36. Ok I must say some intresting see most of these things was already predicted and you can see how the dutch mentality is the same. first it was Van Gaal, Danny, FDB and now its koeman. As far as Everton goes I think Vikram is without a doubt abslotuely addition to that Yannick Bolasies injury also didnt help the situation, with high expecation when he was signed. but imo the question of whether Koeman should be apponited the next manager should not be based on on his dismal which for any coach always backfires if the transfers dont go right. there are many coaches who have fell victim 0f this. Carlos Ancelotti (Bayern), Moyes (Man United), Van Gaal (Bacrelona,Bayern), Mourinho (Chelsea).what I think is important here is for koeman to realize his mistakes and move on. Again one dimensional players will always be dead load and will drag the whole team.Im not sure what he was thinking when he signed klaassen. he was so spot on when he arrived at southampton, but as vikram as pointed out its Likaku depature which should have addressed and a striker of likakus calibre should haven being his first priority.also as far as sigurdsson is concerned , he is more of a axuillary striker (deep lying) as we have seen hom play for Iceland. I think it would have better if Koeman would have used both Rooney and Siguaardsson upfront in 4-4-2 and Schneiderlin and Gueye ar two runners. something simply to Leicester

    moving on I want to see Koeman as the next coach simply because he has knows in depth about eredivisie after managing Ajax, Feyenoord,PSV, AZ and after this dismaal he will have a fair idea of which type of players are suited for NT with respect to most of the dutch players who are playing in epl .im sure he will be able to groom players like Clasie into NT material like he was doing at Southampton. he was one of his favorite players and will be able to revive his career for sure. Clasie is the kind of players which NT needs and and somone who knows how to groom this type of players.

    1. im sure around 2026, the next golden generation will be on the brink of horizon.A four year term for koeman will will give time for other coaches like Bosz, FDB and Ten Hag get more experience and around 2026,one of the three should take up the job.

  37. im also thinking milan also could be tempted to hire koeman as they also are in turmoil after summer signings. well the money factor wont be a issue this time around.

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