Cruyff and Van Hanegem speak, and so does Louis!

Only nine days to go people!!! It is getting scary. I have to make the Fantasy World Cup League for us and have two more World Cups to cover here, for our Memory Lane trip…. But the news is coming fast and furious!

Everytime it’s the same story. A couple of weeks before the big tournament starts, Van Hanegem and Cruyff are asked about their opinion. And the two Oracles of Dutch football always have great soundbites… So Van Gaal will have to now allow these two (Waldorf and Statler) looking over his shoulder and commenting on all his moves. As if I wasn’t enough :-).

We’ll see what they have to say in a bit. First: jersey numbers. They’re out. And it’s official: Blind will play with 5 (and therefor take the left back spot, is my wild guess) and De Guzman will be the starter in midfield with 6. Robin wears 9, Robben 11 and Sneijder 10.

willem JC

Now, back to JC and De Kromme.

Cruyff: “I miss a player like Davy Klaassen. If you want to play 5-3-2 and move up to 3-5-2, it means you need smart players with a brain for timing and positioning. Klaassen has that in spades.”

Van Hanegem: “It is good to see Sneijder is back in top shape. But I am annoyed with that baseball cap. You can’t see his eyes when he’s being interviewed and that is wrong. Someone needs to tell him to lose the cap!”

Which teams will end in the top 4.

Cruyff: “Argentina. Never did a European nation win in South America. With players who can play really good football but also players who can numb their mind and tirelessly focus on that one element: win and bring out the best of yourself.”
Van Hanegem: “Argentina will be very keen to perform and with Messi and Di Maria they have two very good players. I won’t say Messi saved himself for the World Cup but I’m sure it has crossed his mind a number of times this season.
The Argentine defence is solid and if Messi can bring his top form, he might be forever heralded as the greatest ever, what winning the World Cup in Brazil!”
Cruyff: “But Brazil has so many great players…”
Van Hanegem: “Brazil… I did have my doubts until I saw that crush Spain in the Confederations Cup…”
Cruyff: “So aggressive….”
Van Hanegem: “But in a good way! Driven. Hungry. With that “don’t fuck with us!” mentality. That was what they resonated. And they didn’t seem to be worried with pressure. Everywhere they play, they feel pressure…”
Cruyff: “They know how to deal with that pressure…”
Van Hanegem: “I sometimes feel they played with the brakes on a bit, the Brazilian players in their club competitions…. Because they know they have to win this. They are the stone cold favorites.”
Cruyff: “Spain?”
Van Hanegem: “I doubt them. I normally would say yes, Spain, but they haven’t been to dominant. I think they are losing it.”
Cruyff: “But they have great players, still. Midfielders mainly. This is the problem they have in England too. They all have foreigners as strikers. Benzema, C Ronaldo, Bale and in Barcelona it’s Neymar, Messi and Sanchez… They quickly grabbed Diego Costa. Smart.”
Van Hanegem: “I think that is a top player. But Llorente of Juventus is no slouch either. And they do have some other physically strong players…yes, Spain is on my list.”
Cruyff: “And again Germany, of course.”
Van Hanegem: “If you see their squad with quality… Gotze, Reus, Muller, Schweinsteiger, Kroos, Neuer….”
Cruyff: “Germans are always a threat. And with the introduction of more foreign coaches like Van Gaal and Guardiola, they will only get better.”
Van Hanegem: “You just know that Germany will be up there again.”
Cruyff: “Outsiders… I don’t see Holland as such, we are a bit too young. We have quality but lack experience. And that draw….”
Van Hanegem: “I would mention Belgium before Oranje. They have so many great players. France too by the way. I think we should cheer them if they survive the group.”
Cruyff: “It will be extremely tough.”
Van Hanegem: “The first game is versus Spain. The first game of the world champions, is always a tough one. The pressure is extra big. So yeah, we might be able to get something against them.”

RVP ghana

Oranje might get passed the group stages but is not planning on winning the beauty prize. Results first. Van Persie: “It wasn’t sparkling. We need to find the balance still.” The times of the beautiful game seem behind us. Van Gaal decides to play a less attractive and more realistic game. Which is: stop as much as possible and play all balls on the three upfront! Van Persie: “Our goal versus Ghana was a good example of this. We created three good chances in this way, but we missed the opportunity to pick the right moment as we could have broken more. It is still a bit too sloppy.”

The players realise that it will be a tough battle for our team and the rock in midfield Nigel de Jong is quite useful in those games: “I think we did well. We could have been 2-0 or 3-0 up by half time. If we did score, I don’t think anyone would have complained. This team needs a bit more time, but the potential is certainly there.”

We just had the Oranje press conference and here are some soundbites:

“Jon De Guzman had to leave the training this morning. He felt something in his left hamstring. I won’t take chances. Against Wales, we have sufficient replacements at the moment. I won’t make any rash decisions and we’ll see tomorrow what happens.”

“I might use a 4-4-2 against Wales.If Wales comes at us with one striker, it is useless to play 3 defenders. I will move one player up (Daley Blind). This is easy. He played in midfield for Ajax and Bruno played left back for Feyenoord. This is how I defined my squad.”

Louis gets bit antsy when the media complain about the narrow win against Ghana. “Oh dear, we only won 1-0?? Did you see how the other big countries done? We won 1-0 but it could have been 3-0. Germany plays 2-2 against Cameroon. Italy can’t win. And Spain wins against the number 8 of South America.”

“I am not sure if we are ready in time. We are making great progress but time will tell if we are ready for Spain and Chile and Australia. I do hope so. But like I said, we do pretty good if you take the friendly results as a benchmark. Wesley Sneijder played well today on training. He is playing really in midfield now.”

Mark van Bommel will be celebrated before the Wales game. He played 79 times for Oranje and Van Gaal (the coach who drove him out of Munich) was the coach back in 2000 to give Van Bommel his first cap.

Van Gaal talks about the number 10 position: “I can play Robben as 10, but I want his depth and speed upfront and Sneijder is a better passer of the game. But I have to look at fitness and how well a player plays within the system. I need to make sure Robin doesn’t need to work too hard. I saw him chasing the left and right defender against Ghana. He was doing too much. The wide defenders of our team need to manage those two.”


Van Gaal also claims that four players in the squad have not reached their full fitness yet. “I won’t mention names but we have four players who need to make a step up. The medical tests show this. Full fitness is needed if you want to play like I want to play. The games against Romania and Hungary were good examples.”

Sneijder is probably not one of those players. Chest out, chin up, the Galatasaray midfielder has managed to get to full fitness thanks to the help of K1 fighter Saki. The kickbox start trained for months with Wesley. “I contacted him. I met him once and he was a nice guy and very fit. I started working out with him. I also played and trained for Gala of course which also helped. But Saki is a Gala supporter and I needed some improvement in explosivity and footwork. I need to be faster and lighter. We did two to three sessions per week, in the evening. And I worked on a special program for the KNVB as well. My body mass index is now better than it was in 2010!”

Yolanthe explained his routine. “Gets up early. Takes his healthy breakfast and trains and trains. And he sleeps two hours in the afternoon. He started this as a kid and still does it. And I cook healthy and light. Lots of beef, fish and raw vegetables. And when take cream on my strawberries or chips on the sofa, he refuses. He is very serious.”

Sneijder was not too happy with the performance vs Ghana but is hopeful: “It was still a bit new and we needed to check too much…. and suddenly it clicked but then other things went wrong. Little things. We need to iron those out and we will. Once we do that, you’ll see it will look much better suddenly.”

squad pic

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  1. Hey Jan,

    Great stuff, as always. But you dont need my compliments. The thing you got here going speaks volumes … I love it !

    I just noticed something: the rugnummers (wth is it in English) or announced (someone here asked for it):

    Rugnummers Oranje

    1. Jasper Cillessen
    2. Ron Vlaar
    3. Stefan de Vrij
    4. Bruno Martins Indi
    5. Daley Blind
    6. Jonathan de Guzman
    7. Daryl Janmaat
    8. Nigel de Jong
    9. Robin van Persie
    10. Wesley Sneijder
    11. Arjen Robben
    12. Paul Verhaegh
    13. Joël Veltman
    14. Terence Kongolo
    15. Dirk Kuijt
    16. Jordy Clasie
    17. Jeremain Lens
    18. Leroy Fer
    19. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
    20. Georginio Wijnaldum
    21. Memphis Depay
    22. Michel Vorm
    23. Tim Krul

      1. i dont get it though, if we play 442 is sneijder the second striker and robben the winger or robben second striker meands blind left, sneijder left, or does de guzman shift to winger?
        bmi—-vlaar—de vrij—-janmaat

        or is it
        blind——de guz—ndj———–
        bmi—vlaar—-de vrij—-janmaat–

        or a diamond 442
        bmi—–vlaar—-de vrij—–janmaat

  2. It seems like according to our oracles we shouldn’t really expect too much from our team. Belgium and France should be our backup favorites 🙂
    Personally if we can get a draw against Spain it will be a great start. I just have a hard time comparing Spain midfield with ours and also defense. We have better attack players but we should score our chances and not be wasteful.
    But looking at other european teams you can see the quality in France, Belgium, England, Portugal even Croatia and Bosnia let alone Spain and Germany.

  3. This new formations and this squad is an enigma…not even Van Gaal and Del Bosque have and outlook of the true potential of Oranje.

    I think that we should not expect much and suddenly this young generation can do some nice things. I remember in 2008 when we beat Italy the reigning World Champs in the EK with Engelaar, Oijer and Boulah in the line up…hopefully we can do the same against Spain with the current group of players.

    I saw some nice things in the Ghana game, the key for Oranje is to look more and more the participation of the trio Robben-Sneijder-Van Persie and let the full backs (Blind and Janmaat) attack as much as possible. I didn´t not see de Guzman making mistakes but also in my book he did not add much value to the team…Clasie will get a chance at the WC and he will be our Davids in this World Cup…different styles but the effect will be similar. I am sure Clasie will not start, but when he gets his chance he will be pivotal for Oranje and he will have an opportunity, mark my words.

  4. There’s a lot of subtext when Cruijff says: “Never did a European nation win in South America.”

    Between FIFA, gambling syndicates, match-fixing — and the sheer threat of riot/violence — it’s hard to imagine a European team pulling it off this time either.

    Don’t know if you guys have seen the NYTimes expose about match-fixing, but it’s reasonable not to get your hopes up:


    “He felt something in his hamstrings and therefore I stopped the training session as we were playing 11 v 11,” he said.

    “Now we have to wait and see in the coming days whether it is bad or not so bad.

    “Hopefully it’s a light injury. We will wait a couple of days and then we will be able to say what it is.

    “De Guzman has earned his position in the team.

    “He had a rather good game against Ghana on Saturday. I liked him. I said it to him. So now I have to adapt and play another player in his position which is always not so good.”

  6. It is terrific to hear that Sneijder is working so hard on fitness and taking it dead serious. We can thank LvG for making Sneijder demand more from himself, and bringing him back closer to his true level.

  7. Fifa is corrupt to core, and has been for a long time, so it will be no surprise if key calls go in favor of, say, Brazil and Argentina in this tournament.

  8. Can honestly say i wud be very surprised if this time passes to the next round. Must be one of the poorest teams we ever send to a WC.

    Gonna be in the Arena against Wales, hope they dont play too bad

      1. hi Jan, all is ok..lots of things happened in my private life..

        of course ill make a review..maybe even trow in some pics

        hope ur fine too Jan

  9. Goose…haven’t seen you on here in years (unless you are a new goose so to speak)! this site misses your great comments and analysis, good to have you back.

  10. No use switching to 4-4-2 we dont have players for that . In 5-3-2 players like De Vrij and Blind are covered and in 4-4-2 they will be bottom ups… seems like now Van Gaal is feeling the heat of dropping players like Van Ginkle and PVA and Rekik. it clear Van Gaal selected the squad with 5-3-2 formation in mind and if he changes that then it jus defeats the purpose. the experiment continues what a fucked coach.

    In the 5-3-2 formation the flanks are are not utilized efficiently meaning we will always be vulnerable there and with Spain you jus dont wanna do that.

    1. he should have done this last when we played Itlay, Germany,Portugal, Columbia, Japan, Belgium as contingency plan for back. shame it has come down to the last hour.

  11. I am pretty sure that Brazil will have plenty of help with the refs…I mean, they have a good team, home advantage and with some help from the referees they will surely reach at least the final.

    If a team wants to beat Brazil they will have to score like 3 or 4 clear goals because they will be favoured with penalties, disallowed goals for rivals, red cards for the opposition…Brazil will have 13 players this summer…FIFA wants a Brazil vs. Argentina final and I just hope that if the team (s) we support end the competition without so much robbery.

    World Cups in South America have always been very weird…Remember Argentina vs. Peru in 1978??? Oranje should have played against Brazil that final and not against the locals…perhaps we will be telling another story these days.

    Anyway, enjoy the ride my friends.

    1. Mario, i fear the same,brazil will be helped by referees – key players of their opponents will get yellow card after 10-15 minutes,in not evident situations they’ll always favour brazil,easy penalties,easy offsides,etc. at least until the semis

  12. Onzie your diamond formations looks good but I would play sneijder at Pirlo role and Robben in the centre and lens up front.

    RVP – Lens


    Sneijder – Clasie

    De Jong

    BMI – Kongolo – Vlaar – Janmaat


  13. Guys, Van Gaal is an experienced coach. If he says he might play a 4-4-2 a 3-4-3 or a 5-3-2 is because he wants to confuse the rivals a bit. I am sure he knows his strategy for each game and something typical of Van Gaal is that he doesn´t make a line up based on the rivals but of the real potential and skills of his team.

    He can play a 4-4-2 in a friendly but at training sesions he is working many tactics and for sure he knows what line up will pick for each game.

    I am sure this Oranje is not Oranje 1998 but with some cohesion between lines, pride, team spirit and hunger everything can happen. We have many examples…Denmark at Euro 1992, Greece in Euro 2004, Atletico Madrid in 2014 Champions League. You can have a team full of stars but if they don´t have the passion and hunger it counts for nothing. Something I have noticed of this Oranje is that they are very eager to prove critics wrong of what happened two years ago and without the pressure of being favorites they can deliver and surprise the world.

    I have confidence in the young guns, our vets, Van Gaal-Blind and Kluivert.

  14. Argentina 23

    Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero (Sampdoria), Mariano Andujar (Catania), Agustin Orion (Boca Juniors)

    Defenders: Pablo Zabaleta (Manchester City), Federico Fernandez (Napoli), Ezequiel Garay (Benfica), Marcos Rojo (Sporting Lisbon), Hugo Campagnaro (Inter Milan), Martin Demichelis (Manchester City), Jose Basanta (Monterrey)

    Midfielders: Javier Mascherano (Barcelona), Fernando Gago (Boca Juniors), Lucas Biglia (Lazio), Ricardo Alvarez (Inter Milan), Augusto Fernandez (Celta Vigo), Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid), Maxi Rodriguez (Newell’s Old Boys), Enzo Perez (Benfica)

    Forwards: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Gonzalo Higuain (Napoli), Sergio Aguero (Manchester City), Rodrigo Palacio (Inter Milan), Ezequiel Lavezzi (Paris St Germain)

        1. What ?

          Garay is announced in Bayern, Rojo was contacted by PSG, Fernandez is titular with Napoli, Zabaleta with City…

          Of course they are better than the dutch defenders who will sign in Stoke City and Werder Bremen.

          1. I agree with Laurent about Argentina defence. It’s definitly not bad , though Fernandez is not that good even though playing with napoli as a starter.

            Dimichels is used to play with a high defense line and is a regular starter with Man City , and Garay is a great young defender.

            But I also diagree with Laurent about Dutch defenders who will sign with Stoke and Bremen. C’mon bro 😀 .
            De vrij is already wanted by Lazio and Dortumond. Indi was wanted by Everton and will probably move to a good club after the WC. I also think vlaar will leave the Villans for a better Calccio club after the WC.

  15. Dont get why people think this is the worst ever Dutch side at the World Cup. Is that just because half the players play in Netherlands?

    RVP, Robben and Sneijder are still world class on their day, while De Jong is an animal in front of the back three.

    Given that Strootman is better than de Guzman, but the defence has the potential to have much better careers than those from the 2010 squad.

    Janmaat is the best right back since Wim Suurbier and Daley Blind is great at left back.

    While this squad is not 1974 or 1998, its still full of potential, and could surprise a lot of people.

    1. Actually I wanted to say the same.
      Janmaat is definitly the best dutch right back in my time. I think he is better than Reizeger.
      Depay is one the best talents since Robben. We have one of the strongest and most experienced front lines in the tournament with Kuyt , Hunter , Arjen , Lens and Persie. Our back line with Vlaar , De vrij and Indi is much superior to that in 2010 and 2006 even though less experienced. De jong is beast. Clasie is a player we didn’t have in the midfield since I don’t know when.
      People talking about depth , I agree its a lesser depth than 98 , but we have top 6 players injured in Strootman , Ginkel , Afellay , Vdv , Vdw & Willems , yet we still are able to make a decent squad.

      Also , talking about Spain. Some people can’t see the difference between how beautiful Barçelona plays and how pragmatic Spain plays.
      Spain was one of the ugliest football teams in 2010. You can watch their games vs Portugal , Paraguay and Germany and Even Oranje.
      Paraguay was much better and almost won the game if it wasn’t for the missed PK , Portugal was playing more beautiful than them.
      Go and watch these games and tell me if I am wrong.
      A great example that only results do really matter. People won’t always remember how you played .

      1. The only thing that was superior in 2010 was the keeper imo. I think Krul can be at the same level of Stek in 2010 , but LvG doesn’t even give him a chance. I don’t like Cilessen.

      2. I actually talked to a lot of Dutch fans and many of them are saying Janmaat has the potential to become the best RB in dutch history. I feel the same Janmaat is better than Reiziger.

    2. ‘Dont get why people think this is the worst ever Dutch side at the World Cup.’

      Most normal people do not consider this.
      Only the wheelchair gang believe it – Laurent, Son of Lion of Idiot, etc… and they seem to post more than anyone else.
      Always those with nothing to say who speak loudest to be heard. Funny.

      1. 74,78 squads were far better,90 squad as well, bergkamp,overmars,koeman,rijkaard,aaron winter were in the 94 squad,the 98 squad wes brilliant,in 2006 ruud van nistelrooy,van bommel,gio and the young guns were there. in 2010 oranje still had van bommel and gio.
        ido you really think this squad is better than one of those squads?

        1. I think this squad is by far better than 2006 , Ferenc.
          In this squad wh have Persie , Robben , Sneijder , De jong and the young guns 😀 . This is what will be said after 4-6 years actually.

          1. being realistic Mohamed,none of the youngsters seems as taslented as robben,rvp,sneijder and vdv were 8-10 years ago

        2. Btw Ferenc , As a die hard Barca fan , How do you rate Janmaat ?
          I think he has potential to replace Alves in Barcelona , since Alves will probably leave the team after the WC. What do you think ?

          1. Would be so refreshing to see another dutch youngster starting for Barcelona. It Has been a long long time.

          2. i don’t know, i have only seen twice or three times janmmat. he’s not bad,one of the best dutcg defenders,but eeeredivisie doesnt indicate anything for me. honestly,i have no idea. i read cuadrado,but he’s not right back. i want someone who can defend like abidal did. if in your defence one wing back attacks like hell and worldclass in attacking (alba), the other wing back must be more defense-minded. if not,you loose the balance. actually i would like a gary cahill type defender,not a great artist,but perfectly does his job. if janmmaat can defend,i”m not against. but i have already read at least 15-20 potential candidates,and a
            no dutch player was mentioned. if everything written in sport newspapers was true barca would have an at least 60 men first team squad in 2014/15.

  16. Croatia squad
    Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov/RUS), Danijel Subasic (Monaco/FRA), Oliver Zelenika (Lokomotiva Zagreb)

    Defenders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kiev/UKR), Sime Vrsaljko (Genoa/ITA), Danijel Pranjic (Panathinaikos/GRE), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow/RUS), Dejan Lovren (Southampton/ENG), Gordon Schindelfeld (Panathinaikos/GRE)

    Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid/ESP), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla/ESP), Mateo Kovacic (Inter Milan/ITA), Marcelo Brozovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev/UKR), Ivan Mocinic (Rijeka), Sammir (Getafe/ESP)

    Forwards: Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich/GER), Nikica Jelavic (Hull City/ENG), Ivica Olic (VfL Wolfsburg/GER), Eduardo Da Silva (Shakhtar Donetsk/UKR), Ivan Perisic (VfL Wolfsburg/GER), Ante Rebic (Fiorentina/ITA)

    bet they giv brazil a run for their money.

    1. One of the best midfields in Europe with Rakitic,Modric,Kovacic.
      I think they should be able to get through the group stage.
      Not quite as strong as the 98. Croatia,lacking defence.

    1. Excellent read as always Jan and after reading a few interviews, thinking we may have a very decent chance here. I’m saying this as a joke, but if rumors are true and we have a somewhat happy camp here, minus our injuries, I don’t see why we can’t just push through already!

      This is not the same Spain/Germany/ hell even Brasil as of recently, no matter what the excuses are, they should be winning those matches. Minus a few blips here and there, we should have really went undefeated as our lead up just like in 2010.

      Pray that we don’t have any more injuries/implosions and for God’s sake no complacency! However with our performance against Ghana, I’m glad to see them working hard and really should have been a 4/5-0 game. I hope they don’t think that scoring once or twice in the first 5-10-20 minutes of the game is the time to rest, complete opposite.

      Sorry for my rant, daily oranje anxiety and nerves, very excited for our friendly tomorrow and let’s get this already! Hup Nederlands Hup!!!

  17. I’ve been a fan since 1988 and i waited all those years to see them play the final of the World Cup, and when they did in 2010 I didn’t have the nerves to watch, I left the home and went driving the whole time till the game was over!! It took me more than a year to be able to look at the final match of the World Cup, imagine 🙂

    1. lol,Ala – i did the same in 94 during the second half of the brazil game. i lived in nice, after the first half i went to a very quite park far from pubs,etc. after numan’s red card in 98 against argentina i also went to a nearby hill (in budapest) and didn’t see bergkamp’s wonder goal… two more times happened the same: in 98 before the penalties against brazil,then in 2009 in the second half of the chelsea-barca cl semi finals,came back home just one minute before iniesta’s goal

      1. Wow Ferenc you never told me about this incident bro 😀 .
        Bergkamp’s wonder goal was the exact moment I started to be an Oranje fan .

  18. Tottenam after Janmaat
    De Guzman will miss the game against Wales but Clasie returned to training.
    Hupperts transfer to AZ but still need to finalize personal terms.
    Besiktas after Heitinga
    Benschop 0.75m permanent transfer to Dusseldorf

      1. There is a difference between mentionning a player, and really wanting him. Maybe they ever mentionned his name, but that’s all.

        They’re gonna play CL, they need strong players, why would they go for a Heerenveen one. It would be risky and fans wouldn’t like it.

        Also if a club likes Roma wants a Heerenveen player, the dutch will ask 2x more than if it was Ajax or PSV, foreign clubs know it. Roma will never spend 10 mo for Ziyech if they can have a calcio player for the same price.

        Beerens, Narsingh and many others had better season than him few years ago but no foreign club bought them. Assaidi left to Liverpool cause he had only one year left contract and had proved some good things with Moroccan NT.
        But his experience in Liverpool won’t push other teams to buy Heerenveen players now lol

  19. Van gaal: This is a happy camp
    Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal believes he has a happy camp as the FIFA World Cup™ draws near – and he intends to keep it that way by winning. The Dutch may have a reputation for attractive football but some of their previous tournament challenges have been undermined by friction within the squad.

    Van Gaal experienced such disharmony himself during his first unsuccessful stint as national boss, when the Netherlands failed to qualify for the 2002 FIFA World Cup Korea/Japan™. The 62-year-old is not sensing any problems this time round as his squad prepare to fly to Brazil on Thursday and he feels he has a duty to make sure that remains the case.

    Van Gaal, who will take over as Manchester United manager after the FIFA World Cup™, said: “It’s also dependent on the management, it is not only the players. I think it is about the relationship between a manager and his squad.

    “In my first episode there was that (disruption) but I have understood now. They like me now. I feel there are no problems. We have a very good relationship. But it is also dependent on the results.”

    Netherlands host Wales at the Amsterdam Arena on Wednesday in their final friendly before travelling to South America.They face champions Spain in a repeat of the 2010 final in their opening match in Salvador on June 13 before facing Australia and Chile in their other Group B games.

    I feel there are no problems. We have a very good relationship.

    Louis van Gaal, Holland coach

    Van Gaal knows well how Spain will approach the game having nurtured some of their all-conquering talents in one of his previous roles at Barcelona.

    He said: “I’m proud not only of Xavi and (Andres) Iniesta, but also (Carles) Puyol and (Victor) Valdes who are injured and not playing against us. I’m proud, but we can resist against these creative midfielders – although it shall be difficult.”

    Thousands of fans turned up to see Van Gaal put his players through their paces in a public training session at AZ Alkmaar’s AFAS Stadium on Tuesday. Van Gaal is expected to stick to the side that beat Ghana last weekend to face Wales, with the exception of one change enforced by injury to Jonathan de Guzman.

    The midfielder, who has spent the last two seasons on loan at Swansea from Villarreal, suffered a hamstring injury in training earlier this week but Van Gaal is hopeful he will be fit for the World Cup.

  20. Funny cause the troll here (Andrew) seems now to be confident and happy.

    When Holland will lose and people will be depressed here, I can bet he’ll come to say that we are all idiots, that it was obvious etc. haha

    Few weeks ago he was repeating that we’ll miss Bert, now he defends Van Gaal.

    When I was saying that Sneijder is not a good team players last year, he was calling me idiot, now he calls Sneijder “selfish midget” lol.

    1. Stick to football, Laurent. Keep the rest if it to yourself, no one wants to read more of this kind of petty back-and-forth.

      I’m pretty sure that you’re still missing the fact that there are two posters named Andrew, but even if you’re right, be the bigger man and let it go.

      1. I know it, it’s not the first time the troll takes other names.

        Remember he was taking “Laurent” and writing “I’m gay” and such silly things…

      2. @Aanvullah,

        Thank you for pointing out that there are apparently now tow posters, using the name Andrew. (The one above is not me. I believe this is the first time I’ve posted on this thread.) I am the one who has been on for a long time…From now on, I guess, I’ll have to distinguish myself from the other by adding an initial after my last name.

        Laurent, I’m sorry that you are caught up in these things. I can assure you I’ve never insulted you (or anyone else) on this blog. I only come on here for the discussions and the information.

        Speaking of which, does anyone know whether the referee appointment for the Spain match will be European or from n outside Federation. I’m actually hoping for an Italian Referee, someone who has seen NDJ for a few years. I’m afraid as the game draws close, Spain will focus its prematch politicking on “the kick.” And that could influence a less experienced referee.

  21. I think we should all manage our expectations… It will be hard to come out of the group stage… I would be disappointed if they don’t… but at the same time, I know we will have a very good core of players with 1 tournament under their belt and ready for the 2016 Euro and 2018 WC.

    You guys may not see it, but we have an exciting team. All the back 5 (excluding Vlaar including Veltman) have great potential. We have an excellent Midfield coming up in Strootman and Van Ginkle and Clasie… Depay will be a monster.. The last Euro U21 we played with this team and reached semi-final and lost the Italy game due to luck.

    Robben is super fit… and every defence that plays against us will have 2 players marking him(if they can)… leaving plenty of space for Sneijder and RvP.

    We should be able to score in every game we play in the group stage… if we can avoid conceeding, we should be in good shape.

    This is one of the youngest teams in the WC… these young kids will be able to outrun the older teams (such as Spain) and have a shorter recap period. I am cautiously optimistic.

    1. To be honest I’ll probably be a bit more optimistic and positive just after this world cup.

      Now what I see is the end of a broken generation (Robben, VP, Sneijder) with many new and unexperienced players around. We call that transition, and in general, teams in transition don’t do anything. Robben, VP and Sneijder are three players who will stay in dutch football history and who also were among the best players in europe last decade, but I never felt they could win anything together. Because of their egos.

      In 2006, like everyone, I thought that they’ll do something big in the coming years, but won’t win. Maybe 2008, maybe 2010, maybe 2012…And they did it in 2010.

      Now I really don’t think they can win anything or whatever. Of course, it’s a pure personnal feeling and I have no scientific proof to support it, but it’s just like that. And I think many others also have that feeling.

      2012 was already transition, now it’s even more. Of course I cannot blame Van Gaal for keeping taking Robben and VP, they are our two best players, only Van Basten had the balls to give the keys to the next generation sooner than expected in 2006, skipping Seedorf, Makaay…

      After this world cup, which will be short according to me, Hiddink can come with a new fresh team, a new system, and if the young players developp good in good european clubs (which I’m unfortunetaly not sure about), maybe Holland will be a top team again in 2018 or 2020.

      1. I think you’re being a bit too harsh and a tad too negative… Listen… RvP, Robben and Sneijder are world class players and the goal against Ghana just proves that. These 3 would make the squad of any other team in the world today.

        I honestly rank Hiddink below LvG, especially when leading a young crop of players. I cannot name 3 players that made their debut under Hiddink… but LvG.. heck, you can name the 3 European teams who dominated and played the most attractive football in Europe over the last 2 decades.. these teams promoted their own young players.. trashing LvG won’t give you any credit (not in my eyes or opinion at least).

        And Van Basten was probably the most naiive coach in dutch history… he got Van Bommel out and played Engelaar… are you kidding me?!? His team got outplayed by 1 Russian player (Arshavin) who became a bench warmer at Arsenal. All hailed Marco van Baten, but he had the 4 hotest youngsters in Europe at the time (RvP, Robben, Sneijder and VdV) and he crashed out in the second round to a mediocre Russia.

        1. People in France were saying same about Henry, Malouda etc. in 2010. Those were still playing with Barca and Chelsea. Result ? Last place behind South Africa.

          It’s not about top individuals, it’s about team cohesion, and state of the team. Holland is SICK, the 2012 tournament proved it. If I’m not mistaken, all three were on the field when we couldn’t beat Denmark ?

          When you are a sick team, you have to eject , not to come back every time swallowing your own vomite. Those guys failed during a world cup finale, three minutes before the finale whistle and finished last the next tournament. Why would they make it now ?

          England is swallowing its own vomite for years now, coming every time with Gerrard, Lampard etc. they always were saying “but they are the best PL players, it’s normal to take them”. Yeah and then, they always failed and failed.

          About Van Basten, I believe the team wouldn’t have reached finale in 2010 without his work to introduce the new generation sooner than expected. Imagine he would still call Seedorf instead of Sneijder in 2006 and 2008, Sneijder playing his first major competition in 2010 with BVM, do you believe Holland would reach finale ?

          I don’t say that he was a good coach, but he opened the way to Van Marwijk with giving experience to the youngsters.

          1. France had a shit coach… everyone knows that.
            England has no quality players..

            We have a good coach and quality players.. have some love and belief brother

          2. For your information, it was not Van Basten who introduced the then young generation of Wes, VDV, Robben and Heitinga to the national team, it was Advocaat. I was there my friend in 2003 in the Amsterdam Arena to be precise for the return playoff match against Scotland and one of the most memorable matches ever played by Holland…the 6-0 win with 1 goal and 3 assists from Wes. I can still remember how he ran across the field and jumped into Van Hoijdonk’s arms. I don’t think VB introduced a single world class player except for Romeo Castellen haha (even though Tiju loves him to death!).

          3. @Jeff, I remember that game well. (Wasn’t present though.) So much trepidation before the match after the 1-0 loss in Scotland—the unspoken question: could this be another Ireland? But they got off to such a fast start, and so dominant…then they went to 2004 Euro’s in Portugal, and while Advocaat played Robben after the opening draw with Germany (what a goal by RVN), he only played Sneijder and Rafa sparingly. Didn’t make sense, but I guess, like a lot of coaches, he stayed with the older players.

        2. Jeff I know Advocaat took Robben, VDV, Heitinga, Sneijder with him but none of them played a major role during the tournament, except Robben scoring the winning penalty against Sweden maybe.

          That’s why I consider Van Basten as their real mentor as he skipped many experienced players for them after. He could still call Seedorf, Makaay etc.

          1. Also don’t forget Van Basten gave a starting place to RVP during WC2006 while he was warming the bench with Arsenal. And he was better than Robben and Sneijder during that competition.

          2. I accept your argument and recognize that Advocaat did not take any “risk” during the euro 2004 by mostly playing with the old guard. However, you have to recognize that Robben played a far greater role than just scoring a pk against Sweden. He played superbly against the Czechs only to be taken out by stupid Dick Advocaat (replaced by a mediocre Bosvelt) costing us the match, nearly the qualification and Dick’s head. As for VB and VPersie, this was the time when VP also truly emerged at Arsenal, so not totally fair to claim that VB was his mentor. But again I accept your argument about the role VB played in these guys’ development with the national team.

      2. I may disagree with how you feel about this WC Laurent , which is also my personal feeling. Nothing more.
        I have a great feeling Oranje will be in the semi-final , and probably lose to Argentina. I think we’ll come third to the world this year. It will be a very similar tournament to 2008 with better end results.
        Also I may have a different approach with our stars. If Persie keeps his form for 4 more years , a something I do expect , I have no problem starting with him in 2018.

  22. Bert van Marwijk had an interview with De Telegraaf recently (using Google Translate, if any Dutch posters here can do a better job, than by all means go ahead! haha)

    on Douglas

    “In his good time at FC Twente top I found him and I then stated that he would have a chance if he would be Dutchman”, the coach begins in De Telegraaf
    “I think he then what continued stabbing in his development . How Douglas it does in Russia, I do not know, but I can follow Van Gaal . I think Douglas is overtaken by younger players with great center back at those positions talent”

    on Bruma:

    “For Jeffrey true that he is a guy who basically has everything a defender should have. He’s big, strong, fast, has a good pass and good header. I do think he has to develop. He further effort still making the same mistakes. That will be the reason that he is not selected” said Van Marwijk

    on Erik Pieters

    “I can understand the choices that Van Gaal has made in the composition of his selection. Only I would have certainly Erik Pieters when taken off,” said the former coach at De Telegraaf. “He has always done very well with me as a left back and in addition a good season at Stoke City behind. Nobody has so eye had, but he has just turned a complete season in the Premier League”

    He also mentions that he would bring a young offensive mid like Boetius, Promes, or Vilhenna.

    1. Really impressive Promes in these two last game for U21. Maybe he should have gone to World Cup. Instead of Kuyt?
      Had a stellar season for Twente,too.

      1. During the Euro Qualification after the world cup, Kuyt will probably be done for the NT. Robben,Lens(if he leave Kiev), Depay are probably definite call-ups for Hiddink.
        Then it comes to competition between Promes, Boetius, Ola John, Narsingh, Hupperts, Berghuis,Afellay and even Beerens if he make the mover to Hertha BSC and can perform.If Elia can not wake up he probably is done for NT.

  23. Im with those who cannot understand all this negativity. We have one of the best (arguably the best) offensive line of the tournament. Any team, i repeat, any team, would be ready to switch two of his players with Robben or RVP. And we have Sneijder in very good form. True, the rest of the team are young and inexperienced but very promising. It cant be worse than last tournament and in any case lets be positive about the future with all these youngsters. So enjoy and trust Louis 🙂

  24. sorry guys I know all us here are huge NT fans and hav expectations but I think majority here are trying to evade the true picture about the depth in the NT squad. Robben, RVP, Snejder cant single handly win us the world Cup and most of us are thinking that this will happen. To win the WC… need a formidable squad from the GK to strikers and apart from that also the extras that will be on the bench. as it is there only three teams they meet this crietria…..Brazil,Spain, Belgium and I will bracket Italy as well. As what laurent mentioned its the total team effort and cohesion that matters especially during knockout stages. In 2010 we reached the final jus because of Robben sneidjer and maybe RVP and again that goal by spain proved that you have to have depth in squad which they had in the form of super subs which came on and played an instrimental role in the build up to that goal.our subs who came in that Final were Elia…Vaart…Braafhied and on the hand hand Spain had Torres…Fabregas and Navas at their disposal. that was the depth in the spain squad given the quality of players they had. Again the approach this year is same ….. basically there no explosive on the bench that can come on have major impact on the game…..Hunter, Depay, Lens, Fer. we are going in the same direction as in 2010….Robben,RVP,Senijder fully loaded and one can wonder how far can they go.

    In the past our bench had explosive equally good as those in the starting 11 and thats why the coaches had the luxury of timely interventions during major breakdowns…2008….2010,2000, 2004,2006,2008.

  25. off topic: i’m very excited because i went to a book premier of jonathan wilson: inventing the pyramid – the history of football tactics (2nd edition9 in budapest. he gave a 3 hourd long lecture,and it was fantastic!. he started with a scotland-england game in 1876 and finished with the 2014 woeld cup. he talked a lot about total football,dutch school,everything. i obviously bought the book,it’s 600 pages,but seems very exciting 🙂

    1. Media is saying Fer is going to start, Clasie is fit to play against Wales but not De Guzman. I doubt Van Gaal will change to 4-4-2. He might play 5-3-2 again, we still did not play enough games with this formation yet.

  26. Thanks Vanx a much needed distraction.

    I am very confused by LVG and his tactics and it seems our players are falling like fireflies.. (Any update on JD Guz?)

    I’d like to see 6 new players against wales along with a 4-3-3.

    I miss lens’ qualifier brilliance and fer’s potent headers. It would be nice to see clasie get some game time in too..


  27. Belgium squad:

    Goalkeepers: Thibaut Courtois (Chelsea), Simon Mignolet (Liverpool), Sammy Bossut (Zulte-Waregem)

    Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham Hotspur), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit Saint Petersburg), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liège)

    Midfielders: Axel Witsel (Zenit Saint Petersburg), Marouane Fellaini (Manchester United), Steven Defour (Porto), Moussa Dembélé, Nacer Chadli (both Tottenham Hotspur), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg)

    Forwards: Romelu Lukaku (Chelsea), Divock Origi (Lille), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Adnan Januzaj (Manchester United)

    Notable exclusion none apart from injured Benteke

  28. Watched u21 match,Van ginkel lost his usual stamina and standard,injury played a big part in that, wish he joins with coach like pep gaurdiola ,hiddink etc type.He got subbed in for maher at last.though his passes and moves were so intelligent and quick…
    Though Ake is not LB he did well at that spot he is orange material and its just a matter of time,one of the world class holding midfeilder in making.1000% sure..
    Team was well balanced with the work rate of Promes,Castaginos,Ebcillio,ake..
    They are look like a cohesive team.if boetius gets physically strong we have a world class winger in making with boetius.

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